Giving Thanks: What I Am Grateful For

What am I thankful for? So many things. Like everybody else, I’m thankful for my amazing family and my wonderful friends. I’m thankful for my friends that have become a part of my family.

I’m thankful that we have a house home that we feel safe and comfortable in.

I’m thankful that my husband has the ability to put work, and to provide for us.

That we can feed our children everyday. That there is always enough, and sometimes even too much.

And I know it sounds cliche, but I am so, SO thankful for our health. I think that health is something that most people take for granted until something goes wrong. When I pray, I always thank God for our health. Health is one thing that I always remember to be grateful for and to appreciate.

I am thankful for the men and women who are willing to, and often do, give up their lives so that keep our freedom.

I am thankful that after years of unexplained infertility, I was able to have three beautiful children.

I am thankful that I (finally!) found something that I am passionate about…writing. I always thought that I was one of those people with no kind of artistic abilities at all. Turns out, I actually kind of have a knack for it.

And although there are many, many more things that I’m thankful for, I am going to end with this one last thing: I am thankful that I found the world of blogging. It has opened up so many doors for me. I’ve met many amazing women and appreciate their willingness to share their knowledge with me, support me, and help me continue to learn and grow. I’m thankful for each and every one of you! Whether this is your first time here or your hundredth, every time you read my blog and/or leave me a comment, it makes me happy. It brightens up my day. It reminds me that people are good.

Did you read my post yesterday? I got to meet some of my blog friends IRL!

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you! Enjoy your day!

And so it goes…

I wrote this prompt for Red Writing Hood. The prompt was: “To write a post expressing what you or your protagonist are grateful for this year.”


  1. Laurie Wallin says:
    I totally resonated with your entire list. Including the unexplained season of infertility. As you know, I have 4 kids now... :) God has a sense of humor! And I was just thinking yesterday, when I started to wish I didn't have them as they swirled around wrecking havoc while I cooked Thanksgiving dinner... that it was the farthest thing from my true feeling. I am so thankful for my little weirdos. I can't imagine my life without them.

    And I'm thankful for finding blogging this year too. Otherwise I would never have found the handful of wild, honest, fun mamas like you and Melinda (Coming Clean). I'm so thankful for you!
  2. I am thankful Natalie can cook...she threw a mean Thanksgiving dinner!

    I am also thankful for my awesome family - 5 beautiful children, 11 grandchildren, and my wonderful husband. I have 8 brothers and sisters who I love very much...and my Dad...the most wonderful man in the world.

    Most of all I am thankful for the love and joy they all give me! I could ask for nothing more!
  3. I'm thankful we got to meet in person - I'll have to check out yesterday's post! I also posted the pic of you, me and gigi yesterday!

    Happy thanksgiving, my friend!
  4. It is always the simple things, the things we might take for granted, that we need to be grateful for the most.

    Happy Thanksgiving! Visiting from Red Writing Hood
  5. The Drama Mama says:
    I'm thankful for the world of blogging that introduced us to each other!! Beautiful post, Natalie!
  6. I like your list, it encompasses all that's truly important.
  7. Great list! Good health should never be taken lightly and I agree with you... I believe you have found your calling too. Your writing is wonderful and gets better all the time.

    BTW, how is your novel coming? Four days to go... what's your word count? All the best, Nat!
  8. Those are great things to be thankful for!! I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!
  9. Angelia Sims Hardy says:
    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Lots of love and thankfulness in your life. What a blessing!
    I, too, am thankful for blogging and the many friends made. How cool you got to meet! :-)
  10. I'm thankful for your wit and charm.
  11. MultipleMum says:
    You have a lot to be thankful for! Thanks for sharing your happiness with us too :)
  12. I just read your last post and it looks so uber fun... Blogging buddies are a great team and i wonder what would we be without their virtual support. You guys are lucky to have met one another... it is just so great
  13. Your list is so beautifully written! You are truly blessed and it's so awesome to count our blessings, isn't? :D Hope you had a great Thanksgiving Day
  14. The Mommyologist says:
    I ALWAYS thank God for my health too. It's the one thing that you can't buy, that you are never guaranteed and can't take for granted.

