Happy Thanksgiving: 10 Things I’m Most Grateful For

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! I hope all of you around the world are having a great day, regardless if you celebrate our American holiday or not.

It’s been a difficult year, but I’m blessed to have so much to give thanks for, anyway. I decided to take a quick break from helping with meal prep (a minor assistant role to my Master Chef mother!) to jot down a list of what I’m most grateful for.

Apple pie from scratch! I try to save most of my stomach space for this and the pumpkin pie. 😉

  1. My family.

    They’ve been there for me since day one. I’m so lucky we get along so well. With them, every day is amazing fun like a party, but every second nurtures and fills my soul. They’ve helped me become the woman I am. They’ve believed in me so strongly I’ve had no choice but to believe in myself, and they’ve built that confidence and drive in me since infancy. I love you, guys. ❤

  2. My friends.

    Like my family, they have helped me to become who I am today. I can’t believe I’ve had the same best friends for 20 years. How lucky am I? We’ve gone from children to adults together, sharing every important moment together and supporting each other when we needed extra strength. I love them more with each day. We have just as much fun now planning weddings and navigating transitions as we did building snowmen and playing Barbies as kids.

  3. Oreo & Chad

    Even though now, they are both our angel babies, I am grateful for their huge impact on my life (and the world at large, of course). Perhaps our babies belong with #1, but they are a different, more adorable species, so I think they can have their own category. Our babies are guinea pigs–see this poem to read just how much they mean to me. Our babies–both so different and wonderful–have awakened a new type of love in me. Though I can be, um, “motherly” to others I love, there’s nothing like loving a (guinea pig) baby. They have enriched my life on such a deep level; they are the embodiment of love. They have me wrapped around their little paws, if you couldn’t tell.

  4. My Faith & God

    This grows stronger for me each year, as I witness miracles and kindness, even in the midst of tragedy. He has always been there for me, even when I wasn’t paying as much attention to Him as I should have been. He saved me, in more ways than one, and I think He brought me back to do good–and I think that is through:

  5. My Writing & Speaking

    Communication is vital to all of our lives, and we often take it for granted until it’s taken away from us. I’m grateful mine has come back in such a way–I have so much to say, and I can’t wait to share it all. I always feel like I have more to do; it’s a never-ending quest to listen and speak, through voice or written words. Dear readers, you are an integral part of this! Thank you for listening to what I have to say and encouraging me to move onward in this journey.

  6. Books

    Books have been an integral part of my life, shaping the way I think and the person I want to be. They bridge continents and eras, connecting our human existence and making sense of this crazy thing called life.

  7. My Job & Coworkers

    I’m so blessed to have a job where I get to do what I love every day: writing, editing, public speaking, and events. I’m doing it all in a place I believe in passionately–Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital–and I get to apply my skills to fundraising and publicity purposes for this wonderful place. The icing on the cake that I did not expect (but should have!) is that I LOVE my coworkers. Several of them have become very dear friends.

  8. Nature

    I’m constantly inspired by nature. It’s as alive and changing as humanity itself, and its unpredictable beauty and nurturing are gifts to us. I’ve been lucky to have several adventures in forests, mountains, and oceans, over the last year, and I’ve truly learned that every leaf, rock, and sky is uniquely awe-inspiring.
    On a less poetic note–or perhaps, since it’s Greek mythology, it is poetic still–I was even a Dryad for Halloween this year, wrapping my limbs in vines and hair in flowers. I feel my full integration into nature is progressing well.

  9. Love

    Life is funny, and relationships don’t always work out how you plan them. Despite the pain of when they end, I’m still grateful to have had the experiences. They’ve taught me what I need and want out of life, and they’ve helped to shape me in important ways. As a writer and reader who adores love stories, I’ve learned to adore true love, even if I don’t know where it will lead. 🙂

  10. My Health

    Well, this one is pretty self-explanatory, especially with my recent reflective post about my TBI. Against all odds (<5%), I have survived a near-fatal injury, and against even greater odds, I am living a beautiful, healthy life. This is another one we take for granted, and every time I’m having a bad hair day (so many days), I remind myself that there was a time when I had no hair on one side of my head–boy, how it grew back with gusto. I’m looking forward to having it long enough soon to donate. I am blessed and very grateful.

