November 26, 2008
Editor's note: The following guest column was submitted by Teemie Eschenburg. An artist, "farm girl," garden and herb buff, wife and mother, Teemie created and launched Almont's Country Heritage Color Tour and currently operates Teemies Blooms. She and her husband Randy live on a dairy farm.
With Thanksgiving just days away, I've been pondering how to write on this subject as this year has been a tough one for so many folks. Our family lost several loved ones, both dear family members, close friends and sweet pets. It makes it hard to be grateful after dealing with such deep sorrow for so many ongoing sad events.
We've all heard this from our grandparents, right? "Be thankful for what you do have."
In order to avoid becoming entrenched in the sadness of the losses, to avoid becoming bitter or sour about the negative circumstances that are out of our control, it's important to be purposely thankful for the blessings we do have.
In honor of this age-old anecdote, I went ahead and began an official gratitude journal, knowing it would force me to press through the doom and gloom and help to shake it off. Nothing fancy, just a dollar store notebook with lined paper. Here, I'm recording random thoughts of thankfulness, not always neat and tidy but all positive thoughts. Things I'm happy about, proud about, glad to have in my life.
You're there, my readers. Seeing so many of you at the recent events, many of you have encouraged me to keep writing my ramblings and recipes. I thank you for this.
There's notes of thanksgiving about my family, along with friends, our home and farm, with all the blessing they bring. Lots of little lists like hot and cold running water, my kids, my husband who is so great at fixing everything right away, our good health, food on the table, kind acts, freedom, a warm bed at night, a roof over our heads, that needs new shingles, oh, that goes on another list…
This gratitude journal gave way to appreciating the Almont Raiders' District Championship win and for much more than the trophy. It gave us all more positive things to focus on. Friendships and families bonded for life and I came to understand about the "chain-gang," the 10 yardage thingy and the tribal-ness of what football is all about.
The surprising find in all this? For shame, I haven't been as grateful as I should be. For all we've been through this past few months, the blessing for me has been in bringing forth a more grateful heart and a deeper appreciation of life and those I share it with. Grandma and Oprah were right, this does work.
So along with a recipe this week, I'd like to encourage you to start your own simple gratitude journal. It will change your perspective and keep things on a positive note as you face the New Year (that's just around the
corner) with all the challenges that are yet to come.
I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving surrounded in love.
Holiday Cranberry Relish
1-3 oz strawberry Jello
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar (may use ½ cup for a tarter relish)
1-12 oz. package fresh cranberries
2 large oranges with peel
1-8oz can crushed pineapple
1 cup walnuts optional
In large mixing bowl dissolve Jello and sugar with boiling water. Chop cranberries in food processor, add to bowl, stir.
Slice oranges into ¼'s, remove and discard seeds, leaving peel on, chop oranges, add to bowl, stir. Add canned pineapple with juice, stir well to blend flavors. Do not use fresh pineapple as the jello won't gel.
Optional, Add chopped nuts.
Chill over night. Without nuts his recipe may be prepared up to 4 days ahead. Serve as a side dish with turkey.