    I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!
  15. I think this is a great list! WE are so lucky on this side of the world for the abundance we so easily have!
  16. Sluiter Nation says:
    I am also so very thankful for the bloggy world! I don't even know what my life as a mother would be without it! It has been invaluable to me.
  17. You are so right about health - it is THE most important. Glad you had a great holiday. Who did you meet? I'm dying. Gotta go read.


  1. [...] first year I wrote about a meal I loved based on a writing prompt. Last year I wrote about all the things I was thankful for in my [...]
  2. […] first year I shared about a meal I loved (Thanksgiving, of course), I’ve written about the things I am thankful for, I wrote about Doris Lee’s Thanksgiving painting that makes me want to step right into it, […]

Giving Thanks: A Meal I Loved

I don’t remember anything about that meal except that it was one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever. We stayed home and had dinner without the rest of the extended family; very different than our usual holiday spent at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. But it wasn’t just the food that made the meal so special…it was the entire day that we spent preparing for it and enjoying the day all by ourselves.

It was drizzly, dark, and cold outside, I remember that. And the wind blew gently, making the trees bend to and fro. It was chilly enough that the heater was on in the house – even though the oven was on -because I can still hear the soft hum that it made as it forced warm air throughout the house that was too big for the small unit.

My dad was sitting on the couch watching TV. His feet were propped up on the coffee table and crossed at the ankle, the top foot shaking back and forth. I remember my dad always sat like that, and that foot was always moving. On TV, the Twilight Zone marathon…do you remember those? Twilight Zone would start at around nine in the morning and go until dark. Whenever that marathon came on, my sisters and I would watch it, all day long.

My mom got up early that morning, to start preparing the stuffing and the turkey. I was maybe 8 or 9, and I always wanted to help. She let me cut up the onions and the celery for the stuffing. “Small pieces, and try to make them the same size”.

While preparing the stuffing, I remember that she took the butter out of the fridge to soften; we always had margarine in the house and ‘real’ butter was a big treat. I would scrape my fingernail down the soft, yellow sides and stick the velvety cream into my mouth, savoring each sneaky taste.

The bird was stuffed and safely placed in the oven. Throughout the day, we would prepare the rest of the meal: the green bean casserole with the french fried onions that my dad loved so much but that we kids hated, the pumpkin pies with the edges that always ended up burned, the mashed potatoes and gravy, and of course, the cranberries. And olives. All of us kids loved green and black olives.

When the meal was ready and the table was set, we’d sit down to eat. To this today, my family isn’t fancy-schmancy. The plates (back then, and now too) were a mish mash of patterns and all of the cups were a different kind and color. The colored paper napkins sat in the middle of the table for anybody who needed to grab one, and lying next to a pile of knives to cut the dinner rolls and butter. The salt and pepper shakers were the ones we used everyday, and little bits of food from all us kids’ little greasy hands stuck to them.

My dad would carve the turkey, and a big plate of steaming hot meat would be set in the center of the table. The rest of the food came out in whatever containers they were prepared in. The green bean casserole in a dented metal baking dish. The potatoes in an old banged up pot. The dinner rolls on the cookie sheet they were placed on to warm in the oven. And yet, it was a heavenly meal.

We all served ourselves, I think. I was the oldest of five, but at the time (if I really only was 8 or 9), my brothers weren’t born yet; it was only me and my two sisters. I loved mixing all of those delectable, once a year treats together. A bite of creamy mashed potatoes, with bittersweet cranberries and the rough, moist meat. It all melted together in my mouth. Nothing left on the plate, except a few of those unwanted green beans (which, by the way, are my favorite side dish now).

I loved that meal…same of years past and years to follow, except that it was ours and ours alone.

