Our first married Thanksgiving

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20151127_164936It seems fitting that once you get married you begin having multiples of holidays, it seems only sustainable until you have children and then you do it once and the extended family has to deal a little bit more with your decisions. Of course every couple chooses how to do this differently. For us, for our first married thanksgiving, we did it twice.
Thanksgiving is a big deal to my husband who’s birthday falls near and sometimes on thanksgiving, it’s a holiday he gets to go shooting on in the morning and watch football all afternoon. Overall a win in his book.

So for actual thanksgiving day the Mr woke up early to join his father and brother in law with the beginning food prep before heading out for their early morning hunting while the women of the family slept in and enjoyed not doing those things.

My mother in law is a woman who loves tradition and my husband has followed in her footsteps. So we had their traditional meal with the asparagus casserole just so, the right kind of fruit salad, and milk served with the meal. But it’s also proof that families grow and change that we now have a sweet potato dish to satisfy the son in law and I bring corn pudding to satisfy my family tradition bit.

It was a relaxing and enjoyable holiday for the Mr and I as we were responsible for very little, spent time relaxed with family eating delicious food and soaking up family traditions.

Second thanksgiving we actually hosted at our own home! The first holiday meal we’ve hosted and organized together. Nine of my out of town family members came in on that Friday as I roasted my first ever turkey! We made mashed potatoes, rolls, gravy, stuffing, and candied carrots. My uncle contributed a delicious cranberry relish and my sister and brother in law to be brought wine. For dessert I made a pumpkin roll and apple pie and the Mr contributed cranberry ice cream!

Planning a meal with so many parts, organizing the timing, checking all the dishes finish at approximately the same time, and hoping all the family will arrive on time can be a stressful and tiring time. It was good for me to remember that I was serving people who loved me and would be light on judgement. Once you have the responsibility of organizing the whole meal and day I think it gives you more grace for others in that position, it takes a lot out of a person and it’s good to be kind, both to ourselves and those we love.

We are often hard on our families and family holidays often get a bad reputation as we have to put up with the awkward and hard to love parts of our families on those holidays.  All families have their own struggles and I believe I have been extraordinarily blessed with a family I love putting up with and an easy to love family in law. But especially at times when large amounts of people in our world are separated from family, refugees are stuck in limbo, families have lost children and fathers to war, and we have knowledge of so many families in pain it seems especially fitting to sit down with our own families at the holidays. To enjoy the unique blessing and frustration we have with each member of our family and while we might not be thankful for each part to the full, I encourage us to use the day of thankfulness to try to be truly thankful. For the family we do have, for the family that we have to work to love, and for the families that take us in when our own family falls apart.

Laurie Colwin

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One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is taking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while eating with friends.

-Laurie Colwin

Wedding day brunch

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One of the wild hairs I got for my wedding day was the idea of a women’s brunch the morning of.

¬†When I first said I would do this many of the wiser women I knew thought it wasn’t a great idea, it can be stressful to add even more to your list of things to do on a day known for stressing people out, especially brides.

Thankfully my sisters, my maid and matron of honor, saw the good in it and were awesome enough to organize it for me. We had it in my churches main hall, with potluck breakfast dishes, and an easy dozen women.

My ideas behind it were that I would be starting the next part of my life married to a man at the end of the day and I wanted to celebrate the female relationships that had gotten me this far in life. These women have prayed for me in tough times and in joyous times, they have let me cry on their couches when appropriate, and encouraged me to get a grip when necessary. They have fed me, gotten me out of my house, drank with me, encouraged and challenged me, and been there for me. And on the day of my wedding when I woke up nervous and feeling funny they were kind enough to come, bringing potluck dishes with them and sat with me for an hour, chatting, looking forward to the future, and distracting me from my nerves while I enjoyed their great company.

It wasn’t a stressful time to me at all but that’s because wonderful women took care of it. Which reminds me of how dependent we are on each other and that sometimes you have to give up control and allow others to do the hosting and organizing. We have to ask others to help us and feed us.

I owe a huge thank you to the women who organized, planned, brought food, cleaned up, and helped that morning! Without those amazing women my whole life would be different but especially that morning before my wedding.

Refocusing and a wedding

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FB_IMG_1438799299390I’ve gotten sloppy. In many areas of my life really, it is far too easy to fall off the organized wagon and into the sloppy realm. It didn’t help that I moved four times, planned a wedding, got married, and have been moving into my real home, settling in, and trying to learn how to be married all in the last two years. Currently it all seems like a never ending task, emptying the boxes and setting up rooms in a house I’ve now lived in for nine months, as well as learning how to be married.

So for the learning to be married thing we continue therapy and practice at it daily.

But for the rest of my life I’m trying to get myself back together, not just back together but, hopefully, better. I do better being organized when I have a schedule and as I had goals to reach, something to keep me coming back, and a topic I truly loved in this blog I’m using it to help me return to myself some. If I’m encouraging others to feed people and build community I know it will encourage and spur me on to do the same, if I’m sharing stories of meals shared and recipes tried it helps me remember to try again. And in that trying and that repeated practice of sitting down together to eat- we do something valuable for ourselves as well as those we love. We show we care. About spending time with those people, about nourishing them through time, attention, and food.

Though life has been disorganized and a bit crazy, food, community, and how we love and entertain each other is still an issue close to my heart and something the Mr and I have kept as a practice in our newly married lives.

We started with the wedding! Where we included a meal very important to me as the two of us, as well as the whole congregation, participated in communion. The breaking of the bread where Jesus gave us the important calling to eat together and remember him. Then all one hundred and twenty of us sat down to eat delicious bbq and drink local beer, cheap wine, and some PBR just for good measure.

Weddings are a weird time where you can’t always appreciate what is happening at the time it is happening, especially as the bride or groom. Having a meal that centered our marriage on eating together and remembering Jesus and then a meal we enjoyed with all the people who love and support us was an unforgettable time that has left a lasting impression that actually seems to grow instead of diminish the further we get from it.

If you’ve read this blog before- Welcome back! If you are new- Welcome!

I hope you all enjoy the thoughts on food we share here that encourage us to move deeper into each other’s lives, build stronger communities, and taste the cultures and homes of others.