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Friday, November 25, 2016

A Thanks-filled Thanksgiving

We had such a great day yesterday! My reward for a very early start was this beautiful sunrise.
 The first thing I did was to pull the turkey out of the refrigerator and get busy making a pecan pie! 
I had never made a pecan pie before and since the ingredients for it were so easy to find for once I enjoyed putting it together. I had no idea it was such an easy pie to bake, especially with roll out crusts!
Then I got busy with the turkey getting it ready to slow roast all day long. It was nice to get it all prepped and into the oven. From there, I could pretty much relax a bit, putzing around the kitchen, getting the other dishes prepped and ready. My sister-in-law found these giant, fresh brussel sprouts and I gotta say, she made me a believer about how delicious they can be when fixed correctly!
It was a beautiful day so we sat outside for a bit and soaked in the sunshine. The Minnesota Vikings were on TV so we recorded the parade and watched them lose once again. They started out so well, but have really faded to be a very average team. But I digress.
Doug wanted us to watch the Ted Talk called Gratitude by Louis Schwartzberg. You can view it here. We've used this clip in various ways through the years and it's such a great reminder that finding beauty and gratitude in small things is how to really cultivate a life filled with gratitude. It was a great pre-meal viewing.
I was excited to set the table with the beautiful china that I inherited from my mom. I had not used it for 2 years because of moving around this world. Each time I take one of the pieces and set it on the table, I am filled with memories of our own family celebrations. The china has a great story too...my mom bought it in Sweden back in 1956 when she traveled through Europe as a single woman. We used it throughout my childhood and I always loved it. She gave it to us when they downsized and we shipped it back to Sweden! We loved decorating our table and enjoying meals with it as we gathered many people from the around the world in our home. Now it is back in California where it spent so many years in the Mullen household. It is truly an heirloom that evokes deep and warm connections. 
Our garden yielded some beautiful things that we enjoyed during the day. We juiced the grapefruit, limes and lemons and enjoyed freshly squeezed cocktails and since I hadn't bought any flowers, I simply went out and clipped away at the beautiful blossoms that surrounded us! They made for a lovely centerpiece and fit in well with the desert mileu. We ended up eating indoors because it was a bit windy on the patio but the sunshine streamed through well enough. 
While getting the food ready we got a call from Doug's brother and our nephew in Minnesota. It was fun to hear the voices of other family and know that they were celebrating well across the country.
Finally the turkey was done, the sides were finished and we were ready to dig in. 
I am very thankful that Doug's mom and sister could join us this year. It was delightful to share our first Thanksgiving back in the US with them and fun for them to do something new as well given the reality of losing Doug's dad last March. Obviously there was more than enough food! But we are set for a good round of leftovers today and my cousins will join us which will be really fun. 
We were stuffed to gills with delicious fare. 
 In fact, everyone was so full that we didn't even eat pie. But I had to at least taste it! It was delicious and I'm sure others will enjoy it today! 
We ended our evening under a starry sky around a fire in our backyard. Sitting out on Thanksgiving evening was definitely something that Doug and his family had never experienced. It was perfectly relaxing and a great way to continue the rich conversation that the day of leisurely eating and drinking gave way to. 
On this day after Thanksgiving I continue to be filled with thanks. I will not support the craze that is Black Friday. Shopping is the last thing that I would want to follow the day we enjoyed yesterday. Instead, I'll probably find my way back to the patio, relax on the loungers, maybe take a swim and soak in the jacuzzi, eat leftovers and continue to enjoy the joy of being with loved ones in this new and beautiful place that we call home. I'm grateful. I hope you are too.