Thanksgiving 2012

I love Thanksgiving. Always have, and always will so long as I have a face to stuff full of food. This year, however, I was faced with the incredibly daunting task of actually cooking. Like, all of it. By myself. Yikes. But after 2 weeks of planning and 2 days of cooking, I can officially say with a sigh of relief that everything turned out okay. I was extremely confident that  one or more of the dishes I was planning to make would be a disaster. It happens to me all too often, especially with things I’ve never made before. Turkey scared me to death. Gravy gave me nightmares. Ok, maybe not that far, but you get the idea. Here is the menu I came up with last week.

Everyone else dips Oreos in white chocolate for their husbands for dessert right? Oh, just me? Well I will not apologize . They were a gift to Josh for standing in line at the store for an hour for me when I needed an emergency pie crust Wednesday night. He’s a saint, really.

About the pie crust though…What the HECK are people talking about who say it’s easy? By the time the oven was pre-heted and I was supposed to be pouring my filling, my dough-covered fists were shaking in the air and curse words were leaving my lips in a loud voice. I never want to make pie crust again…Until I forget about how terrible it was. Which shouldn’t take long.

Anywhoo, here’s everything. It was delicious and so fun to put it all together on my own and watch my husband and his dad chow down. It is a joy to serve them and a blessing to even have a kitchen to cook in. Amen.

I would like to extend a special thanks to Paula Deen for her KILLER turkey recipe, that didn’t even involve brining or frying or basting or anything else that terrifies me. I used Pioneer Woman’s mashed potatoes that have a whole package of cream cheese to make them oh-so-yummy. The cranberry sauce was the easiest thing in the world, thanks to Rachael Rae, and the green beans and “no fail gravy” were from her website as well. Gotta love all my besties at food network 🙂

So this year I am leaving this holiday with a deeper appreciation for all the people who have ever cooked a meal like this for me. I’m thankful that my Father-in-law got to share the day with us. I’m thankful that I’m healthy and get to be in school and that I’m loved by an amazing husband and my wonderful Heavenly Father. I could truly go on for days…

What a wonderful day.

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2 sides to every story

As the title of this post suggests, there are 2 sides to every story. The election yesterday is proof of that.

I have been SO blessed since moving from my home state of Georgia to have gotten to experience life in 2 cities that are widely considered the most forward-thinking, innovative places in the country. With these experiences came countless interactions from people who view life from a completely different lens than we Bible-belters. I’ve worked long shifts at various jobs, talking for hours with people who I may have once considered to be “wrong” in their thinking. As if they were somehow less educated than me, when I was the ignorant one.As I’ve listened, pondered, prayed for these friends I have made, God has began to allow me to love them from a perspective of understanding.

This change in myself has made it incredibly difficult for me to hold strong opinions on any of the social/economic issues that have arisen in the past few years. Every time I hear someone tell me that gay marriage will corrupt America, I can sorta see how they might think that…but then I see the faces of people I’ve met in my life who deserve happiness. They are better people than me, yet they don’t share the rights that I share. For every person who claims that the health care bill is a terrible decision, I think, “yeah maybe…” but then I think of friends here in Austin who are denied health care because of a condition they were born with. People whose lives depend on having health care. I CARE about these people, and the best thing for them would be Obamacare…truly.

I struggle so much with all the gray area there is in this life. At this time in history when we are in such a huge mess. I can’t blame it on the president, or congress, or anything else for that matter. It’s all more complicated than that, right? We are corrupt. Our government is corrupt…But here are the most confusing questions I have been trying to answer in my head.

1. Why do we think that America is entitled to be “on top” all the time, and a christian nation that saves the world?

2. Is it our job as Christians to legislate that the commandments WE live by are the ones everyone else must follow?

3. Is it really important to God that Israel…As it is now, in this day and age. be taken care of and protected and favored among other nations?

4. Is there ever going to be a candidate for president again that is actually decent and honest and easy to love?

Am I the only one who can’t see anything as good/bad, right/wrong, black/white anymore? The only thing about this election that I know to be evil is how everyone responds to people who disagree with them. It sickens me. I literally get sick.

I’ve seen a lot of Christians use Bible verses to try to explain why the godly thing to do is vote for Mitt Romney. They site verses that talk about shedding of innocent blood (abortion) and managing the money that God blesses you with (debt reduction) and so on…But wouldn’t there be JUST as many verses to prove the same thing about Obama? How about taking care of the earth (global warming) and maintaining peace with others (relationships with other nations) I mean come on people! The Bible is not a weapon!

SIGHHHH. Anyway, enough rambling about my lack of ability to see anything except the color gray. I’m hope and pray and pray some more that God would give me more clarity.

On a much less political note, we had the best time visiting friends over the weekend in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I would totally live there if it weren’t for Josh’s phobia of small towns. I LOVE that little town. It was incredibly great to spend time with our best friends from Portland Josh and Becky and their 2 sweet boys. Their oldest Noah sure didn’t miss a beat. He was hugging on Josh like he sees him every day of the week. Telling him he loves him and misses him…Almost brought tears to my eye.

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Really love those guys.  I miss doing life with them.

Hope no one is too hurt by what others have said about their opinions. Keep having them! It’s healthy. Keep talking through issues with others and searching for truth. Even if you’re like me, and it’s hard to tell sometimes, don’t stop looking, and keep your mind open to it. It’s all we can do.

Since everyone lately is posting things they’re thankful for, I will share mine. I am thankful that the Democrats I know are hard working and incredibly smart people, and I am thankful that the Republicans I know are wonderful, and passionate about seeing our nation made stronger and better than it currently is.

Happy Wednesday!

Caroline

Hurt necks and Halloween.

Hope everyone had a fun Halloween yesterday! (Though not as much fun as my classmate who showed up to 9:30am lab this morning STILL DRUNK. Kid you not.) I just haven’t really ever gotten into the whole Halloween thing since my childhood ended. I don’t see the value in spending money on a holiday that doesn’t really bring me any joy or fulfillment. I’d rather pinch my pennies for thanksgiving in a few weeks, ya know? I’m probably a huge loser, but that’s ok. At least I was sober in class this morning.

This week has been particularly amazing because I got the opportunity to spend some hours observing a real life Occupational Therapist at a rehab clinic in Austin. I have never actually seen someone do what I hope to be in school for next year, and it was honestly more amazing than I could have hoped. Seeing in a few short hours how these patients touch their doctors’ lives and vice-versa made me want to cry on multiple occasions.

The type of facility I’ve observed in is a clinic for spinal cord injury patients who are working on gaining back their independence and some motor skills after a life-changing accident. Most had neck injuries, impairing their motor skills. Most did not have use of their legs. But somehow as I sat and listened to story after story of these incredibly difficult lives, I felt so much more joy and inspiration than any twinge of pity that may have come upon me. I met 5 of the strongest, most down to earth people this week. I just feel like they get it, ya know? There’s no room for petty ridiculous complaints in their lives. It was a little embarrassing how insignificant my daily problems are after hearing what these folks have overcome in the past year or two.

I’m so happy that my first exposure to the field of OT has been so positive. I’m still praying to get into my program in the Summer, but whether that happens or not, I thank God for even the opportunity to have my life touched by the people I met in rehab this week. What a cool experience. God is good, ya’ll. And we have MUCH to be thankful for.

Josh and I are heading to Stillwater, Oklahoma tomorrow to visit dear friends that we miss oh-so-much. The excitement just doesn’t end! Have a fabulous weekend folks!

Caroline