To say that I haven't cooked much lately would be a gross understatement. If life is extremely busy and I am not home when it's time to prepare dinner, then dinner doesn't get prepared. But we all have to eat and even I get tired of carry-out (as much as I love pizza and Chinese!). So on this rainy day in Georgia, I have meat loaf and squash casserole in the oven and a pot of collard greens simmering. Southern food at its best! The hubs will be so excited when he gets home.
All the recent magazines have had the latest and best recipes for a Thanksgiving meal that will be -- in the words of one cover -- one to remember. I believe all Thanksgiving meals can be memorable if you're with the ones you love and the memories are based on the celebration of having grateful hearts instead of the hardships that are always present and the mishaps that are likely to happen on any given Thanksgiving. I start getting excited for this meal weeks before, even though we don't really plan the menu until the week before or even the week of. We have a couple of dishes that are a given for us. My mother's recipe for her cornbread dressing is the best I've ever had and, trust me, I've tried other recipes that tried to imitate but could not duplicate. Sweet potato casserole is another favorite of my family and, whether it is crowned with marshmallows or crunchy pecans, it makes its appearance every Thanksgiving. The final "must have" is pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Years ago, I tried my hand at making pumpkin pie from scratch but it fell short when compared to my favorite, Mrs. Smith's Pumpkin Custard, so I passed the baton to Mrs. Smith, and she's been my go-to ever since. Why try to re-invent the wheel when someone else has already done it in such a magnificent way?! Other than those three items, the other dishes are up for debate. We're not even that picky about serving turkey, although one year my father-in-law (God rest his soul) prepared a duck and we'll never forget that meal, ugh! But roasted chicken is a fine stand-in for turkey, if we want the meal to feel a little more effortless. But don't you be messin' with our cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, or pumpkin pie!
I know you're waiting with bated breath to hear the latest report on our #our1892adventure, so here goes. If you visited the job site right now, you might take a look and think once again that nothing has been done in recent weeks. I've felt that way a lot lately. But contrary to the way it might look, progress has been made in the last week and for that I am grateful. But you know how one thing seems to always lead to another? Well, that's exactly the boat we've been in this last week. Continuing our efforts to get the outside ready for paint before the cold weather sets in, installing the new front door was a necessary part of the outside prep work. But we couldn't put the new door in until the threshold was redone and to redo the threshold we had to break up the old cement left from the porch. But to take up all that concrete and not put anything in its place would only mean a front yard full of mud. So...this is how it all went down:
I also planted small holly shrubs in front of the house (very 1890's-looking!) and am keeping my fingers crossed that they too will do well. But, alas, the rain has returned for a few days this week -- good for grass seed, but the painting has once again been shelved till better weather returns, and work continues on the inside of the house. A couple more "shoring up" details are in the works now and, once again, one thing has led to another. With a very small crawl space to work with in the front corner of the foundation, it was decided that a portion of the living room floor would need to be pulled up (yep, you heard that right) in order to work from above the floor in correcting the problem. In the meantime, a deeper crawl space in this area will be the reward of this atrocity, and hopefully my floor will go back down without a hitch. Sometimes it truly feels like we move one step forward and two steps back. But in keeping with my very intentional efforts to be grateful every day, I am truly thankful for the progress that has been made, the blessing of being a part of this effort to save this old gem, and the extreme satisfaction of hard work and getting my hands dirty. Did I really just say that?!
And there are so many other things for which to be thankful! This week I had the opportunity to photograph the Macenczak family once again and I cannot adequately express my great thankfulness for the fact that my daughter (for now) lives close by and I can be super involved in my grandbabies' lives. I am thankful that this Thanksgiving we have the blessing of our little Quinlan, whereas last Thanksgiving there were so many unanswered questions about her health and wellbeing. But today she is here, healthy and strong, and absolutely the most adorable baby on the planet -- hey, I'm not partial! (You can see the full photo shoot on my photography page...see for yourself!) I included the outtakes as well, so you'll get a few smiles. Hollie asked me to leave them in because the kiddos were not in the best of moods. The struggle is real indeed!
So be encouraged with the good all around you and, I guarantee you, it is there if we only but open our eyes to see. Seek it every day, hunt for it and grasp it when you find it because it is priceless. It comes in the form of precious children, good food, friendships that will not be severed regardless of struggle, conversation around the fireplace, the hope of the holidays, and the literal breath in your lungs. The news we hear every day on TV would have you think there absolutely is no good left in this world, but there is. We need to focus on that good, work hard to make our world a better place by being a part of the solution, and in every little thing give thanks.
Come ye thankful people, come...
"All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today."
- Pope Paul VI
Posted by CC
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