The Thanksgiving Chicken Memory

chicken, hen, domineckerThanksgiving at Grandma’s house did not include turkey, or if it did, the turkey was quite small and looked like chicken.

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Thanksgiving is one week from today. So, I’m feeling a little nostalgic. Just a couple of weeks ago, I stood at Aunt Edna’s grave side. My mind filled with memories as I glanced around at the nearest markers. Uncle Bud, Granny, Grandma…they’re all together now.

We had some wonderful memories at Grandma’s table, small as it was. The family showed up, all the aunts “totin'” a dish or two, as Grandma would say. We’d set the table and leave a stack of plates on the Hoosier cabinet for the kids to fill and take to the living room.

The star of Grandma’s dinner table was a chicken. Grandma raised chickens, so one was always handy.

Okay, I have a confession to make here: I never ate chicken at Grandma’s. Maybe I was a picky eater—I don’t remember—but that hunk of flesh in the center of the table had been out in the yard a few hours ago, scratching around. I couldn’t eat it.

I loved all the vegetables, though. Mashed potatoes and gravy, lima beans, crowder peas, skillet corn and cornbread dressing. But not the chicken, and certainly not the giblet gravy. I’d seen what went into the gravy. NO way!

This girl didn’t eat innards.

Next week, there will be a turkey on my Thanksgiving table. And, there will be giblet gravy, because my husband loves it. These days, I usually eat the turkey. I hope it had a good upbringing.

And I hope you have a wonderful holiday, whether you serve turkey or chicken, or a table-full of vegetables.

For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends,

Father in heaven,

We thank thee.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson [Prayer of Thanks]

Gratitude

Gratitude. It’s not just a synonym for thankfulness, it’s a state of being. Something that is often forgotten. Those nine lepers in Jesus’ day (Luke 17:11-19) missed a blessing by not sticking around to say, “Thank you.” Yes, they were miraculously healed, which is a gift in itself. But in their haste—their excitement over being cleansed of this horrible disease, did they forget something? Where was the gratitude?

“Were there not ten of you,” Jesus asked the one who came to thank him. “Where are the nine?”

Shame on the nine.

Shame on me, when I forget to say thanks.

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What does the word gratitude mean to you? What thoughts enter your mind when you read that word? Do you think of things (inanimate objects)? Do you gaze around at your personal possessions? The roof over your head? Or do you think of your health? Are you thankful for each new day when you wake up and get out of bed?

Some don’t wake up. Some can’t get out of bed.

I tend to think of people. Those who are special to me. Family, friends, and those acquaintances who may become good friends in time. These are the most pleasant of gifts. Folks who actually care whether or not you wake up in the morning.

Some don’t have anyone.

turkey-1456681_1280On Thursday, we gather together to celebrate a turkey. Of course, I’m kidding, but it does sometimes seem that way, especially at my house. If I put a turkey in the oven, they will come to see me. If there’s pumpkin pie, it’s pretty much a guarantee. 🙂

This year, I’m especially grateful for the loves of my life, my husband, my sons, their wives, and those precious grandchildren. I plan to make gratitude a big part of our celebration.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. And if you have all the things above—a roof, possessions, health, family—I hope you remember to express your gratitude for those gifts. If you don’t have some of these things, but you have your health, you can be grateful for that.

In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul the Apostle writes:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (New International Version)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thankful

psalm-9-10November is a month for remembrance.

A time to remember our veterans–those who’ve served in the U.S. military. I have a lot of friends and family who have served and are now serving our country. The phrase, “I’m thankful for your service,” just doesn’t seem enough.

I didn’t serve, I can’t salute you, so I’ll let this guy–soldier-996536_1280

There’s  a folded flag on my bookshelf, a reminder of my dad’s service for his country. He was a proud veteran of the Korean War. Dad hung a flag on his porch at every opportunity. I’m thankful for the memories I have of his patriotism and gratitude.

November is a time to celebrate family, come together over a meal of thankfulness. Many of us will sit at those tables and tell what we’re thankful for this year. I look back at my year and I have to shake my head. In the roll call of my years, this one stands out in several ways.

13782102_10207511199837999_6377655462116865717_nI’m thankful for the opportunity to go to Ecuador. I never expected to do that. I went to be a blessing, but I think they did more for me than I could ever do for them. I’m grateful for the many new friends I made. I will forever carry their memory in my heart.

I’m thankful for my husband–November is his birthday month. We very nearly lost him this summer when his health took a sudden nosedive. By the grace of God, and in answer to the many prayers of family and friends all over, he received excellent care and has recovered. My heart overflows with gratitude to God, and for the many who took time to say a prayer on our behalf.

I’ll continue my “thankful” list as the month goes on. Until then, “The Lord bless and keep you;  the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” — Numbers 6:24-26 NIV

Fill the Day With Love

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“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” I Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV

Most Christians are familiar with the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. This passage goes on to say that love never fails. Prophecies end, tongues fail, knowledge passes away. Life moves on, but love never fails.

sisters-781098_1280To react in love in your dealings with others never fails. People may reject you. They may overlook you, walk all over you (spitefully use you), all of the above, but if your personal reaction to all of those is still love, you’ve won.

It’s not easy.  Especially not today. You’ll have ample opportunities to be angry today. You’re fed up and can’t take it anymore. Look in the mirror and tell yourself today will end, but love never will. It’s the power of love – remember that song? (I’m hearing Huey Lewis’s version in Back to the Future.)

img_7192_pLove is powerful. If you need a reminder, read I Corinthians 13 – I’ve given you a link to Bible Gateway above. I can’t read this chapter enough. Each time I read it, I see something new and I grow up a little more. At my age, I didn’t think I needed to grow up anymore.

Just in time for Thanksgiving season! With a heart filled with love, Thanksgiving becomes easier. Notice I didn’t say “easy.” It may not be easy, but you can love others no matter what they do to you. Even when they leave you. Because there’s the ONE who will never leave you, or forsake you. And HE makes it possible for you to love. Because HE freely gave of HIMSELF.

Today, let me encourage you to fill the day with love. I know what day it is. But no matter how many offend you with their words or deeds, let your answer be in love. Your blood pressure will thank you. It’s the power of love!

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