Let’s Talk Turkey

The beauty of Thanksgiving is that it’s a holiday about family and friends coming together to give thanks for the blessings in our lives.  Is there a better reason to celebrate a holiday?  When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of fun, family time but I also think of the food, football, and the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Thanksgiving or the act of “

The parade, which is held in New York City, started in 1924 and has been televised on NBC since 1952.  In the early years, the parade participants were actual Macy’s employees, and live animals were borrowed from the Central Park Zoo to be in the parade.  In 1927, the live animals were replaced by a large, Felix the Cat balloon.  Today, the parade is known for its giant balloons which are carried by hundreds of volunteers.  At the end of the parade, we get our first glimpse of Santa Claus.

Felix the Cat

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day

Watching the Macy's Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9:00 a.m. EST Thanksgiving morning and lasts for three hours.  Watching the parade is an annual tradition at our house, even though we’re usually in the kitchen cooking while it’s on.  By the time the parade’s over, it’s time to switch the TV to football.  This year, there are three NFL games and two college football games scheduled on Thanksgiving Day.

The NFL on Thanksgiving is as

Every family has their Thanksgiving food favorites and traditions.  I did an informal phone text poll with my family to see what everyone would say are their favorite Thanksgiving dishes.

Only one of my family members said “turkey” but there were lots of “mashed potatoes and gravy” answers, one person said “bean salad, someone else said “cornbread stuffing” was his favorite, another said “pumpkin pie hands down”, my mom’s banana pudding was a favorite of two, and our vegetarian family member said her favorites are “Tofurky and stuffing, and sweet potatoes”.   Oh and there was also the family member who said “deep dish pizza”.

thanksgiving dinner Best

Delicious Chicago Deep Dish

One of my new daughters-in-law said, “egg noodles”.  In her family, they have a long-time tradition of homemade egg noodles which are cooked in chicken broth.  I asked for the recipe so I can add it to our Thanksgiving menu in the future.  At our house, we will be having everyone’s favorites this year.  What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

When I was making our Thanksgiving menu, I was curious about the meal the Pilgrims and the Native Americans had that first Thanksgiving.  You will recall that the folks on the Mayflower sailed from England in 1620.  There were 102 passengers and it took them 66 days over rough seas to get to the New World.

Of Pilgrims, Plymouth & the

They landed near Cape Cod Massachusetts in early November and settled in an abandoned Native American village which they called “Plymouth”.   It was too late to plant crops and they were not prepared for the cold winter ahead.  Most of the settlers didn’t know how to hunt game or how to fish and half of them died that first winter from malnutrition and scurvy.

In the summer of 1621, the Pilgrims signed a treaty with Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag Tribe which lived nearby.  In exchange for help with their food supply, the Pilgrims agreed to help protect the Wampanoag Tribe from rival tribes.  The Wampanoags taught the Pilgrims how to hunt and fish and how to grow crops (such as corn) on their new land.

In the fall of 1621, the 52 remaining Pilgrims came together with 90 Native Americans for a day of prayer and a three-day feast to celebrate their first harvest.  Harvest festivals were common in Europe at the time and the Pilgrims brought this tradition to the New World.

Ask History

While turkey was not the centerpiece of the meal like it is today, wild turkeys were certainly on the menu.  There are only two accounts that exist which mention the food served at the feast.  It sounds a bit like a modern day low carbohydrate diet, but the rest of the menu consisted of venison (five deer brought by the Native Americans), goose, duck, fish, mussels and other seafood, and a thick corn mush or porridge made from the corn harvest.

Historians also speculate that fruits and vegetables available in the area at the time might have been a part of the feast.  These include blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, squash, and possibly peas.

Celebrate Thanksgiving at

While this celebration is commonly thought of as the first Thanksgiving in America, it was really the first harvest celebration.  Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday in this country until President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1863. Lincoln’s proclamation made the last Thursday in November our Thanksgiving Day Holiday.

The first photographic image

1941, britain, fdr,

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up by a week to extend the Christmas shopping season to help shop owners and to give people more time to do their Christmas shopping.  This caused a great deal of controversy and finally, in 1941 Congress passed a law saying the fourth Thursday in November would be our national Thanksgiving Day.

Wishing you all a fun, relaxing, and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving Turkey

“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:2


Good Always Wins

In light of the events in Paris last Friday, coming up with a blog post for this week has been difficult.  Everything I thought of writing about seemed insignificant and unimportant in the face of the horrific and tragic acts of terrorism suffered by the people of France.

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There is a dichotomy of good and evil that exists in our world.  It’s on a spectrum, with goodness and love and justice at one end and evil, deliberate wrongdoing, and intentional harm at the other.  What happened in Paris…and the continued threats to other countries, punctuates just how evil and ugly our world can be.  However, there is much goodness on this planet and it is all around us.

On the news tonight, a French father was trying to reassure his young son.  The son was afraid their family would have to move from their home because the terrorists “have guns and shoot people and are really, really mean.”  The father said, “But we have flowers and candles that people are putting for protection.”

among flowers and candles

Obviously, he was talking about the outpouring of love and respect from the people of France who were paying their respects to those lost on Friday.  But France is not alone.  If we look, we see the good.  And there is much more good than evil in this world.

