Turkey Take-Out for Two

If you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope you had a good time with the food and folks you enjoy.

My husband and I celebrated in our home, which has happened perhaps a total of four times in our married life. So it was a fun treat! I really enjoy staying home for Thanksgiving. We were unable to gather with family or friends this year due to various reasons. Neither of us felt like cooking.

Setting the table with some of the pretty glass dishes passed down from my grandmother and mother made the table festive. Out came our cloth napkins and special dishes.

Dishes from other generations…

Late afternoon, we picked up the turkey dinner-to-go at a local restaurant, Black Angus.

Yumminess in a bag!

We got take-out from Black Angus last year, too. The food was tasty each time. The menu included:

  • Garden Salad
  • Roasted and sliced turkey (white and dark meat)
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Molasses bread with butter
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Pumpkin pie and whip cream
We paused before we gave thanks to God for our meal and read a “land acknowledgment” to honor the Kizh/Tongva people on whose ancestral homelands we gathered. That was important to us.

The centerpiece candle provided a warm glow, and quiet jazz music played in the background. After dinner, we wrote what we are thankful for on small sticky notes and read them aloud as we added them to a poster.

The things we listed are personal, so I cropped the photo near the top. Thank you for your understanding.

Since we ordered the family meal for four, we had plenty to provide a meal for my mother-in-law and shared a piece of pie with her at her house when we dropped it off. She was unable to get out this year. We also had leftovers for two more meals for the two of us.

Visiting with my dear mother-in-law…with crumbled peanut brittle on my whip cream, a tradition from my family.

Honestly, getting the take-out meal was probably cheaper than purchasing everything to cook a meal for two at home. This is a great idea for an older couple living at home that doesn’t want to cook and still wants leftovers.

So many ways to celebrate all we have to be grateful for! Even though we are not quite out of the woods with this pandemic.

What was a highlight of Thanksgiving for you this year? Do you decorate for Christmas right away?

Stay charming, my friends. Sending a hug to you. I am thankful for my readers!

Thanks-missing

That feeling someone is missing. A deep, quiet sense of longing, even in the midst of contentment with current circumstances. The hovering shadow of being some sort of homesick for a more complete life. Do you feel it, too, at this time of year? Even in the middle of fun and good times. I do.

Longing for loved ones who aren’t with us is hard any time of the year, but especially at the holidays. I am eternally thankful for the times together with my loved ones in days gone by. Yet I’ll always miss them when separated, alongside the feelings of the love and hope that accompany this season. I still sense the presence of those I love through great memories, favorite recipes, and shared traditions.

Perhaps living with the uncertainty of the pandemic also triggers our desires to be emotionally safe and secure, amplifying that longing to be with loved ones, those far away.

I had the privilege to walk both parents and our good dog on home to Heaven in the last four years. Many of you have lost loved ones in that time frame, too. Humans and pets. Though the sting diminishes, the missing goes on. Thanksgiving, as families and friends gather, can trigger the pain of missing our loved ones. Some empty chairs remain at the table in our hearts.

Holiday gatherings are complicated. Our Thanksgiving tables may host all kinds of positive and challenging emotions, issues, and reality in the room, in addition to or caused by missing loved ones. Here is a list of possible guests:

  • Fear and uncertainty may attend and bring their friend, anxiety. However, they did not RSVP.
  • Sadness may come alone, as might lament. They will want to sit together.
  • Grief might come late, uninvited, but always expected.
  • Hardship may be part of the festivities this year. We will all help carry it.
  • Disagreement promises to be on its best behavior, and help us hunt for common ground.
  • Pride and entitlement might stop by. We can simply let them know they have the wrong address. Move along.
  • Joy will squeeze in the back door with a giggle, and bring a jiggly jello salad to share. Never the loudest in the group, but always the most surprising pleasant presence.
  • Trust will join in confidently, and immediately suggest that control issues, unmet expectations, and frustrations be quickly bagged up and carried out to the trash cans in back.
  • Peace will show up for dessert. Always a welcome guest. Rarely the first to arrive. Ready to highlight the blessings in spite of the pain.
  • Everyone will help clean up. Some more than others.

Thanksmissing. A reality when we experience a variety of emotions often connected to separation from loved ones through distance for many reasons: military deployment, death, changes in location, work schedules, a split in the family, differing views and opinions, other commitments, and perhaps even boundaries in relationships, or a lost dream.

It is never easy to endure separation when it causes missing, but practicing gratitude and embracing the privileges we’ve had along the way may get us through. The holidays can be bittersweet for many, especially as we age. Sensitivity and kindness in the midst of those moments go a long way. Love will prevail. New traditions, recipes, and memories will be made.

In November, I place some rosemary in a vase. Rosemary symbolizes eternal love and remembrance. The fragrance and the beauty help me hold my parents and their love close during the holidays.

I wish you each a happy Thanksgiving! And if you are missing someone this year, I hope you hold them close through great memories, video calls, plans for future get-togethers, improved health, and healing hearts. I wish you peace. Many of us understand. There will be more blessings to come, so please pass the pie and that bowl of fluffy, sweet, billowy whip cream to top it off.

