Well, here we are again: Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
My favorite holiday of the year is the traditional time for giving thanks for all the wonderful and wondrous things in our lives. I've used my blog as a forum for this since I started writing in 2012, and so it seems only right to continue that tradition this year.
And so here we have it -- five of the many things I am thankful for this year:
1. Good health. I feel very fortunate that my health is generally good. I also feel extremely fortunate that despite the many health issues my parents face, they are still fairly active and engaged, and that they have been very blessed in the outcomes of those health issues so far. I have seen enough friends and family struggle with health woes to know that this is something worth being thankful for every single day. (What I am not thankful for? The confusion of health care and insurance in America. NHS, how I miss you.)
2. Finding like-minded people in the most unlikeliest of places. While I don't talk very much about religion and politics on this blog (yet), here's what you need to know about me: I am very liberal and I have complicated feelings about religion. And here's what else you need to know about me: I live in the Bible Belt. Don't get me wrong, the area where I live is chock full of wonderful and compassionate people. But it's also accurate to say that I am often not on the same page on various subjects with many of the people in this area.
However, I am thankful that those differences have generally not stopped me forming real friendships and relationships with them (with a few exceptions). And I am also thankful that I have found a group of people who share many of my views and ideas and questions, and that they are happy to listen and share thoughts, discussion, and occasional rants on these subjects.
3. That I now have my own little place that really feels like home. Since I've moved back to the States from Britain, I have lived at home with my parents (twice), in a small apartment my aunt and uncle owned, and in a shared house. All of these living situations had their pluses and minuses, but the one big minus is that I never really felt fully settled into any of them. Despite hardly being home in my little carriage house flat since moving here in September, I still feel like it is finally MY SPACE and that is a great feeling. And, even better, now that I am on my own, I can get a dog of my own. Big plans.
4. A few good recipes. I am not much of a chef or a baker. I like the idea of cooking a lot, but it is hard to motivate myself to cook just for one, and I get intimidated at the thought of cooking for a group so dinner parties are few and far between at my house. All too often, I forage in the fridge and cupboards, coming up with a fairly random meal of whatever kind of goes together and appeals in the moment.
Despite this, I do have a few recipes for meals and treats that always serve me well and that I consistently enjoy, even if I have them several days in a row: Cream Cheese Cookies (only the best cookies in the world. No joke.); Popeye Bake (spinach, quinoa and feta -- oh my!); Roasted Vegetables (any and all); Carrot and Spinach Spaghetti; Carrot and Ginger Soup (and many other soups made up on the spur of the moment); Beer Batter Pancakes; Cheesy Scrambled Eggs; Tofu, Spinach and Garlic Pasta (the best way to avoid vampires); and Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies. And if anyone wants to share some easy but tasty recipes with me (vegetarian please!), I'd be more than happy to add them to the arsenal.
5. Another amazing year of change. The origins of this blog were about the transition and changes faced as I moved from my adopted homeland back to my native one. That level of change hasn't really stopped since I got home. And while this has been stressful and exhausting on many levels, it has also been exciting and given me a host of opportunities I never could have imagined. There are definitely days when all I really want is contentment and calm, but I wouldn't trade all of the people I've met and all of the new things I've tried for the world.
While it is wonderful to have Thanksgiving each year to remind us that there is much in our lives to be thankful for, it is also worth remembering that every day is a new day and every day will bring new things to be thankful for -- from a good hot chocolate and a sunny morning to catching up with an old friend you haven't seen in years and spending precious time with family.
Being thankful: It's not just for Thanksgiving.
Photo 1: And, of course, I'm very thankful for the feast of food waiting for me tomorrow. (www.ourbestbites.com)