Turkey, brussels sprout salad, hurting hearts, gratitude and thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving all you dear readers with your roasting turkeys, your whipped mashed potatoes, your savory stuffing, your brussels sprout salads, your pumpkin pies. Or perhaps you’re feasting on pizza? Coq au vin? Paella? Butternut squash risotto? Grilled cheese sandwich? Hamburger?

What’s everyone eating today?

We’re roasting an eleven pound bird. Every Christmas Barry’s boss gives us two small turkeys. We eat one on Easter; one come Thanksgiving. She’s been thawing in the basement refrigerator since last Friday. Maybe our frig is too cold, but it always takes longer than expected to thaw her. Sometimes we soak her in the sink to remove the last sheen of ice on the innards.

Barry insists upon turkey-potatoes-stuffing (which is fine but doesn’t light my fire) so I usually pick one additional dish that makes my tummy smile. My daughter is making Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with cherries and apples and sunflower seeds doused in a lovely dijon-maple syrup dressing, so I’ve opted in. Bought the brussels yesterday. Substituting dried cranberries and pecans, minus the parmesan. So looking forward to this!

Apples for salad

Wondering if it’s a sad Thanksgiving for many of us today. Those who usually attend feasts with beloved family, friends, loved ones. Many of us are choosing to celebrate alone. Others have limited their gatherings. Some are ignoring advice by medical experts and traveling or feasting together anyway. I truly hope our virus counts and deaths don’t skyrocket. Thirteen residents in or local nursing home caught covid last week–by Monday night three had lost their lives. It is so sad and sobering.

We’ve probably got non-gratitude lists running amok in our heads. I’m not grateful for the pandemic, possible exposures, staying home for over a year, not seeing my mom and Barry’s parents and the kids, loss of environmental protections, you name it. Our minds can fuss endlessly about what’s gone wrong–or what might go completely wrong by 2021. Minds do this. They’re fussers, and they know how to get our emotions ramped into overtime.

So we have this Thanksgiving holiday where we say: “No, dear mind, no. Today we’re also going to notice what we’re thankful for. Not just what feels sad and impossible and awful. We’re eating our turkey and shaved brussels sprout salad and appreciating all the good things. All the simple ordinary marvels and pleasures that surround us.”

What am I grateful for?

Pausing to consider.

Oh dear, maybe shouldn’t be sharing this picture…had a few tears just seeing it. From years past when the kids came home from college…

Family. Wonderful phone calls, texts, FaceTime and Zoom with the kids and my mom. These encounters fill my heart over and over again. That we have such a good relationship. So lucky.

Friends. Oh my goodness, what would we do without friends who reach out and respond with love? I am rich in friends. All degrees of friendship: from best buddies to whom you spill out your soul and wondering and not-knowing and tears and laughter to friends that fill your coffee cup with connection and care and compassion.

You readers (and many of you fall in the dear friend category, too, after so many years of sharing back and forth). I am more and more falling into a deeper appreciation for those of you who have so enthusiastically enjoyed these spiritual posts. You are an amazing group of souls. So much love…

Ordinary encounters with nature. A squirrel running up a tree right now, cavorting, jumping from branch to branch. An afternoon walk on the road. Chickadees and blue jays at the feeder.

A worker-fellow coming to the house tomorrow morning to sand and stain the wood floor in our kitchen. Right after dinner today we’ll move our stove and kitchen table and desk into the living room in preparation. Empty off the countertop. Grateful that I have a basement in which to retreat–heck, might even get some more cleaning down there during the upstairs work.

There really are so many things to be grateful for. Even as we tend our scared or hurting hearts, feeding them droplets of compassion and attention and maybe even a turkey gizzard if they insist.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from our little house in the woods. Please feel free to share what you’re doing–or perhaps list some of your own gratitude list. xoxo

Day 40 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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45 Responses to Turkey, brussels sprout salad, hurting hearts, gratitude and thanksgiving

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. This day in 2020 is like no other Thanksgiving, but keeping one’s eye on the big picture shows that all of us have many reasons to give thanks.