*There are flags at half-staff all over our country as a symbol of mourning for the people of France.

Flag half staffNovember 17, 2015, Denton, Texas

*Thousands and perhaps millions of Facebook profile pictures are covered with the red, white and blue flag of France in a show of support.


*Countries all around the world have lit up national monuments and landmarks in the red, white and blue as a show of love and solidarity for France.

Cities around the world lit up

Shanghai's landmark

is lit up with blue,

(Reuters/Chris Helgren)

PHOTOS: Tributes to Paris from

We can look closer to home and see the good coming from our own families and friends and neighbors.  Here’s what I see from the people I know:

*My daughter, Anna, bought all the supplies and spent the last month making soft tie flannel blankets for the young patients at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

*My friend, Jody, spends every Monday visiting with and bringing joy to her friend, Sonja, who has Alzheimer’s and lives in an assisted living community.

P1030033Photo by Jeff Hull, Corinth, Texas

*My friend, Shelly, has adopted the Cottonwood Nursing Home here in Denton, Texas and has organized an effort to provide fun, personalized gift baskets and handmade lap blankets for every resident.

*My step-daughter, Morgan, is currently helping flood victims in South Carolina, and is just one of the 75,000 AmeriCorps volunteers who are giving a year of their lives in service to this country.

*My friend, Steve, In Hamilton, Ohio, has organized an effort to clean up and restore Combs Park for the community and is also trying to help the drug addicts who previously frequented the park.

*My neighbors and friends, Paul and Cheryl, have spent the last week at the side of their friend who lost his father very suddenly.

*Quilt Country in Lewisville hosts several charity sew-ins once a month.  Their “Hearts to Hands” volunteers make quilts for several area charities and the “Pillowcase Ladies” make 100 pillowcases in one day for local hospitals.

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*Members of my church, Faith United Methodist, have partnered with McNair Elementary School to be One + One reading mentors.  The One + One mission statement reads:  Serving Children.  Changing Lives.  Transforming Communities.

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*The owners of a local pharmacy in Denton have been known to help with the cost of medicine when their customers have financial challenges.

*My sister-in-law, Vicky, has organized the Pumpkin Roll fundraiser in Little Rock, Arkansas for the last 12 years.  Proceeds from the event go to Camp Aldersgate which provides a traditional camping experience for children with medical, physical, and developmental challenges.  (See post from November 5, 2014, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”)

I’m just one person and these are just a few of the things I know about that people in my life are doing.  I bet there is a whole lot more.  So much good is going on in every community both above and below the radar!

And this is where I need your help this week.  Will you stand with me in love and share the good you see happening wherever you are in this big, beautiful world?  Use the comment section at the bottom of this post and tell about the good that is being done around you.

There is always more love than hate.  Good always wins.

“Later that night I held an


The Old Ways

A friend of mine posted on Facebook this week, a humorous exchange between his wife and daughter.

Daughter:  “Hey, this magazine was on the front porch.”

Mother:  “Um…that’s a phone book.”

Daughter:  “A what?”

This made me laugh out loud because I’ve had similar conversations with my own children over the years.

Son:  “What’s that thing in the suitcase in your closet?”

Me:  “It’s a typewriter.  It was for writing…like a word processor.”

Son:  “Like an early computer?”

Me:  “Sort of.”

Son:  “Can I try it?”

Me: “Yes.”

Son:  “Where’s the delete button?”

Smith Corona

Phone books, maps and atlases, newspapers, encyclopedias, dictionaries, home phones, pay phones, records and turntables, cassette tapes and players, cameras with film, watches for telling time, cookbooks…and books of all kinds…were a part of my childhood and the first half of my adult life.  Now, many of these items have become obsolete except for in the lives of those of us who still hold onto some of the earlier ways.

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In the days before computers and Google, (not really so long ago) we looked in the phone book to get people’s names and addresses and phone numbers.  They were new every year and free and available to anyone with a home phone line.  The white pages listed residential information and the yellow pages were for businesses.  Some phone books even included coupons for saving money at the businesses listed in the yellow pages.  Before we all had cell phones, the phone book was an important tool in every household.

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Now, everyone carries a phone with them and it doubles as their phone book and other information storage, clock, camera, encyclopedia, dictionary, newspaper, recording device, as a music storage and player device, a TV and movie theater, maps and GPS, a library of books, and as a social media connection.

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Many of us have made the digital transition but still enjoy using the original technology.  When I’m writing, I like to look up words in my giant 4″ thick Random House Unabridged Dictionary.  I paid $100 for it in 1993, and all my kids used it during their school years.  I smile when I think of how one of my sons always asked me how I expected him to look up a word in the dictionary if he didn’t know how to spell it.  Somehow, he always figured it out!

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We also like to carry our atlas with us in the car when we travel even though we use the GPS on our phones.  It’s nice to be able to see the big picture and follow the entire route with all the cities and exits along the way.  Our atlas also lists things like national and state parks, rivers, lakes, mountains and other tourist destinations without the use of Google.

