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Throwback Thursday #14 – Holiday Meals


Lauren is our hostess this Thanksgiving week and she chose a great topic – whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not. The idea of a holiday meal includes any holiday occasion your family celebrates. That covers a lot of ground.

To participate, head over to Lauren’s post, read the rules and join in. Lauren gives a little guidance to get the creative juices flowing:

This week’s prompt is: Holiday Meals.  While most people, here in the U.S.  have the typical Thanksgiving turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, not everyone follows the crowd. Think back to holiday meals you participated in when you were younger. Feel free to write about Thanksgiving, or any other holiday meal you choose. Please share any items of food that you or others might feel are out of the ordinary. Do you have memories of any special or surprise guests that came to any of your holiday meals? Did you ever have a catastrophic holiday meal?  Do you still carry on the same holiday meal traditions you had as a kid, or have you changed things up? Are you now typically the host or hostess for meals (sans Covid) or do you usually participate as a guest? Does your family like to go out for holiday meals, or do you prefer to stay at home? Is your table setting different for holiday meals? Do you decorate the whole house as part of your mealtime mood? Please share some memories of your special holiday meals.


This year we had a small gathering – just my son and his children. My husband fried a turkey outside and I cooked all the traditional holiday side dishes. Our meals have a southern influence, so we include collard greens cooked with smoked turkey wings. I make my grandmother’s cranberry (Jello) salad too. My grandson requested I make carrot cake this year, so I passed on making a pumpkin pie. My husband always asks for a blueberry cheesecake, too, so there is no shortage of desserts. We added a new pre-Thanksgiving tradition this year. My husband bought a portable firepit and Thanksgiving eve we gathered around the fire and made S’mores which the kids loved!

Thinking back to years past a few memories rise to the surface. Dinners at my maternal grandmother’s were always big. All the women would gather in the kitchen to prepare the meal. When it was time to eat, the adults would be seated at the long dining room table my grandfather made, while the plethora of grandchildren would be relegated to any spot they could find, from the piano bench to the long steps that led to the bedrooms. Plates were balanced precariously on our knees.

My father was an only child, so dinner at my paternal grandparents was quite different. My grandmother used her “good” China and everyone sat together in the dining room. On the rare occasion our second and third cousins joined us, there was another table in the utility room when the children ate.

Easter dinner always included a 3D cake shaped like a lamp covered in white frosting and coconut. My sister inherited the Griswold cake mold and used it for years until it was lost in a move across country. I thought about buying one of the molds and found one on sale on ETSY, but at the price of $325 I decided against it.

I do not have a lot of memories of holiday dinners with my nuclear family because I think we were always at one of my grandparents’ houses. I do recall one year when we had Thanksgiving in our house in Ohio. I remember it well, because a man was there installing new tile in our bathroom. Odd, I know. The man tiling the bathroom kept coming in to check on the progress of the game because his son was playing for one of the football teams.

I remember one Thanksgiving when my ex mother-in-law came to visit. I was just about to stuff the turkey when she startled me as she almost screamed and said ”aren’t you going to take the lungs out?” I did not know the turkey had lungs, but they haunted me from that day forward!

One Thanksgiving I was at my father’s and my step-mom was making the turkey. Half way through the bake time, we lost power and my dad decided he would just finish the bird on the charcoal grill. Ha! I don’t think we had turkey that year. A few years later, we were again there for Thanksgiving. Everyone was seated at the table when my step-mom came into the dining room carrying the beautifully baked turkey. As she got to the edge of the table, she made an abrupt turn and went back into the kitchen. It seems she had baked the turkey with the entire bag of giblets in the cavity and she was horrified when she saw it!

I remember one very sad Thanksgiving. It was the year I was divorced and my children left to spend Thanksgiving with my ex and his parents. I did not cook just for myself. I stayed in my pajamas and watched tv all day, feeling rather sorry for myself. It was the only Thanksgiving I ever spent alone and I vowed to never do it again.

There have been so many lovely family holiday meals in my life. I have truly been blessed. We are always thankful when included at the table of friends and family. The best meals are those enjoyed with the people we love.

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Thanksgiving – #WATWB

Image that says we are the worldIt is the last Friday of the month of November and the day after Thanksgiving in America – a perfect  time to share the good news happening throughout the world.

We all know 2020 has been difficult. So much loss. So many companies and businesses going out of business and so many personal celebrations cancelled.

So where’s the good news? Well, some of it lies with a couple that decided to cancel their plans for a lovely wedding reception because of the pandemic. They married without the normal hoopla but the deposit for the caterer was non-refundable.

That’s when they decided to use that money to purchase 200 meals to help a local non-profit provide a nice Thanksgiving meal for their clients.

Read their story here.


Want to read more good news or join in the effort to contribute to the spreading of good news throughout the world?

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One Liner Wednesday – Thanksgiving


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in America. I read an article about all the empty chairs that will be around America’s tables this year. It is sobering to consider what the loss of over a quarter of a million people means to families across our country. The numbers are so large now we use words like ‘over’ and I often to think about how many individual families are contained in that four-letter word.

It is Staggering.

