A Look Back at Thanksgiving

This is a repost of my 2015 Thanksgiving post.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s a beautiful time, when families gather together. We live on a small court and like us, many of our neighbors have lived here a long time. As the holiday approaches, extra cars are parked in their driveways. Their children have arrived.  

Image by Peggychoucair from Pixabay

I remember those days, when we packed up the car and left on Tuesday night, or Wednesday evening, to drive the seven hours to Mom and Dad’s. It was a special time filled with hikes in the woods, roasting marshmallows over a fire, and of course, the main event: Thanksgiving Dinner. Mom spent days preparing and finally, dinner is spread on the table and we sit down.   

Yes, it was over in minutes. But we lingered around the table, laughing and talking. Clean up meant time spent on my own with Mom as we put the food away and washed the dishes. We put away all the special things she only used on holidays. We reminisced about past Thanksgivings, and loved ones now gone. Our sleep was sweet, maybe because of all the turkey we ate, but also because we were tired from all the activity.   

If you ventured out on Thanksgiving evening, stores were closed. Restaurants were closed. Ghost town. And I liked that feeling. Families gathered together to celebrate. They weren’t working. They weren’t shopping. I was reminded of my childhood, when Sundays meant darkened store windows. Even the grocery stores closed on Sunday, the traditional day of rest.  

Those days slipped away and now you can buy groceries on Sunday. And if you forgot cranberry sauce, you can buy it on Thanksgiving. I guess it’s convenient and the stores make more money, but it makes me sad to see these old traditions slip away. And now, Christmas has encroached on Thanksgiving.   

Yes, in a way, Christmas has always out-shined Thanksgiving. When I was little, I was happy to see the back of Thanksgiving, because I knew Christmas was close behind it. Now, I want the days to linger longer. I want to enjoy Thanksgiving and then turn my attention to Christmas. But I realize it’s a personal choice. Christmas lovers all around me already have their houses decorated. And there’s really nothing wrong with that. 

Their emphasis is still on celebrating families, and that’s what Thanksgiving is all about. Taking time to be thankful for the year’s bounty. I’m thankful for all that God has given this year. Like so many others, we’ve been through some things. But in the midst of all that, I can be thankful for God’s provision throughout our time of need. He’s brought our family together in a positive way and helped us overcome our difficulties.   

When we sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner this year, we’ll have so much to be thankful for, beyond the food that is set before us. Each individual sitting at our table is a part of something so much greater. When all the pieces come together, we are whole, and we are blessed. 

   

Christ, our Lord to you we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise…

For the Beauty of the Earth by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint, 1864

I hope your Thanksgiving is a time of celebration. Thanks for stopping by!


Coming

March 22, 2022

Christy Family Revisited

Last June (2020) I wrote about Mom’s family, the Christys. This year, I received a note from one of the cousins thanking me for writing about them and posting pictures of his great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Floyd and Alice Christy. He asked if Mom might remember Alice, as she died some time back. Mom was happy to talk about her Uncle Floyd and Aunt Alice. I thought her special memories would make a fine follow-up to that original post.

Mom will be eighty-eight in December. She spent most of last year recovering from a fall that resulted in a broken wrist and hip. She has a stubborn streak that would make her mama and daddy proud. They were grandchildren of pioneers, as tough as they come.

Mom is now back in her small apartment, taking care of herself. She is walking with a cane, bright-eyed, loves to read, and enjoys sharing her memories. Here’s what she said about those days:


My twin great uncles & their wives

I loved Aunt Alice. I’ll always remember the long, drawn-out way she would say my name with her beautiful southern drawl: Jo-Ann…

I can hear her so well in my memory. She was nice, jovial, and a great cook. For some reason, I especially remember her coconut pie. It was heavenly.

Back during WW2, the family came out to Seattle (from Texas) hoping their daughter, Joyce’s asthma would improve. She was always so fragile. Floyd, Alice, James, Joyce, and Grandma Minnie Christy, who later married Parker White and lived the rest of her life in the little house they bought in Amarillo. She left that home to Joyce when she passed away.

