Reflections on Thanksgiving


Dearest Readers:

Today is Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Two days before Thanksgiving. Today, I would like to reflect on the holiday of Thanksgiving.

As a young girl, my family of four girls, a father and mother, would celebrate Thanksgiving with our maternal grandparents. My father would either work, or celebrate with his mother until her death. Every Thanksgiving we were a family; unfortunately, extremely dysfunctional but together. My maternal grandmother did the cooking. I helped. Never could I make homemade biscuits like my grandmother, although I tried. I’ve decided the only dessert I can make from scratch are cookies and cake. Forget the biscuits, or the dinner rolls I attempted a few weeks ago. I used a ‘foolproof’ recipe. Foolproof, alright…definitely did not work for me. I baked those rolls in anticipation of having homemade dinner rolls for Thanksgiving. Tasting one after they baked, I decided the only way to enjoy these rolls was to toss them into the trash! Mission accomplished! My foolproof recipe certainly fooled me! If I serve rolls (and I doubt I do) they will be store-bought, not made from my hands!

After marriage, I made the Thanksgiving dinner at our home. By now, my mother and I were estranged. Twice, I attempted to have Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house, or apartment, wherever she lived at that time. My mother moved lots. Never was there a place for me to call home with her.  Both times, we had dinner together, we had words. Not kind words. Just words. She always wanted to tell me what to do. How to treat my husband…how to care for my child…how to live my life. She wanted me to walk in her shoes. I refused. After our last Thanksgiving together, I decided I would have Thanksgiving dinner at our home in Mt. Pleasant, SC. New traditions were made. My dad was invited to every Thanksgiving. For many years, he sat at the dinner table. His chair to the left of where I sat.

Although I didn’t think my dad noticed, every year our dinner table was sat for a formal occasion. Lace tablecloths on the table. Dinner napkins folded in a design. My finest china was used. The table was always dressed – formally. Forks to the left of the plate. Knives to the right.

Dad always said grace. We held hands while he prayed. On one occasion, he made the compliment to me: “Barbara. You really know how to cook and how to set a dining room table. I always look forward to dinners at your home.”

I was flabbergasted. Rarely did I get compliments from my parents.

On Thanksgiving, 2016, the table will be set for a formal occasion. My dad will not sit in his chair. Still reserved for him, I lost my dad on July 6, 1999. Our last Thanksgiving together, he struggled to swallow his food. How I miss him.

This year, my menu includes:

Roasted turkey breast

Mashed potatoes

sautéed green beans

Cornbread dressing

Macaroni and cheese

Gravy

Pineapple delight

Dessert:

Homemade Chocolate Pound Cake

Homemade Carrot Cake

Definitely not a Weight Watchers menu, but I will choose wisely. After all, this is Thanksgiving. A time to give thanks for life. Health. Happiness. Friendship. And many, many more moments of Thanksgiving.

No, I will not have my son, his wife or grandson at our dining room table. They have an open invitation to come, but somehow, it doesn’t happen. I really do not know IF my son celebrates Thanksgiving. I certainly hope he and his family do, but they are ‘busy with their lives…’ Oh, how they are missed!

To all of you reading this I wish you a joyous Happy Thanksgiving. If you are having dinner with your friends and family, remember to breathe. Inhale. Exhale. If they are doing or saying something you might not approve of, just breathe while giving Thanks you are together for this special occasion and holiday. Every year, I breathe while wishing my family could celebrate holidays together.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. If you have a loved one overseas in a combat, or military setting, pray for their safety. Happy Thanksgiving to all of us.

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Thanksgiving, 2014


Dearest Readers:

Thanksgiving is celebrated in the USA in two days, Thursday, November 27, 2014. Because it is always a busy day for me, I would like to take a moment to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow I begin the process of the infamous Thanksgiving meal – prepping, baking and getting the table set with my china, crystal and silverware. After losing my dad in July 1999, I still have an emptiness deep in my heart, missing him so much. It was a tradition for us to celebrate Thanksgiving together. He enjoyed the fuss I made over him, and over Thanksgiving. I should say I make everything from scratch. I do not believe in using processed foods, and if I say so myself, I am a decent chef! Never do I use paper plates or plastic. For that special day, I enjoy the best that I have.

