The Wednesday before Thanksgiving…people are traveling, stores are packed, kitchens are beginning to smell wonderful and the prep for the big day is in full swing! I sit here in Calgary on a rare morning off (thanks to 3 unexpected cancellations!) having just gotten off the phone with my mom who is, with several other immediate and extended family members, road tripping up to Oregon to join more family for the holiday. It’s hard to be away from my family at this time of year – it’s a bigger deal than Christmas to many Americans, as far as getting together goes – and I couldn’t hold back my tears before we hung up. I love my life and where I live, the ways in which God has directed me, but every now and then I miss family from home, especially at this time of year. So although the bulk of my post today was going to be about staying lean during the holidays, I think I’ll save it for another day and instead share some reasons for why I love Thanksgiving (officially using my blog as a place to reminisce today – hopefully you’re okay with that).
My view today!
Of course, there’s the eating! Homemade food, store-bought items with love, traditional pumpkin pies and smiling at the end of it all. I still remember when, years ago, all the men had a competition to see who could gain the most weight during the meal and weighed themselves before and afterward. I can’t remember who won (but I know it was somewhere around a 3-5 lbs gain!) but I do remember that my cousin Kevin, dad to these cuties below and many others in the picture above, came out after the second weigh-in and hung his head in shame: “I lost half a lb!” he declared. Lots of laughter ensued – and boy, does my family know how to laugh.
Something I love in the States during Thanksgiving are the activities around the day: Turkey Trots, family walks, football games to play. It’s a day to both lounge around and relax, or walk after the big meal. Our Thanksgivings have never really centered around TV or sports but rather times of sharing about what we’re thankful for in the year that’s passed and looking ahead to the new year to come. There’s often a walk, sometimes a football thrown around, lots of chasing the little guys around, and lots of sitting and talking about every- and anything. For a few years, my mom and I went for a morning Thanksgiving run together on quiet streets, gliding along and talking before the day got busy. Growing up, my brother and I started going to the Turkey Bowl, a now annual flag football event (in my hometown in California) a few days prior to Thanksgiving. That’s always a fun tradition! Here are a few pictures from the infamous game (which we literally stayed all of 15 minutes for before we had to head out – just to see a few old friends!):
Lastly, and mainly, there’s nothing better than connecting with your family – no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. Many people complain of their families being dysfunctional, loud or crazy, and while we all have our quirks about us, I can only really think of the good things about my family. They’re:
truly appreciative of each other
full of grace
inclusive of others
black coffee drinkers
…and I love ALL those things about them! I have great memories from sharing my last Thanksgiving with the fam which was a few years ago, all packed into my Aunt Bonnie’s house fellowshipping over food, playing games and welcoming friends/boy or girlfriends/people without a home to go to for the holiday.
My Aunt Bonnie & Uncle Dean with almost all their grandkids a few years ago.
The fellowship and time together is what I love most, especially the more I age and as I watch my family grow and change from afar. I am grateful for the love, for the memories, for the intentionality, for the conversations and for seeing Christ’s love extended through my family members to one another. Although I won’t be eating a turkey dinner on Thursday, I have so much to be thankful for this year as well and will take time to think about all those things throughout the day on Thursday as I train 9 clients at the gym and 3 home clients later that night (one of the things I’m thankful for? A full schedule!).
Although I really wish I was flying down to be with my family over the weekend to sit, relax, talk, pray, feast and encourage one another in my Aunt Mindy’s beautiful house in Oregon, I am thankful for friends and family here in Calgary who love and support me. I’ll be going to a Thanksgiving meal Friday night with other Canadians who married Americans (which is becoming a neat, new tradition here in Calgary for a group of us!) and celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday with brunch Saturday morning. I am blessed with family in the form of friends, immediate, in-laws and extended on both sides of the border, so today and throughout the rest of this (US) Thanksgiving week I say THANK YOU, LORD!
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. 🙂 Live well & be well,