A Moment of Thanks

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It’s Thanksgiving Day, and before the tryptophan kicks in, leaving me sprawled and snoring in front of the Broncos game, I thought I’d take a moment to remember what this holiday is all about.

Dressing.

Or maybe you call it stuffing, depending on whether you bake it in a pan (as I do), or indelicately cram it into the abdominal cavity of a plucked and beheaded turkey. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some sort of PETA nut, bent on liberating fruit flies or turning McDonald’s into a salad bar. I can put away roast turkey like a Viking wench with a drumstick in each hand, but for me, the whole stuffing of the bird sort of crosses the line into poultry violation.

Either way, all I’m saying is that dressing is a central feature of any holiday dinner, and it definitely inspires a certain thankfulness in my heart.

Speaking of thankfulness, because we probably should, we have a sweet Thanksgiving tradition in my family in which we go around the table and take turns, between bites of cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, sharing what we’re most thankful for. Obviously, the big four always feature prominently: God, family, friends, health. In fact, next year I’m considering passing out a top ten “Things I’m Thankful For” list with those four already filled in. Because I’m interested in hearing those other six, the little unsung blessings of each life which, taken together, add the flavoring of gratitude to our everyday experiences. For example:

I’m thankful for…

…the five french fries that fall to the bottom of the fast food bag, allowing me to claim them for my own, despite the fact that I didn’t order any fries. “No-man’s-fries” I call them. They taste exquisite with my salad, and I still feel faintly righteous.

…”elegant” days, when all my clothes fit just right, and I glide around with my back straight and my head high, smiling archly over my shoulder and feeling just a teeny, tiny bit like Audrey Hepburn.

…Judy at the Chevron, who remembers my name and my poison (a 52 oz. Extreme Gulp refill of Diet Coke), and manages to really see every customer, engaging each one personally beyond the digital total on the gas pump.

…300 thread count sheets, a small indulgence that makes slipping into bed beside my love even more delicious than it already is.

…the year’s first snowfall which delights the senses no matter how many times you’ve seen it before. It blankets the landscape, brings a hush to the woods, and gives me a chance to whitewash* Paul.

…my giant desk, the wide, flat surface that collects the flotsam of my thoughts and endeavors and holds my favorite things secreted in its drawers and cubbies. It takes up space, and I love to take up space.

I could keep going, but I think I’d like to hear yours.

*”A typical whitewash consists of rubbing a handful of snow into someone’s face causing severe coldness and temporary blindness.” –Oliver Sharpe, Aspen Daily News

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13 responses »

  1. Nice tradition you ahev in your family… I have always been curious why theres no Thanks-Getting day in the USA or elsewhere πŸ™‚

    We don’t have thx-giv day here but let me try to list a few things.

    1. The fact that I am able to read/write blogs. That I can speak 2 languages well and 2 more not-so-well.

    2. My mom

    3. My friends

    4. That I earn enough to splurge not just survive.

    5. That I am almost 6 feet tall (how superficial and I do wish i din’t have to use the almost )

    6. My sense of humor and general extrovertedness esp. considering I wasn’t this way as a teenager.

    7. That I can cook

    8. My 4 pairs of sneakers

    9. Google, Yahoo

    10. the mini cask of chinese rice wine that lies waitign for an occasion in my closet.

  2. I’m most thankful for all that God has given me that I don’t deserve. Being from a broken home and dysfunctional family, statistics show that I shouldn’t have a great wife, awesome kids, graduate degree, career, nice house, and an incredibly functional family. Yet, in His mercy, God has delivered me from the statistics, and blessed me tremendously. In spite of not having enough money to splurge at this point in our church planting career, we will be there again one day. Life is good, Family is great, and God is greatest.

  3. Great posting… found you through SJ. I love postings about gratitude.
    1. Today I am grateful for the fresh blanket of snow that has been falling slowly and steadily all day.
    2. I am grateful that I am able to sit on a comfortable couch and watch the snow fall peacefully outside the window.
    3. I am grateful for all of the cyber connections I’ve made through blogging – for it allows me to have a glimpse into people’s lives who I would not have a chance to meet/see otherwise.
    4. I am grateful for being able to host Thanksgiving yesterday for friends who had no where to go.
    5. I am grateful for the abundance in my life that presents itself through friends, crafting supplies, creative energy, coffee, and I suppose clutter. Without the clutter I might not know how fortunate I am to be able to “have.”
    Have a blessed weekend Katrina!

  4. I am thankful for urgent care centers that allow my Thanksgiving onset of strep throat to be treated 1100 miles from home. I am also thankful for a dad and stepmom that are willing, nay, even excited, to take my kids to the zoo, movies and prairie dog town without me so that they can have a good time even if mom is down for the count.

  5. Well, Katrina, you inspired me. Just check out my LJ. Remember, imitation is the highest form of flattery.
    I’m thankful for finding you. πŸ˜‰

  6. I love your list! If I had to go with a couple of random ones…

    …Thanksgiving Eve..the beginning of a 4-day weekend that is filled with thankfulness, food, family, friends, and fun…we should have that 4-day weekend once a quarter

    …Waking up at 4am to go to the bathroom, and realize that you don’t have to be up at 6:30, so you completely zonk out under the covers to dreamyland

  7. What a great post!… I also have difficulty “violating” the turkey. I don’t like handling meat that still looks like the animal to begin with and that is just way too intimate for me.

