November 28, 2013

What Thanksgiving is to me

With Thanksgiving approaching, I've given a lot of thought to what I'm grateful for.
And with Christmas music already playing at grocery stores, people excited about Black Friday shopping, and a mix of invitations for our holiday weekend, I've been thinking about what Thanksgiving is to me.

Thanksgiving, to me, is warm homey kitchens filled with wonderful smells.   
Every year when I was growing up, we piled in the car on Thanksgiving with pies in the back window and traveled to my grandparents' house in Moose Lake, MN.  Some years driving was slow, with lots of snow on the roads.  We gathered there with cousins, aunts & uncles & stayed until we were good & tired going home.
Thanksgiving to me, is Family, gathering nice & cozy, comfortably crowded. 
As my siblings & I grew up, our branch of the family grew, & Thanksgiving transitioned to my parents' being the grandparents' house where we gather. 
Between my parents, siblings & our families, there are 20 of us this year.  I'm happy to carry on the tradition of warm, cozy, family gatherings for our kids.

Of course Thanksgiving is about the feast, too.  A real, good, home-cooked feast.
Turkey, ham, stuffing (real stuffing.. none of the boxed stuff), potatoes, corn & so much more.
The feast is not just about the food, but the tradition of eating at a prepared table together.  For the holidays Grandma would set the table with her fancy glasses with the 'K' etched on them, and that table was extended as far as it would go.  It's a time to practice our best manners & respect.
I guess that gets me to what Thanksgiving truly is; giving thanks & respect, around a table, together, for all that we have to be thankful for.   

Here's what I'm thankful for this snowy November day:

Our home, warm & strong, that shelters me not just from the cold & snow, but from the busy & sometimes invasive outside world.  My own peaceful, private space where I can be.
My family. 
I'm grateful that our kids are healthy, happy, & a joy to be around.   
Thankful that our teenagers are fairly easy on us, young men we are proud of.
Grateful for kisses on the cheek from Beau, and that he plays with my hair every night when I read to him.  For his exceptional thoughtfulness & goodness that brightens any otherwise ordinary moment.  For Lilly & her silly notes, the simple innocence of her girlishness, thus far untainted by pop culture.  For Johnathan, his easiness to please & to be around, his willingness to help, the bashful chuckles of humor that he shares like little gifts.
I'm deeply thankful for the security we have due to Mitch's skill & hard work. 
I'm thankful for our shared beliefs & values.  Beyond everything, we believe in our family.  I'm grateful to always know this.

The patch of woods we live on.  I've been reading a lot lately of some hard times & hard places, and I am so grateful for abundant firewood to warm us & wildlife to feed us.

Clean northern Minnesota air & water. 
All the pretty things the good earth offers for us to see & be a part of.  

I'm thankful for interesting books.  They are some of my favorite acquaintances.

For the peace & clarity around me as I get older.  Making decisions to no longer sacrifice myself & my time for things that aren't important to me.. this is coming easier, and it's wonderful. 
I'm thankful for learning.
I'm thankful for crossing paths with & knowing many good people, and the ability to share with & learn from them. 

For all the amazing things I've been able to see, do, & experience.
And for all the amazing things I've yet to see, do & experience; I'm thankful that I have them to look forward to.  

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Day Amanda, to you and your family, 20 that must be a great table to sit around on holidays...I enjoyed reading your 'thankfuls'

  2. Amanda, you are a woman in a million or more. Few people go to the trouble to consider their blessings in depth as you have done. Yes, like me, you have a lot to be grateful for. The simple life where we pit ourselves against nature and learn to live with it not only for our survival but also for our pleasure.
    I am grateful for everyday I have to see my grown up grandchildren enjoy our simple farm and share in their achievements and love of the animals. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  3. Your post filled my heart with gratitude and happiness, Amanda. You are truly blessed with that wonderful family, your home, and at the middle of it all... YOU. I wish you and yours all the best today and every day. Blessings of the season. :-)

  4. A lovely collage of shots. Wishing you all a love-filled day.

  5. i hope you and yours have a wonderful day. blessings to you.

  6. Such a wonderful Thanksgiving tribute! Enjoy every minute of your family get-together.

  7. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. *´¨)
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Happy Thanksgiving! ¤

  9. Sounds like you have some wonderful family Thanksgiving traditions. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  10. Sigh.....what a beautiful list of thankfulness and memories. Thanksgiving would be my favourite celebration next to (or maybe more than) Christmas if I were American.

  11. What a heartfelt post.. We do have so much to be Thankful for that is for sure.. Happy Belated Thanksgiving my friend...


  12. Awesome post, Amanda! Your heart is so full of gratitude and happiness.
    Hope your Thanksgiving Day Celebrations was wonderful.

  13. What a sweet post. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And I agree with what you mentioned about being with family. The food is great of course, but it's the best when everyone can get together and catch up :)

  14. I am just back from India and was thinking that I am grateful for all the little things which we take for granted …like clean water, a roof (!!) over my head, education etc. I feel always humbled when I come back and full of respect for the people who have so little .

  15. So very much to give thanks over! Your memories are so warm and homey to read. Your today is just as lovely as the past. Glad you had a wonderful holiday!

  16. Great pictures - Thanksgiving is such a well known ritual - but not one that has ever been on my family landscape - I may have to visit one day!!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

  17. Your memories from Thanksgivings from yoúr childhood sounds so nice, cozy and safe - surrounded by family, having good time together, the traditions ... And now you're creating these lovely memories for your own children! Your thoughts does warm my heart ... so many Things to be thankful for ... Sharing your contentment with peaceful surroundings ... I hope you had a lovely weekend with your family, Amanda!

  18. Wonderful summary, Amanda. I was especially struck by the words "untainted by pop culture." Admirable indeed..... In the long run though it will be the values and experiences you have encouraged that will shield her from such drivel and smarm.

  19. What a lovely post! Yes, as we get older we appreciate the very simple things in life. There is much to be gained by just tuning in to Mother Nature. Aloha