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Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. I kept tradition and made my own holiday out of it! Due to the time difference from the US, we didn't watch any football or see the parade.  But it was great none the less!  As I've mentioned before, Thanksgiving is the hardest day to be away from the US because it is such a uniquely American tradition. It is also the one day of the year when most Americans eat the exact same thing as the core of the main meal. Turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes will be on most tables.  Each family of course has their add ons but it's fun to think about everyone getting the big bird ready.  Turkeys are hard to come by here in Sweden so I was happy to find one that weighed about 13 pounds.  Any bigger and it wouldn't fit in my oven anyway!  While getting it ready I had a little fun him!
It was a fun day, putzing around the kitchen, setting the table, getting things ready.  I had asked our guests to bring the pies so it was great to not have to worry about that!  I did have some canned pumpkin on my shelf so I did contribute that to the pumpkin pie as that is another item that you cannot buy here.  Luckily I had a little delivery from the US recently from some friends who came over so I was well-stocked with all the goods needed, including stuffing mix and cranberry sauce!
Another friend who was going to the US for Thanksgiving graciously donated her Trader Joe's cornbread mix for me to enjoy!  I tried a new recipe for the sweet potatoes that included a glaze mixture made from butter, maple syrup and cayenne pepper.  It was delicious with just the right kick.
Around our table this year we had people from Canada, Switzerland, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, and the US.  What joy to share in good food, conversation, and laughter.  Doug gave a beautiful tribute of thanksgiving before the meal, remembering my mom, who was not with us nor my dad.  I missed her today as we are often on the phone, talking food, mainly me wondering how to get the gravy right.  I did it well this year...felt as though I was channeling her in some way!
In spite of the losses and hardships of the past year I feel a great deal of thankfulness in my heart. The trip to India has also put many things into perspective.  While I can complain at times, and feel a sense of malcontentedness, my issues are all squarely in the first world problems category. Because truly, I have this beautiful life that is filled with privilege and luxury and choices.  I am surrounded by people who I love and who actually love me too, flaws and all.  I have a lovely home, and a wonderful husband and a sweet dog who reveal faithfulness in ways that are beyond me.  My church is a place of grace and encouragement.  I miss our families in the US but feel connected through Skype, Facebook, email and even the old fashioned telephone!  I am thankful on this morning after Thanksgiving and look forward to jumping into the advent season.  I hope you feel equally as blessed...there is always a reason to give thanks.  Thanks be to God.