  2. joannmleko@hotmail.com says:

    Thankful that I have your blog to look forward to each morning on your 75 day journey. You are such an inspiration with your words and photos. I don’t post much on blogs but just wanted you to know I am a faithful reader. Gratitude today other than family and friends…..at this moment, coffee and my Christmas lights. Happy Thanksgiving, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Joann, the fact that you commented today put a big smile on my face! Thank you so much. How heart-warming to think you’re reading and enjoying these posts and that you’re along for the 75 day journey. That means a lot to me. Smiling thinking of you with coffee and Christmas lights. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  3. Larissa says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Kathy 💗
    I am grateful for my easygoing spouse, and for the roof over our head. I’m grateful that there’s no pressure for us to visit anyone this year, which allows me to miss people instead of feeling a nagging sense of obligation. I’m grateful for the way this pandemic constantly reminds me that we are all connected. And I’m grateful for our little feast – turkey and veggies from one local restaurant, and pie from another

    • Kathy says:

      Larissa, Happy Thanksgiving to you, as well. I am grateful that you shared a grateful list. Interesting the positives that can be seen from inside our pandemic views. Wondering if you’ve eaten your little feast yet. We’re having ours in about an hour or so. The turkey’s cooking and we’ve just finished a FaceTime with my mom. xoxo

      • Larissa says:

        Yes, we’ve eaten already. I like to eat early 🙂 xoxo

        • Kathy says:

          Barry would like to eat at your house. Every holiday we debate which time to eat. He grew up eating early and I like to eat later. So we compromise by doing it differently all the time. This year it’s at 5 or 6!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving, Kathy, and to all of your wonderful readers. I’m grateful for shelter on this foggy chilly NE morning, with my guy downstairs stuffing the turkey (not me, a real 16 pounder); I’m grateful for the coffee cake I made at 7 this morning – haven’t tasted it yet and a bit worried, since I realized at 6:50 this morning that I was out of sugar, so substituted with confectioners sugar. But this year is full of substitutions, isn’t it? Zoom instead of the real thing – photos and e-mails and texts to our friends and family instead of body hugs, exercising on-line instead of the dance and yoga studio. But…I’m grateful for substitutions and for all the love we share with each other – that can never be replaced or substituted. xo

  5. Susan D. Durham says:

    What a lovely cornucopia of everything from the sad and scary to the most delightful and Holy. I echo your gratitude “list” and beam in the love and caring that you bestow upon us every day, blog or not, pandemic or not… So very grateful and thankful for you. Big loves!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, a cornucopia, Susan D! I love that word. Such a Thanksgiving word. And I know how much you too appreciate the cornucopia of life, even when it’s filled with sad and scary and joyful and lovely. I am so glad you are in my life. xoxo

  6. leelah saachi says:

    I am grateful for YOU, Kathy
    and grateful for wonderful food: Indian chicken pot ( we do not celebrate thanksgiving here – I know yours have roots in 1621,) but i think it is such a great idea for celebration.) I am infinitely grateful for my daughter and son-in-law, so many blog amigos, and some close relatives.- a bunch of nieces and nephews that I adore and love almost as my own children. And I am grateful for my two cats….they died years ago, but it so happens that they visit now and then, and that is SO special and exciting. And I am grateful for all the customer-support peoples unending patience and kindness and helpfulness in these stressful days – and my writer group, where we have poem-competitions, play strange games and laugh a lot

    • Kathy says:

      Leelah, what a lovely gratitude list! I am so glad you shared it. My mouth is watering for Indian chicken pot which sounds wonderful (and probably curried?) And your relatives and friends and customer support staff and writer’s group… Such a vivid beautiful picture you’ve painted. (And I am so glad your cats visit now and again. They must love you so much!)