Those days they stayed with us in Seattle are the happiest days of my childhood. Earlene and I just loved our cousins, Joyce and James. We played lots of board games, cards, Chinese checkers—you name it. PLUS, Uncle Floyd had a movie camera and we got to watch lots of Disney-style cartoons. Did we ever love that!

My Grandpa, Earl Christy, on Guitar

Aunt Alice and Mama stayed busy cooking for that bunch. Grandma too, but most of the cooking was done by Mama and Aunt Alice. Both were very good cooks.

In the evenings, we would all sit around and sing. Back in those days, everyone sang. Daddy and Uncle Floyd played guitar and Mama played the piano. Uncle Floyd also played a mandolin. Joyce had a beautiful voice, except for the asthma interfering at times.

When Uncle Floyd got a job, they moved to a little house close to where “we kids” went to school. My sister, Earlene and I were so sad when they moved. But we got to spend the night with them on occasion, so we were happy about that.

Then they decided Joyce was getting worse instead of better, and I believe Joyce and Aunt Alice were homesick for Texas. So, they all left, and I guess Joyce was better off in the drier climate (though not cured).

I heard that Aunt Alice and Joyce went to Denver for a while to see if Joyce was better there. She was, but she and Aunt Alice were ready to go back to Texas.

The only other times I saw them was when we were headed to Tennessee from California (on vacation). We always stopped in Amarillo, and stayed with Floyd & Alice, as Grandma’s place was so tiny. Aunt Alice would invite the rest of the family over for meals. Boy, what great meals they served. Southern cooking–WOW.


What a blessing for me to have these wonderful memories of Mom’s. Not all of her childhood was happy, as her parents divorced when she was still in elementary school. So, it was a pleasure to hear she had happy times. When she mentioned that our family visited with Uncle Floyd and Aunt Alice when we passed through Amarillo, I remembered those times with Grandma Christy and the full house with lots of wonderful food.

Best of all, I remembered the laughter and what special guys my twin great uncles were. I’ve enjoyed this short “revisit” with my extended family. I would like to thank my cousin who contacted me, otherwise, I would never have heard this memory of my mother’s. She so enjoyed relating it!

My Bag is Packed and I Can Only Imagine

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go!

Grandma kept her bag packed. She was always ready to go. Whenever her children or grandchildren visited, she waited for that invitation, “Come, go with us.”

“I’m ready to go,” she’d answer. And she was.

I know, because I invited her several times, and she almost always accepted my invitation. I didn’t have to wait long for her to prepare because she was ready. Her bag was packed with essentials.

I was thinking about that this morning. Am I ready to go? Is my bag packed?

I’m semi-retired. I have time, lots of it. And I have an up-to-date passport, so I could be ready quickly if someone invited me to go with them.

But I was thinking of another sort of trip. Am I ready for that?

As a Christian, I know how to “pack my bag.” I know all the right things to do to keep myself ready. When I hear, “Come go with me,” I can leave. Or can I? Am I really prepared? I can only imagine.

I know how to stay fueled up and ready, so I won’t need to stop and buy gas. That small delay could cause me to lose valuable time. In an emergency, seconds count. I’m wondering right now what my fuel gauge registers. Half a tank? Three quarters?

In a parable that Jesus told, there were ten unmarried women (virgins) who were affianced (yes, I know that would be a lot of wives, but it wasn’t unusual in those days). They were told to wait until the bridegroom came for them. He could come at any time, so they would need to be ready. Five of them had their oil lamps filled to the brim and prepared an extra flask of oil, just in case.

The other five had grabbed their lamps, never checking to see if they were filled, and they hadn’t brought any extra.

I can easily imagine that the “foolish five” may have laughed at their sister-brides for being so diligent (OCD) because you know, there’s a convenience store open twenty-four hours and they could just pop in there on a moment’s notice and buy oil to fill their lamps.

Hours passed, and the foolish five grew bored and fell asleep, while the others kept themselves prepared to leave as though the bridegroom would arrive at any moment.

It was the middle of the night when the cry came that the bridegroom was on his way. Traditionally, the wedding party would approach with lamps lit or torches burning, so you could see them coming, some distance away.