And the thing that was the worst part of the entire day? The after dinner dishes. But I’m sure that I don’t even need to describe those in order for them to be hated.

And so it goes…

I wrote this prompt for the Red Writing Hood. The prompt was as follows: “”Tell me about a meal you loved. Where were you when you ate it? What was the weather like out the window? Who were you with? How old were you? … Did you leave anything on the plate? Were there flowers on the table? Paper napkins? Did you have seconds? Are you stumped? Begin with: I don’t remember anything about that meal except…”


  1. soge shirts says:
    Sounds like a great Thanksgiving day. The twilight zone was pretty awesome. I do remember those marathons back in the day when I was a kid. You wrote that in a manner to make me feel like I was actually there. Great post Natalie. Did I mention I was hungry. Those mashed potatoes and cranberries sound amazing.
  2. This post is beautifully written - and Thanksgiving is Mommy's favorite holiday, too!
  3. Oh, Thanksgiving. How I love thee.

    Great post, sweetie.

    Now, I need to go find some stuffing.
  4. Great job! Thanksgiving was never a big deal with my family growing up. And then, once my mom got a job with an airline, we used to fly somewhere for a little vacation that day- b/c NO ONE else flew that day. I remember being in the airport one Thanksgiving when our flight was delayed and they kept making funny announcements over the loudspeaker like "if you haven't put your turkey in yet, it's too late. Go get some McDonalds."

    Now, Thanksgiving is the only time of year when my husband's family is all together, so we spend it with them.
  5. I love those traditions that are set in childhood and carried on for years to come. Thanksgiving is definitely one of those for me as well. One of my favs. Thanks for sharing yours.
  6. moveovermarypoppins says:
    I love Thanksgiving, for many of the same things you talk about in this post.

    I hope my small boy remembers our Thanksgivings like that.

    Especially since I'm hosting my fist one this year!
  7. I'm sorry...YOU were apprehensive about your writing a few weeks back?! You're an excellent writer. I felt like I was there with you...except that I'm really hungry now.

    And I love that at age 8 or 9, you had to do the dishes. No one gets a free thanksgiving meal in my household. :-P We're actually making washing dishes seem exciting for D1. She even says, "Dad. When I get older, I'm going to do the dishes!"
  8. Natalie....This brings back early memories...I do remember the first time we decided to stay home and have Thanksgiving with just our family! You make it sound so simple, yet divine. I never knew you were sneaking the butter! Now, when we get together with just our "family" we have like what, 22 of us? Things are not so simple anymore...but whatever we do you can feel the love and excitement! Never a dull moment!
  9. Thanksgiving is also my favorite meal. Except in my house growing up it was football on TV! And a turkey that was always late..
  10. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says:
    Damnit, now I'm hungry.

    Double damnit, I'm on a diet.

    Beautiful writing, dear one!
  11. Booyah's Momma says:
    You know, I don't think I've ever been to a single Thanksgiving meal that didn't have that green bean/French onion casserole. It's the single dish that epitomizes Thanksgiving for me.

    You tell the story so well. Many of my favorite childhood memories are centered around comfort food meals as well. This makes me want to go brine a turkey right now.
  12. Florida Girl Meets the Midwest says:
    This make me feel a little sentimental. Can't wait for Thanksgiving.

    Stopping by from the red dress club.
  13. Circus Daily says:
    I love Thanksgiving...I miss it here in Canada, which we celebrate our's this Monday. But I'm originally from Michigan and before marring a Canadian and him somehow convincing me to move to Calgary...WTF?'s just not quite the same.

    I have similar memories. Sitting on the countertop counting the number of bread slices left out to dry...or helping my mom stuff the turkey, so cold and gooey. After dinner the boys to the tv room to likely watch detroit lose, and the women to the kitchen, who said chivalry is dead?

    dont worry bout popping by for a comment...afterall its banntheblog day, and since my relationship with twitter is on the fritz i think i'll work on the layout a bit more...

    enjoy the weekend - alissa
  14. My favorite image of this entire piece is of you, skimming your finger over the butter. Love, love, love that part.