This year my menus is:

Roasted turkey
Cornbread dressing
Macaroni and cheese
Green bean casserole
Mashed potatoes
Gravy
Cranberry Relish

Dessert:
Pecan pie (I’ve never baked one so this will be a first!)
Cream cheese pound cake, served with fresh strawberries and Cool Whip

Today, I am busy polishing furniture, preparing for guests and cleaning the fridge — how I dread that ordeal!

What does Thanksgiving mean to you? For our family, it is a time to give thanks for all that we have, the people in our lives and a Thanksgiving to give God thankfulness and gratitude for our lives. This year is a good year for this household. Yes, we are missing a few of our loved ones, but we are happy that we’ve celebrated many Thanksgiving holidays together. Unfortunately, our first Thanksgiving as a newly married couple, I kissed my husband goodbye while knowing he was leaving me for a war zone. The next Thanksgiving, I prepared a feast, anticipating his arrival. He did not arrive until December 5, of that year, so Thanksgiving means a lot to us. It is a time to share our love with each other and with our family members. Perhaps one year we will get together with my sister in Georgia — but that is for another time. If it does happen, I will be more than happy to cook the entire meal.

How about you, readers? What do you do for Thanksgiving? I pray you will celebrate the festivities with your family and friends, and I pray that you will give thanks for all you are blessed with in life. No doubt, our extended family of five precious animals will enjoy a bit of turkey and dressing.

Let us all give thanks for the United States of America, especially to our soldiers in harm’s way. May this day of Thanksgiving bring us peace. Please, if you are traveling, be safe and if you see a soldier, please tell them thank you for their service. If you are a soldier, I say thank you and may God bless you, and all of us.

And now, I must close this and clean the fridge.

Happy, Blessed Thanksgiving to All!

Grammy’s Heavenly Homemade Biscuits – Chattahoochee Child


Yesterday while reading an e-mail from an online writers’ group, I discovered a food writing contest. The directions discussed a contest for Thanksgiving. The assignment was to share a family recipe for the holidays. Humph. I thought. I don’t have any family recipes to share.

That assignment for a contest got me thinking; nevertheless, I cannot enter the competition, simply because the recipe I would share would be Grammy’s homemade biscuits.

My Grammy was a good ole’ Southern cook, rarely did she measure anything. Her recipes were never written on index cards for others to share or to preserve for family members. A tiny woman, with long white hair, early every morning she rolled her hair up in a crochet hair bun, clipping the left and right with wavy clips. Spraying the hair with a light spray, she was ready for the day. No makeup or fancy earrings did she wear. She was a natural beauty with bright, beautiful blue eyes.

Grammy encouraged me to help her in the kitchen. “Always remember to wash your hands several times when cooking,” she said. Only 10 years old, I remember stepping up on a chair to watch her make baked goods, especially her homemade biscuits. Grammy had a special large pottery bowl only used for baked goods. In this bowl, she placed all-purpose flour, Grammy preferred Gold Medal Flour, baking powder, a bit of salt, shortening, Grammy preferred Crisco, and milk.

I watched my grandmother carefully; curious as to how she knew just the right ingredients to use to bake the light as a cloud, fluffy hot biscuits she made daily. Never did she measure the ingredients. Never did she make a mistake.

“Grammy,” I said, watching her fingers moving the ingredients into a soft, moist mixture that rolled into one soft ball of dough, ready to pinch off and pat into a cast iron skillet. “How do you know how much to use? You always make the best biscuits. They melt in my mouth.”

Grammy laughed. “I just know.”

“But you don’t measure anything. If I tried to make these, how would I know?”

Grammy laughed again, her blue eyes almost dancing with delight.

“Well child, I suppose I’ll share my recipe.”

