We gave thanks for connections made (and connections kept) with mission companions. For the memories relived. The abundant laughter. Of our children's acceptance of one another.
We gave thanks for friendship. The oldest kind imaginable. Where there was never a time without that bond. Where generations before us had already created memories of their own together and then watched as we did the same. For the sharing of mothers and grandmothers. The second home (that was just 2 doors down). For the ease of reunion as if time and distance had never made it's interruption. For the promise to make more time in the future. For "Sister Friends".
We gave thanks for weather. A different kind of weather that is found about 6,000 feet above our very comfortable climate here at sea level. The kind of weather that offers four seasons. The smell of static in the air and the shock of it on my fingertips as they brush a child's cheek or grasp a door handle. Struggling to catch leaves mid fall. Praying to stay on icy roads. My children's fascination at holding frozen water in their hands. Capturing the token of a promise made long ago.
We gave thanks for family. Cousins. Aunts. Uncles. Grandparents. Great-Grandparents. Siblings. Nephews. Nieces. Parents.
We gave thanks for delicious food. For sharing our thoughts and shedding some tears over heaping plates. For mass quantities of soda (100 oz to be precise). For having enough and for having excess.
We gave thanks for temples. For forever families. For covenants. For
Freedom to worship the way we believe. The way we know. To stand in holy places. For scriptures. For missionaries. For those who stayed faithful despite persecution at it's worst.
We gave thanks for all this and more. For sharing childhood places, people, and memories with my children. For the visit back home. Not home as a location; one made of wood, stucco, and cement or a valley nestled in the mountains. But home as in people. Special beings that we've shared pieces of time with, having gleaned something (many things) from each of them that have shaped us into who we are today. We huddled closely with these people, this home, and together... We Gave Thanks.