I am a planner. I’m such a planner, my husband makes jokes about it. I make jokes about him not planning in return. My fastidious planning keeps us out of places like The Bates Motel at 1 o’clock in the morning, looking for a vacancy.
Between moving and starting a new job that gives me unpredictable hours I have seriously lacked in the planning portion of Thanksgiving this year. We were expecting Caity to visit us but plans fell through since I wouldn’t be seeing much of her if she did. I knew I was going to make 3 things though. Turkey. Mashed potatoes. Cranberry sauce. Those are the 3 things I make every year. The sides normally vary. If we are at my mother-in-law’s, she fixes the turkey. I usually make the dessert, too, but I haven’t had the time to experiment with gluten-free pie crusts. If I feel it on my day off Tuesday, I just might.
I do have several recipes from some of my favorite gluten-free bloggers printed off to look through and figure out which ones to make. And honestly, if I don’t have a big feast, I’m okay with it. All the leftovers would be nice though since I work all weekend. If this past weekend is any indication, I won’t be in the mood to step foot in the kitchen those days.
I’ve blogged before about how life has changed in so many ways for me. A year ago, I was in my best friend’s kitchen helping her get out the dishes, serve ware, linens, and small appliances in preparation for the big day. We made several dishes ahead of time so there would be enough time to sit around and enjoy the company of family and friends on Thanksgiving. It was a joy to be in the kitchen with her and Mom (her mom, for those of you who don’t know I call her Mom). It’s not often that it happens and I enjoy every minute of it. That day, I was thankful to be with them. To have best friend like, Stick. One that I can go months without talking to and have it be like it was just yesterday when we do talk. One that I can be creative with. One I am comfortable with in silence. I was thankful for Mom being my second mom and being so encouraging and loving. I was thankful for time I got to spend with My Little Obi-Wan (you can see his arm reaching for the raw veggies on the table in the picture above). A little guy eager to show me the words he knew on his alphabet chart (he has autism). His giggles when I’d spin or toss him around and ask for “More, please!” His smiles when he’d see me holding my camera and exclaiming, “Picture!” as he posed.
I may not have Thanksgiving planned out to a T this year, but I’m always living in gratitude. I hear so many people grumble about what they don’t have and they focus so much on it, that they forget what they have. I stopped thinking about what I don’t have and pining for it. Okay, except for moving back home, but it doesn’t consume my thoughts or being. I focus on what I have and all the stuff I don’t have doesn’t matter. As Elton John sang, “I have all that I’m allowed.” When a stumbling block gets thrown in my way, I give thanks for what I have that will either move it or get me around it. I remind myself daily of my gratitude. I’m alive. I’m healthy. I have loving friends and family. I have a husband that provides and puts up with me because he loves me dearly. I have a roof over my head. I have my faith in God to lead me on these strange paths I’ve taken.
Jason Mraz posted an article he read on his blog two years about gratitude. Gratitude should be practiced every day, not just the 4th Thursday in November. To sum up, it’s like “Crap in. Crap out.” Whatever you have inside you that you’re thinking, is what you’re going to express. Boss yells at Dad, Dad thinks about it on the way home. Dad yells at Mom when he gets home. Mom thinks about it while cooking dinner and yells at Son. Son thinks about it and yells at Dog. Living mired in all that negativity really isn’t living at all. You miss all the good stuff around you. You miss seeing your family and friends for who they are and what they do for you. You miss the joy in the simple things like multi-colored blooms in Spring. Beautiful multi-colored sunsets. The brightness of the moon. The smell of pikake lei as you step off the plane. The taste of love in a meal cooked by someone else’s hands.
Are you living in gratitude? If you aren’t, what’s stopping you? It costs nothing and rewards you handsomely!