Thanksgiving Weekend

Finally some rain! Oh I know it’s miserable for all the people celebrating this holiday weekend in cottages and cabins, but we REALLY needed rain and as we enter into fall at least one can be all cosy at a cottage with a cheerful fire burning and hot tea to sip (of course I’m not in the countryside, so it is easy to be blasé about it!)
Thanksgiving has always been a favourite holiday of mine. Back in the day Harvest Festival was a BIG DEAL at St. Matthew’s and was held the weekend before National Thanksgiving since so many parishioners went to their cottages on the holiday weekend.  There were cornstalks and a huge quantity of fruits and vegetables decorating the pulpit, chancel railings and sanctuary and for many years I had the privilege of baking a braided Challah loaf, which, along with bunches of fat grapes, graced the altar itself.
As a child on Harvest Festival Sunday my friends and I always watched and waited eagerly to see if one of Archdeacon Martin’s voluminous surplice sleeves would get tangled in a row of apples and cause a noisy cascade onto the floor in front of the pulpit (it happened several times!)
While walking Wil yesterday I was pondering how non-believers are able to celebrate this National Holiday. How to does one “give thanks” when one does not believe in the Giver of the gifts? I suppose people have nebulous thoughts about thanking “Mother Nature” or some vague “Creator being”, but the act of giving thanks is surely so much more powerful  when one can pour out one’s gratitude to the God who made our world and who’s bountiful provision is evident all around us especially at this Harvest Season.
I love the French words for Thanksgiving- Action de Grâce  because they express movement, “action” on our part in saying our “Grace” for these good gifts.
And aren’t there some super Hymns? –“Come ye Thankful People Come”, “We Gather Together” ….so beautiful!
Of course there is so much more for which to give thanks in this good country of Canada. We have so many benefits, such a place of safety and peace in a world  full of disasters and violence.
Looking back even over the past couple of months my own heart is so full of Thanks- for assistance in procuring my new fridge and stove, and also for a huge amount of help on the part of many as I’ve dealt with the computer problems (YES it has been fixed!!!! and under the warranty  too!!). It has not yet made its way back to Montreal but there is hope it might be returned this weekend!!
The work of Day Camps  has continued, despite the missing laptop and today my Inbox included a copy of the just completed Networks Newsletter, which will hopefully be distributed to the CTM readership before the end of the weekend. Progress has  also been made on preparations for the Coffeehouse and next weekend will see both a CTM Board of Directors Meeting and the October Crossroads Youth Service
Yesterday afternoon I had a long phone conversation with a priest in the Maritimes who had decided that, rather than just filling out and sending back the standard Day Camp evaluation form, he wanted to shares with me his thoughts about the Team and Program. I must say I was very relieved to listen to his many positive comments, with only a few small caveats (none of which came as a surprise!)
So with eager anticipation I await the return of the laptop, especially the FILES,  and  as of Tuesday morning the Office, God Willing, can be up and properly running again!
Meanwhile, it looks as if there will be a very small group at church tomorrow, but I have made preparations “just in case”. Monday I shall keep up a very longstanding tradition and begin some Christmas Baking and end the day by roasting a small chicken for a solitary, but heartfelt -Thanksgiving Dinner!
Along with the chicken I will be making my totally favourite Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing and for dessert a Pumpkin Mousse.
All of which makes a good segue for a closing Recipe!

Warm Barley Bowl

  • 1 cup hulled barley
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced and tossed with 1tsp. lemon juice
  • 4oz. Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • Lemon Sauce (see below)

Soak the barley for at least an hour in 2 1/4 cups of cold water then bring to the boil and simmer gently until tender (about 45 minutes). Meanwhile assemble the other ingredients and make the Lemon Sauce:-

  • 1 cup homemade plain yoghurt
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsps. snipped fresh chives

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. When the barley is cooked, place about 1 cup in each person’s bowl and layer on the avocado, Feta and nuts. Top with a ladle of Lemon Sauce. Serves 2 for lunch or a light supper.

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