Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!
What could be better than a day dedicated to giving thanks, and eating until we almost explode?!
I really do love Thanksgiving.
I'm pretty sure it has a lot to do with the traditional "turkey, stuffing and mashed potato" extravaganza that occurs every year.  That definitely falls into my top 5 favorite meals.
The fact that it is accompanied by a huge selection of side dishes makes it that much more enjoyable.  (Especially the green bean casserole!)
And of course, there is always pie.

I am not a pumpkin pie girl.  However, apple pie is something I would happily live on until my dying day. :)
My in-laws were here last weekend (and grandma made apple was amazing) so that means we get to have a quiet Thanksgiving with just our little family.
Up until a few years ago, we used to gather with my dad's entire side of the family.  It always took place at my parent's house, and the food and company were always wonderful.

Once all of the nieces and nephews grew up and had kids, we started having family reunions in July and October instead.  That way we could all still get together, but then the aunts and uncles were free to be with their kids and grandkids on the holidays.
I have to admit, I really enjoy our quiet holidays at home.  After 35+ years of traveling for every holiday, just staying home with my husband and kids is a nice change.
To make things even better, my husband has declared himself "Grand Chef of the Thanksgiving Feast."

Okay might want to fasten your seat belts for this one.
This is what happens (once a year...but it happens!) at our house when Thanksgiving comes around:
Two days before, we (almost always) remember that turkeys come frozen....and that they don't thaw out quickly like a pound of hamburger does.
So, Mark heads out to the store to find the perfect turkey (and usually a 6-pack of beer.)

The day before Thanksgiving, he researches "how to cook a turkey."  (We only do this once a we have to re-learn the process.  Every year.
Then, he solidifies the menu, and makes his ingredient list.
Then comes one of my favorite parts:
 HE GOES TO THE GROCERY STORE ALONE and buys everything he needs for the feast.
Side note: I usually try to stay clear of him after this...because it is always a zoo at the grocery store the day before he comes home crabby.
I encourage him to enjoy a glass of wine. Or 4.  That usually helps.
The day of:
I have to play for we all head out bright and early (and usually still crabby.)
Once we arrive back home...the music (or game on TV) is turned on....cocktail is poured, and the cooking begins.  

(I typically have changed back into my pj's at this point, and am either downstairs watching a movie, or taking a nap.)
The Grand Chef slaves away in the kitchen until the feast is prepared, and then he calls us all to dinner.
He will ask us no less than 8-10 times "Is the turkey done?"  "Can you taste the pecans in the stuffing?"  "Is the gravy thick enough?" etc.
This is his subtle way of fishing for compliments on his cooking...
 which is our cue to gush and fawn over him and his culinary prowess.
He then will throw us the "pssht....this was nothing....just a typical family dinner for me" act, and put away his oven mitts for another year. ;)
Then we all retreat to the family room for a glass of wine, followed by the inevitable turkey coma.

We are all aware of my thoughts on "Gray Thursday" becoming the new shopping I won't even go there.
I really do think it is important to take ONE DAY to just stop and think about all we have to be thankful for.
It's too bad that it sometimes takes a holiday to remind us to do that.  
It should be something that we do everyday.
We should be aware of all of the gifts we have been given in our lives....and appreciate them.  Even on the days when it doesn't feel like we are quite so blessed.
I had posted on Facebook earlier that I was really upset when my son walked into the kitchen and asked what he was supposed to eat for breakfast, since we had "no food."

This is where he was standing when he said that.  Right next to a counter (a very messy counter!) overflowing with food. I wanted to scream. I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him, and yell "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!"  "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO HAVE NO FOOD??!!"
I wanted to cry.
We had spent two weeks in St. Lucia last June, working within a community where everyone lived in one room shacks made of tin and plywood.
Had my kids learned nothing from this experience?  Had it been so far fetched for them to even be able to relate to how these people survived?  
I have always been so proud of my kids....they have always been humble and kind, willing to help others.  I had never witnessed them acting entitled...but hearing those words, "we have no food" absolutely made me snap.
God must have been listening, because about an hour later, a shelf in our pantry collapsed, and everything spilled and crashed to the floor.
God does have a sense of humor.  I wonder if Sam caught the irony.
We had TOO MUCH food...and the shelf could no longer bear the weight.
I will admit, I have had moments of "poor me."  Sometimes it is hard when you are working so hard to get ahead, but no matter how hard you try, life keeps throwing curve balls at you.  We seem to be bad luck magnets at times.  I have to believe all of this crazy stuff keeps happening to us, just to give me more material for the memoir I will someday write. If something ridiculous is going to will most likely happen to our family.  For instance, Mark's parents take us to Italy...our car gets stolen.  They take us to St. Lucia...our kid gets chikunguna.  We make the (crazy, stupid?) decision to buy our dream house (and I decide to quite teaching)....and three months later, Walker gets elected (which was quite detrimental to us financially) You can see where this combination  has not increased the numbers in the checkbook balance. Heck, we have made three insurance claims within the past month for car accidents.  If we ever seem to be gaining ground financially, there is no doubt that something will come along and pull the rug out from under us again.
I'm sure that there are many of you who have experienced the same thing.
It's easy to start feeling sorry for yourself.  And it's hard when you look at your friends and family who have no idea what it is like to be in that boat.
I refuse to go there anymore.  What's the point?  I look at everything we have, and we are SO blessed.  I have nothing to complain about.  I have everything to be thankful for.
And it goes way beyond material possessions.

I have been really making a conscious effort to be fully present in any interaction I have during my day.  I started to notice that it was easy to just engage in meaningless small talk, and then go about the day, and forget about even having that conversation at all.
What was that all about?!
Life isn't about a quick nod to people as you walk by.  It's about communicating, and connecting.  When I allowed myself to be more aware, and to fully engage in whatever interchange I would have...I really started to realize how many amazing people I have in my life.  
Anywhere I go, I run into people I know from some facet of life.  And even better, I am connecting with people that are new friends.  People whom I have built relationships with through Facebook, or this blog.  It's so interesting when you hear people grumble about social media. (My husband is one of them.)  I will often hear the words "That's why I'm not on Facebook."  I understand that it's not for everyone.  However, I think it is a great tool when it comes to initiating conversation, or getting to know more about people.  It allows us to express our feelings and thoughts, and to get feedback.  I have had several people who were merely acquaintances before, become friends through social media.
We are all so busy with our lives, that finding the time to physically get together to do things is difficult.  It is nice to have a tool to bridge that gap, and bring people together.  It's like having a whole other group of people to support you, outside of your family.
It is something I am so thankful for.

So, on this Thanksgiving Day...I would like to say, from the bottom of my heart,
Thank you for reading my blibberings each day.
Thank you for supporting me and encouraging me to write.
I would have never started this crazy blogging thing had it not been for my FB friends urging me to do so.
I thank you for that push, because in this blog, I have found such a love for writing that I didn't realize was there.  It is my therapy each day.
If only it burned calories. ;)
I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving.
I hope you are able to spend the day surrounded by those you love,
and that you will feel God's blessings all around you....filling your heart and soul.

I am thankful for you

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