Thanksgiving: More Than a Meal
Funny how life sometimes throws you curveballs. I had mapped out a whole slew of Thanksgiving posts to write this week: "Turkey Talk: To Brine or Not to Brine," "Healthy Side Dishes," and "How to Host a Beautiful (and Stress-Free) Thanksgiving." Food was made, photos taken...all that remained was to write the text and the recipes. Then this week hit. Brandon's been sick, then I got sick. I had a TV shoot to prep and style and an article to write for an online magazine. Somehow now it's Friday, I'm exhausted, my house is a wreck, and I only blogged once this week (and I still haven't written that article). So much for my Martha Stewart intentions!
But this morning was a blessed reminder of what's important. I met a friend for breakfast who was unexpectedly passing through NYC for a day. Over lattes and cranberry walnut toast (me) and baked eggs (her) we caught up on life and shared our hearts. We talked about our love of cooking and what a creative outlet it is for us. I heard about her amazing work with a non-profit that works with orphans and sex-trafficking victims. We talked about dinner parties and our upcoming Thanksgivings and what a joy it is spending time with friends and family around the table. She's a new mom and she told me how amazing it is seeing the world anew through her daughter's wide eyes. Though her little girl is only one, she already loves being in the kitchen and trying new types of food. As she talked about motherhood, she made it sound like such a beautiful journey that is equal parts humbling, exhilarating, exhausting, and life-giving. I don't have any kids yet (and probably won't for while), but hearing her talk actually made me excited to have a family of my own one day. Marriage definitely teaches you about loving someone more than yourself, but motherhood sounds like it takes it to a whole other level. And here I thought I had life sort of figured out...
I left our conversation inspired–not to go write a blog post on how to host a picture-perfect Thanksgiving, but rather to reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving. To think about what it means to live a life of thanksgiving, not just celebrate one day with a big turkey and a ton of food. In our crazy busy lives, it is so easy to lose sight of what's important; to base our significance on the mundane–job promotions or paychecks or Twitter followers–and to forget just how blessed we are, as we focus on what we don't have.
It doesn't matter how beautiful a Thanksgiving day table looks–it's who's around it that counts. The picture above is from last year's Thanksgiving which we hosted here, around the yellow table. Brandon and I had just been married a couple of months, and my mom and I had driven the table in a U-Haul truck all the way from Nashville to NYC just in time for Thanksgiving. Having the yellow table in NYC was a dream come true for me, and having all our friends around the table for Thanksgiving was the perfect christening. The table and food may be magazine-worthy, but it doesn't even compare to the sounds of laughter and clinked glasses and stories told, and the sight of so many people I love enjoying the meal and each others' company. This year we are having friends around the yellow table again, and I cannot wait. I am still planning to write those posts on what to make and how to host (hopefully by Monday!), but right now I am just brimming over with thankfulness and had to share.
My biggest blessing this year is my husband Brandon. Our first year of marriage has has been such an adventure–full of incredible joys, as well as some pretty heavy heartaches. No matter how much two people love each other, learning to live with each others' quirks and selfishness and insecurities is going to be a challenge. But God has given me an amazing life partner who loves me deeply and knows me so well–who rejoices with me in my triumphs, lifts me up in my times of discouragement, and is my biggest cheerleader always. B is full of good advice, he's a great taste-tester, an amazing photographer and designer (The Yellow Table would certainly not exist without him!), ridiculously smart (and good-looking!), and always knows how to make me laugh. And in spite of dealing with a chronic illness, he refuses to give up the fight and continues to make plans to change the world. I know he will–he's certainly changed mine.
Other things I am amazingly thankful for (in no particular order): two loving families–one in Nashville and one in Kalamazoo, the best friends a girl could ever ask for (you know who you are and I love you!!), two very feisty kittens who have destroyed all our furniture but still manage to be adorable, the chance to live in the greatest city ever: (besides Paris!) NYC, getting to do what I love (cooking and writing) every day and having a blog that allows me to do both, steady freelance work, a cozy apartment with enough space for the yellow table, a fantastic church, dinner parties, opportunities to travel, daily doses of good coffee, wine, and chocolate, runs over the Brooklyn Bridge, yoga classes, avocado toasts at Cafe Gitane, margarita pizza from L'Asso, bubbly (as often as possible), live music, pumpkin season, walks through Central Park when the leaves are changing, the very real power of prayer, inspiring conversations, daily unexpected moments of beauty, belly laughs, and most of all, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I've probably left out a lot of things but suffice it to say, I am so thankful. For the gift of life and the many gifts that life brings. I am looking forward to celebrating all of this not only next Thursday, but every day. We have no idea how many days we have left, so give thanks today.