Grammy’s Homemade Biscuits
“Use a large pottery bowl that you only use for biscuits.
Place a bunch of flour in the bowl. If you are making biscuits for our group, a family of 10, then you place a lot of all-purpose flour in the bowl.
Add a pinch of baking powder.
A dash of salt.
Shortening. I always use only Crisco, and if I’m baking biscuits for all of us, including Rusty, I use more Crisco and more ingredients.
Milk. I don’t like it real cold. I let it get a bit warmer before I use it. I let it sit out for about five minutes before I pour it in. Before I pour it in, I make a well with the ingredients with my fingers and I pour the milk into the well. Then I mix it all up.
I have the oven ready by letting it heat up a bit. The temperature is warm, about 400 degrees when I put the biscuits in the oven. My secret to get golden biscuits is to roll a bit of the dough in your hands to make the shape and size you want and place each biscuit in the pan. Pat each biscuit in the skillet with milk. That helps them to get golden brown and stay moist.”

I listened and listened while wondering what a bunch of flour was. A pinch of baking powder. A dash of salt. Enough Crisco for all of us, including Rusty? And – just HOW would the biscuit bowl KNOW it was only used for biscuits, nothing more?

I shook my head. I would never be able to bake Grammy’s homemade biscuits.

When I was a teenager, our family fell apart. My mother and father divorced. Mom moved us back to Bibb City, to live with our grandparents. Cramped together in a small brick mill house with only two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a tiny kitchen, I chose to devote my time to cooking. I asked Grammy to teach me how to bake biscuits. Following her directions, I scooped up a bunch of flour. My fingers pinched the baking powder. I shook the salt shaker, hoping to get just a dash of salt to make my biscuits as fluffy and tasty as Grammy’s. I took a large measuring cup filled with Crisco, plopping it into the well of the flour mixture. And then, my fingers worked their magic, pouring in just enough milk to make the ingredients work together into a magical ball. The ball my mixture made was lumpy and dry.

Working my fingers around the well of dough, I hoped and prayed my mixture would follow the lead of Grammy. I moved my fingers strategically, just like Grammy. The mixture refused to follow my lead.

“Grammy,” I said. “My biscuit dough doesn’t move around the bowl like yours did. What did I do wrong?”

Grammy looked at the table, noticing the measuring cups.

“I don’t measure, child. I just scoop it all up in my fingers.”

“Oh…but how…how do you know what a bunch of flour, a pinch of baking powder, a dash of salt and enough Crisco is? Did I mix too much milk in my well?”

She laughed. “You just know child. Don’t fret none. It’ll come to you.”

For two more days I attempted to learn how to bake Grammy’s homemade biscuits. On my last attempt, Grammy suggested I stick with baking my homemade pound cakes. A Betty Crocker recipe, I make those pound cakes every year, and each time I do how I wish I had my Grammy’s vintage pottery bowl.

I lost my grandmother to breast cancer in 1973. Unfortunately, her recipe for homemade biscuits vanished with her death. Today, I suppose it is to my benefit that I do not have that delicious recipe, or her magical vintage bowl. One can only imagine how such recipes require willpower, just to abstain from eating them – at every meal.

I have no idea what happened to that beautiful biscuit bowl. Never did I receive anything tangible in remembrance of my precious grandmother. I do hope someone in the family has it, although I doubt it. My mother had the tendency to take such precious items to antique shops to sell. Perhaps the next time I go ‘antiquing’ I will search for such a bowl. If my memory is correct, the bowl was an off-white color, deep with two blue bands across the width of the bowl. A bit heavy for a young child, but I cherished that bowl, along with my grandmother.

During the holidays I still crave my grandmother’s homemade biscuits. No one that I know has ever been able to equal her magic recipe. I suppose some recipes should remain secrets for the family to enjoy. The next time you eat a homemade biscuit, just pretend you are eating a light, golden brown biscuit – from Heaven, in memory of my Grammy!

Friday Reflections — Enough Said!


