May your table be filled with thanks

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It’s Thanksgiving Day. The day we set aside to give thanks for all of our blessings and gather as family and friends to commemorate the day with a bountiful table laden with a feast.

My hope for this 22nd day in my 30 Days of Thanks Giving is that amidst the hustle and bustle of food preparation, assembling those you love around the dinner table, parades on the television, and football games galore, that you take the opportunity to pause, express gratitude for your many blessings, and remember that every day should be a thanks giving day. 

Because we have this treasure – a gem really – given to us each day we live to give thanks. 

Happy Thanksgiving from Mama’s Empty Nest. May you be blessed this day.

“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.” ~ E.P. Powell

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

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Words for Wednesday: Thanksgiving table

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On this 21st day of my 30 Days of Thanks Giving, I’m thankful to be able to prepare not just one table to gather my loved ones around for a feast of good food, but the room to set another table as well.  Fifteen family members will gather to give thanks in our home.

Family. A warm house to gather in. Enough food to satisfy our hunger. And faith in the God who provides it all. 

What more could I be thankful for?

“If I have enjoyed the hospitality of the Host of this universe, Who daily spreads a table in my sight, surely I cannot do less than acknowledge my dependence.”  ~ G.A. Johnston Ross

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Grace for family gatherings

blogIMG_2113“Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live.”  ~ Attributed to Jacqueline Winspear

Often, a quotation like the one above just hits me.  I know exactly where I want to use that quote, exactly what I will write to share on this blog, and that quote is perfect for it.

Grace. It’s what we call that little prayer before we sit down to eat the meal placed before us and no doubt, many folks will say grace before they indulge in a Thanksgiving feast.

But grace IS so much more. Grace is defined as good will. Grace means mercy; it describes God’s divine love and protection bestowed freely upon us humans.

Grace is a gift granted to us from God. But I wonder how often we willingly give that gift of grace to others? To those who do us wrong? To those who don’t agree with us? Even to members of our own families?

Thanksgiving Day arrives in just two days. And here at Mama’s Empty Nest, the holiday comes with some extended family to join us around the Thanksgiving table.

On Wednesday,  the day before the feast, 2/3 of our grown offspring will arrive from those places they call home in a different state than us. It will be a joyful homecoming for certain and a house full once more of noise and clutter and laughter and…if we’re honest…even a bit of annoyance.

When you put so many people, including young children, in one house, there’s bound to be some occurrence or someone that says or does something to put our shorts in a knot. It’s just how families are. It would be nice to think we all portray that pleasant Norman Rockwell painted family as we gather around the Thanksgiving table.

But reality says differently. Human nature reveals that someone may get their feelings hurt. Someone may insult another even if he’s unaware that he’s doing so. Someone may be so stressed by preparing the fixings for the feast that she’s a little testy with her words. Someone pays more attention to the cell phone than the people in the same room. One child may grab a toy out of another’s hands and crying results. Someone is miffed because the hot water runs out in the middle of her shower.

It happens. Disagreements, short tempers, cranky feelings. It occurs in our families because none of us are perfect. And none of us possess perfect families.

But when family togetherness goes awry,  we remember the gift given to us by a loving Father even when we are the worst offenders. We apply the balm of grace and offer up thanksgiving for our families and for the love for one another that covers a multitude of wrongs. And for the God who grants us grace.

And on this 20th day of my 30 Days of Thanks Giving, I give thanks for family and grace.

Below I hope you enjoy this amusing but poignant video about family at Thanksgiving.   

“It is delightfully easy to thank God for the grace we ourselves have received, but it requires great grace to thank God always for the grace given to others.” ~James Smith

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Thanksgiving History

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I’m married to someone who spends quite a bit of time in the past.

He doesn’t necessarily pine for the past, he just likes reading about it, learning more about things that have happened before, visiting places from long ago.

He is a history lover. You know how they say “Hindsight is 20/20?” Well, in hindsight, looking back over his past career choices now that retirement looms near, my husband thinks he would have enjoyed being a history teacher.

The book shelves in our home office are lined with history books collected over the years. And the papa of this empty nest has read every single one of them, some over again. He soaks up historical facts. He lingers over museum displays, reading every item. He watches historical documentaries on television or DVD.

History is just one of those aspects of life on this earth that appeals to him so much and he enjoys immensely. And while I don’t have nearly the same enthusiasm Papa has for history, I do appreciate it. I believe we need to know where we’ve been so we can move forward into the future. We need to know what mistakes we made in the past, so we try not to repeat them. We should learn and understand what our forefathers accomplished when our great nation was just beginning.

Comprehending history from yesterday helps us be thankful for today, this very day in my 30 Days of Thanks Giving.  As the day set aside to commemorate Thanksgiving arrives in less than a week, I thought it would be interesting to remind myself (and you, my readers) how this day came to exist as a national holiday here in the United States. 

Watch the video below and perhaps, appreciate the history behind Thanksgiving Day and those who came before us to commemorate the day.

The focus of Thanksgiving should be a reflection of how our lives have been made so much more comfortable by the sacrifices of those who have come before us.” ~ Emmons

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Tradition

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Tradition. To some folks, it just wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving if certain traditions weren’t followed.

And that pertains to the food served on the day we set aside for thanks as well. In addition to the huge Tom Turkey that is the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving feast, many families serve other traditional food too.  Green bean casserole? Tradition. Pumpkin pie? Tradition. Cranberry sauce? Tradition.

When I was growing up, we celebrated Thanksgiving at one of two places – either at my parents’ home or at my aunt and uncle’s.  Tradition.

When we celebrated the holiday at my aunt and uncle’s home, just my parents and I joined them because my older sisters were already married and feasting with their in-laws. 

