Tag Archives: giving thanks

Holiday Dinner, a fun poem by Karen S. Elliott

Holiday Dinner

by Karen S. Elliott

Chicken runs ‘round the farm yard,

Wishes he was the duck.

Duck runs ‘round the barn yard,

Wishes he was the pig.

Pig runs ‘round the pig sty,

Wishes he was the horse.

Horse smiles, relaxes in stall.

Thanksgiving Day, he’ll mourn them all.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Filed under Prose & Poetry, Special Events

A Thanksgiving Tradition – Family, By Jessica Messinger

My brother and sister-in-law live minutes from the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory, Ben and Jerry’s factory, The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, and The Cabot Cheese Factory.

In our home, the anticipation of Thanksgiving can be felt as early as July 5th, when our children begin to ask, “Are we going to Vermont this year?” I should mention here that part of the fun visiting my brother is his house is too small for our family of six (and with my parents, we’re a family of eight).

My brother uses his business contacts to get us a suite at the local Windjammer Hotel. Though the novelty of staying in the hotel every year has sort of worn off, the Windjammer has a pool, a gazillion TV channels (some of them are French), a fabulous restaurant, and warm chocolate chip cookies when we come back at night – as if we could eat anything more after our Thanksgiving feast.

My brother and sister-in-law’s house is a place of magical wonder. My brother is a professional photographer, and he has his own photos lining the hallways. The living room has indoor potted ferns, a pocket door, and comfy places to sit. The kitchen is thoroughly modern, with every attention to detail focused on storage, ease of food preparation, and flexibility of working space. The pots and pans hang from the ceiling on a hooked rack. The vintage breadbox from our grandparents’ house gives it the final panache.

I think last year was the first year I had ever been through the front door. Part of the magic of the house is that we usually park in back and come in through the door to the kitchen. Though their house is not large like some houses in our family (in fact, it is pretty much a two-floor apartment), the first thing you notice when you come in the back door at Thanksgiving is the smell of delicious food cooking.

I don’t think our feet touch the kitchen floor as we float through, wafted along by the odors of baking ham, turkey, and roast beef. The feast meats are juicy and herbed to perfection. I don’t know what my sister-in-law’s secrets are, but she creates amazing culinary masterpieces. Of course our Thanksgiving dinner also has a green salad, potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and rolls.

My brother has a man cave downstairs with a big television, lots of movies, and a computer with a large screen, so there are places for everyone to go depending on their preferences. Some converse in the living room, others watch football or movies in the man cave and others “help out” in the kitchen and keep the cook company.

Son Calvin

We will miss our yearly trip to my brother and sister-in-law’s house this year. They are coming here to New York to spend Thanksgiving with us. It will be different because we’re not in Vermont, our son is currently serving a church mission in Canada, and my sisters can’t make it with their families. But family time is precious no matter where, or how, you spend it.


P.S. Here’s my favorite recipe for Cranberry Sauce:

Chunky Apple & Cranberry Sauce

(Dec. 2000, Good Housekeeping)

Prep:  15 minutes plus chilling

Cook:  about 20 minutes

Makes: about 5 cups

2 Tbsp. margarine or butter

2 pounds Golden Delicious apples (about 4 large), peeled, cored, and cut into

1/2-inch dice

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom or allspice

1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries (3 cups)

3/4 cup sugar

1-1/4 cup water

1.  In nonstick 12-inch skillet (I used a large saucepan), melt margarine over medium heat.  Add apples and cardamom, and cook 10 minutes or until apples are tender-crisp, stirring occasionally.

2.  Increase heat to medium-high.  Stir in cranberries, sugar, and 1-1/4 cups water; heat to boiling.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, about 6 to 8 minutes or until most cranberries pop and mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally.  Spoon sauce into serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.

*Each 1/4 cup: About 70 calories, 0 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 1 g total fat (0 g saturated), 2 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium.


Jessica Messinger has a BA in English with a minor in French from Brigham Young University. She lives with her husband Todd and their four children in upstate New York. They live in a teeny house with a yellow lab, Bailey, and a black cat, Midnight. Stinky Feet is Jessica’s first children’s book. She has a lot of ideas for more children’s books and hopes to have enough time to write them all.

Check out Jessica’s children’s book Stinky Feet via CreateSpace, on Facebook, or on her blog. You can buy Stinky Feet on Amazon here.


Calvin’s photo by Shirin Cannon


Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events

“Thankful” comes, at great cost

Article by Denise Hisey

Thanksgiving. Food, football, and shopping, right?  It’s easy to get caught up in all those things, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of them. But Thanksgiving Day is also an opportunity to focus on people and events we’re thankful for. Thanksgiving can be a day to reflect on what we are thankful for now and commit to remembering it all year long.

Events like Hurricane Sandy are stark reminders that our stuff isn’t what’s really important. You may have heard the phrase about having “An Attitude of Gratitude.”  It’s been very helpful for me to remember this when I feel my outlook getting negative.

Scientific studies are even discovering what God has built into us; the ability to promote our physical and mental health by being grateful. Check out these articles in the New York Times and WebMD to read more. I am thankful for the typical things like my husband, my kids and their spouses, my improved health, and my newly discovered love of writing. This year, I have a miracle I’m thankful for as well.

A background of severe childhood abuse has affected everything about me. I fought acknowledging what happened to me until my anger and resentment forced me to face my demons. As I’ve persevered and continued processing my memories and emotions, I’ve discovered there are so many things to be grateful for. Being thankful reminds me that although my past has shaped me, it doesn’t have to define me.

Twelve years ago I chose to estrange myself from my parents. It was a gut-wrenching decision, and it was followed by overwhelming emotions. It’s not an easy path to take, but, it was borne of necessity. I drew a line in the sand for my safety and that of my children. Dad passed away nearly three years ago without us ever reconciling. In an astonishing turn of events this summer, my mother and I had a truly miraculous reunion. I had nearly given up on ever getting any resolution and will be forever grateful for the experience.

It took a lifetime to prepare for our time together this summer, but we both experienced healing of wounds caused at the hands of a deeply destructive man. Though we can never erase the past, the pain is lessened because we listened to one another. I was finally able to better understand her choices, and she was finally able to accept my truth. It has been an intensive new phase of healing for me – and I believe for her, too. The miracle of this reconciliation with my mom is something I’m incredibly thankful for this year.

How about you?  Is there someone you are especially thankful for this year?


Denise is a thankful wife, mom, friend, and survivor. The effects of her extensive childhood abuse have reached every aspect of her life and relationships. Her journey of recovery and healing has been long and challenging.

Denise’s passion is living life authentically, connecting with people in a genuine way. She continues her journey of discovery, awareness, and healing, eager to encourage others to share their stories, too.

You can find her blogging at Inspired2Ignite.


Opening photo – Hibbard via Morguefile

Artwork – Karen S. Elliott


Special Blog Note – Apologies for the spammy post on Monday – that was not me. I have deleted the post, marked it as spam, and changed my blog’s login password. If you know me, you know I never post stupid spammy posts like that.


Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events