Our family tradition may appear similar to yours. My mother’s side of the family travels from one end of the Midwest to the other to gather at our house for Thanksgiving. We make ham and turkey, stuffing, mouth-watering mashed potatoes, jello-fruit-marshmallows (what in the world is this called?!), and pumpkin pie. My grandparents bring cranberries and an assortment of pies (usually apple or pecan), one of my uncles brings dinner rolls and ice cream, and my aunt, uncle, and cousins bring green bean casserole and macaroni and cheese for the younger (pickier) eaters. We play games, work on jigsaw puzzles, play music, catch up on life, and try to keep the children active so they sleep peacefully on the drive back to their home. Dinner is a short affair, to be honest, but the time together is never long enough!
It’s that time of year when America pauses and thinks back on what they’re thankful for in the last several months. Say what you want about the history of Thanksgiving and the subsequent events that followed, or how we live in a gimme-gimme, instant gratification, #firstworldproblems society. The heart of Thanksgiving is touching and important, especially during rough and turbulent times such as these.
This year, I thought I’d share what I’m thankful for and post a book recommendation from what I read in 2015 that features an excellent example of a cast of characters living that life.
MY SUPPORTIVE FAMILY || It’s been a wild ride this year in the Crockett household, many joys and rough patches and celebrations and disagreements. We always manage to come together and figure things out, supporting one another and challenging each other. I could not be more thankful for the kind of family I have. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
the books featuring strong families . . . Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway / Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling || Emmy’s family is (rightfully) overprotective, but even after their emotional roller-coasters, they love one another deeply and compromise. I’m always impressed with the Weasley family, especially in the opening scenes of the fourth Potter installment. In times of turmoil and distress, they’re always looking out for one another, even Percy the Git.
MY REMARKABLE FRIENDS IN REAL LIFE || Did you hear what they did for me in September? I still can’t get over it. They’re 100% supportive and encouraging and fun and understanding and a whole host of wonderful adjectives every year. But this year in particular, they really rallied together and permanently established the biggest space in my heart. I fully plan to grow old with these ladies.
the book featuring remarkable friendships . . . The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord || Paige’s friends are wonderful. They’ve got a range of personalities and interrelationship dynamics and opinions, but they’ll firmly stand by her side and watch out for her, through thick and thin.
MY FANTASTIC BLOGGER FRIENDS || It feels silly to separate IRL friends from blogger friends, since I probably talk to Lindsey and Morgan and the rest of the book community more than I see my IRL friends. But I have to separate them because it feels great to go to people outside the situations in my life and gain perspective. They’re intelligent women and massive fangirls. You gotta have an outlet for that energy and enthusiasm!
the books featuring unique/unlikely friendships . . . Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee / A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis || Sammy and Grace are thrust into unique, terrifying, dangerous situations. If it weren’t for those scenarios, they would not have met the ragtag crew that quickly become their closest companions. I’m a firm believer than some of the strongest friendships arise from unique life events!
THE BRITISH BEAU || Because duh. The feels. He makes life better than fiction!
the books featuring a heart-pounding romance . . . Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier / The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan || RED AND SORCHA FOREVER. BEX AND NICK FOREVER.
LIVING A STABLE LIFESTYLE || In light of recent world events, I’m thankful and grateful to be living in a permanent home with a roof over my head, lots of food stored away to eat, and a comfortable, warm bed. While there’s terror and turmoil domestically and internationally, and threats are all around, I can’t help but remember what I’ve been blessed with in my life. I can only hope to one day provide such safety and comfort to another.
the books featuring rocky, uncertain times . . . At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen / Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman || The protagonists in each of these books endure war-torn hardships, fear, and unstable lifestyles. It makes for great fiction, but we must remember that these lifestyles are still very real for large populations of the world.
MY CAREER IN THE BOOK INDUSTRY || From my awesome boss and managers to the talented clients and book-hungry customers, I’m incredibly thankful to be employed in this economy. It’s also a blessing to be employed in an area you love. Bonus points for that!
the books featuring interesting employment . . . Beastly Bones by William Ritter / A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott || Abigail stumbled upon her career with Jackaby as a detective’s assistant, and she thoroughly enjoys it. Especially when her new career blends with her passion for paleontology. Same thing happens to Julie when she arrives in Hollywood. She wants to be a screenwriter, but becomes an assistant to an actress, and a whole host of wonderful opportunities open up to her.
What are you thankful for in 2015? What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions with friends and family? Are there any books that you think have similar messages or examples of what you’re thankful for?
May your day be filled with love and cheer!