Ashley’s Fourth Annual Thanksgiving-a-palooza

Today I’m thinking about how people say they don’t like holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas because sure, they’re days of gratitude and good cheer but we should be living like that every day.

They’re right, of course. So astute to realize that we pick and choose when we want to be happy, gracious, grateful people.

So, that being said, we have work to do, don’t we? If our gardens have been growing weeds of discontent and bad will towards men, we have some new seeds to sow, some ground to be worked, some hoeing and weeding and planting and watering.

In my Thanksgiving-a-palooza, I’m going to try to do some weeding and planting, to weave gratitude into my day.

Yesterday, when our Thanksgiving preparation really began in earnest, baking pies and making cherry-cranberry sauce and making glorified rice (aka marshmallow fluff, as Stella & Brian’s boys call it), and washing lots of dishes. By the time I got home form my haircut, my mom had done most of that. So I used my dish washing skills acquired from four semesters without a dishwasher to help.


I helped with the pies a little bit and made the butternut squash soup for last night’s dinner. But basically, my mom, the powerhouse of a chef, made everything. I can take very little credit.


I’m thankful for my mom, who taught me how to cook and encouraged me to try new foods, when my diet used to consist of even less than it does now.

And now, for the actual day:

8:00am isn’t really sleeping in, but of course, my parents were up and dressed and planning their workout by the time I got to the kitchen at 8:10. My college culture would be impressed that I got up at 8 on a holiday, totally voluntarily. I set an alarm. But my parents are middle-aged, so it’s actually kind of like sleeping in.

Someday, this will be my life.

9:36am found me as the only one not at the gym, drinking coffee and typing my first draft of this post, which Google Chrome promptly deleted when it crashed.

Whatever. This one will be better.

I brushed my teeth then roused myself from my position drinking coffee at the kitchen table to brush my teeth (pictured below to prove that I did it), then to kickbox so I don’t feel like the lazy bum of the family.


And now that I have dressed myself, I’ve been drinking water to stave off hunger and getting ready to go to the Sick’s house.

Photo on 11-27-14 at 11.32 AM #2

I’m thankful for this tradition and looking forward to catching up with their family.


Update: It’s cold here, in case you didn’t know. It was -3° when I woke up. It’s deceptive because it’s so bright and happy looking out there.




It’s all over.

We’ve eaten, we’ve drunk, we’ve eaten dessert, we’ve sat and talked and looked at photo albums and talked some more and divided up all the leftovers. Then we talked some more, and Dad fell asleep, so we took that as a sign that we needed to go home.


There’s a candid for you. This was post-eating, nearly.

2Sometimes pie isn’t enough, so you and your brother decide that you’re going to put jelly beans on the floor and do push-ups to get them into your mouths. Exertion and reward.

Also, when young boys bring nerf guns out, old men become young boys again. Remember, this man has two daughters, precious little of this kind of thing in his life.


IMG_2509Yes, it was a lovely day.

Then we got our tree down from the attic and tried to put the box back in, which resulted in my dad almost getting his head stuck with the box. But it’s all good, because he still has his head, and we got our tree up.

I’m thankful for good conversation today, for people who are striving to live meaningful lives and are likewise impacting mine by their example, for sweet little boys who aren’t really so little any more but play minecraft and laugh contagiously when they are trying not to get shot with a nerf gun. I’m thankful for good food and leftovers and a full fridge.

This will sound callous compared to being thankful for people, but I’m really thankful for cheese. Thanksgiving is one meal of the year that doesn’t really include cheese, and though I get full and happy, I always end up needing cheese later. I’m thankful that I’m not vegan.

Gratitude is always most truly due to the God who saves, which is an active verb in the present tense. I’m thankful for the Gospel, for true relationship with Jesus, and for God’s presence throughout the whole of my journey.

I’m also thankful for my readers, for the people who take time to think with me and laugh with me. I’m thankful that people find at least a portion of what I write interesting and relevant. I’m thankful for the gift of words!

With that, I begin another year of cultivating gratitude. May our gardens be sown with contentment, joy, and cups that flow over no matter how much we have.



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