|"As we express our
gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words,
but to live by them." ~~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Happy Thanksgiving to those who will be celebrating this coming
Thursday! I hope you all have wonderful celebrations and
that, whether you're celebrating the holiday or not, you find
yourself with lots and lots to be grateful for!
As for this newsletter, I thought it'd be nice to get a glimpse
into what some of the Dyelanders and their friends are grateful
for. And who better for them to share that praise with
than God? But first a bit of fun.
1. You've ever
ran directly at a brick wall and ended up under a willow
tree and this didn't strike you as at all odd.
2. You've grown used to sitting down to a big holiday
family meal along with angels of death, assorted other
angels, vampires, and the humans who love them.
3. Your friend is also potentially your in-law or...
4. Your cousin is your future children's grandfather
5. Your mother-figure is only seven years older than
you and your father-figure is undoubtedly older than
6. And all of the above passes as normal in your
7. The words "like substance" appear on several menus
for your group's shindigs and people still eat it anyway.
8. You know that caffeine is quite properly considered
its own food group.
9. Some of your friends have stared down approaching
bullets, swinging bats, and speeding cars without so much as
batting an eye but they tense up over Tess simply making a
10. You've engaged in flannel shirt thievery...
11. You can give a chronological history of Andrew's
hair styles starting from 2000 detailing length, shade, and
whether there was any on his face.
12. You get sappy over paper clips, shark teeth,
triskeles, daffodils, and so much more.
13. You've found yourself wondering why Andrew seems
to be in such a good mood at random times and keeps humming
the Overture to Jesus Christ Superstar...
14. You know no fewer than 5 recipes for red velvet
15. You know that no matter how bleak or scary or
stressful times are, Someone's got your back... and a lot of
other someones do, too.
So I was tempted to
write a story but I seriously need to start being more
realistic about my time! Cause I'm already working on
3 different stories and adding a 4th? Maybe not the
best idea. So here's what I'm thinking... as
Thanksgiving nears, our beloved AOD, Andrew, is pretty close
to manic. In a good way. A really, really good
way. For over thirteen years, Dyeland has been close
to his heart and he's taken every opportunity to share his
Father's love with the people there and beyond. But
things have changed in a way that is awesome and amazing and
incredible for Andrew. Joshua is coming to meet
them. Imagine that excitement! For thirteen
years you've been limited in what you could tell your
friends about your Father, about the Person you love best,
about the Person who made you... and now He's coming.
Soon. So I could imagine Andrew scribbling away in his
journal as he sits in Serendipity, writing to God about how
blessed he feels. And then LJA coming in and seeing
him looking so happy and so beatific and asking what he's up
to. I'm sure Andrew would tell her that he was writing
a Thanksgiving letter to God. I know she would never
dream of asking to read it... but then she'd want to write
her own and probably tell the others and so they
would. I'm not sure what they'd do with them.
Maybe hide them away to reflect on later, maybe burn them
and send their ashes to the heavens. But I know they'd
feel the words deeply and pray them reverently to their
Creator. I don't think they'd share them with each
other but I think it's okay if *we* read them.
Wow... I have
so much to be grateful for. A little over a year
ago, I was wondering how and when I'd ever get Home (and
home). Now I'm looking forward to another of
Dyeland's wonderful, hectic, love-filled Thanksgiving
dinners. But it's not the same
as other years... it's better. You've
brought so many wonderful friends to us this past
year. Max will be here, smiling so lovingly at
Rose and hugging his "Maja"
so tightly and her beaming at him with such love and
pride that a person who didn't
know better might really think she'd ushered him into
the world. Kemara will be here, having found home
and friends and using her gifts to make the world a
better place. Arthur will be here, still looking
as if he can't quite believe Monica is there but
infinitely glad she is. And Chava will be here,
laughing and managing to bring a smile to the face of
everyone she speaks to. I know there will be a
moment when she'll wish that the table was a little more
full and a few more chairs gathered around. But
she knows now... knows without any doubt... that those
she loves sit at Your table and that one day she'll be
there with them. And then we have that phone call
with Ivy planned... thank You for the miracles You've
worked in her life. And for the confidence You've
bolstered in Violeta. I continue to feel so
blessed to know that You've entrusted me with her.
And You'll be here... waiting. Waiting just as you
did all those years ago for the moment when You'd come
visibly and physically into the lives of Your
children. It's the hope, the excitement over that
visit that I'm most grateful for, Joshua.
Thank You for letting me bring Your love to my
assignments and allowing me the privilege of taking some
of them Home, seeing their absolute ecstasy as they
first see You. Thank You for the blessings of new
friends and old friends and the promise of more joyful
days to come.
