Traditions! I want to invite you into a story of traditions from my family. For many of the moms we serve at Dream Centers Mary’s Home, this year will be the beginning for new family traditions for generations to come.

Since being on staff at Dream Centers, I have observed that many of the mothers we serve at Dream Centers Special thanks to Dream Centers staff member Caitlyn O’Connell for sharing this special story about a Thanksgiving tradition in her family.

My mother keeps a little notebook of all our family gatherings. In my family, every family gathering has to be centered around food.

In this notebook, you can turn page after page and see what the family gathering was, what was served, who attended, and the date of this gathering. Some of the pages are stained from food getting onto the pages!

My mother documents every detail- a family brunch when my sister was in town, Easter Sunday meals, birthday dinners, Christmas Eve feasts, and more.

But, my favorite gathering is Thanksgiving. The menu’s always the same. The atmosphere is familiar. The smells of pumpkin pie, homemade mashed potatoes, and turkey bring me back to simpler times. Though the guest list changes year over year, the consistency of Thanksgiving is something I look forward to.

At our Thanksgiving gathering, you can always count on a turkey placed in the center of the table. There will be homemade rolls (my mom’s secret recipe that won second place in the County State Fair), stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and sparkling apple cider carefully poured into our nicest glasses.

After the meal, our entire family piles into the living room to chat, and slowly, one after another, fall into a food coma before waking up for dessert.

The pages are stained with the previous year’s gravy, I scroll through this special notebook, reminded of those past Thanksgiving meals. Though I know who will be in attendance this year, it’s fun to remember the past and dream for the future.

Each year at Dream Centers Mary’s Home, Thanksgiving becomes a family affair. It is a time for families, staff and volunteers to come together and share their family traditions together with a potluck meal and fellowship. In August, three new families moved into Dream Centers Mary’s Home apartments and this will be their first Thanksgiving with us. Just like my traditions with my family, we are placing a special notebook to have the details capture of memories made. Each name will be written down on the attendance list and we will reflect year after year at what God has done.

What joy that brings! 

Would you join us as we pray a special blessing over these families?

Thank you for the families at Dream Centers Mary’s Home! Thank you for providing a safe place for these women to build community with one another, and to heal and rebuild. We pray a special blessing over these women as they build new memories and traditions this holiday season. May they be reminded of the love of this community, and ultimately, the joy that communion with you brings.