Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thankgiving



OK. I was so tired after the festivities yesterday that I couldn't have put together a coherent sentence, let alone a paragraph, so no Thankgiving post. The irony does not escape me.

My family gathers at my Aunt's house every year and we have a crowd. I have a lot of family in the area - number-wise, if not actual branches of the family tree. How many people? I don't know and didn't count, but I'd guess 30-40 of various ages (6 months - 81 y.o.) and sizes. We have 2 turkeys, all the sides, and dozens of pies. (One year, we had 1 pie per person.) Sorry, I didn't take pictures. This year, one cousin and his wife were able to join us for the day. It has been a few years since he has been able to come to Thanksgiving, so it was nice that he was there.

When my parents first moved to Arizona, I was still in college. I had grown up on the other side of the country from any relatives and hadn't really seen any of these people since I was 10 years old. It was a rough holiday and I swore I'd never do another Thankgiving with them. It was horrible. Some of my cousins were still teenage boys and acted like it. One cousin was newly married and it was pretty obvious there was some tension with the in-law. There were arguments and outright fights and I thought I had entered a madhouse. (My mother raised a low drama family, so anything like what went on would have never been allowed to happen in our family - ever.)

It's been many years now and there are far fewer moments of high drama at family events. I see this set of people almost monthly. I usually look forward to the parties just so I can catch up and see what's happening in their lives. It took a few years to get used to my family after years far, far away from them.

I AM GRATEFUL I HAVE FAMILY CLOSE ENOUGH TO CELEBRATE HOLIDAYS WITH THEM!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blessings from a Feast



Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so like most people in the US, I've been preparing for the feast. Last spring, my Father was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease, which is an intolerance to wheat and gluten. So, Dad can't have any wheat products, which knocks out some of the favorite holiday sides and condiments - gravy, stuffing, pie, etc. This adds a new dimension to our dinner, because with a group of 30-40 and only 1 gluten-free dieter, it's hard to have the world cater to Dad's dietary requirements.

Today, I made gravy, stuffing, gluten-free Green Bean Casserole (cream of mushroom soup and those canned french fried onions are full of gluten), and a gluten-free, sugar-free apple pie. Wow! It sounds harder than it was; it was just time consuming.

I'M GRATEFUL THAT MY MOTHER DIDN'T MIND HAVING ME HANG OUT IN THE KITCHEN WHILE SHE COOKED AND THAT SHE TAUGHT ME HOW TO COOK!

(However, this did not negate my humiliating defeat when I was a teenager and I came in second to my brother in a cookie baking contest.)

I didn't invent any of the recipes, although I admit to not following a recipe for apple pie. They all came from on-line sources who have a lot more experience cooking for gluten-free diets than I have.

I AM ESPECIALLY GRATEFUL FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE DEVELOPED RECIPES FOR GLUTEN-FREE DISHES THAT TASTE GREAT, SO I DON'T HAVE TO LEARN ALL THIS ON MY OWN!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Love E

unhappy smileys
Today's great thing is easy for me. I just spent 20 minutes on the local library website. I downloaded 2 E-books. The check-out period is 21 days; when time expires, the books disappear from your computer. (OK, I haven't checked the memory on my computer, so I don't know if it lasts there - probably does.) There is no fine for not returning the book, and I don't have to drive to the branch library only to find out that the book is at a different branch. The library has a good selection and I can place books on hold so I can be notified when a book becomes available. If you prefer audio books, the Phoenix library has those available also. All of this for the price of a library card - FREE!

This whole arrangement is pretty slick.

I AM GRATEFUL FOR DOWNLOADABLE LIBRARY BOOKS!

As a side note - I also find the letter "E" quite versatile and indispensable.

Counting Blessings

Free Smiley Face Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.orgFree Smiley Face Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.orgFree Smiley Face Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.orgFree Smiley Face Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.orgFree Smiley Face Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.orgFree Smiley Face Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.orgFree Smiley Face Courtesy of www.FreeSmileys.org
OK, so I met a really nice person a couple of months ago at a Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce meeting. We'd attended a couple of the same events. She told me that she thought I was just a generally happy person and asked if she was right. I had to reflect a minute and then agreed that I am pretty happy most of the time. I don't think my life is perfect. Far from it. However, I have been blessed with the ability to let things go, which makes me fairly unbothered by life's ups and downs.

I'll admit to being one of those cock-eyed optimists occasionally derided as being totally oblivious to real life and the world. I'm not oblivious, but if being upset won't change things, why be upset? You waste a lot of energy and accomplish nothing. I have yet to find that things won't be just fine, even if I totally don't anticipate or even want whatever outcome I get. Seriously, it all works out in the end.

At church on Sunday, Bishop Jones, not for the first time, took a couple of minutes and talked about how we should be grateful and the importance of gratitude (it's the week before Thanksgiving, so thematically on target, but sincerely heartfelt), so I thought I should start a blog just devoted to enumerating my blessings, because I want to be more aware of all the good stuff, and be more grateful for the blessings I receive everyday. I'm pretty sure that along the way, I'll have to figure out new ways I've been blessed, so that there is some variety in my posts. I won't even pretend to promise to post everyday. That's a bit too ambitious for me, but hopefully I'll post often enough.

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

I AM GRATEFUL THAT BLOGSPOT MAKES STARTING A NEW BLOG SO EASY!