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A Glenn Iris Thanksgiving Tradition

Tuesday, Virginia and I started with a downtown run. This picture is from our long run last Saturday, but it was too fall-ish not to post and we forgot to snap one Tuesday. We have been training for a full marathon and are really surprised at how much easier each run gets. The first half marathon I did resulted in foot pain thanks to the wrong shoes, the second one was freezing, and the third was pretty great. But even then, I was super sore after each, I am not even really sore after a 14+ mile run. Anyone else feel that way? I am probably speaking too soon since I haven't hit mile 17 or 20 yet and I hear those are doozies! But I sure do love my running buddies!

I had my homemade yogurt for breakfast. I stick with plain and top it with walnuts and honey!

Lunch was pretty basic- a salad (feta, red onion, olives, lettuce, with apple cider vinegar and a dash of olive oil for dressing) , some Stacy's thin pretzels that were up for grabs in the conference room, and my usual Sparkling Dasani.

For snack, always eaten at the 3:30 timeslot to prevent over eating when I get home, was an apple with a string cheese. I stayed a little late Tuesday because I was meeting my husband for our first serving project as a married couple. Our premarital counselors always told us how important it is to serve together so we met at home to go over to Glenn Iris Church. 

Glenn Iris has a Thanksgiving dinner for the different homes in the area and it is a huge ordeal! Thousands of people come to watch a movie about Christ, eat, and have fellowship with others. I first learned about three years ago when Jana, a CDE at work with me, was the chairperson. She was trying to recruit servers and told us to come by. The first year, I didn't realize how big it was so I just went with a few work friends, but the next year, the entire Clinnnut group came to help! Jana no longer works with me so the dinner crept up on me this year so it was down to JT and me. 

Meet Paul! A few years ago, I went to Planet Fitness in Hoover and Paul would be there, each morning at 5:30 a.m. on the same bike. I don't remember the day, but we just started chatting and from then on we pretty much rode bikes side by side 3 days a week. I randomly saw him at Glenn Iris the first year and then the second so I wondered if he would be there this year and he was! Paul is so friendly and super easy to talk to! We caught up on life changes, he met J.T. and I enjoyed hearing how our other gym friends are doing.

Glenn Iris hosts this Thanksgiving dinner each year so grab someone and come next year! It is always the Tuesday before Thanksgiving making it easy to schedule and remember. Visit the website for more information.  Volunteers should arrive starting at 5p.m. if you want to take advantage of the chance to eat Thanksgiving dinner.

The buses of people start arriving and food is served from 6-8p.m. This church has such a system going and these people plan all year long! Some food is donated, but some is made by the kitchen ladies, and it is a lot of food! I am in awe of the work and organization that goes on with this dinner. The guests are first required to watch a video about Jesus Christ, then, their group goes into the dining room to eat dinner and dessert before the next wave of guests comes in.

I really enjoy doing things like this, but largely for selfish reasons. Sure, I like to see them getting to enjoy dinner but really, I feel better and more energized when I serve others, and I'm not alone. Research shows that people who serve are happier people. Plus, coming from a town where everyone already knows you, a bigger city like Birmingham can seem just that -- big! So, I try to take advantage of opportunities that can help make us feel like we are part of a community. Work has been the biggest game changer for me and I know I am so blessed in that my work friends have become some of my best friends! The YMCA is another place where I felt super awkward walking into it the first day, but now I see familiar faces each Wednesday and Thursday morning! Finally, Church of the Highlands has been something that makes us feel like we are part of Birmingham. I am excited to add this yearly Thanksgiving tradition to the list of things that makes us feel at home here. Which is good, because we kinda like Birmingham:)

If you want to help out next year check out the website...or just show up on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving after 5p.m.. See you there!

Any tips that helped you make a new town your "hometown"?

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