  7. Happy Thanksgiving, Kathy! Many blessings to you and Barry and your far away loved ones. 💙

    So much to be grateful for on this strangest of Thanksgivings, including your wonderful and compassionate words. So sorry about the outbreak in your local nursing home. It is sobering to know we can still have much to be grateful for in the midst of all this suffering.

    Hope your shaved brussels sprout salad is scrumptious!

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, Happy Thanksgiving to you and Tim! I hope you are enjoying your day. There is so much suffering all around, but there is also so much to be grateful for. I really MUST go shave those brussels VERY soon. The dressing is already done. Blessings to you…

  8. john k says:

    Thanksgiving blessings to the Drue Family! We are so thankful for the health of our family, children, and grandchildren. So grateful for jobs in these days of covid and the food that they provide and bills they pay.

    • Kathy says:

      Thanksgiving blessings back to the Kuttenberg family! I am thinking you are not in Baraga County? Better if you’re not…so many people are ill. Smiling at your gratitude for family and jobs. We are so lucky, indeed.

  9. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Kathy! I’m grateful today for dogs to keep me company, a warm house, and the ability to sleep in late. I’m grateful for the little chicken thawing in my refrigerator that I’ll cook, stuffed with an entire pierced and halved lemon, and coated with butter and herbs. I’m cooking rice for accompaniment, along with sauteed Brussels sprouts and – if I get more ambitious than I feel right now – a blackberry tart for dessert. Have a wonderful day!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Cindy, your Thanksgiving feast sounds lovely! I have never thought of piercing and halving a lemon and adding it to the turkey. And you are eating brussels, too. Wondering if you’ve decided upon the blackberry tart. So yummy. Thanks for your gratitude list so much.

  10. rehill56 says:

    Thankful for sweet friends in the beautiful woods. 💕 For family and food & and shelter and all the important things in life that aren’t tangible. 😊 Happy Thanksgiving Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      I have been thinking of you today, Ruth–so it’s a sweet surprise to see your words here. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. And you’ve made such a good point–so many of the most important things in life aren’t tangible. xoxo

  11. Debbie says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Kathy! Sure, it will be a different holiday this year, but I can still find lots of things to be grateful for — like a vaccine on the way to (hopefully) rid us of this plague, ha!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Debbie–I am so hoping this plague will soon be HISTORY. It’s a different year, for sure, but maybe we’ll talk about it for years to come. Remember when, we’ll say. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  12. Stacy says:

    That is truly a heartfelt photo of your kids. I love it – thank you for sharing such a personal piece of your life.

    Happy Thanksgiving! XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      You are so welcome, Stacy. So far neither of the kids have fussed about their pictures appearing here. But they grew up with a newspaper editor dad who incessantly wrote about all our adventures, so they’re used to it. Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving, too.

  13. Sounds like you had a good day. Everyone is healthy thus far and you have a home and food, and a job. That is enough to be thankful for. Your meal sounded wonderful and healthy.

    I was alone as I wanted it to be that way. No exposure to anyone. I made lentil soup from scratch- tomatoes and tomato sauce and the lentils were canned and frozen chopped spinach. Potatoes, squash, onion, garlic, bay leaf, I added. It was filling. I am 95% vegan since i eat fish once in a while.

    It was a good day for me- not lonely since I have my pets. The weather is still good and I walked for a bit outdoors while the dogs scampered along my path through my mini woods.

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, thank you so much for providing a little glimpse into your Thanksgiving. It sounds like you enjoyed yourself. Making a pretty-much vegan soup sounds lovely! And that your pets give you so much companionship and pleasure. And being able to get outside in nature. A lovely Thanksgiving indeed for you, just as you wanted.

  14. debyemm says:

    I went very minimal this year, inspired by my oldest son’s comment that he doesn’t like too much food (and still I was so full after my meal that I waited awhile on the tiny pumpkin pie slice sitting at my place on the table, while I cleaned up the kitchen, which we had waited for until the end of a movie my oldest son bought for us – Smoke Signals – said to be funny but I found it grim and poignant but definitely worth watching).