Yet, this holiday is meant for us to think about what we have to be thankful and grateful for and I do have a lot. With such a difficult year, it is easy to lose track of that.

For those of you that lost friends and loved ones to the pandemic, my heart breaks along with yours. I wish I had words that might bring you comfort and truly express my heartfelt sadness for your loss.

I have hope for what lies ahead for us. Hope that our country will find its center again. Many of us have felt so lost in the political mire of the current administration. There is much to heal from.

There appear to be three viable vaccines on the horizon. If we can continue the efforts and the struggle and find patience a little longer, perhaps we will see a better year ahead of us.

I am such a family oriented person this time has been particularly lonely for me. I am so thankful for the phone calls and videos and Zoom calls that have kept us in touch. I miss the hugs so much and when I think about it, I am so grateful they love me enough to stay at a distance and keep us safe.

My husband, my partner, my loving companion throughout this year – I do not know what I would have done with him. He made my world seem somewhat normal every day. To sit and chat over morning coffee, stretching the morning as long as possible has been a blessing. He created a space for me to make jewelry which has been wonderful. He has picked up the majority of our groceries and has cooked as many meals as I have. I am so thankful for him.

I have been fortunate to have a few very dear and very close friends I can call on at any time. It has been so comforting to know I have good friends only a phone call away. We laugh, we cry, we talk and sometimes silence even takes over for a few minutes. It is a good feeling to have this closeness when the world can seem so harsh.

My children delight me with texts and calls and it has helped us stay close. Sometimes it is just a photo or a funny meme, but it is also sometimes a deep and moving chat and those are the best. It is definitely a time to make the best of the hand we have been dealt.

And here? This blogging community? What a wonderful community of people. I definitely give thanks for all of you and the gifts you have brought into my life.

Yes, it has been a tough year. And one that will definitely go down in the history books. The holidays are upon us and my heart recalls so many precious memories of family and friends throughout the years. I hope we can all persevere a little longer so we can see more of those celebratory times in the future.

This a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.
Maya Angelou


One Liner Wednesday is brought to us each week by Linda Hill. Check out Linda’s blog to see what others have to say with just one line.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Day 49

Today is Thanksgiving. I, like most people, will be spending the day with family and friends.

Today I want to thank my online friends and those following along on this 365 day journey with me. I am thankful for your presence in my life. I appreciate you taking this journey along with me.

I hope today will find you celebrating the blessings in your life. You are among mine.

For those who are lonely or struggling, I hold you in my thoughts and prayers and hope you will be uplifted today.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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Mindfullness

Day 33

We had to leave home early today to take my car for service. It’s an import, so no one in my little town works on them. The drive down takes about an hour and hubby follows me down since the service takes a good part of the day. We usually have scheduled errands or appointments that take up the day, but today was not one of those days. After we dropped the car off we had a late breakfast and decided to spend the day just going where the wind blew us.

The Drive

IMG_7549The drive down was a little precarious. We ran into some heavy rain and wind. As I drove I watched the wind whip through the trees. A lot of the leaves fell from the trees making me thankful we took Sunday to drive the Parkway for the last time this year. I would imagine in a few days, much of the color will be turning a rusty orange and fall will slowly inch toward winter.

Even with the rain, the view was beautiful. The road has small hills and valleys and lots of curves. In the valleys, the temperature combined with the humidity to create a beautiful steamy fog in some places. I kept thinking about how lucky I was to be there in this moment to experience the drive. The leaves on the ground were wet and reflective like glass. So beautiful in their simplicity.

People

Today I saw several people who had very blank expressions. I am a people watcher and try to be cautious I do not make people nervous. The few times people caught my eye I simply smiled and their face lit up and the returned the smile. I love it when that happens. We can all spend so much time internalizing and turning inward, it’s nice when we let our guard down.

We spent some time ‘window shopping’ at the mall. I bought a latte at Starbucks to sip while we looked through a few of the stores. A beautiful woman working behind the makeup counter at one of the department stores commented about how good the coffee looked. We chatted for a moment, she told me she was returning to Atlanta tonight — going home. She seemed genuinely happy at the thought.

Giving Thanks

Today I gave thanks for so many things that crossed my path. The rain, the people, the sky and little messages I received throughout the day. I read a heartfelt message from my daughter which made me so thankful that my children are in such a good place. They love each other dearly which is what I always hoped for. Siblings that are there for each other when things get tough are a godsend.

We have such a wonderful blended family and that is such a blessing to me. We all enjoy each other’s company and spending time together is always fun. We have started to make plans for Thanksgiving and a few events in December so the season is already getting off to a good start.

Listening

IMG_7706I am so thankful today that I can be here when people need someone to talk to. I have had several friends and family with heart wrenching situations this past week. To be here as a shoulder or a friend or a confidant makes us all feel better. I was always a better listener than a talker, so perhaps it is just part of my reason for being here. Regardless, I am thankful that we can be here for one another.

Today has been about mindfulness. Observing my environment. Connecting with people and giving thanks. Days like this make me realize that none of us are ever intended to travel this life alone. It took so little to gain so much today. I am so grateful. Every day, no matter where we are or what tasks lie ahead, there is much to be mindful of.

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes.
All is a miracle.”
Thich Nhat Hanh