Dearest Readers:

Late autumn always depresses me when the sun sets so early and darkness blankets the skies, much…much too early. I enjoy evenings where I enjoy the sun setting later. Tomorrow evening is the Elks show in Murrells Inlet, SC. Since the show started traveling “on the road” with our talents, I have always attended. This show is different because I am not going. It was my decision to remain at home. Many reasons that others do not understand. Quite simply – my budget at this time of year is not one I want to stretch to the limits. Allow me to explain. Many of the casts are driving up tomorrow afternoon. After the show, they are going back to Charleston. Yes, it is true. I could go. And I could drive home late at night, but I don’t think so. Driving after 10:00 at night is just a bit testy, considering all of the drivers under the influence, and of course, the deer roaming around the highways. Then, I must consider, I would need to arrange a pet sitter to come to my house two, if not three times daily while I am gone — at the expense of $20.00 each visit. I do not believe in boarding my animals. They are most comfortable within their atmosphere of HOME. After all, my four-legged friends are rescue animals – four of them tolerated much abuse previously, and now, within our home, they are happy. LOVED. SPOILED. Considering all of the expenses of ‘going on the road’ for the Elks Lodge show, the amount of money it would cost us was just not worth it. While it is true, I could get a cheaper rate for a hotel, I think I made the right decision. I am the type of household finance manager who does not believe in tapping into the budget, squeezing it too tightly. After all, the holidays are approaching! I do wish the entire cast of the show to have a good time. I understand I was ridiculed when I said “Break a leg” to the cast. I got the distinct impression a few of them were thinking I was wishing them to ‘break a leg’ physically. Now honestly…Those of us who have been on stage, or a thespian truly understand the definition of “Break a leg.” Those who do not — well…let’s just say, while I am the type of personality defined as “Julia Sugarbaker,” never do I wish anything bad on anyone. SO, cast members, I still say, “Break a Leg!”

Next week is our show at the Elks Lodge in Charleston, and I still wish everyone to “Break a leg.” Enough said!

This week at Weight Watchers, my weigh-in showed another small gain. This time, .06 of a pound. RATS! After weigh-in, I turned to look at the magic mirror. Have you ever seen one of these? They instantly give you a 10-pound reduction. I want one for my home! Maybe I’ll tell Santa. Perhaps if I sit on his lap, maybe — just maybe — I can convince him I will make this generosity worthy of my talents! Looking in that mirror, I do see a difference. Heck…My body is shrinking, even IF that disagreeable scale says otherwise. I think I’m looking pretty good! I’ll say it again — RATS! I want that stupid scale to stop dictating who I am. Age is just a number, and so is a Weight Watchers scale! Enough said!

Looks like this epistle should be titled “Enough Said.” After all, I am free writing, and I have no idea what my fingers will pour from my soul as I write this. I am sitting at my desk. My little love bugs, Hanks the Tank, and Sandy Bear are resting next to me, curled on the pillows, probably getting warm. The weather is changing drastically…almost momentarily…The present temp is 42.8 degrees…OK…let’s round it up to 43! I am wearing a short black lace skirt with black leggings. Black boots! The temperature inside the house is only 69 degrees, but the house is warm, so I refuse to cut the heat on until later. Yes, I will turn on the electric blanket before going to bed. I simply love curling into a warm bed!

See…I told you, I am free writing. This week has been a better week than last. During that time, for three days, PTSD was dictating the behaviors of my husband. If you’ve never lived, or been around, someone with PTSD consider yourself blessed. Simple eye contact…body language…ANYTHING can ignite strange behaviors and when it happens in this house, I simply close myself away. I do not like to argue, or to be mistreated, so I am thankful this is a Friday Reflections where I can say, this has been a better week. Thank you, God.

On Friday’s, I like to give thanks to God for all that I have endured, experienced, or learned this week. When my dad was alive, and all of us lived at home, I recall him asking me, “What did you learn today?” And when he asked, I shared my lessons learned. How I miss that man. Holidays just are not the same without my dad here with us. After his death in 1999, Thanksgiving was the hardest holiday ever. I cooked the meal, set the table with linens and china, only to notice my dad’s chair was empty. The emptiness I felt was almost unbearable. This year, I feel his loss still — even though it is 15 years later. I’ve asked God, “How long does one grieve?” Funny. I’ve never heard an answer. I believe the grief process last for eternity; however, we who grieve, must learn to walk through the grief and — as my dad would tell me — Move On. That is truly a hard lesson learned.

