Happy Thanksgiving… In All Life’s Imperfect Chaos

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends. I believe that even in the imperfect chaos of life, even in big messes, if we dig deep enough we can truly always find something to be thankful for. I often need to remind myself of this because I can tend to lean towards pessimism and not always seeing the bright side of things. Here’s a bit of an eye rolling funny tale that stemmed from my disappointment this weekend.

In a series of unfortunate events and miscommunication with our local public health department, we erred on the side of caution and our Thanksgiving plans were disrupted. We missed the no stops big family feast today. On one hand, I had some disappointed teenagers here but I also had a valid excuse to chill a little bit. I am not a fan of the big turkey dinner but I love turkey leftovers. That desire for hot turkey sandwiches tomorrow and in an determined effort to still make the weekend special for my crew, I opted to buy some turkey on Friday.

I didn’t need a huge bird – it’s just four of us. I also don’t have a lot of experience with turkey! I opted for bone-in turkey breasts thinking shorter roasting times would be a win. Everything I read lead me to believe this would be the best solution to a low fuss meal that would still get me those yearned for turkey leftovers.

I started my feast prep after we got home from church. Potatoes in the crockpot for creamy scalloped potatoes. A delicious paprika and lemon prep for the turkey. Caesar salad, steamed broccoli, and cheater crescent rolls on the side. Gravy from drippings freshly made. By 6 p.m. the house smelled amazing and my turkey breasts – chef’s kiss. Then I found out my company (expected tomorrow) was going to stop by in an hour. (Anyone who knows me knows that alone would send me into a tizzy!)

Kevin was asked to carve the breasts. He’s feeling really perplexed by the task while I realize my potatoes overcooked, the broccoli oversteamed, my gravy congealed, and the bottoms of my crescent rolls had burnt. We’re off to a good start but that turkey – it’s going to salvage a meal….

Except there was no meat on those breasts that I paid a small fortune for. The breasts, my father in law informed me, were in fact turkey backs… bones best for broth and not much else. I mean the little bits of meat Kevin managed to pull off were delicious, but my wonderful turkey dinner? It was a disaster!!! And worst of all, no leftovers.

So where do I find gratitude in a weekend that didn’t go to plan? I’ve got a really nice turkey broth simmering on the stove. Not a single person complained about dinner (I think they were scared.) My in-laws had a good laugh at my expense. I still enjoyed a slice of pumpkin pie. And we’ll never forget the Thanksgiving that “Mom tried” and you know what? At least I didn’t set the kitchen on fire.

Kindness: A Balm to the Soul

It’s remarkable how complacent we become in our day-to-day routines until something upsets the rhythm and we are left scrambling to find our footing. In the constant juggle of everyday life, we often fail to appreciate the little things. When our world goes awry, we’re caught off guard – unbalanced – and crave a state of equilibrium. How petty we seem until we look at all the little details in the big picture.

This week, I’m once again, grateful for friends – the ones who reach down when we are at our stubborn worst and find us the help we need, the ones who step in and provide the help we need when we are adamant that we. are. fine. These are the friends to hang on to. The friends to cling to tightly.

One of my strongest “love languages” in action is acts of service – as in this is how I communicate I care… but I’ve also learned when I’m drowning, I will stubbornly tread water instead of reaching for the life lines that are thrown my way. Why do “helpers” always find it so hard to accept help? I appreciate the ones who will jump into the water with me and hold my head above water. They are priceless.

This week, I’m once again, grateful for health that I often take for granted. I’m thankful for a warm, soft bed; a house over my head – mess and all. I’m appreciative of my kids and their little quirks (even when my thirteen year old texts me while I’m in an ER hooked up to an IV and awaiting chest x-rays asking if I will be getting a new phone so he can have my old phone after I leave the hospital – even then I am grateful.) I am recognizant of my blessings as small as they may seem (clean socks this morning even though I haven’t tackled the laundry all week…) or when they seem overwhelmingly all-encompassing (a freezer full of meals that were prepared by hands that weren’t my own!)

The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

William Wordsworth

I’m reminded once again that it’s okay to ask for help, to grasp that help when it’s freely offered. I’ve been humbled enough to see that it’s okay to let go of something for a short time to tightly hold onto the things that matter. I’m learning that in our weakness, we find strength; at our frailest, we find our foundations; in our humility, we see what’s truly meaningful.

The journey of life can be hard. One day it can be a perfect path for ambling along without a care beyond getting a sunburn and then you round a bend and hit a roadblock, in the rain, and you don’t have a coat. It’s full of smooth, straight paths in one moment and abounding with steep cliffs and rubble the next. Cling to hope. Know where your anchor lies. Bring companions on the trail. If you shed some tears along the way – so be it; laughter can be a lifeline; but kindness? Kindness, of course, is a balm to the soul.

Practicing Gratitude

The times I’m feeling a little sorry for myself, a little off, or a little overwhelmed are generally the times I have to practice meaningful gratitude.

Here are 5 things I’m grateful for this Friday.

  1. Friends who will talk me down when I’m lost in my own doubts and indecision, talk me into doing the right thing, and talk me through the hard situations.
  2. Sitting in the E.R waiting room for hours. Not to be confused with just being in the E.R., but if I have to make use of that service, and I’m left waiting to linger, I know that our situation, while possibly concerning and uncomfortable, it is not life-threatening.
  3. Takeout – meal plans and meal prep is all fine and dandy, but when you’re physically and emotionally done it’s okay to take a shortcut to make life easier and that mango salad was delicious.
  4. My bed. Oh Lord, am I grateful for my bed this morning. Those three hours of sleep were not enough and I know I’ll be sneaking in a nap today.
  5. My kids. They make me want to pull my hair out at times and we don’t always see eye to eye, but this Mama’s heart is just bubbling over with thanks for her boys. They are beautifully and wonderfully made, unique and incredible in their own ways, bring a richness of joy and fullness to our lives.

Quickly… instead of thinking on what’s gone wrong this week, think of what you can be grateful for – even if it was just as simple as a ray of sunshine on your living room floor or a great cup of coffee this morning.