Thanksgiving. It's a word that conjures up all kinds of images from my childhood -- pilgrims, Indians, corn, the Mayflower -- you name it. I have always loved it.
Of course, I always looked forward to the amazing food we shared with either set of grandparents and extended family. We always had home grown vegetables and prepared from scratch meals that truly captured the spirit of Thanksgiving -- especially cornbread dressing made from the corn grown and passed down through my maternal grandfather's family. And nothing says Thanksgiving more than a pie made from home-grown candy roasters -- also a Native American-cultivated squash passed down through my mother's family.
Throughout my college years, the Thanksgiving experience was intensified by a whirl of activity as I hurried to finish 20+ Elizabethan costumes I had to design then make with help from my mom and grandmother.
I have such wonderful memories in the sewing room with them both -- laughing and creating along with the steady whir of three sewing machines.
The costumes had to be finished and fitted for annual Madrigal Dinners and performances at Biltmore House the following weekend. Thanksgiving and costume making went hand-in-hand and I remember it all so fondly.
After college, I moved away to Georgia where Thanksgiving was spent with roommates and sometimes extended family. I remember calling my grandmother and having her dictate to me exactly how to cook a turkey and make cornbread dressing and gravy. I also remember it was not very much like hers either:-)
After I joined the Air Force, Thanksgiving was everywhere but home.
Many Thanksgivings were
spent entertaining troops and their families, visiting wounded troops, or gathered around a table with co-workers in a dining facility. And yes, it was seriously exciting, and something Luis and I both miss.
Since leaving the military and settling back in North Carolina, Thanksgiving has become centered on church and family. Even though we are not at some exotic overseas location, there are still so many wonderful opportunities to serve others.
Our church hosts a community Thanksgiving dinner where we cook and serve a meal and give away food boxes complete with turkeys, along with coats, hats, gloves and blankets. We have also cooked and served at a local soup kitchen that hosts emergency shelter residents looking for a warm meal and a bed.
So as much as I love to set a pretty table...
...and cook the turkey and dressing using the notes my grandmother gave me way back in 1989--
-- my focus is on my family, my beautiful children, giving to others, and being thankful for everything I have.
So, no matter where I spend Thanksgiving...
...it is a sacred time to reflect on blessings great and small, family and faith. And one that has become something I look forward to all year. The important thing is to make it count -- pay it forward:-)
I'll be joining:
Wow Us Wednesdays
Wow Us Wednesdays