As I type this post, the sun is turning the eastern sky into ombre shades of gold, the snow is sparkling in the -14* C chill, and my coffee is steaming little curls of mist. Small person in my womb is having a party, by all appearance and feeling, and I stop right now, and treasure this moment. I am eagerly awaiting the birth of our precious baby, but I love feeling the energy and movement of my son or daughter. This space of time will never be relived, and I find myself humbled, grateful, that I am alive and healthy right now.
We celebrated Thanksgiving last evening with friends of ours, who are also a Canadian/American couple. There was turkey and mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce (no more canned Ocean Spray for me!), dinner rolls, raspberry jello salad, peas and carrots, with rhubarb pie and ice cream for dessert. Around the table, we all voiced two things that we were grateful for, and mine were 1), my husband, and 2), that I get to celebrate two Thanksgivings.
Since moving to Canada almost three years ago, my husband and I are learning how to appreciate each other's cultures and traditions, as well as begin our own traditions for our little family. It is an enriching experience to not just mingle with other cultures, but to learn to appreciate them for what they are. Some things are more difficult to appreciate than others, but I'm a work in progress, and I haven't reached perfection--that won't happen on this side of Heaven. A few of the traditions we've begun are decorating the Christmas tree in our cozy pajamas and having a hot chocolate party afterward, making pizza on Saturday nights, skating on the river in Winnipeg on Valentine's Day with some of our dear friends (which won't be happening next year--because baby!), and celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in October, as well as US Thanksgiving in November.
I know some Canadians think it's dumb that we as a family celebrate both Thanksgivings, and it's weird that the US celebrates their Thanksgiving the month after Canada does, but it is so easy to judge when we've never walked in the other person's shoes, isn't it? It is a privilege for me to be able to celebrate both. It means that my husband and I get to be together (not every cross-cultural/across borders marriages have that privilege!), and isn't there always something to be thankful for? A personal project I have taken upon myself, is to be more intentional about being thankful in the days between the first Thanksgiving and the second one. I challenge myself to journal what I'm grateful for, every day, and to look for the positive instead of the negative. Do you know how difficult that is sometimes?
How does one choose gratefulness in the hard and the pain? I have no answers for that question, because it is one that I have wrestled with many times. However, I am finding, that as a child of God, I always have something to be thankful for, even if my situation in life is less than what I would call ideal. Why? Because I can always rejoice in the goodness of God, because my present circumstances do not define who God is, or change who I am in Him. For that, I am grateful.
Gratefulness is a choice, not a feeling. So today, choose gratefulness!
Enjoy this homemade cranberry sauce recipe:
*1 bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
*1 cup water
*1 cup sugar
*2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
* a pinch of salt
Put water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add orange juice concentrate and cranberries to sugar water, and return to a boil. Boil lightly for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in the pinch of salt, and cool. Allow your tastebuds to party as you savor this sweet, fresh cranberry sauce with hints of citrus on your turkey.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!