Now that I am finally writing again, I must give thanks and be proud that the words are flowing — a bit. I still have people ask me — ‘are you EVER gonna finish your story?’

My answer — “Yes…writing takes time.” It isn’t a process where you can just sit and write. NOT ALWAYS!

And so, tonight – while it is still Friday, I am reflecting on life…gratitude…and my personal reflections for this week. My thoughts just strayed a bit while listening to the TV. Honey Boo Boo’s Mom was speaking on the network. Sorry I do not know her name…All I do know is she has two, if not three chins! Oh…my goodness…she is undoubtedly the most non-photographic woman I have ever seen. Just how she became a household name is beyond me. Not a good mother…and certainly not someone photogenic or pretty, or someone I wish to reflect on… Make up doesn’t help her at all! And most women really are glamorous with makeup. So, I suppose I shall keep the remainder of my opinion about that woman — to myself. Is that a first? Perhaps!

To those of you in Murrells Inlet at the Elks Lodge, I hope you all enjoy the show, and to the performers, I still shall say, “Break a Leg!”

Until next week…

Gobble…Gobble…Gobble…Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dearest Readers:

On this date, November 28, 2013, we celebrate Thanksgiving. As we grow, there are many traditions made, and some traditions are broken. Growing up in the State of Georgia, my family taught me many traditions during the holidays, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The holidays were for family. I recall celebrating Thanksgiving with my maternal grandparents. Although when I was little, I often was curious why my maternal grandparents and paternal grandparents did not come together for the holidays. Later, I discovered how strange our families were and I did my best to welcome all of my relatives.

I remember my maternal grandmother always prepping, baking and cooking for the holidays. Our table was filled with most of the foods we celebrate and gobble down a bit too quickly. We always had a country ham, turkey, homemade biscuits that felt and tasted like a cloud and I recall eating too many of them. OK…so homemade biscuits are my weakness, and that is why I do not make them! Additional foods included cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, Southern potato salad, mashed potatoes, candied yams, and of course, we had a variety of desserts. My grandmother was a great Southern cook, so you can just imagine all of the food we ate. Another tradition we shared was always saying the blessing at the dinner table. Joining hands, we would ask my dad or grandfather to lead us into prayer.

Some traditions must be preserved, and that is why when Phil and I eat at the dining room table, or at the breakfast table, I always remind him we must ‘say grace.’ Phil did not grow up with that family tradition, and the more I discover about his family, the more I recognize that his family was more estranged than mine could ever be. His mother did not cook a Thanksgiving turkey or dinner. His mother said she hated turkey because it was dry. She changed her mind when tasting mine! After moving to Charleston, I went to the trouble of inviting Phil’s family for Thanksgiving Dinner; however, after the way his mother behaved, I was a bit annoyed with her. Just picture it. As the cook for the Thanksgiving Dinner you are tired. For many days you have prepped the foods, thawed the turkey and prepared it. Baked. Cooked. Cleaned the dishes. Dressed the dining room table with your finest linens, china, candles and all the fun things I enjoy doing for the holidays, only to be told — perhaps in a dictatorial tone — that you are hungry and want to eat…NOW!

I asked Phil if I could speak to him privately, letting him know I was furious that his mother was so demanding. He shook his head, refusing to speak with his mother. I returned to the kitchen, letting his mother know I had some peanut butter and bread and if she wanted to EAT NOW…she could fix a peanut butter sandwich. She growled at me… “Just give me a paper plate and I’ll dig in…”

“You’ll do no such a thing. Dinner isn’t ready!”

That was the last Thanksgiving I shared with Phil’s mother. New traditions were made, in hopes we as a family could teach our child that holidays were family days and were not to be dictatorial.