 

Thanks for reading my list of gratitude, readers. What are YOU most grateful for? Have a wonderful holiday season; talk to you soon. I think I smell some pies that are ready for my sampling. ❤

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving: Ten Things I’m Most Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! The holiday is almost over–and by the time I finish typing this post, it may well be over–but I do hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Like most families, we have certain traditions in our house when it comes to Thanksgiving. Our staples are basic, but as health-nut–foodies, we’ve tweaked “traditional” dishes into our own creations (most of this credit goes to my mom! <3).

Since we were little, our mom invited Jennifer and me into the kitchen to punch down her from-scratch bread dough once it’s risen. And since we were little, Jennifer and I have found the squishy texture hard to resist before it’s ready. It’s become a tradition in and of itself.

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Every year, my sister & I try to squish the dough before it’s ready. Sometimes, our mom stops us in time.

The meal turned out wonderfully, despite Jennifer’s and my mischievous attempts. The menu: turkey, stuffing, white bread, cranberry sauce, pumpkin muffins, cranberry muffins, steamed green beans, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and apple pie–along with pear wine that I picked up in South Haven with Lindsey and Megan. Absolutely delicious, all of it!

Actually, I was lucky enough to enjoy not one, but two Thanksgivings this year.

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The “kids” at Jeremiah’s family’s Thanksgiving, left to right: Jeremiah, me, Sarah, Jessie, and Alex.

I had a lot to be grateful for this year. The Broke and the Bookish suggested a “Top Ten” this week that I think is very appropriate.

Top Ten: Things I’m Grateful For
(in no particular order)

1 & 2: Family and Friends

My former classmate and fellow blogger, Frank, put it best in his “grateful things” post: “friends who are like family and family who are like friends.” I really couldn’t have put it better myself. Both have shaped my life tremendously, in the ways they support and guide me–and I like to think I do the same for them. I’ve been blessed to have wonderful relationships with both family and friends that have evolved over the years, only getting better as our lives become more developed and more full. These categories overlap, too: eight years ago, my friends cooked and brought a full Thanksgiving dinner to the hospital for my family. Even if we don’t have as much room in our schedules to be together now, they take up more room than ever in my heart. ❤ I LOVE YOU ALL!!! ❤ ❤

3: Oreo & Chad

Perhaps our babies belong with #1, but they are a different, more adorable species, so I think they can have their own category. Our babies are guinea pigs–see this poem to read just how much they mean to me. Our babies–both so different and wonderful–have awakened a new type of love in me. Though I can be, um, “motherly” to others I love, there’s nothing like loving a (guinea pig) baby. They have enriched my life on such a deep level; they are the embodiment of love. They have me wrapped around their little paws, if you couldn’t tell.

4: Jeremiah & His Family

Similar to #1 & 2, I’ve known them a long time (eight years!) and my relationship with each of them gets better every day (or for the most part, as romances go! 😉 ). I’m lucky to have such a supportive boyfriend who doesn’t mind when I fall into my fantasy worlds I’m writing where there is no cell phone reception…or food…or blinking. Always supportive, always devoted, always loving. Not to get mushy, but I LOVE YOU Jeremiah. (OK, I’m always mushy…you know this by now, dear readers.) I’m so lucky that this package deal includes his family–I’m close with each one of them. His sisters are among my best friends!

Readers, I’ve RUN OUT OF TIME, so in an uncharacteristic move, the rest of the list will be brief!

5: My Faith & God

He has always been there for me, even when I wasn’t paying as much attention to Him as I should have been. He saved me, in more ways than one, and I think He brought me back to do good–and I think that is through:

6: My Writing & Speaking

Communication is vital to all of our lives, and we often take it for granted until it’s taken away from us. I’m grateful mine has come back in such a way–I have so much to say, and I can’t wait to share it all. Dear readers, you are an integral part of this! Thank you for listening to what I have to say and encouraging me to move onward in this journey. ❤

7: Books

Books have been an integral part of my life, shaping the way I think and the person I want to be. They bridge continents and eras, connecting our human existence and making sense of this crazy thing called life.

8: My Job & Coworkers

I’m so blessed to have a job where I get to do what I love every day: writing, editing, public speaking, and events. I’m doing it all in a place I believe in passionately–Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital–and I get to apply my skills to fundraising and publicity purposes for this wonderful place. The icing on the cake that I did not expect (but should have!) is that I LOVE my coworkers. Several of them have become some of my very best friends.

9: Nature

I’m constantly inspired by nature. It’s as alive and changing as humanity itself, and its unpredictable beauty and nurturing are gifts to us.

