Friday, November 25, 2011

Saying Thank You

Happy Thanksgiving!

I woke this morning at 6:08 to my cat clawing the sheets to wake me up:  I am thankful for my pet, who purrs, has soft fur and loves me (I think).

Kitty exploring the box of apples!

I walked through the bedroom in the dark so I wouldn't wake Jeff, and before I turned on the bathroom light I noticed the sunrise through the window:  I am thankful for the colorful sky and warm light of the sun after a good three days of heavy wind and rainstorms.

I showered, dressed, threw in a load of laundry, fed the cat, and grabbed my camera and ran outside in my slippers without a jacket to take a picture of the sky:  I am thankful for my beautiful neighborhood and the amazing walking paths near my house that allow me to enjoy stunning views of mountains, creeks and forests on a daily basis.

I came back into the house after a good 15 minutes of jogging around with my camera, the phone, and a handful of pretty leaves, and I called my mom to talk about the upcoming events of the day:  I am thankful for living only a mile from my mom after 20 years of being separated by 1000 miles!

I preheated the oven and popped in the first of the day's baking, two apple pies and two pumpkin pies:  I am thankful that I love to cook because it not only brings great joy and satisfaction to me, but it also blesses others. (They gobble down in 5 minutes what took me 2 hours to make!  Go figure.)

My oldest son Justin was the first to break the stillness of my morning.  He greeted me with a shoulder squeeze and a kiss on the top of my head.  He was up early to watch the game.  His first words to me were, "What can I do to help?"  I replied, "Well, I think everything is pretty much under control, so you can watch your game."  He said, "I didn't ask you if everything was under control, I asked you what I could do to help."  So he carried things to and from the garage and helped me put away some heavy items, and then he made me a french press of excellent coffee from Coava:  I am thankful for my son, who loves me, helps me and treats me with respect and honor.  One day he is going to have one very lucky wife!

Everyone finally crawled out of bed around 11-ish.  This Thanksgiving we have our four kids, our regular Canadian college kids who spend every weekend with us, one of the kids' friends from Canada who came to visit, and this year we also have two students from Brazil. The house was lively with laughter and activity, and suddenly a holiday atmosphere filled my home:  I am thankful for the college kids who come every weekend to stay with us, enriching our lives with their energy, passion, and humor.

Appetizers at noon!  No one had eaten breakfast but me, so everyone was hungry.  We had an old-fashioned Thanksgiving relish tray with black and green olives and sweet and dill pickles, but then we jazzed it up with marinated artichoke hearts, Greek olives, and sweet peppers.  My mom brought another old-fashioned stand-by...deviled eggs, which I love.  Then I made butternut squash soup and served it in little cups (which everyone politely sampled!).  I tried a new recipe of dates stuffed with roasted almonds and wrapped in bacon and broiled, and those were pretty good, and then we had ooey-gooey meltingly delicious brie cheese topped with plum chutney and served with cornbread crackers.  All that was washed down with hot spiced cider.  It was nice to sit down and have a snack in the midst of the busy preparations:  I am thankful for a good game plan that allowed me to be organized enough to rest and relax with everyone, despite the demands of the day.

The last two hours before the feast!  What fun to take each dish out of the oven and smell the wonderful aromas mingling in the kitchen...turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, two kinds of stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with apple butter, Yoshida-glazed green beans, buttered corn, an Autumn salad of three kinds of lettuce, pomegranate arils, roasted pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, green onion and a raspberry vinaigrette, red jello salad, and two kinds of rolls:  I am thankful for the abundance of the safe, clean, quality food we enjoy---really, I am!

Kate and Anna made these leaf votives

We joined hands and prayed, each of us one by one expressing what we were thankful for.  Then we ate our delicious meal while we talked and laughed, reminiscing about the old and learning some new.  Such rich fellowship!:  I am thankful to the Lord, for it is He who gives us what we need and then so much more!

After dinner the kids jumped up and cleared the dishes while my mom and I relaxed at the table.  Then the kids relaxed in front of the TV (more football!) while my mom and I finished up the dishes and food the kids didn't know what to do with.  The kitchen was clean in no time!  I am thankful for the "many hands" that truly do make light work and for young people with a heart to serve!

We changed into grubby clothes and headed to the park for a game of touch football.  Everyone except my mom played, even Jeff and I, although we are "old" compared to everyone else.  It started to rain and we got soaked and very muddy.  But we didn't care!  It was great to run off the heavy meal...and I scored a touchdown!  I am thankful for my health and that I am still able to keep up with the young guys!

Now, what do you do with 12 soggy, soiled football players?  I was not about to let them in the house, so first we put the girls in the garage and they stripped down to their undies, leaving their muddy clothes in a heap, and ran upstairs to shower and change.  Then we let the guys into the garage and they did the same, until we were all clean and cozy in our warm sweats and loungewear:  I am thankful for a warm house and plenty of hot water!

After burning off some calories we were ready for dessert!  Ohhhh, so decadent!  Apple pie with a vanilla-sugar crunch to the crust, homemade pumpkin pie (right from the pumpkin) topped with maple-spiced whipped cream, gingersnaps, pumpkin-cream cheese roll, homemade caramel corn (thanks, Grammy!) and "brigadeiro," a rich and creamy chocolate pudding-like dessert our Brazilian students made for us.  And of course Justin made a few more pots of french-pressed Coava coffee, with eggnog to stir in for a holiday touch:  I am thankful for the "sweet" things in life!

Grammy's Caramel Corn

Pumpkin spice roll

Pumpkin and Apple Pie

Brazilian Brigadeiro

We carried our dessert into the family room and started playing games.  First was "Taboo," one of my favorites.  My team won!  Then we played "Four on the Couch," a memory game, and the other team won.  We laughed ourselves silly more than once, especially over my mother's antics.  How she combined "Charades," "Name That Song," and "Taboo" into one game and how she kept pressing the wrong buttons to increase her team's score kept us more entertained than the game itself!  I am thankful for laughter and a merry heart, which is better than medicine!

By the time we had finished our games, it was late.  I had to do a bit of typing because hospitals don't close on holidays.  While I was busy typing, the kids emptied the dishwasher and reloaded it with dessert dishes:  I am thankful for overtime, the convenience of being able to work from my home, and for the blessing of employment.

The day is done.  We are well fed, well rested, well played and very well blessed.  My house is relatively clean.  I am really looking forward to crawling into bed and pulling my clean sheets and duvet under my chin, snuggling next to Jeff and listening to the sound of the rain on my window as I fall asleep:  I am thankful for a day where I am reminded to be thankful all day!  And I am thankful that I know who to thank...Thank you, Lord, for your goodness and grace in my life!

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures Karyn! All of the food looks amazing as usual! I am sure that your family is thankful for you! It is amazing how much effort you put into things to bless others.. Inspiring..
    Miss you.