The Lesson I Learned from My Cooked Turkey that Flew on Thanksgiving Day!

Our turkey flew this Thanksgiving! It began its flight when I took it out of my oven then ended its journey on my dining room table. Some may be wondering how a dead turkey could fly. Give me a few moments of your time and I’ll tell you how!

15220004_10211349300912187_8924012300067815499_n

My favorite day of the year arrived! It was Thanksgiving morning and everyone was still asleep. I could not let my family miss out on such a great day, so I blasted music, sang loudly and danced my heart out in the middle of the living room. Sleepy faces appeared and curled up on the sofa with the warm blankets that are stored next to the fireplace. Dad appeared and joined me in my “Wake Up” call by dancing with me.

Once everyone was fully awake, chores were assigned and Thanksgiving meal prep began. We started out with our family’s tradition of Thanksgiving breakfast. Quiche, pancakes, sausage and bacon. This part of Thanksgiving is important because I don’t usually make breakfast. My children love this part of the day!

15178127_659430307558945_113913651186217404_n

Once breakfast was done, we started on meals for dinner. As our turkey warmed in the oven, I noticed the oven was on fire. Yes, the oven that I had planned to clean for weeks. The oven that was extremely essential for this moment. The oven that I needed right then was on fire!

I kept my calm as Ruben turned the oven off. I set myself to another task as I waited for the extremely needed oven to cool down. In my zest to wipe down the filthy oven, I broke the coil that makes it hot! I broke my oven on Thanksgiving day!

I must admit that I was a little delirious for about an hour. I mean, this is my favorite holiday and my turkey isn’t warm! I still needed to cook the ham and bake my peach cobbler! My favorite day was morphing into a tragedy!

We decided to send the turkey, ham and cobbler to my mom’s house to warm it up there.  Our turkey began it’s journey to grandma’s house. After a while, my mom called to say that her oven couldn’t fit it all so the turkey would have to go to my aunt’s house to warm.

The turkey took it’s next expedition west to Auntie’s house. All the while, I had given up. I was tired. How could my oven break on Thanksgiving day? In order for me to effectively pity myself, I asked Jonathan to make his famous rice and peas. He kept asking me to help him, but I chose to wallow in my sadness in my bed with a Hallmark Christmas movie.

It felt fair to be upset. Things weren’t going my way! Pouting was just right. Sulking just felt like the right thing to do. You know, the right response to my upset in the day! I mean, guests were on their way over and I had no turkey. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I chose to brood over my day all alone.

As I sulked, John was in the kitchen. Jo was lying in his bed recovering from the previous day’s tooth extraction. Selina, Ashley and the girls were looking at dresses online. Jr. was in the bed with a fever and I had no idea where Jojo happened to be. Ruben was in the house too, tinkering with something. Josh is away serving our country, but he called.

My family was here and I was angry about a turkey!

Common sense became my friend once again and I quickly shut off the television. I remembered why Thanksgiving is my favorite day. I do love the food, but my all time most favorite part of the day is spending it with family. It’s the one day of the year that I can count on us all being together.

I love Thanksgiving!

More family and friends arrived. My aunt Cookie walked in with turkey, “Here is the turkey that flew all over Virginia!” We prayed, laughed and embraced. My favorite part of the day was the cuddling that occurred between Ruben and me on our living room chair when no one was looking. Football cheering and jeering went on. Christmas movies and old friends made the day even sweeter.

15232318_10211349298112117_2163870937478495319_n

Thanksgiving is a simple reminder of who we are as a people. It’s an expression of our faith in a group of people who know us to the core. It’s a statement of our unity and an agreement of where we stand.

The house may be full of different people with varying ideas, but we use this day to confirm our connection to one another. Thanksgiving is our way of showing our solidarity as a community. The sharing of this meal in particular is a reflection of our heart’s hope. Our desire to be one, yet unique as individuals is our goal.

We can all be different, yet love. We can all not agree, yet love. We can each be who we are, yet love. That’s how it looks in our family on Thanksgiving day. We are a bunch of people who are one because of the blood we share, yet we are very different in our approach to walking out our faith. It took me some time, but I’m okay with that.

Thanksgiving helps me to stay connected to those who help to keep me linked to reality.

My flying turkey helped to make me remember why this day means so much. The historical truth of this day is relived every year when we share our tables with others. Hopefully this epiphany will continue in home each day of the year.

I’m grateful for the upset that occurred in my day on my special holiday. My dead turkey flew and ended up at the right place at the right time. Surrounded by lots of hungry people who have tried and tested love while ready to eat.

