Happy belated Thanksgiving.

I’ve missed posting anything on OkieWineGirl mainly because this Okie Wine Girl has been wrestling with preparing for the holidays. Honestly, I’ve dreaded Thanksgiving for the past two months. Many nights have been spent being awoken by spinning thoughts of gloom and disaster. Grief gave way to fear and fear turned to anger and anger back to fear. For the first time, my heart understood why many choose to skip the holidays. But the inner part of me, the place where I live, has longed for peace, joy and laughter and a touch of healing. I didn’t, and still don’t, want to waste any more energy on grief or lose more important moments to sorrow. Grief has made me weary and I knew when Thanksgiving arrived, if I was to celebrate with the right perspective, it would have to come from a resource outside of my wounded heart. God was going to have to move in and around me to produce what I longed for because choosing to be thankful was taking a ginormous effort.

Sorry for letting the bummer vibe come out. I thought this was going to be an easy post focused on the love of family and friends, how great the day went, all the blessings from the Lord, the delicious wine my cousin brought from Europe, and reminiscing over a glass of Cava about last Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the more I type, the more I seem to be sinking into melancholy. Our pastor recently reminded us our minds i.e. thoughts, drive our emotions so I’m going to turn back to dwelling on the precious and happy memories of the past week. Where to start? 

The only way to describe how the holiday unfolded is to compare it to relaxing on the couch wrapped in a warm blanket while watching your favorite movie. A comforting blanket knit by God. Comforting inside: a peaceful spirit, and outside: a loving family. Joyful. Peaceful. Easy-going. In the end, none of my fears about the day came to fruition, but only peace surpassing understanding. This had been my prayer when fear came:

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Everyone seem to enjoy the meal and each other. These days, since my mom passed away, I worry a lot about my dad dealing with special occasions. Stress tends to set off his autoimmune disease and tank his diabetes with unfortunate results. However, not this time. Just one more reason to thank the Lord. While I was busy setting up the buffet, I turned around and caught my dad sheepishly grinning at me as he snuck a Heineken from the fridge. I know it was still a hard day for him but he genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself as he visited with various relations.

My cousin from Alaska via Arkansas, who loves wine even more than me and got to cruise around Europe and several wineries last month, brought us wine from Mallorca, Spain and Tuscany. I suspect when my cousin retires, she’ll probably move to Tuscany and manage a Wine Tasting venue. Maybe she’ll even give me a job washing the wine glasses to pay for my room, board and wine. img_0086

She brought Gallinas & Focas 2013 Mallorca, Spain 13.5%Alc. It’s comprised of 90% Manto Negro & 10% Syrah. My first Manto Negro. It was slightly sweet with subtle berries and earth and great with turkey. Or so I was told. I’m not a big turkey connoisseur but it was delicious with the small bite I had. However, it went really well with the huge helping of broccoli casserole and homemade cranberry sauce I piled on my plate in lieu of the turkey. Sidenote: My first attempt at fresh cranberry sauce. As the saying goes, “Had I only known”. The recipe is from Suzanne and her blog, apuginthekitchen. I think I’ve mentioned her before. Thanks to her simple and elegant sauce, I basked in a steady stream of compliments. Thank you, Suzanne. Her blog is full of wonderful recipes and photos. Gorgeous photos that stay upright. Give her a read, she’s delightful!

Coming back around, Gallinas & Focas wine is produced through a beautiful and touching collaborative work that benefits those with a few more challenges in life than average folks. The effort is guided by Mallorca Oenologist Francesc Grimalt.

“Hens and Seals is fruit of a collaboration between 4Kilos and non-profit organization Amadip Esment, which helps intellectually disabled adults with job placement, social housing, and apprenticeships. The organization’s members participate in the entire winemaking process and are also behind the wine’s label and name! It is a cheerful and unpretentious wine, with pleasant earthiness and vivid acidity.” – indigowine.com

The label features artwork by Amadip Esment members. The participants also chose the wine’s name which is translated ‘Hens and Seals’ because they thought chickens are fun and seals applaud. What a sweet and precious outlook on life. 

img_0082The second bottle was Fattoria Il Poggio Incantate IGT from Tuscany. Dark berries, light tannins and easy-going. I think my cousin and I have very similar tastes. This wine could be the one to get me to drink more Italian.


Later on over the weekend, my husband and I opened Mercat Brut Cava in honor of my mama. Why Cava? It’s a long story about last Thanksgiving in Little Rock, Arkansas, involving a Secret Wine Santa, a hunt for any place still open selling pizza and a laughter filled breakfast with my parents. We toasted to loved ones and the precious moments you only realize later were really treasures God gives to equip you to face the future.

Oh no. Here I go again with the bummer vibe! Ok, I’m coming out of it by mentally pumping my legs as if on a swing, back up into the blue sky where thoughts of gratefulness float like puffy white clouds. Wow. Channeling a bit of Karen Carpenter there. If you spend any time around me, you’ll quickly discover I have a Hallmark channel/K-Drama heart filled with sentimental cheese and wine.

Well, I think that about raps it up. If I could hug you, I would, but since that’s not an option, please accept a thank you instead. 

Grateful, Allison