So let me get it straight: we should fast only when it is convenient for us? when it becomes difficult we should break fast? And it is better to break our fast rather than risk offending the host of a dinner party?
How about we fast according to the guidance of our spiritual father, and the holy canons of our church? I think that is more important than offending someone.
Those are excellent questions! I have found the Church to be a lot gentler on me than I have been, even on myself. I believe we all strive to the best of our ability. The idea is to not judge others, because we don't know what their lives are truly like, and we do not know what their spiritual fathers have given them blessing for. We only know our own, and we work as hard as we can to stick to the instructions we've received.
Since we are all of varying strengths and weaknesses, each person's striving will be different. For instance, it's extremely easy for me to show up at church for every single service. However, we have some people who only come for Pascha. If they start coming every week, it's a great thing, an incredible accomplishment. But for me to come every week, is nothing.
P.S. Thanksgiving is not an Orthodox holiday.
Neither is it a dishonor to Orthodoxy. I believe being thankful for your blessings is a good thing. The world celebrates all kinds of vile things. Should we not encourage them, when they try to do something good, like setting aside a day to be thankful for what they have and share with their families? Of course, it's not going to be 'perfect' - in that, many will celebrate because they love food, and many hate the family members they gather with and only do it out of obligation, etc, etc, etc. But then, are all of our celebrations perfect and done with a pure heart?