Contrary to popular perception, we have "Fall" here in Southern California. It does get cold here, especially in the High Desert, and the trees put on a colorful display. Admittedly it isn't the roaring extravagance of the Sugar Maples of the East, but we are delighted when the cold weather makes an appearance and the Summer has gone away.
Now it is Thanksgiving Day once again--my most favorite American holiday. Perhaps it is because I am a recovering compulsive overeater, and the prospect of all the traditional fare makes my heart beat just a little bit faster. Or perhaps it is about the getting together of our family--an extended family, to be sure, but family nevertheless. It is a time when we re-connect and take the time to acknowledge that we are all important to one another. It is the day that almost forces us to stop and give thanks in a very particular way.
Each Thanksgiving Day we have a short service at our church and one of the traditional components is that each person lists something for which they are truly thankful. Without exception it is for special friends and for family--whether biological or not is unimportant. Those that function as "family" are the people who love us no matter what we say or do, who have patience in letting us be ourselves, who encourage with their words and actions, who give unconditional, non-judgmental love. It isn't always easy to be that kind of family person. We all want to hold one another to a standard, and perhaps that is a part of tough love, too. But most of all, I have learned that each person in my "family" is one who makes me a better person by forcing me to care about them for themselves and not because they conform to my ideas of who they need to be.
So here's to all of us . . . friends, family, book-lovers all, whether American or International, how ever you spend the 25th of November 2010, may your heart be filled with gratitude for blessings of many kinds and varieties. And for those of us who love to eat, have a great time on Thanksgiving Day, and savor those left-overs. Until next time . . .