giving thanks

This Thanksgiving was certainly one I will never forget. It was the perfect mix of fun and laughter, new and old friends, the calm and craziness of cooking all in time for the main event – the turkey. We started the day with a community turkey trot and ended the day full in hearts and bellies.

Joda and I had expected about 8 people as of Thanksgiving Eve, but the day of brought more guests, more hearts, and more warmth for our tiny apartment than we had originally anticipated. And while I had wanted each guest to share their reason for thanks this year, we let that sometimes forced activity go. Luckily, I have this blog to share my reason for thanks.

As you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit silent from the blogging world for a couple weeks now. I had the privilege of stepping up as the chef for the senior citizens in our county for the past month. I’ve learned so much about large quantity cooking, food ordering, meal planning, managing, prep, and getting a meal on a plate and out the door exactly at the lunch hour. And let me tell you, senior citizens can be a critical bunch when it comes to meals. This new set of tasks has left me exhausted but inspired in my professional (dream) work. Yes, I was still attempting to complete my other job description, but much of that was sidetracked as I focused on feeding such a great generation of people. I felt my heart instantly relax as I stepped into the kitchen and my mind was able to organize the tasks at hand. And while I know my cooking career is a little ways off, I am inspired by this experience. I am thankful for the fact that I am employed and tasted the flavors of my future despite my current position having nothing to do with cooking. I am thankful that I was able to get to know so many inspiring senior citizens, hearing their unexpectedly extravagant life stories leading to how they ended up in this small town. For the first time in 5 months, I am beginning to feel like I belong here.

In my personal life, I could not be more thankful for the friendships I have made in Colorado. Since moving to Denver almost 3 years ago, I knew one person in the whole state. Now, I have friends that continue to grow closer even though I have moved around several times. I am thankful for these friends showing up for Thanksgiving ready to assist with anything that needed to be done. While I wish I could have made every dish perfectly and on my own, my skills are just not that advanced and my small kitchen could not have handled that volume of work. So friends brought food and coordinated the kitchen efforts when my energy was gone. And everything was perfect. And my husband, bringing his superior bartending skills and humor to the kitchen made everyone at ease. He is the perfect ying to my yang and my love for him grows more and more every day.

So, between returning home for Thanksgiving with my family earlier this month to cooking Thanksgiving for the senior citizens (in 2 locations) to an unfortunate event where I ordered Thanksgiving dinner out at a local restaurant – I’ve had my fill of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing for the year. But, honestly, it’s been an entire month of realizing I have so much to be thankful for – my job, my husband, my family, my friends, my health – and if the food on thanksgiving is a direct relationship to showing us how much we have in this life, I’ll take that any day.

With love,

From Jess’ Kitchen

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