Dear Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Where to start? This has been a truly awesome
year. I mean You know we had some really difficult
moments but even during those... I've never felt so
bound up to my wonderful family and friends and that's a
really good feeling! You brought my "Harry" back
to me! I still get choked up when I think about
Max on Andrew's porch all disheveled and sopping wet and
that lil tree tucked under his coat... But he's so
happy now! Thank You for his smiles and his
laughter and for the happy life that I just know he and
Rose will build together. And thank You for
Andrew. You know how much I love him, how much I
need him. And You gave us so many opportunities
this year to grow closer and so many chances for me to
figure out not simply how to love him but how to love
him as You told us to love each other. Please
continue to help me on that road. And thank You
for Chava and the peace she's found. Thank You for
bringing her and Beth together after so many
years. Thank You for Arthur and Monica. I
know it's only the beginning but You've already wrought
such beauty from that bond and I know You'll bring more
great things from it yet. Thank You for my
parents, my cousins, for Shel, for Owen, for Kemara, for
Ivy, for Kevin and Carrie, and all my friends here and
in the Sibling Cities.
Finally, thank You for the autumn winds and the falling
leaves. They make me remember that You're never
I can remember how, as soon as I could write, my parents
taught me to write these letters to You every
Thanksgiving. We both know that some years I
struggled more than in others to express my gratitude to
You. This is not one of those years
when I struggle. I know I have so much to be
JenniAnn has this quote pasted onto the bottom of all
her emails: “As you grow older you will discover that
the most important things that will happen to you will
often come as a result of silly things, as you call them
--"ordinary things" is a better expression. That is the
way the world is.” ~~Chaim Potok
It's never seemed more true. Almost two months
ago, I stepped into a Panera because I was hungry and
couldn't take another night of nuked pizza. I
came out of that restaurant with someone I love deeply
even though I can't explain, fully, why I do. And
there was more: the promise of friends, the knowledge
that I wouldn't have to settle into New York City life
on my own, and a peace I haven't felt in a long
time. When I left my new home to visit another
scene of destruction and to see more grief and more
pain, even then I was grateful because Monica was with
me and, because of that, I felt You nearer, too. I
remain grateful for the opportunity to help rebuild
lives and homes and families and communities.
Please grant me the strength to continue to do that and
the wisdom to always recognize the many blessings You
have given to us all.
When I look back on this year, I'm astounded and amused
and moved and all sorts of feelings I can't even put a
word to! But I know I'm definitely grateful.
Earlier today, Grandma and I set up the Nativity.
For a few moments, I held the little figurine of You in
Your cradle. I thought about that dream that I
know was more than a dream. Grandma hugged me and
for a little bit we were both really quiet. Then
we talked about the dream, about the angels. She
still believes me. Although I think she can't
quite believe that one of those angels still texts and
emails me almost daily! (I think it's good You
waited to bring Violeta to Earth until recently... I
think the pace of snail mail might have driven her
crazy!) I'm so grateful for Violeta and Andrew and
JenniAnn and her parents and Kemara and the Hunters and
Mr. Spelman and Miss O'Kane and so many others who have
helped me during these past few months. I'm so
glad to be going to school at Our Lady of Hope now and
being able to see my mom's Pieta whenever I want.
Most of all, though, I'm grateful to have a happy home
with Grandma and Leo. And I'm grateful for the
wooden lion who reminds me that You're always there and
always loving us.
I love You,
Thank You for
Asher and Psyche and Andrew and Father
and Vincent and Catherine and everyone who watches over
me and takes care of me. Thank You for candy and
dolls and books and dress-up. Thank You for my
pocket watch from Andrew with the shepherd on it.
I like thinking that You're like a shepherd.
That's really cool.
Thanks for all my friends and my teachers and everyone
here in the Tunnels. Please help me make them
really, really proud when I'm grown up. You too.
Dear Father, Dear "Jack,"
How can I even begin to list the things I'm thankful
The glory of Your creation with its
newly fallen snows and starry midnight skies, the scent
of lilacs in the Spring and pine in the Winter.
The sounds of loved ones saying hello, of a friend
singing a much-loved song, of a dove cooing softly.
The triumphant human spirit that rises even amid ashes
and decay and sorrow.
The love that never gives up, never stops searching,
never stops willing the best for others.
The mocha, the chance to forgive, the chance to be
forgiven, and the chance to reunite with a kindred
This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for helping me to
better recognize the ways God has blessed me in my own
life. It's a funny thing about pretending to be someone
you're not whether that means acting or writing. As I
wrote the above, thinking of reasons these characters would feel
grateful, it was impossible not to think of all the things I
feel grateful for. And that's pretty awesome and all
because of my own "silly thing/ordinary thing." I formed a
crush on an actor... and this happened. :-)
(Photo Credits: The
photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel
and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water
Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)