    I agree with you about blessings. Everyone goes for that top 5 or so, which, yes, are huge, but a real blessing is being able to be thankful for the very small things as well. I loved yours.

    A couple of mine are:

    Being able to read and write. It gives me so much joy to look at these manmade symbols and have them make immediate sense.

    Swings.

    A bag of Milano cookies and a new episode of LOST.

    When you get a wiff of something our of nowhere that smells so familiar and it gives you a good memory of childhood.

    When strangers smile at you.

    Waking up to the results of an ice storm – everything glistening and incased. It’s so breathtakingly beautiful.

  8. Speaking of a violated turkey, have you ever had fried turkey? It’s big here in Texas and it had been years since I’d had one – dad is the only one I know that can fry it ‘correctly’ and it’s been 3 years since we’ve been with him. Anyway, while he was preping the turkey the night before & injecting the wonderful seasoning, my oldest son stood on a stool watching in utter amazament – until Little Papa started to pull out the neck and ‘innards’ from the turkey’s butt – they’d already discussed what that hole was so there was no turning back. He looked on in total disgust and started asking questions.

    My thankfuls this year are:
    1. That we were able to make the 3 hour trip to my dad & his wife’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving with them; that my sister & brother-in-law, along with my cousin and her fiance’ were able to make the trip too.
    2. That the long-weekend was very peaceful and enjoyable – so many family functions haven’t been over the last few years since mom’s death. It was a nice change πŸ™‚
    3. That Alex got a turkey biology lesson from my dad and seemed pleased to know what the guts of the poor, violated bird looked like.
    4. That even though my kiddos kept getting sicker & sicker as the week progressed, culminating with ear infections, bronchiolitis, a perforated ear drum (the baby), coughs & snotty noses (all around), and finally pink eye (the baby again)…we were still able to make our trip and have fun. Everyone got better and by Friday, we were only dealing with the occassional snotty nose or coughing spasm πŸ™‚

    If I took the time to look back over the year, and more recently the last few months, I could go on, but my thankfuls seemed to be more immediate.

  9. 1) I’m thankful that God cares constantly – not just when we’re thinking of or praying to Him. How many times have you avoided a disaster overtaking your little one without him every knowing that he was even in danger? I like that we live under the shelter of God’s caring hands – although, some disasters just can’t be avoided.
    2) I’m thankful for hot showers. They warm me and relieve me when I’m miserably cold or miserable in my attitude. They start my day with a happy face.
    3) I’m thankful for parents that I know brought me up the best that they knew how – I have no grievances, only gratitude toward both of them for all their care for me. I tell my parents often that they did a great job and that I love them because it seems the more people I get to know, the more I find that the majority of them have a problem with their parents and how they were brought up.
    4) I’m thankful my kids are healthy and don’t require medication or hospitilization.
    5) I’m thankful that huge distances have not been enough to cancel my friendships with three very special women in my life.
    6) I’m thankful that there are still places that it snows six inches at a time –

    I love the clean, cozy feeling that fresh-fallen snow gives me.

    I love the intricate designs of snowflakes.

    I love the romance a snow-fall holds.

    I love the FUN!! Sledding, skating, snow mobiling, snow balls and forts …

    There’s my six for you Katrina.

  10. What fun to read other people’s lists! Thank you all for sharing!

    Sri–I hope this year brings you an occasion worthy of cracking open that bottle!

    Bishop–Amen! It’s so good to serve a God of new beginnings!

    Meg–I’m so glad you found me! You know, I’m going to start being thankful for my clutter, too. After all, I’ve tried everything else, from burning it to ignoring it, and it just keeps coming back!

    Kathy–I can’t believe you got sick. Bad timing. And I heard yesterday that you got stuck in a blizzard on the way home, too! Hmmm…I’m sure it can all be commemorated on a scrapbook page somehow…

    Rosieboo–isn’t that last hour of sleep divine? I especially love the fifteen minutes between the alarm going off and the alarm going off again–I wish it could last forever.

    Tee–I love scent-memories, too. More often with me, though, I smell something and get a feeling that it’s connected to a memory, but can’t place it. It just leaves me with an emotion. Weird.

    Jennifer–I’ve heard of deep-fried turkey; is that what you’re talking about? Everyone says it’s so moist and delicious. We’re talking about trying one next year! Glad to hear your kids are done passing germs around for now (wouldn’t you know that’s the one thing they DO share?)

    Bearsie–I’m with you! God must place a special watch over us when we’re little. When I think of all the hare-brained schemes we came up with (involving everything from home-made chemistry kits to rewiring the house current), I am amazed that any of us live to be adults!

    Happy Thanksgiving, all! (Now get on the ball and get those Christmas decorations up!)

  11. searching for “no man’s fries” on google turns up only this blog. I was curious to see how many other people used this term for the fries at the bottom of the bag. When my friends would make food runs during our gaming sessions, the no man’s fries were always conceded to the driver as a poor man’s tip.

    They’re called no man’s fries, of course, because they fell into no man’s land (the bag.)

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