Choosing Thanks.

I’ve had a version of this post knocking around in my brain since Tuesday. I spent most of that day prepping the food we’ll be sharing with Katie and her family this afternoon. Much of this year’s menu is new-to-us (Thanksgiving dinner is, for us, not about traditional dishes, and still, all about good food); the only thing I’m making for “not the first time” is cranberry sauce. Thanks to Sara’s great notes

it turned out perfectly (also, the new not-a-le-creuset has now cooked a lot more than popcorn!)

Before I started cooking, I printed out this year’s menuand all the new recipes. I made notes as I cookedand eventually, placed those pages into sleeve protectors and added them to The Notebook.

…along the way, I had a very fun time revisiting menus and notes from previous years. 2008 will always be a favorite (Katie was in college, and Sara was a  junior in high school!)

because of this photo … Thanksgiving morning – 2008

I’ve blogged this photo at least three times before … it’s still a favorite. especially because Sara is in England today.

Another favorite from the notebook is this pagefrom 2016. apparently I never even blogged about that year … Katie set a lovely table with Charlie’s handprints for place cards. I marvel at that … Sam was four weeks old that Thanksgiving!

We are so fortunate to have Katie and her family close by and in our bubble. This afternoon, we will be sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal that won’t look much different from last year. and it felt weird to share anything about it. especially since so many will be spending Thanksgiving without families or friends. It’s easy to feel thankful when it looks like everything is going well.

Diana Butler Bass shared this prayer today and it helped me reframe the gratitude. as a choice.

GOD, there are days we do not feel grateful. When we are anxious or angry. When we feel alone. When we do not understand what is happening in the world or with our neighbors. When the news is bleak, confusing. God, we struggle to feel grateful.

But this Thanksgiving, we choose gratitude.

We choose to accept life as a gift from you, and as a gift from the unfolding work of all creation.

We choose to be grateful for the earth from which our food comes; for the water that gives life; and for the air we all breathe.

We choose to thank our ancestors, those who came before us, grateful for their stories and struggles, and we receive their wisdom as a continuing gift for today.

We choose to see our families and friends with new eyes, appreciating and accepting them for who they are. We are thankful for our homes, whether humble or grand.

We will be grateful for our neighbors, no matter how they voted, whatever our differences, or how much we feel hurt or misunderstood by them.

We choose to see the whole planet as our shared commons, the stage of the future of humankind and creation.

God, this Thanksgiving, we do not give thanks. We choose it. We will make this choice of thanks with courageous hearts, knowing that it is humbling to say “thank you.” We choose to see your sacred generosity, aware that we live in an infinite circle of gratitude. That we all are guests at a hospitable table around which gifts are passed and received. We will not let anything opposed to love take over this table. Instead, we embrace grace, free and unmerited love, the giftedness of life everywhere. In this choosing, and in the making, we will pass gratitude onto the world.

Thus, with you, and with all those gathered at this table, we pledge to make thanks. We ask you to strengthen us in this resolve. Here, now, and into the future. Around our family table. Around the table of our nation. Around the table of the earth.

We choose thanks.


Of course Thankschoosing doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so easily does it 😉 Still, it’s a powerful reframing. Today, I choose …. love, kindness, family, and thanks.

10 thoughts on “Choosing Thanks.

  1. Just finished prepping some gluten free stuffing and made the mashed potatoes – it is a lot of work when you don’t have 22 people helping make all the side dishes! A walk, a little sock knitting, a zoom call with my sister, and a driveway chat with the girls later. Yes to Thankschoosing. Thank you Mary

  2. That’s a wonderful prayer and a blessing … The power of choosing our response is immense. I’m tickled pink you have kept all your menus – even that you write them out and keep notes! Hoping that you have a most wonderful time together and that Sara can be with you in spirit. And I, in turn, am grateful for you, Mary, and your inspiring writing and reflecting which continue to enrich my days; if I knew how to add a heart symbol here, I would, but I’ll leave you with a smiley face instead. :).

  3. Love that you try new recipes every year. I squeeze a new one in every now and then. Made Barefoot Contessa’s Green Bean Gremolata last year and really liked it. Also saw BC’s French Apple Tart and may have to make that for our next family meal. I would love to know what you thought of it. It’s probably spectacular. We had an early family Thanksgiving on Sunday, so I stuck to some traditional sides I could scale down and make in two sessions. Definitely different from most years when I am cooking every evening for four or five days, depending on the number of relatives in attendance. Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  4. Ahh! This is such a fun post! And I love the picture of you working hard in the kitchen!

    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Katie and her family. What a year!

    (Also: I love my Le Creuset knock off too! I love the look of Le Creusets but cannot stomach the price. We have a Tramontina from Amazon – 1/8 of the price and just as pretty!)

  5. I’ve thought of Thanksgivings past and how I wish I was MORE present at that moment. It’s funny that last Thanksgiving was our last one before the pandemic and I wish I could have been soaking up the goodness more. Love the prayer you printed. We enjoyed a holiday for two and had a relaxing holiday. We zoomed with the kids and phone called family. It was good.

  6. I think it’s awesome that you have all those menus and recipes and notes gathered in one spot, what a great diary of holiday meals! I hope you had a wonderful day. It was quiet here, just Dale and I, but once I got used to the idea it actually wasn’t so bad. And clean up was fast!

  7. I think choosing to celebrate what’s typically a big family holiday in the face of the physical inability to gather with that family is the ultimate in “Thankschoosing” — to choose to celebrate what we have rather than what we’ve lost or missed out on, to be happy in the midst of such immense sadness, to choose to observe a holiday at all when it’s tempting to call it off like so many other things this year.

  8. We were thankful to not see hardly any large gatherings as we made our delivery to family. It was a nice peaceful meal – a little less hoopla than usual but still so much to make choosing happiness the way to go. We even got “dressed up” a bit!

  9. You are quite organized around Thanksgiving and your menus! While the holiday was a bit different here, it was still a day for gratitude, looking for silver linings, and appreciating all that we do have. High on my list right now is that we’re all still here and healthy, which I am so very, very thankful for.

  10. I’m so glad you were able to share Thanksgiving FOR REAL with Katie and her family! What a wonderful treat for all of you. XO

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