10: My Health

Well, this one is pretty self-explanatory, especially with my recent reflective post about my TBI. Against all odds (<5%), I have survived a near-fatal injury, and against even greater odds, I am living a beautiful, healthy life. This is another one we take for granted, and every time I’m having a bad hair day, I remind myself that there was a time when I had no hair on one side of my head–boy, how it grew back with gusto (see frizzy picture above). I am blessed and very grateful. ❤

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I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving too, readers. I am grateful for each and every one of you. ❤

Top Ten Tuesday: Appetizing Book Covers

Hello, readers! I hope you’re feeling festive tonight, because I am. We had a lovely pre-Thanksgiving celebration last weekend with a couple who is very special to our family. The timing was significant, too, in just how special they are to us–they have been instrumental in my brain injury journey. Sam is the one who was able to get my dad out of the city to the hospital in time to see me before my brain surgery, and Sue Ann came to see Jennifer and me speak about our experience at my memoir preview event. Not to mention, they have been supportive and encouraging all along the way. Both of them have become as close as family, lifelong friends whom we love deeply. Beautiful people we couldn’t help but be thankful for at a celebration about thankfulness right after an anniversary of what we are most thankful for (my survival, our family’s survival over something that might have destroyed us). I’m not sure if writers’ lives are onion layers of symbolism, or if we just have a layered way of looking at things. #SorryImNotSorry, right?? 😉

Speaking of Thanksgiving, HarperCollins posted a very timely list from their Buzzfeed on their Facebook today, and I thought it would be perfect for tonight’s Top 10. I will be posting another “Top 10” installment on Thursday for Thanskgiving, prompted this week by  The Broke and the Bookish: “Top Ten Things I’m Grateful For.” For now, though, sit back and salivate over HarperCollins’s compilation of appetizing book covers. (The list has product links if you’d like to buy or lust over the book covers in greater detail.) Though my mom and sister are the primary chefs of the family, I enjoy cooking/baking, too, and I sure enjoy eating the fruits (and veggies) of their labor. These book covers are making me even more excited for Thanksgiving, and you already know how excited I get about holidays. 😉

10 Book Covers You Wish You Could Eat On Thanksgiving

1.

With foolproof recipes, detailed menu timetables, and down-to-earth advice,Thanksgiving 101 is the holiday cook’s best friend.

2.

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, the pioneers of the online community cookbook, return with a second helping of delicious, seasonal recipes from the country’s most inventive home cooks in The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2.

3.

Supplemented by illuminating food facts and anecdotes, and illustrated with gorgeous full-color photographs, Nick Malgieri’s A Baker’s Tour is a satisfying and educational international collection of inviting, delicious recipes for home cooks and food lovers everywhere.

4.

Featuring scrumptious dishes passed down for generations through Christy Jordan’s family, Southern Plate highlights the very best in southern cooking.

5.

From squash and root vegetables to cranberries and quince to hearty, savory dishes, Autumn Gatherings will help you make the most of this season’s natural bounty.

6.

In Slow-Cooked Comfort, Lydie Marshall focuses on fish, poultry, meat, and vegetables that have been simmered in aromatic broths and sauces. Unparalleled in flavor, these dishes resonate with the coziness of family suppers, hearth, and home.

7.

Since it was first published in 1973, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco has established itself as the classic work on one of the world’s great cuisines, and in 2008 it was inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame.

8.

A one-of–a-kind cookbook, Savory Sweet Life is a wonderful collection of inventive and playful family recipes that celebrate the everyday moments in life—from birthday parties and family game nights to potlucks and summer backyard barbecues.

9.

A celebration of the food of the Hudson Valley and the people who grow and produce it, Hudson Valley Mediterranean shows how to use seasonal ingredients to create delectable, nourishing meals.

10.

Fresh Food Fast is a collection of seasonal vegetarian menus that can be created in under an hour, from James Beard and IACP Award–winning chef Peter Berley, a culinary instructor, family man, and chef with a passion for delicious meals that use seasonal produce and are easy to prepare.

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Are you hungry now? 😉 What delicious-looking books would YOU add to this list–and what cookbooks are your favorite? Though you’ve probably wandered off for a snack by now, just remember that the rule about not talking with your mouth full doesn’t apply to typing. 😉

Please join me on Thursday for a list of the ten things I’m most grateful for–and have a happy Thanksgiving, dear readers. ❤