My mother would help out in my aunt’s kitchen where a table elongated enough to accommodate us all would take up most of the room. Dad and Uncle would sit in the front room and discuss whatever came to mind. Sometimes politics was involved because my uncle had pretty strong opinions about such things. Most likely, rather than argue, my dad would just sit and listen.

That left my cousin, who was seven years older than me, to keep me entertained while we waited for the Thanksgiving meal to be ready. We always sat in the TV room and watched the Thanksgiving Day parades on television.  Another tradition.

When my family celebrated the holiday at my parents’ home, again there were traditions that were followed. One of those was the fruit salad, called 24-Hour Salad, that my mother made and served at the Thanksgiving table. Every year. Without fail. Tradition.

I was the only one in my family who didn’t like that salad because of the vinegary taste of the homemade mayonnaise dressing. So when I began preparing our own Thanksgiving feasts after Papa and I married, 24-Hour Salad was not a tradition.

But eventually, we started our own. In addition to pumpkin pie, I make pumpkin bread. Instead of stuffing the turkey, I prepare stuffing balls that are baked in the oven. And in lieu of 24-Hour Salad, I serve another kind of fruit salad with an unusual name – Frog Eye Salad. I assure you it is tasty and I also assure you that there are no real frog eyes in this fruity salad.

Tradition. Every year.

I acquired the recipe many years ago in the Midwest when I attended a ladies retreat with a friend from church.  In a lovely retreat center, we were treated to delicious homemade meals prepared by Mennonite cooks.  They so graciously shared the recipe with those of us who thought the fruit salad – the Frog Eye Salad – was delightfully yummy.

And that’s how our own family tradition began.  I started preparing this salad for holiday dinners, especially at Thanksgiving and Easter. Our children were eager to always see a big bowl of it on the table and it became a family favorite.

When we gather for a holiday meal, the most frequently asked question when it comes to Thanksgiving Dinner is “Are we going to have Frog-Eye Salad?” We’ve even lured our son-in-law into this food tradition; he’s always happy when there is enough left-over salad so our daughter and he can take a container home.  

I’m not really much of a ‘foodie’ so I don’t even think I’ve ever shared a recipe here at Mama’s Empty Nest, so this is a first. But I’m willing to share this tradition with my readers in case you’re intrigued by the name of this fruit salad.

FROG EYE SALAD

Ingredients:

1 (8oz) package acine de pepe pasta

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 beaten egg

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained (reserve juice)

1 can pineapple tidbits, drained (reserve juice)

¾ cup pineapple juice from drained pineapple

3 small cans mandarin oranges

1 carton Cool Whip

1 cup mini marshmallows

Directions:  Cook acine de pepe pasta 8-10 minutes. Drain well, place in large serving bowl, and allow to cool. Boil sugar, flour, egg and the 3/4 cup reserved pineapple juice in a small saucepan until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool. Pour cooled, cooked pineapple mixture over acine de pepe. Stir to cover pasta with mixture. Cover and let chill overnight in refrigerator. The next morning, add crushed, drained pineapple, drained pineapple tidbits, drained mandarin oranges, mini marshmallows, and Cool Whip. Stir gently to mix completely. Chill again prior to serving.

Traditions. On this 15th day of my 30 Days of Thanks Giving, I am grateful for traditions that link us to one another. Traditions that link us to the past. Traditions we can carry into the future.

And I’m joining my family in being thankful for Frog Eye Salad.

“It is literally true, as the thankless say, that they have nothing to be thankful for. He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. But a thankful heart hath a continual feast.” ~ W.J. Cameron

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

How happy people live

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Giving thanks. It’s not really difficult to do. It’s not daunting to find aspects of life to be grateful for if you truly try. If you look at your blessings instead of your trials.

Priscilla Maurice, an author from the 1800’s, penned this advice:  “Begin with thanking Him for some little thing, and then go on, day by day, adding to your subjects of praise; thus you will find their numbers grow wonderfully; and, in the same proportion, will your subjects of murmuring and complaining diminish, until you see in everything some cause for thanksgiving. If you cannot begin with anything positive, begin with something negative. If your whole lot seems only filled with causes for discontent, at any rate there is some trial that has not been appointed you; and you may thank God for its being withheld from you. It is certain that the more you try to praise, the more you will see how your path and your lying down are beset with mercies, and that the God of love is ever watching to do you good.”

Being thankful, no matter what. It’s how happy people live. It’s how I want to live my life as I reflect on my 30 Days of Thanks Giving.

It’s how the elderly gentleman in the video below lives his life.

Thanks giving is more than a just a holiday. And happy people live lives full of gratitude.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

©2018 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Thanksgiving Wishes

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You are a blessing for which I give thanks.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t express my gratitude for the many readers of this blog. And what better time than Thanksgiving Day to tell you so?

You, my readers and friends, have blessed me each time you click on my posts to read the words I write and double bless me with your insightful and encouraging comments.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

May God grant you grace, peace, and love on this day when we Americans pause to give thanks for the many blessings we have. My wish is that you take time to give thanks this day and give to others who are not as fortunate as we are.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

“Thanksgiving Day is a good day to recommit our energies to giving thanks and just giving.” ~ Amy Grant

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

With a thankful heart

blogthanksOn this Thanksgiving Day, I wish you many blessings and I thank you, my readers, for the many ways you have blessed me through your likes and comments and in some cases, sweet friendships outside of this blogging world.  

But I also pray that you all take time to think about all you have for which to be thankful.  We have an abundance of blessings; share them with someone less fortunate. Take a moment, click on the link below, and watch this video.  

Happy Thanksgiving from Mama’s Empty Nest! 

Thankful

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