The fact that our heart yearns for something Earth can’t supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.

C.S. Lewis

Stay grateful, my friends.

For those of you who also follow God, here is an encouraging verse:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15

My 21 2021 Favorite Things

It’s that time of year again!

Many of us are aware that Oprah shares a list of her favorite things each fall. In 2017, my husband ordered maple syrup after seeing it on her 2017 list. We enjoyed it all year with weekend pancakes and reused the pretty wooden box for other things. It was quite delicious.

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I decided to start my own favorite things list, a holiday twist on gratitude.

Here is my list of 21 2021 Favorite Things. Photos follow. May it inspire you to list yours. Scroll through photos on your phone. I can guarantee those photos are filled with favorite things, moments, people to inspire you for this activity.

Favorite: the status of bringing good and or enjoyment to life in a way that surpasses an ordinary experience.

  1. My good dog(s)
  2. Classic Christmas movies, especially from my childhood
  3. Nature calendars by local artist, Erin Vaughan
  4. Christmas decorations and the tree in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Anaheim
  5. Colorful fresh flowers
  6. Baby gender reveal moments (or waiting until the baby arrives to find out)
  7. Good physical therapy when recovering from an injury
  8. Breakfasts at good places, like Cracker Barrel, Original Pancake House, First Watch, or Auntie’s Bakery & Cafe
  9. Clean, clever humor
  10. Holiday hot fudge sundae with peppermint ice cream
  11. Staying connected with far-away loved ones – friends and family
  12. Flip-flops
  13. Simple Christmas joys
  14. Winter sunsets…or beautiful sunsets in any season
  15. Christmas cookies – homemade or bakery
  16. Going out for afternoon tea
  17. Good walking shoes – New Balance for me!
  18. Toilet paper
  19. Books to read
  20. Time to sit by the fire in cold weather
  21. Creative ideas to try from blogs and YouTube, like from my friend, Amy, at Tonality Designs, and Michael’s. See last week’s post.
“It’s time for dinner, in case you forgot,” said Samson #2.
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Classic children’s Christmas movies
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Calendars by Erin Vaughan, a local artist
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Colorful fresh flowers
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It’s a boy!
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Thank you, PPT Physical Therapy, a valued partner in healing throughout the years.
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Breakfasts at Cracker Barrel
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Clean, clever humor
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Holiday hot fudge sundae with peppermint ice cream
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Matching pillowcases: My mom loved violets. One year for Mother’s Day, I gave her this pillowcase. I kept the other one in the set. So, 2,000 miles apart, we still held each other in our hearts at bedtime.
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Flip-flops: I love wearing these in the shower at home or in hotels. They provide security against slipping.
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Simple Christmas joys…like tangerines in my stocking
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Winter sunsets…Copley, Ohio
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Tea time!
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New walking shoes
Toilet paper is even more precious since the pandemic lockdown hoarding panic, Spring 2020.
“So many books. So little time.”
Enjoying a winter fire at home
A last minute appetizer, Honey & Candied Pecan Cheese Spread, from Tonality Designs

My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music is often included on Christmas albums and playlists, though I’m not sure why. I never think of it as a Christmas song. But it had to be inlcuded here!

I hope thinking about your favorite things brightens your day. What would be on your list?

Stay charming, my friends.

Create a Fall Wreath with Tombow Markers

You never know until you try. Still true.

Here is a free online video from the Michael’s YouTube page (below) that you might enjoy. I participated at home by following the step-by-step directions. That made it feel easier to do. Otherwise, I may have looked at the finished image and decided I could never do that!

Perhaps you, too, talk yourself out of trying something new by looking at the perfect example given and comparing yourself to others. This time I decided to simply follow along for the fun of it, and see how it turned out. You could say I copied along, which made the project bite-sized. That seemed more manageable.

I had a relaxing time and was happy with how it worked out. I did not have the Tombow Dual Brush Pens, Cottage Palette, at the time. I ordered them later to color in the wreath I’d sketched out. This was a fun way to do something new and see what became of it.

I like these sorts of creative projects, and you might be interested as well. I love to doodle, draw, and color, as long as it feels like play and not an assignment. I also love to use art like this to pull my head out of the day-to-day adult life drama and demands. This was a risk, but a harmless one. I encourage us all who feel “craft shy” to try new things, too.

Practice imperfection. I believe helps us grow and engage in good ways.

  • I learned to draw the four styles of leaves.
  • I learned to add big flowers, berries, and little flowers to fill in.
  • I love the color palette.

(I apologize for the blurry screenshots below.)

Screenshot from video: Close-up of styles and colors of leaves and flowers creating the fullness.
Screenshot from video: All done! “Thankful” is written in the center. Flowers and leaves are outlined in black.
Here’s my finished wreath. It’s close but not exactly the same. And that’s why we call it creative.

My goal was to see what I could do, and that was relaxing and fun. We have a society that pushes for perfection and we lose the freedom to learn along the way. Our world’s kids need to see us grow, too.

Have fun creating just to see what you can do. And be satisfied with the process. Good for you for doing creative things along the way!

Stay creative, my friends!