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From time to time, I will pull out the old 45 rpm records from my teenage years and play them on my turntable.  The sound quality isn’t great and they are pretty scratchy but it’s fun to listen and take a walk down memory lane.  I also have my mom’s 45 rpm records from her teenage years and sometimes when she comes to visit, we play them and she tells me stories about her youth.

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The first writing I did for publication during high school and college was all done on a typewriter.  I confess I do not miss typing articles on a typewriter.  Especially in the days before erasable typing paper when we had to retype an entire page if we made a typo!  It’s much quicker and easier to write on a computer with that “delete” button close at hand.

My husband and I both grew up using a set of encyclopedias for school research projects.  I also don’t miss doing all my research with encyclopedias or other books at the library.  I do use actual books for research at times, but accessing the infinite resources of the internet is a fun challenge which always yields many and varied results!

Now I wish I had a set of

Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia

What’s funny is that some of these old things…such as vinyl record albums…have become popular again.  According to the April 17, 2015 issue of Billboard Magazine, vinyl album sales in 2014 accounted for $320.8 million in revenue in the United States last year.  This was 50% more than the $213.7 million generated in 2013. The top selling vinyl album in the U.S. was “Abbey Road” by The Beatles.  This seems to support the adage, “All things old become new again.”

KAMA: just a few LPs and an

And while some people still wear watches more as a fashion statement rather than for telling time, (we have our phones for that) Apple did just introduce the Apple Watch.  The funniest comment I saw about the Apple Watch was from Ellen Degeneres on Twitter:

“So excited for the Apple Watch.  For centuries, we’ve checked the time by looking at our phones. Having it on your wrist? Genius.”

Apple Watch

Recently on Amazon, I saw the new Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera.  It’s a digital camera and you can upload your images, but it will also print out 2” x 3” instant pictures.  What fun!  I still have the old Polaroid I used when my kids were growing up.  I have film too but it expired in 2008.  Maybe I should see if it works anymore?

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In the most recent issue of Publisher’s Weekly, there was an article stating that E-book sales for the last quarter are down.  As a lover and buyer of actual books, I think this is great news.  I do understand the convenience of e-book readers for those who read a lot or travel a great deal and don’t want to lug books around with them.

For me, few things compare to a lazy day with a warm fire in the fireplace and a good book in my lap.  I love everything about books.  I love the texture of them, the sound of the pages turning, the smells of ink and paper, and the tactile feeling of holding a whole other world in my hands.

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There is room in our lives for the old and the new to coexist and I believe it will all sort itself out. It’s possible for us to embrace new technology but still enjoy some of the old ways too.

Typewriters Quotes, Carlo Ruiz

With Gratitude

I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately.  Perhaps gratitude is on my mind because it’s November and it’s the season of thanksgiving.  We celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November as a day when we give thanks for the blessing of the year’s harvest.


I love everything about Thanksgiving…the whole concept of gratitude defining the holiday, the cooler temperatures outside, the turkey and mashed potatoes, the squash and green bean casseroles, the pies, the football games, and the idea of families coming together.  What a perfect holiday!

Jeff, Mom, & Dad circa 1990'sBut being thankful or grateful is so much bigger than Thanksgiving dinner.  Gratitude is a feeling or attitude of appreciation for something or someone in our lives.

Though best known for the

Gratitude is not the same as indebtedness. While both emotions may occur following help, indebtedness occurs when a person perceives they are under an obligation to make some repayment for the help they received.

Feeling indebted to another person may motivate us to avoid that person, whereas gratitude may motivate us to seek out the other person and continue our relationship with them.  Gratitude is simply being thankful for something or for someone.

Until six years ago, I had lived all of my life in the Midwest.  I really miss the colors of the trees there this time of year.  The fall colors look like paintings from God and I remember being thankful for them in my prayers each year.

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In yesterday’s mail, I had a note from one of my dear friends in Michigan.  It’s great to have friends who have known us for a long time.  They know our history, our likes and dislikes, and they often know the things we miss in our lives.  I’m so very thankful for my long-time friends who know me so well.

My friend had enclosed a baggie full of colorful fall leaves from the trees in her yard.  She knows how I love this time of year and especially the colors of the trees in the Midwest.  I cried as I touched each one.  My tears were for the home I miss, but were also tears of gratitude for my friend who thought of me and who took the time to send me something so meaningful.

Leaves from Galyn 007

We have so much to be thankful for in our lives…our families, our jobs, our homes, our friends, our health, our hobbies, our freedoms and opportunities.  Sometimes in the busyness of life, it’s easy to forget.

Gratitude, has gained a lot of attention in the field of psychology in the last few years. Studies have found that those who are habitually grateful are significantly happier than those who are not. Because here’s the thing about gratitude, if we are busy being thankful for all the good things in our lives, it’s hard to focus and dwell on the bad.


On Facebook, I’ve seen where people list things they are thankful for each day.  Others keep gratitude journals where they write about the things for which they are grateful.

I bet we could all think of at least one thing we are thankful for each day in November.  Today is the 4th, so we have some backtracking to do, but I’m going to write down one thing I’m thankful for each day this month.  Will you join me?

Be Thankful: 6 Quotes to