Turkeys by the millions have been bought along with cranberry sauce by this time. The holidays have begun and cooking all over the United States is being done at a frenzied pace! Time is short and every family is getting ready to put in place another year of traditions from Aunt Harriet‘s “Green Bean Casserole” to Momma‘s special dressing, or if you are from the north, stuffing!
For the holidays, we go to my mother and dad’s for DAYS of celebrating. The house is full of people! There are thirteen of us and four of those thirteen are children, so it is an energized environment! There is a constant buzz of chatter, laughter, and fun. But, not all people are as blessed as I am during this time. This year many will have nothing, literally nothing to eat for Thanksgiving. Thank God for places like the Salvation Army, and in our area, Golden Corral who feeds people for free. These organizations literally gift our homeless or less fortunate in our community and what a huge thank you I would love to give!
I am not talking about the homeless nor the less financially fortunate in this article. I am talking about those who will literally have no one to spend the holidays with. These are just a few things you can do to make it through a season that could have been unbearably lonely and I hope it helps.
1. Bring the holidays to you! There is a lady in our church. Her children live several hours away and her husband died two years ago. Sister Jones (not her real name) decided since she had no place to go and no one to spend the holiday with, she would reach out to others who were in the same situation. Sister Jones had our pastor announce there was a sign up sheet in our foyer for those who needed a place for Thanksgiving. Sister Jones LOVES to serve. To feed 20-50 people and cook it all by herself is heaven for her! She is well into her 80s and never misses a beat. It is so beautiful! Mothers who have no husband but have children, widows, and widowers alike signed the sheet. Sister Jones is thrilled. Her home, where she lives all alone, will be hustling and bustling with church family and she will not only be able to give, but in her own way receive the greatest blessing of the holiday…a home filled with love!
2. See it as time for yourself! During these economic times in our lives, work can be overwhelming. How many of us long for a day just to sleep in and relax all day in our pajamas! Oh to sleep late, wake up to coffee and ball games without ever having to clean our house to pristine condition and being able to lounge all day is just the ticket!! Maybe there is a good book you have wanted to get to and have not had the time…here is your chance! Instead of the trouble of cooking a traditional feast, you may try a new recipe you saw ( I saw one for cheese dip I can’t wait to try!) or an old one that is a favorite. Doesn’t football and nachos sound yummy?? Make it YOUR day and pamper yourself. Take the quiet as being a blessing! Spend time with the Lord! He is always with you! No matter how alone we can feel, the reality is, God NEVER leaves us or forsakes us. We are never by ourselves! Make it your special day and enjoy some things you haven’t had a chance to do!
3. Volunteer to help those who are alone in your community and spend the holiday blessing them! Beat the blues by turning the tables on them! Be a blessing to others. Find a ‘soup kitchen’ or a community help center and ask what you can do. Believe me, they will welcome the help with open arms and an apron! You will find such great joy in serving others! Listen to their stories, how their lives used to be, and what happened to them that caused them to be alone or in the place they are finding themselves in now. Many times we find someone else has had it much harder than we. Encourage them, pray for them if they will let you, and spread the love of God to them. Bring dominoes or other games and set up tables of “fun” when the dinner is over! Soon you will forget you WERE alone and will have the hustle and fun bustle everyone else is having!
I hope this helps you, precious reader! I pray your holiday is full of joy and blessings however you may wish to spend it! Know you are never alone and you are loved! God bless you!! Juliana
At our house on Thanksgiving Day the first words out of my mouth to my husband as I watch him fix his breakfast is, “Don’t eat big! You know we are having a huge lunch and Momma will be hurt if you don’t stuff yourself!” And that is exactly what we all do…skip breakfast! By the time our Thanksgiving feast is ready, you would think we had not eaten in a week!
Appetizers are a must for us during the holidays. Pecans in Texas are plenteous! We use them in cookies, pies, cakes, salads and, in this case, candied appetizers! With this recipe you can pour them right up into a pretty candy dish and let your family “graze” without filling up before your meal is ready. These make great gifts, too! Wrap them in pretty baggies to keep them fresh and stuff them into a gift bag. Tie a pretty bow, and voilà! It is just an added plus this recipe is so simple, too! Enjoy!!
1 tablespoon water
1 pound pecan halves
1 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Grease one baking sheet. In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg white and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add pecans to egg whites, stir to coat the nuts evenly. Remove the nuts, and toss them in the sugar mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.