Now, our son is married, building new traditions with his wife and child. As for us, I still prepare a Thanksgiving meal, and I dress the dining room table with china, a lace tablecloth, and candles and we take the time to enjoy our meal. Occasionally, I invite our friends over but as life has a way, most people have plans for the holidays.

A new tradition we started two years ago is to decorate our Christmas tree on the weekend of Thanksgiving. Last year, I was so sick with acute bronchitis I did not feel like cooking Thanksgiving, although I did. Weak and exhausted by dinner time, I did something I rarely do.  I asked Phil to help with the clean up. That weekend he put the tree up. When I asked him to help with the decorating he grumbled, so like his mother —
“I HATE decorating the tree…”

I gathered the decorations and with tears in my eyes, I decorated the tree. Exhausted, I went to bed, furious with Phil and his hatred for the holidays.

This year, I’ve let him know how his cold, and demeaning words hurt me last year. There I was as sick and as weak I could be, and all he cared about was watching his stupid football games! How dare him! Never did he consider how sick I was and how hard I worked to keep the traditions going.

Traditions are important to me, and they should be for everyone, especially at the holidays. Much to my surprise, Phil has mentioned twice that we are decorating the Christmas tree this weekend. Sometimes I cannot help wondering just who is this strange man I married. His moods change quicker than the winds!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We are sharing it with friends, and on Friday, I am cooking a Thanksgiving meal at home. After all, some traditions need to continue. Since early marriage I have cooked the Thanksgiving meal. That tradition must continue. Additional traditions will continue, and a few will change. We have a family of four-legged children to celebrate the holidays with. This year, all of them — Shasta Daisy Shampagne, our 12-year-old, frail Maltese will probably share her last Thanksgiving with us. She has seizures now. Until last evening, the last was three weeks ago. Our pet sitter describes her as a frail, little old lady most comfortable in her rocking chair. Only for Shasta, she is most comfortable curled on a pillow with her blanket at my desk. Last night’s seizure scared us and I prayed, “Please God, let her live just one more Thanksgiving!” She made it through the night, and she is curled at my feet now.  Thank you, God!

Our other children are Shakespeare Hemingway, a salt and pepper mini-schnauzer, Sandy Bear Sebastian, a blonde mini-schnauzer,  Sir Hankster the Prankster, a smaller mini-schnauzer who grumbles and grumbles and grumbles… Our youngest is our biggest, a giant wiry schnauzer named Prince Midnight Shadow. We adopted him from a shelter last year after my precious Prince Marmaduke Shamus crossed Rainbow Bridge. All of these precious children will enjoy a taste of Thanksgiving this Friday with us. Yesterday, the rescue I volunteer for requested for us to consider fostering a pup from a kill shelter. Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas needs fosters willing to help these little guys adjust to a life away from kill shelters and crates. At first, I thought “No, I cannot do this again.” If you recall, my last foster was Sweet Little Cleet…Cleet…the Pup Who Ran Away, But Came Back! I confess, I fell in love with Sweet Cletus and hated to let him go when he was adopted. I am happy to report he is progressing ever so slowly with his new parents. It has been a long process for him to forget the abuse he tolerated as a puppy mill stud, but now, he has a caring family who do everything they can to give him a life filled with love and tender care. Together, Cletus, now named “Little Buddy” and his family are taking baby steps. Baby steps leads to independence and trust, and I look forward to the day when I hear that Little Buddy is now a changed guy!

I am happy to announce, Phil has agreed to take in another foster – a Maltese. So now, this Thanksgiving, even though we do not have the newest foster in our household, we have much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving 2013. This year I have good health again! We are still together in this marriage. We have love and peace in our world at home. We are thankful for our soldiers who are away this year, and we are hopeful they return home safely, soon. We are thankful for our grandchild, William; and we are thankful and so appreciative of our good friends. May we all have a toast for Thanksgiving, and may we all give thanks to God for another Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your special day!

 

November 22, 1963 — A Day of Remembrance


Dearest Readers:

If you were alive on this date, November 22, 1963, do you remember what you were doing when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated?

