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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. The name conjures up lots of memories of time spent together with family, eating turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and lots more. (Brussel sprouts were typically on our Thanksgiving menu, for some reason.) Thanksgiving was always an enjoyable day at our house with good company, with the attitude of gratitude in the air, giving thanks for all the wonderful blessings we have in our
 life, and being thankful for being Americans.
Yea.
I'm not living in the US right now.
My husband isn't an American.
He's never really participated in any sort of "Thanksgiving events" and the concept of a Thanksgiving dinner is just foreign to him.
They don't sell whole turkeys locally. (The turkeys here are so huge that they'd never fit into ovens here in one piece.) Cranberries are a fortune, as is cranberry sauce.
Looks like a Thanksgiving dinner isn't happening. (Though I am going to a wedding tonight for an American couple. Maybe they'll be serving turkey and other thanksgiving style dishes there?)
Kind of makes me sad a little, and a bit nostalgic for the US and my childhood.
Everyone's posting on the blogosphere all their Thanksgiving recipes, Thanksgiving money saving tips, Thanksgiving healthy eating tips, and I feel a little left out that I can't join in the festivities.
And so, this post will be my contribution to Thanksgiving 2011 on the blogosphere. What exactly am I thankful for?
Fortunately, I do have lots to be thankful for, and I try not to be thankful of them only on Thanksgiving, but try to focus on them all the time, so that I realize what a blessing my life truly is and don't feel deprived.

I'm Thankful For...
I'm thankful for my health and the health of my husband and children. No, we haven't been blessed with 100% perfect health, but none of us has any sort of debilitating diseases, none of us has chronic illnesses, none of us have life threatening allergies, etc... We are able to live our lives without needing to see doctors on a regular basis, my children are all growing and thriving nicely, without any developmental delays, either mental or physical.
I'm thankful that, though I've had a harder pregnancy than many women, and harder than my previous pregnancies (in many ways), I haven't needed an IV once this pregnancy to hydrate me. I'm especially thankful for my health this pregnancy when I see my sister with hyperemesis gravidarum pernicious, pregnancy nausea so bad that she was hospitalized for 3 weeks straight, and even now in her second trimester, has debilitating nausea and is basically on bed rest because her nausea makes it hard for her to stay hydrated enough and she already started getting contractions from the dehydration at only 16 weeks! Yes, I have been nauseous throughout these 9 months, but no, I am actually able to function pretty well even so, and haven't been stuck in bed. I'm thankful for my health this pregnancy, because, in comparison, I have it pretty easy. (My sister told me that if I would write this about her, I have to say that she is also appreciative for her health, because when she was hospitalized, she saw so many women in an even worse situation and felt very healthy in comparison.)

I'm thankful for my husband and children. So many people who want to get married never end up meeting their soulmate. Many that do marry often end up divorced because their marriage doesn't work out. Many that stay married would like to have children but have such a hard time conceiving and go through years of heartbreak trying to have children of their own. I'm really thankful that I found my husband, Mike, at such a young age (we were married when I was only 18.5), that we have a happy marriage, and that we haven't had trouble having children, and that I've avoided so much of the heart ache and loneliness that so many people have to go through. I'm thankful to Mike for being the kind of understanding husband that he is, willing to put up with my shenanigans and for being there for me, and I'm thankful for my children, Lee and Ike, for being so spunky, fun, loving, and charming and for all the "boys" in my life for enriching it.

I'm thankful for my community. As someone who grew up as a bit of an outcast, I'm so grateful to have found not just one, but many communities that are so amazing, which I am a part of. I don't even mean just my local community, but so many different types.
I love my local friends, the accepting nature of the community in which I live, who is supportive of people who are trying to make the best lives they can with the limited means that they have instead of trying to make those with less feel like second class citizens, my community that looks past our differences and is just warm and loving and friendly to everyone, no matter how they chose to live their lives or their personality types.
I'm thankful for the various online communities of which I am a part, who lend an ear, lend a hand, and just in general, care. This includes various message boards I'm on, some of which, while worldwide, have a bunch of local people who are all like family to me; they've helped me out in so many ways, with hand me downs, support during childbirth, emotional support when things arise, idea sharing, and just plain ol' being there for each other.
I'm really thankful for the community that has developed around my blog, all the wonderful readers who either comment, email me, or interact with me on my Facebook page. You provide me with so much wonderful support, make me feel like I'm actually making a difference out there, and in general, make me feel like I'm not alone in my quest to feed my family as healthily as possible, live as great a life as possible, while still trying to live below our limited means and put aside money into savings every month.

I'm thankful for the internet. I know this sounds silly, but the amount of information available out there, the amount of things I'm learning every day, just from reading various blogs and sites, truly astounds me. So many people are in awe about "all my creative ideas" that I share on my blog, but I'll be honest, less than 5%  of what I post on my blog is truly original ideas of mine; everything else usually is stuff that I've heard about or read about somewhere on the internet and then played around with. So much information is on the internet, to teach you just about everything under the sun, to help you find out whatever it is that you want to know. The internet enriches my life in so many ways; I'm so glad I live in an age where the internet is as amazing as it is.

I'm thankful for wild edibles. I'm incredibly blessed that I live in a place with so many wild edibles growing throughout the year that I can use to supplement my family's diet. They're so nutritious and yummy and versatile, and I'm really thankful for the knowledge I've acquired of how to find and prepare all these foraged foods. Just within the past few days, I've either picked or seen but didn't pick:
Mint, mallow, nettles, sow thistle, purslane, dandelion greens, chicory, wild mustard, wild fennel, and cleavers. All these are so chock full of nutrition and (most of them) taste so great! I especially am thankful for winter forage and the plants that have medicinal value with which I can improve my life naturally.

There are so many other things I'm thankful for, but I think I'll end the list now or it'll continue on forever and ever.

What are you thankful for? What are you doing for Thanksgiving? What types of Thanksgiving memories do you have from growing up?


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