Beneath the Smiles

cropped-2016dominguez-62.jpgI recently posted our family photos to Facebook. It was amusing to read the comments of our friends and family. Some were astounded by our photogenic qualities and shared a desire to be more like us. Those comments produced much laughter within our home.

Considering the fact that authenticity is my way to go (often times to a fault), sleep will continue to escape me if I don’t let you know what was really going on the day we posed for these pictures! Truly, smiles can be hatched when standing before a camera. Smiles are what we all know how to do well. No one really wants anyone to know the truth of what lies beneath the smile.

Ruben and I had a very heated discussion on our way home from church that day. “I told you we had to leave early, now the photographer has been waiting for us, I need to make lunch and get ready for our photo shoot!” I guess you can tell that I was not a happy camper!

“Well, we were sitting on the front row of a televised service! We weren’t getting up in the middle of the message. I told you to sit in the back, but you didn’t want to listen!” Now imagine that with a cute thick accent and lots of hand movements while driving.

“You know that I don’t like to sit in the back! We could’ve walked out when the cameras weren’t facing us!” Okay, so I was hungry and delirious at this point!

“Vicki,” that cute accent again, “calm down. It will be okay.”

I was really flipped-out at this point, “That’s easy for you to say! I have to make lunch and get ready and make sure that the rest of you look good too! Can I just order pizza?”

“No way!” The fury transferred from my seat to his as he referred to the message we just heard at church, “We are not spending any money! Were you listening to the message this morning? Was pizza planned into our budget for today? No, it wasn’t, so no pizza!” Then he went on to tell me about all of the leftovers in the fridge and of the bread and lunch meat that we could have for lunch.

I told him to figure out lunch and that I would get myself ready for the pictures. His agitation was clearly acknowledged by my heart and it made me livid! 

I stormed into the house, “Mom, you’re late!” I guess Selina thought my phone wasn’t working and I couldn’t see all of her texts. I didn’t respond with my mouth, but in my mind I said, “Shut up!”

The guys fought over the color shirts they would wear. I didn’t see the hair cuts that I told them all to get! Someone bought Jojo a short sleeve shirt and not the long sleeve one that I wanted! John and Ashley had a meeting to attend, so we had to rush and everyone was upset because they expected pizza but dad was making them all prepare sandwiches! And in the midst of all of the frustration, I had to move heaven and earth to get the twins to wear the same color!

I slid on my new dress that my girls convinced me to purchase. I felt huge in that dress and funny feeling with those little boots! But, oh well-it was what I had, so here we go!

We walked across the street to the lake and argued over where we would stand! At a certain point our photographer told us all to shut up and to focus! She is our friend, she can do that! 

During the photo shoot, she didn’t just tell me to hug Ruben. She said things like, “Hug him as if he makes you feel safe.” Things like, “Walk towards one another and tell each other why you love one another.”

I said, “This is not marriage counseling, this is a photo shoot.”

She smiled in her strong, bossy way and said, “Just do it.”

I obeyed, thus “picture day” refined my attitude!15068439_10210595291539411_2572721016275295681_o

Listen friends, we are just as normal as everyone else. We disagree in our home. We don’t always like being together. We sometimes need separate space. We are not always smiling!

I know we took really nice pictures and that most of us are photogenic, but below the surface of those pretty smiles lie many reasons to forgive; lots of chances to believe and whole lot of hope.

Our love has lasted because we understand that love  is a choice. Love isn’t an emotion or a thing to do when we feel like it. Love is an action that occurs when your heart is pierced to the core. Love arises when those you love the most hurt you the most.

Love is an energy that flows despite the opposing current.

Our family is so far from perfect. We’ve fallen. We’ve hurt.

Our imperfection only gives our Perfect Father the ability to shine. His perfect love keeps us together. His perfection keeps us strong.

Our smiles reflect Him. Our pretty faces belong to His ability to resurrect us. There have been times when I didn’t think that we would make it, but Love kicked in!

Love reigns in our abode.

Love gives us what we need to forgive and to move on.

Love enables us to believe in one another again. Over and over and over again.

Love helps to make us stand when we’ve knocked the other down.

Love raises us up out of our failures.

So, come out of your isolation and tell your truth.  Why is it so hard to just say what hurt or to express what you think? I guess the answer lies within each of us. Once we are willing to deal with the truth of ourselves, we open the door to allow others in.

Enjoy our photos; but most of all, relish in the goodness of the one who enables us to smile.

15000010_10210594448278330_7711662315213106179_o