I was just a little girl at the time, but I remember it significantly. Home from school due to the flu and asthma, I listened to the radio in my bedroom, hearing the news about the “President Has Been Shot in Dallas,” I crawled out of bed to watch TV. This was before the days of cable, MSNBC, Fox News and such, and before the days when every room in a house had television. I sat on the couch while watching the tv and the breaking news.

“How can someone shoot our President?” I asked my parents. They shushed me. Since I was so young and innocent, I learned two new vocabulary words on that date. Two words I shall never forget:

Assassination

Sniper

I loved learning new words, but when I looked these up in the dictionary, I discovered that our innocence in America was ending. “Assassination and Sniper are bad words to learn.”

I never forgot those words, nor did I forget their definitions.

Today, November 22, 2013, is the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President Kennedy. I fully believe he died the moment the bullet hit him. I believe he never felt any pain…just emptiness…gone in a moment.

Now older and much wiser, I have added additional words to my vocabulary, including terrorism, and other words of violence. I no longer dwell on their meanings. Our world has grown to become a world of such violence that I wish we could crawl back into time and find the peace and happiness again.

In less than one week, the USA will celebrate Thanksgiving. Many of us will celebrate with family and friends, sometimes bickering over heated discussions such as politics, ObamaCare, religion, and the Death of a President. Let us hope and pray that will ignore those topics this year, in hopes to make our visits with our families a happy time.

We must give thanks for what we have, who we are, and especially, we must give thanks to God for giving us life, prosperity and family times.

Today, let us remember the day of mourning, November 22, 1963, while recognizing that we must move forward to give thanks and appreciation to those we love. Please remember to keep our soldiers in your prayers and thoughts to. Without them and their dedication to duty, we, the United States of America, could not celebrate Thanksgiving. For today, let us unite to remember and to appreciate — LIFE! How quickly it can disappear.

Let us give thanks that we in America can agree to disagree; however, let us appreciate the beauty of life and family! After all, like President Kennedy, life is to live for the moment, in hopes for the future!

Losing Weight, the Weight Watchers Way


Dearest Readers:

If  you read my posts on a regular basis, you might recognize I haven’t written much lately about losing weight. Why? That’s an easy question to answer. I have been stuck in a plateau — for 12 months, bouncing back and forth, trapped inside a spinning wheel, my body refused to drop below a loss of 35 pounds. Inches lost? Many. Until about a month ago, I refused to measure! I worked out. I tracked my food intake. I was so careful; nevertheless, my body applied brakes, refusing to lose just one more teeny tiny pound. At my weekly Weight Watchers meetings, I listened to friends sharing their weight loss, while I sat in a corner near the back, so angry at myself that I contemplated quitting.

BRAKES and EXERCISE!

I missed my meetings. If my morning wasn’t starting on a positive note, I stayed home from the meeting, telling myself that the next week would be so much better because I was confident I would have a weight loss. Laugh. LAUGH. Laugh!

The next week, a weight gain. The week after that, a small loss…and so on. I read articles. I told myself that this too shall pass. I jumped on the treadmill. Maybe I could do ten minutes on it. When ten minutes got easy to this asthmatic woman, I chose to continue the treadmill, increasing the minutes from 10 to 20, then 30…35. A few weeks ago, I actually accomplished 60 minutes non-stop on the treadmill. Dripping with sweat, I screamed. I was euphoric! Oh…My poor four-legged children were not happy with my scream, but they did seem to appreciate their mommy working out while they napped.

I was certain the additional workout would do the trick. It did not. At my doctor’s office, I discussed my situation and how my body had simply stopped in limbo, refusing to allow me to lose any more weight. He nodded. Maybe you should try the Medical Weight Loss programs at the hospital. MUSC has one. I researched those options when I got home. I did not want to succumb to shots, pills or anything so extreme. For me and my self-worth, I wanted to accomplish my goals — shall I say it — MY WAY!

ONWARD

Today is November 21, 2013. