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Healing and An Australian Thanksgiving

The holidays have been a difficult time for me for several years. The music, the food, even the decorations were triggers for sad and traumatic moments in my life. Instead of the joy and happiness those things are supposed to elicit, they brought about grief and fear. Rather than feelings of togetherness and belonging, they brought flashbacks to rejection, abandonment, and the abusive religious teachings that governed and crippled me for so many years.

But not this year.

In the last twelve months I have worked through a great many things, pressing through triggers and flashbacks, nightmares and illnesses, rebuilding peace, courage, and strength back into my heart.

I could see the difference in my relationships, my work, my health, but it wasn’t until the holidays rolled around that I saw how the bad things in my past had lost their power. I wasn’t afraid anymore, wasn’t sad, and I could sit quietly with the bad memories instead of reacting to them. I could rest in gratitude for how much real love is in my life now.

I find it hard to express how much this means to me. For a long time it felt like the happiness of the holiday season would never be part of my life again. I’d resigned myself to just getting through Thanksgiving and Christmas instead of truly enjoying them.

I never thought I’d be in the place I am now, belting out Christmas carols with a free heart. They are happy songs for me now, not triggers from a time when I was worthless and didn’t matter. I actually want to decorate now, want to buy and wrap Christmas pressies, want to put up a tree. I was even able to go into a Church for a Christmas market without panic attacks or feeling like something awful was going to happen to me. I went in with courage knowing I am safe and loved, and had a truly lovely time without any of the fear and shame I’ve grown to associate with such places.

So this birthday/Thanksgiving weekend was very special to me, to both Bear and I. And we made the most of it.

I planned a big feast for us and had so much fun baking and cooking up a storm in the kitchen while Bear worked on medieval projects at the table and the rain pelted down.

I roasted a bacon-wrapped turkey breast filled with cranberry sage stuffing that smelled utterly heavenly as it was cooking.

I sliced apples and fried them up with butter and cinnamon and raisins to make Bear his favorite apple raisin pie.

I gave it a Thanksgiving-y twist with a toasted almond oat topping that was so nice with the buttery apples.

Thanksgiving just isn’t right for me without Canadian butter tarts, so I hauled out flour and butter for homemade pastry.

As much as I love traditional butter tarts which are filled with raisins, cranberry butter tarts are my favorite. Their tartness offsets the sweet syrup so beautifully.

Before and after the feasting we relaxed our hearts out. We went to the movies and out for lunch, slept in and ate leftovers, read and napped and chatted, did crafty projects, watched Elementary episodes, and toasted life with cold glasses of champagne.

We loved it, our first Australian Thanksgiving.

Wishing you healing, love, and truly happy holidays. xo

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Kim - Liv Life - Oh, Krista!! I’m so happy that you are feeling “holidayish” and that you’ve overcome so much! My heart warms for you. And that food? Positively divine! Your apple is so juicy and your photography always captures the freshness. I’m working on the holiday feeling myself. It’s not been the best year. Not bad, I really can’t complain. But not the best and I’m feeling Bah Humbug. Working on catching so spirit this week!

Krista - Thanks so much, Liz. 🙂 It has been a lovely time for sure. xo

Krista - “unzipping that invisible suit” – I love that Maureen. 🙂 It is so good to have that burden lifted.

Krista - Thank you, My Kitchen Stories. I’m truly thankful to be here. xo

Krista - I’m very, very grateful that things are changing, Deborah. 🙂 It’s lovely to find this place of peace.

Krista - Thank you, Amanda! The butter tarts are so scrumptious and holiday-ish. 🙂

Krista - Aww, thank you, Jan. 🙂 It feels very good to be in this place now. 🙂 xo

Krista - Oh, butter tarts are my favorite Christmas treat, paradis!! I hope you get to try them soon. 🙂

Krista - Thanks so much, darling Katy! Love you to pieces and can’t wait for our Baltic adventure. 🙂 XO

Krista - You’re right there, @disqus_2yjJojmJOE:disqus 🙂 I’m finding a lot of Aussie creeping into my speech and writing. Thank you for your kind and supportive words. XO

Krista - I’m so glad your Thanksgiving was so peaceful and healing, Sosae. XO It sounds so beautiful. Much love to you as well. 🙂 xo

Liz Posmyk - Happy thanksgiving lovely one… so glad tht this one was particularly special. xx

Maureen - You are unzipping that invisible suit you wear that you’ve needed to protect you for a long time. It’s wonderful that you no longer need it because you’re surrounded by love and acceptance. Happy Thanksgiving.

My Kitchen Stories - Glad to hear you had a lovely time Krista. you must have really worked very hard so you deserve to give many thanks for your perseverance

budgetjan - Lovely Krista, You are making me feel all Christmassy. It is so good you can enter a church without feeling sad – you’re a winner!

Amanda McInerney - Congratulations on pushing through – and it looks as though your cooking has been a great comfort. Those dishes look divine – especiallly the butter tarts. Yum!

Deborah Regen - Holiday times can be full of triggers for many people. Great that you are changing the narrative and finding joy with your husband and new friends in a land far away from childhood place. No ice or snow either!

mlleparadis - sounds sooooo nice! and those butter tarts – new to me, but not for long i hope! do enjoy the rest of your holiday season. nice progress! xo!


katyabroad - Just gorgeous, every bit of this, especially that apple raisin pie! So, so glad to see your happiness and joy this festive season! XO

Margaret | DestinationHere&Now - The fact that you are talking about ‘pressies’ suggests more than just an emotional transition haha. It makes me happy to know that Australia has given you a safe haven, a place where you’ve found love and friendship. All power to you Krista. What a journey you’ve had. May your future path be a little smoother. Happy thanksgiving. xox

Sosae - Your Thanksgiving sounded positively wonderful! I’m so happy to hear that your tireless courage in confronting and working through the past is paying off. It really does help to work on ourselves, doesn’t it? My husband and I had a similarly healing and intimate Thanksgiving, filled with love for the present, hopes for the future, and (timely) farewells to the past! Much love to you and yours! Love your posts, always. xoxo

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