giving thanks

This thanksgiving has been a lot more fruitful than years pasts. I have really reflected on who I am and what has helped mold me into what I am today. In prior years, I would look forward to spending time with family and friends, enjoying their contributions in the fun activities of the season, never really reflecting on what amazing characters I’m so blessed to be around during the holidays and throughout the entire year. This reflection also makes me realize this new idea, new to me anyway, that the world isn’t so “black and white”, as I first thought. There are so many ways to live your life and many ways happiness, love, grace, and communication can be interpreted. During this Thanksgiving, I reflect on the many people that I think of daily, even when they are miles away; they have impacted my life.

I started out this Thanksgiving with a Dallas Turkey Trot; it was so much fun to get up and be among other happy turkey day folks in the hope to lighten the turkey day feast/caloric intake with a morning run. My friend Amelia was happy to participate with me, and we said we would add more people each year we do it! I think this is a fabulous tradition, when living in a southern climate, that is.

I am thankful for my athletic genes. My parents were/are both athletic, and I think being active was always part of my parents’ philosophy. Athletics were always a way to blow off steam, build friendships, and gain self-esteem and self-confidence. I will always thank my parents for incorporating that type of skill into my life and hope to carry on that philosophy with my own children.

I also had to stop running when I saw these two on the sidelines… too funny!

After our running, Amelia and I parted ways. And I was greeted in our entry way to this…

Yes, it’s a new mailbox! I was so excited to see it up!  Our old white mailbox just wasn’t happy, and this guy really makes our little entry shine! It looks like an envelope! So cute. I give thanks for all the small things that make me happy. From a new mailbox, people waving on our street, opening doors for people, fresh air, talking to my family and friends, and just playing or snuggling with our dogs. Those small entities make up most of my life, and I need to step back, more often than not, to give thanks for all the small things.

After a quick shower, I was excited to get my Thanksgiving traditions started. Considering this is the first holiday we decided to stay instead of head to Wisconsin or Missouri, we really didn’t have any set rules or traditions for the holiday, and I was eager to make our own. I decided to bake; after all, that’s my favorite part of any holiday, making sweet treats for after the meal, and Paul was in charge of the actual Thanksgiving dinner.

I decided to make a twist on an original and make pumpkin cheesecake pie.

I give thanks for my extended family. Especially the ladies. The Christianson ladies – thank you for the endless amount of wine and their personal justification that yes, a piece of pie can and will count as a meal. I thank my Aunt Diane for the pumpkin cheesecake recipe, and for her love for extravagant things, which she can pull off anywhere, from her vintage Louis to her mink coat at Christmas… and her ability to go through my learning curve of red wine. “You like Shiraz, I remember that time…” She and the rest of the Christianson ladies are all amazing. Obviously my mother being the best of them all, but I’m a little biased.

I also made Apple Cheese Crisp. My favorite.

I give thanks for my Grandma Anne, though she would balk at the idea of having something apple for Thanksgiving. “You don’t serve apple pie during Thanksgiving, Sarah.”  I thank her for her independent, equal opportunity, and opinionated self, and I wonder who will get those traits?  I give thanks to both of my grandmothers for their amazing ability to bake and cook feasts for hungry mouths throughout the years without falter. My grandma Christianson made these delectable pies, apple being my favorite, that unfortunately I will never be able to replicate, as she made them from memory and I’ve been told, never really wrote down the recipe. Otherwise, I think of them every time I bake anything; Christmas cookies to Grandma Anne’s Apple Cheese Crisp.

All ready to go! If it was up to me, those two items would be our Thanksgiving meal.

But first, we had to participate in the regular tradition of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy… and with a little help from Boston Market we made that happen. Paul was a little exhausted from all the prep work he had to do, including pre-heating the oven, heating up the gravy, putting the items in serving dishes AND cutting the turkey. Wow, I’m exhausted just writing it!

It turned out great! We did find out we need a gravy boat and placemats someday, but we made it work! This Thanksgiving, I thank Paul for making me realize the importance of the necessities of a great relationship; communication, honesty, transparency, trust and religion. I hope we can work to better ourselves and in time, hope we can build on these things to make for a lasting relationship and future for ourselves together…

It’s always fun to play house.

I am thankful for our two dogs, as well.

Otis has been in my life for four years now, and he continues to be a happy-go-lucky guy, cuddle bug, and always there for kitchen clean-up duty.

Boston has been with me for six years now, and I think he’s saved me more than I ever saved him. He is an amazing guy, as loyal as they come, steadfast, smart, handsome, and wonderful inside and out. Thank you Boston, for finding me.

We finished up our evening with dessert and some scratchers…

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I give thanks for everyone, family and friends, and everything that I have been given in my life to this point…

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