Gracie, my baby Chihuahua, is pictured here wearing her costume for the Fall Festival at church. She is going as a taco. Isn’t she the cutest? Gracie is basically my second “all my own” dog. We have had dogs since 1999, and I loved them, but they were really for my children who are grown now.
I knew they taught responsibility, caring, and gave great joy. I knew children that had pets matured more quickly, were more responsible as a whole, and seemed more secure so I knew getting them a pet was a good idea.
When my kids became adults and moved out, we kept my daughter’s Pomeranian. The reason we did was because in her dorm she could not have pets. There was no choice but to leave Prissy with us.
I loved Prissy and formed a very strong bond with her when the kids left home. I didn’t empty nest well and she was now my “baby”. I led a very busy life at that time. I was on the “Library Board” and volunteered many hours at my local library, and with a “Crime Victims Assistance” program in our county. I did volunteering for a local hospital, as well. I was active in my church (the one we attended at the time) so Prissy was left alone quite a bit.
I began to think about this. Prissy was used to gleeful and boisterous play when Kate came home and hubby and I didn’t “play” the way she did. I began to sense there was a loneliness in Prissy and I began to cut back on being gone so much. Still there were days that pulled me away, even when I didn’t want to be. I determined, at that point, I was going to say no a bit more forcefully to some things and give Prissy the attention she deserved.
As this new-found freedom to be home began to dawn on Prissy, she bonded all the more with me. She followed my every step and would put her nose under my door in the mornings, she was so anxious to be with me. Hubby had a rule back then of no dogs in the bed. That rule has since been changed.
Prissy died suddenly and without warning and I was devastated. Gone was my baby with her sweet ways, her adoring, unconditional love, and the fact she was no longer my inseparable buddy was almost more than I could bear. I cried and grieved! It was as if I could not shake it. I felt so much guilt that I had spent too much time away from her in the beginning of my empty nest transitioning, that I had not fought harder to secure a place in my bed so I could be with her that much more. I felt guilt over things I had no control over. I knew God had given Prissy to us and now my gift was gone forever!
I looked for other puppies, hoping another would help fill the void, but none bonded with me or me to them as Prissy had. Actually, none bonded to me period! I thought this was so strange because I had so much love to give. I began to wonder if this was my punishment for not appreciating Prissy as I should have. A friend told me Prissy was one of a kind and I would never find another like her. I began to believe that myself and it deepened my grief beyond words.
I watched as other dog owners would pick a puppy and the bond was totally natural. What was wrong with me?? That question went through my mind over and over. Finally, one day I began to pray about this. I told God Prissy was a dog, not a human and although she was irreplaceable, He could make another one for me with everything I needed, which was loving and companionable!
It was funny, because it takes me days to name a puppy, but as I prayed that prayer the name “Gracie” came to me. God let me know another puppy that loved me unconditionally was coming and to name her Gracie because that is what she would be…my saving grace from oppressive grief.
One day I took one more look at the classifieds online (I was not familiar with rescues at that time). I saw her and called immediately. The lady wanted to know how I got her number because it takes 24 hours for an ad to post and she had only posted ten minutes before the phone call. I knew God was up to something!
We met in a Wal-Mart parking lot the next day. At first I had misgivings about her. She seemed nervous, uncomfortable, and overly shy. Again, a rejection I thought. My friend told me to watch her as she held her. Every time I would say something, she would turn her head as far as it could go to look at me. There was another puppy that didn’t do that. It had bonded with the breeder. My friend looked at me and said, “This is the one, I can tell it. She wants you!”
Gracie had on a bulky sweater and I stripped it off. She relaxed in my arms. I handed the lady the money for her and gave my keys to my friend. I wanted to hold her all the way home. I stopped off at my husband’s office and he thought she was beautiful!! He isn’t a dog person like we are…or I should say WASN’T….he loves her, now.
Gracie and I went shopping with Kate for Gracie’s Fall Festival costume yesterday. Gracie is two years old now, so her costume from last year doesn’t fit. I drove and Kate held Gracie. She shook and trembled and panted the whole way there. The poor baby thought she was going to the vet! We got to the shop and Kate said Gracie was making her hot. Kate had been fishing and she was still pretty layered up, ready for a blizzard in south Texas…she is my Aggie!
