He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Sunday, November 25, 2012

An Overseas Thankgiving

 For me, Thanksgiving is the hardest overseas holiday.  Probably because it is really not recognized in any form- and why should it be, I guess?  But at least for Christmas and Easter, even in the Middle East, there are many who recognize and celebrate these major holidays- not so with Thanksgiving.  Last year, I was not in such a great place spiritually and I actually found myself quite grumpy about the whole thing.  I was extremely annoyed with everyone's daily Thanksgiving posts on Facebook.   I was pretty much the grinch of Thanksgiving.  But I did better this year.  It's still somewhat bitter sweet to be away from extended family during the holidays, but we try very hard to create our own family traditions and memories with the girls and make the time special

This year, not only did I get over my grinch like spirit with the whole "today I am thankful for" thing, I even had the girls make a thankful tree for us.  I do try and help us get beyond being thankful for family, friends, God, food- all the typical things.  Yes, of course we are thankful for those things, but I want a little more umph behind our "thankfuls".  

We celebrate each year with a group of ex-pats that we have a home fellowship with and we usually do that on Friday.  Well, I just can't let Thursday go by unrecognized.  That and the fact that my husband wants us to have our very own Thankgiving leftovers has led to us doing our own Thankgiving meal with our family and sometimes a few others on Thanksgiving day itself.  This year we had some new friends come celebrate with us.  We surprised the girls Thursday morning be letting them skip school so we ALL got to sleep in which was nice.  Because I had already done most of our cooking earlier in the week causing my kitchen to look like this...

but resulting in THIS yumminess (among other things)

Anyway, since I'd done most of the work earlier in the week, we were able to relax (ish) on Thursday and just enjoy family time.  

Maddie and Naomi set and decorated the table and even made place cards for everyone. 
The set up of our apartment at this point does not allow for a dining room table.  We have a kitchen table that pulls out into a big square so that works for now.  In most countries in the Middle East you can find beautiful handmade tablecloths like the one below from Syria.  I found this one on a recent trip to Lebanon and loved the multi-colored pattern.  The brown accent napkins go with another table cloth that I have but it's for a long dining room style table so for now I just use the napkins.

To digress for a minute.  We had some friends over on Saturday night for Thanksgiving leftovers and this time I used one of my other Syrian tablecloths.  This is one I also bought years ago in Lebanon for my dining room table, but it got bleach spilled on half of it, so my wonderful Memommy cut it in half for me and finished it off and now it fits perfectly on my square table.  I love the way it looks with our feista dishes!

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving.  We had a Pioneer Woman/Memommy Thanksgiving dinner, at least that's where most of my recipes came from.  

I brined my turkey using this recipe from Pioneer Woman.  To go with it, we also had:
Memommy's dressing
Memommy's rolls (pictured above)
Memommy's sweet potato casserole
cranberry sauce with horseradish and dijon
broccoli salad
mashed potatoes
strawberry pretzel layered jello salad
Memommy's pumpkin pie

Oh, and I almost forgot.  This year we have a satellite that gets American channels in real time so we got to watch the Macy's parade live- yay!  So, I just had to make an appetizer to go along with parade watching before dinner.  

I found this recipe for baked brie with cranberries and pecans and it was AMAZING!

 Digging in..

Turkey carving!
Mia' favorite part...

Jason also upped our satellite for the next few months so that he can catch the end of football season and so we can watch college basketball and NBA.  So excited that we finally get sports on our TV and don't have to worry about whether or not the internet will be working.  Course we'll still have to get up at 3 AM for some games.  Let's hope it's worth it this year!  Go Tigers Go! 

So another overseas Thanksgiving has come and gone, and despite missing our extended family, our time together with our family here, reminded us once again of how very much we have to be thankful for.  God led me to a Scripture earlier this week that I'm certain I've read before, but never in light of Thanksgiving.  It talks about how as the grace of God reaches more and more people, thanksgiving will overflow to the glory of God.  One of the commentaries I read stated that with God, what begins with His grace, leads to His glory.  I love that, and it is my prayer this holiday season.  That more and more will come into His presence, saved by His grace, and that as more come, thanksgiving will overflow to the glory of God.  Isn't that what it's all about, anyway?

"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God."
2 Corinthians 4:15


Angelyn Vaughan said...

Happy Thanksgiving from the US, Kelli! Great post!
Those rolls look amazing! Could you share the recipe or is it a family secret? : )

Brittney Galloway said...

Your menu sounds delicious! And, I agree, Thanksgiving is the hardest holiday for me too. I think it is because we always did extended family for Thanksgiving and immediate for Christmas- it's hard to replicate Thanksgiving atmosphere, especially when sharing with non US friends!

Jeni said...

What a great verse! Thanks for sharing.