3 Years of Thanksgivings Under My Belt …

Nov 27

and that belt got a lil’ bigger this Thanksgiving!

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If you have heard me speak publicly, you have probably heard me share a portion of what Thanksgiving 2008 was like for me.  I would consider that time the very worst part of my entire ordeal.  Christmas was tough, but at least I was back South, at home, in GA and AL (not at the rehab center) and the change of venue and lots of activities made it a little less sad for me somehow.  Thanksgiving 2008, on the other hand, was spent in our little house, just a stone’s throw from the neuro-rehab facility.  My in-laws came in town and try as everyone might, it was nearly impossible to normally celebrate a holiday that revolves around the communal dinner table with someone who had been sentenced with not being able to eat.

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Yes, thinking back to this time of year in 2008 is very hard for me to do.  Adding insult to injury, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite time of year and holiday.  Family, food, and reflecting on all of our blessings with grateful hearts, what more can you ask for?  Everyone was certainly thanking the Lord for my life and recovery during that Thanksgiving 3 years ago, but it was one of those times when the reality of my stroke was so painfully evident as it was juxtaposed against what is supposed to be such a happy time that it nearly overshadowed the true gratitude I felt in my heart.

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In 2008, I could not swallow food yet, and it seemed to deeply inform how I viewed everything in my life, and most definitely that holiday.  The feeding tube in my stomach was an outward reminder of the internal pain I was feeling (that was about so much more than just food).  Eating food is actually about much more than just eating food.  Eating is how you conect with others in our world — you always have food or drink of some kind when gathering with others.  It is a part of our experience as humans.  It’s what we do.  It is what this girl does for sure!

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Not eating makes you feel like you are not fully engaged in life.  It actually makes you feel like an observer of your own life.  It is horribly isolating.  It is hard to describe, but I felt like I was watching a movie about this girl who couldn’t take care of her baby, who was confined to a wheelchair, who had just learned to speak again, and who couldn’t eat.  That wasn’t really happening.  To me.  Noooo……Well, it was real.  BUT NOT ANYMORE.  How far I have come in those 3 years, though!  WOOHOO!!!

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Thanksgiving is still by far my favorite holiday.  I previously wrote about my new-found love of this season in general here.  I think Thanksgiving is what a holiday should be about–easy, not a lot of stress, all about loved ones gathering and celebrating gratitude, not consumeristic or materialistic, virtually-expectation free, and all about delicious food.

 I LOVE YOU, THANKSGIVING!!!

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This year, we hosted my family over here.  It was fabulous in every way.

We are so blessed, and I am so thankful–emphasis on the “THANK” and on the “FULL”!

This framed verse was a gift from my parent’s on my 16th birthday.  It adorned the area where we put the majority of the food.  Quite apropos, I must say.

We tried this new appetizer recipe that was delish–you must make them!  Butternut Squash, Ricotta, and Sage Crostini Recipe here.

This was the second time in our married life that Jay and I hosted Thanksgiving at our home.  In collaboration with my parents, we pretty much made all the Thanksgiving regulars and then some (we are still eating leftovers, 3 days later!)  To be able to host my family around my dining room table, in my home, is nothing short of healing.  Thank you, God!

The ladies in my family (can you tell which one is the mama?).  To see the guys as well, click here.

C. P. S. (“Cute Post Script”) — James had his own Thanksgiving meal at school.  They had chicken nuggets, corn, applesauce, etc.  It looked adorable.  Thanks, Marsha (who volunteered there), for these precious shots.

He brought home a laminated piece of construction paper that now resides on our fridge.  Passing down some thankfulness to our little guy warms this mama’s heart.

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