When I took Gracie, immediately the shaking, trembling, panting stopped. I felt her little body totally relax. I don’t need signs anymore to know Gracie and I have bonded, but when I get them they warm my heart and bring me such joy!
I will always miss Prissy. She was one of the best dogs we ever had! But, Gracie is, too. She fills my heart with so much love! The old rule of no dogs in the bed is long gone. She snuggles right next to me at night and greets me with loving wet kisses in the mornings. She lets me dress her, put rhinestone collars on her, and baby her to my heart’s content. Her attitude seems to say, “Whatever makes Momma happy, makes me happy and that is what it is all about!” If you are a dog owner, you will know as crazy as this may sound, it is very normal and true!
The lady in the pet store said to me yesterday, “Ah, a rescue dog….one you rescued and one that rescued you!” I think that describes Gracie and me perfectly!
If you are thinking of a dog, precious reader, please, adopt and don’t hesitate! You won’t regret it!! They are great for your health physically and emotionally and you are great for theirs, too! Check your shelters and organizations such as ”Dogs Bound For the Pound”. They will be loyal and loving companions for life and for the fact you saved them from the unthinkable! Somehow, they know you literally saved their lives!
Please, let me hear your story of you and your precious pet! I know it is a beautiful one!! I will see you soon!
Amplified Bible (AMP)
11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way that you should go.
When I was a little girl, probably about 4-5 years old, I was very tiny. I am only 5’2 now. Mother said when I started kindergarten, I wasn’t even 30 pounds. Momma was always involved in something. She was the organist at the church, she was a secretary at a plant for many years and then she was in college and graduated when I was in the eighth grade. She was in the “Ladies Society Club”, and she worked as a public school teacher after she graduated for all but about 2 months out of the year.
I remember we would leave our small town and go into the city. There were shopping centers (we didn’t have a mall yet) and it seemed Momma would need something from each of them. From where I was looking as a tiny girl, everyone was like a giant to me. I remember back then it was a fast and furious city and there were crowds. The economy was good and businesses were thriving.
Momma was always in a hurry! To maneuver me through the crowds and get to where she needed to go, she would grab my hand in order not to lose me or for me not to lose her would be more like it. Momma didn’t walk, she sprinted! It seemed there was no space to even walk, but Momma always knew how to make her way through the maze of people and we never stopped until Momma reached her destination and she always accomplished her goals, even if it was “just an errand”.
Today, we listed our house and put it up for sale. I had gone to my prayer room and was praying about something else when I decided to pray about this particular thing. As I did the Lord spoke to me and told me there was a new page being written in the new chapter of our lives. I don’t see what He is writing, but it was as if I could see the paper and He was writting with His finger on it. He reminded me of those days with Momma when she steered me through the maze of people, not knowing why we were going somewhere or where we were going. It was blind trust in Momma and I knew I would not be lost, I was safe, and I was well taken care of and looked after.
It is the same with my Heavenly Father. I saw a quote where my life has not been what I planned, but it IS what God has planned! Oh, when you can see your life like that even though you don’t understand it all, precious reader, there are NO regrets!! It is ALL good!!
Whatever is going on with the economy, whatever is happening in your relationships, whatever there is going on in your career, God has your hand and it is what He has planned and His plans are ALL good. Stay with Him, and keep trusting! God bless you, precious reader! See you soon!
This is one of the reasons I am sitting here in a ‘moo-moo’!! Oh my word, is this yummy or what?? Momma has this one down pat and with pinto beans or a bean soup, honey you have a meal!! Top it with sour cream and jalepenos if you like or pour pinto beans over the top…you can’t ruin this one! Enjoy!!!
2 bunches of green onions (chopped)
1 can cream style corn
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sour cream
2 lb ground meat
1 lb cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (to taste)
Chop onions and bell pepper. Combine with cornbread mix, eggs, corn, sour cream, milk, and chopped jalapeno in a large bowl. Brown the ground meat and salt and pepper to taste. Spray a 9×13 baking pan and pour half of cornbread mixture into the pan, spreading evenly. Add ALL ground meat and spread evenly. Add grated cheese to the top of the ground meat. Cover with remaining cornbread mixture. Place in preheated 400 degree oven and bake 30-45 minutes. I insert a toothpick into the middle and when it comes out “clean” I know it is ready. Enjoy!!