    I do an organic 14 lb turkey. Since I’ve not been to Whole Foods since March, I ordered one in and the delivery was expensive but that was the big splurge. I couldn’t find whole grain stuffing locally and so spent literally many hours on Wed, cutting 2 loaves of our mail order Avarado Bakery sprouted multi-grain bread into 1/2″ cubes. The dressing came out good enough but we were amazed at how the bread cubes expanded. Of course, there was the cranberry sauce. We had sweet potatoes grown by my husband and oldest son cubed and drizzled with olive oil then baked. Kale, Beet and Avocado salad with a balsamic vinegar/3 oil – flax, olive and avocado – dressing.

    I did the same pumpkin pie as last year. An Almond Flour crust and Xylitol (birch tree sugar which I also used to make the cranberry sauce – this is kinder to my blood sugar issues).

    We always celebrate birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years with our little family only. The boys have not yet flown the nest, though the older one is now 19 years old – oh my. He shows no inclination to leave (though it wouldn’t be a good time to do it anyway) and we’ve never been in a hurry for them to leave but would not hold them trapped here with us either.

    • Kathy says:

      This was fun–reading about your Thanksgiving day, Deb. Your son sounds like my Barry–he is always urging minimalism for our holiday feasts. Your organic turkey sounds wonderful. Would love to buy an organic turkey, but we get these two free as gifts each year so… Your stuffing, sweet potatoes and salad–yum. We have a bag of sweet taters in the basement and will need to make some soon. (When our stove gets hooked backup.) Hard to believe your oldest is 19 now. It isn’t a good time for him to leave, for sure, but it will be interesting to see what direction he ends up going when he’s ready to fly out of your nest in the woods.

  15. Robin says:

    A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you, Kathy. The salad sounds yummy. I love brussels sprouts but was unable to get them fresh this year (and I don’t like the frozen variety quite as much — I sometimes think the frozen brussels sprouts are the reason people don’t like brussels sprouts).

    We had a good day. Surprisingly good given how sad I was before the day arrived. We Zoomed with family in the morning and it was wonderful to see and hear them all. Twenty or so minutes of love and laughter and smiles. I’m profoundly grateful for that. A little while later I was preparing the turkey and stuffing with M’s help, and it dawned on me that it was one of the most stress-free holidays I’ve ever had. Low-key, relaxed, and no (usually self-imposed) pressure to get anything right. We had a lovely dinner, went for walks, and just generally enjoyed the day and each other’s company. I’m profoundly grateful for that, too, and so much more. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Happy belated Thanksgiving to you as well, Robin. Oh frozen brussels are awful, I agree! It does sound like you had a little of many feelings coming through this week–from the sadness Wednesday to the joy during your Zoom on Thursday to the relaxation during the feast. Feeling your gratitude…thank you for sharing it here. ❤

  16. Sarah Davis says:

    FaceTime, cornbread dressing as good as my Mom’s, 15 minutes with my sister in a gas station parking lot where we handed off dinner, friends continuing the traditional 5K with a mimosa and masks, a puppy with a wiggly butt, and me and mine are healthy and doing the best we can.

    • Kathy says:

      This sounds really lovely, Sarah! “Cornbread dressing as good as my Mom’s.” Pefect. And I am smiling about your 5K with miosa and masks. My daughter ran a 10K with her friend–she in Oregon and friend back here in Michigan a couple of times this year. Not sure they’ve thought of mimosas afterward though!

  17. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving even if it is a lot different this year. May you have many more things to be grateful for, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you so much–it was lovely! Do you guys celebrate anything like a Thanksgiving over there?

      • Happy to hear that it was good. What did you do with the leftovers? We do not have Thanksgiving but the town celebrates the feast day of the patron saint this month so there is that.

        • Kathy says:

          When we were in Italy I found they celebrated patron saints everywhere–that was so interesting. We just ate the leftovers for the next three days. We didn’t have a stove in our kitchen (because of redoing flooring) so we couldn’t cook anything fancy.

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