The girls all jumped up, trimmed, and lit their lamps. The five lazy ones ran out of oil and tried to bum oil off their well-supplied sisters. But those girls had been warning them for hours, “you’d better get ready.” It may seem selfish, but they knew that if they shared their oil, none of them would be able to complete the trip. They would all look foolish.

In a panic, the slackers ran to the nearest oil dealer, bought oil, and then followed the others. By the time they got back, the groom had already come. They ran to his home, but the door was closed and locked. The guard would not open it because the wedding was underway. The five foolish girls were too late. They had missed their opportunity.

So, what was Jesus saying in this parable? Don’t wait until the last minute, hoping you’ll have time to get ready. Be always ready.

You might think it wasn’t fair. What about grace and forgiveness? I can only imagine how happy those first five brides were when they finally reached that moment…

There is one main requirement: believe. Romans 10:8-18 is a good place to find the way. “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Verse 13)

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:17 ESV

A Giant Murder

Would you like a shot of… death with that, sir?

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving at an exclusive party, so why is she now being accused of shooting TG Taggert?

At a party full of suspects in the murder of Taggert, Josie served the food giant everything but an eternally “parting shot.” Who really killed TG Taggert? His wife? His son, Jack? What about Harper Davis? Rumor has it, she was having an affair with him—motive for her or Taggert’s wife! The list of those who seemed to hate him keeps growing, including a chemist and a chef!

With her long-time friend, Office Porter O’Brien, Josie sets out to clear her name and find out who really killed “the giant”.

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. A Giant Murder offers a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” with enough clues and suspects to keep you looking over your shoulder. We’d recommend Kevlar… but it hasn’t been invented yet! — A Giant Murder, Ever After Mysteries, Book 2


There’s nothing like a cozy mystery to spice up those long, summer days. This one is especially fun, with elements of a favorite fairy tale skillfully woven into the storyline. Set in the 1920s, there are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end. I had to admire the heroine, Josephine “Josie” Jacobs. She is a hard-working girl. Accomplished, yet humble. She works as a waitress and helps her mother run a boarding house for ladies.

When someone ends up dead, Josie’s on the hot seat, since she was the last person to talk to him. At least that’s how it looks. And that’s not good when you’re dating a beloved neighborhood policeman.

I did not want to put this one down, which is always a good thing when it comes to mysteries.


Marji Laine

What advice do I wish someone had given me? I actually got some great advice when I was starting out. I was told, “Learn the craft of writing.” It was explained to me this way: It’s easy to see something and think, “Oh, I can do that.” But being an author is like being a musician or an accountant. You can’t expect to be an expert if you’ve never studied, gained long-term experience and exposure, and allowed your work to be intensely evaluated. It would be like saying, “I like to ski. I think I’ll enter the Winter Olympics next February.” 

What am I’m proudest of? I can’t really answer that question, but I can tell you what I’m most pleased about.

  • My family comes to mind first. My kids are focused on the Lord and have good heads on their shoulders. Life isn’t always sunshine and lollipops, but we have really bonded anew this last couple of years. I’m so pleased about that! 
  • I’m pleased that one of my books is an award-winner, and that my readers think enough of me to have voted for it. 
  • I’m also pleased to be in a position to help other writers realize their dreams of publishing. God has been teaching me a lot, and now gives me opportunities to pass it along. I’m pleased to be able to do so.

What excites me? I get excited by a NASCAR race and someone picking up the Walmart order for me. It doesn’t take much! LOL! But my hubby gave me a piece of advice when we first started chatting about me switching careers. He reminded me that my expectation might not be what God was actually doing with this new endeavor. For that reason, he encouraged me to write for the joy of writing. And I do. In fact, working for days on a book is like taking a vacation! It is truly, still, one of my favorite things to do, and the prospect of empty days, offline and filled with storying, makes me so excited!

Marji Laine is a graduated home-schooling mom of four with two college students staying in the nest for a little longer. She and her hubby of 34 years also share their North Texas home with a rescue pup named Rosie. When Marji isn’t editing or publishing the books for her authors at Write Integrity Press, she indulges in penning her own mystery, suspense, and romance novels. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, leads a high school Bible study and sings in her church choir. She prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, NASCAR to football, Magnolia pie, white roses, green, and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. 

For more about Marji and her books, visit her blog, MarjiLaine.com