    In my hometown, there is a restaurant that specializes in sandwiches. On their menu is a Thanksgiving sandwich. I bet you'd love it.

    Lovely post, Natalie.
  15. The Drama Mama says:
    I LOVE that you are still writing!! You really do have a beautiful way of putting words together. I wish I were sitting at that dinner with you.
  16. Just Another Mom of 2 says:
    It's so interesting what you can remember when you really concentrate- great work putting that all together! I feel like I was there with you!
  17. Great job! I always loved The Twilight Zone. Haven't seen that on in forever. You've got my mouth watering for Thanksgiving Dinner now! My family's never been a fancy schmancy bunch either.
  18. Our Thanksgivings were like that.

    This will be the first Thanksgiving without either of my parents. Already, my siblings are planning for it to be here. In the family home. No changes.
  19. Now see, you have me all ready for turkey and the fixin's and it's 85 degrees outside! Great visuals you created....and yeah, made me think of family.
  20. Candice @ Fashionably Organized says:
    OMG Twilight Zone marathon was one of the best parts about Thanksgiving (and July 4th). Oh how I miss those days the way I remember holidays. You described it perfectly. It brought me back. I love Thanksgiving meal. Great job.
  21. Now I want potatoes.... mmmmm mashed...mmmm.
  22. Real butter in a house full of margarine is such a treat! I used to love Thanksgiving and Easter because of that little detail. I think you do a great job conveying the comfort of family and tradition in this piece.
  23. Jessica Anne says:
    Yummy! I could smell it, divine. I used to sneak butter too. :)
  24. Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holiday dinners but it was BECAUSE we ate with extended family. My parents and brother were boring in comparison ;)
  25. Bitter Betty says:
    I loved thanksgiving as a child. It was always a full day event with the whole family. Since we moved away from our family last year we had our own little thanksgiving with just the three of us. My husband cooked since I was at work and it turned out wonderful!
  26. Sheena Simpson says:
    We started staying home on Thanksgiving (out of pure necessity I was on bed rest) three years ago. It makes me wonder what my kids think of that day.
  27. So much to love here. So many details that all come together to make this a rich lovely read. Much like the components of the Thanksgiving meal all come together to melt in your mouth.

    To make a single vibrant experience.

    This was lovely.
  28. The Flying Chalupa says:
    This really got me in the mood for Thanksgiving. And I'll be inviting myself over this year, I hope that's okay. I mean, it sounds like you guys know how to do a meal justice. Yum, yum - and real butter too! Keep at the red dress Nat, you're great.
  29. MamaOnDaGo says:
    I loved Thanksgiving dinner! I might even enjoy it a tad bit more than Christmas dinner. I too hated green bean casserole but it has now become one of my favs. It didn't matter that we sometimes ate off of paper plates and had plastic utensils, it made cleaning easier and the food was just as yummy
  30. A nice reminder that it's not the fancy presentation that makes the memories, but the delicious food on the table and the people sitting around it.

    I'll try to take that to heart this year as I stress out about finding a pretty bowl for every single stinkin' thing :-)
  31. Great visuals. It felt like I was there. I love Thanksgiving food and all the prep and even the mounds of dirty dishes. Well done!


  1. [...] I’m kinda breaking the rules. Because I did post late last night. It’s called Giving Thanks and it’s about the best meal I’ve ever eaten, a prompt from The Red Dress Club. If you [...]
  2. [...] about it. Being with family, the feeling of being so thankful about all the good in my life, the memories from when I was a kid, and of course, the [...]
  3. [...] realize until now that I titled them both exactly the same. The first year I wrote about a meal I loved based on a writing prompt. Last year I wrote about all the things I was thankful for in my [...]
  4. […] holiday. I have written about it every year since I started my blog: the first year I shared about a meal I loved (Thanksgiving, of course), I’ve written about the things I am thankful for, I wrote about […]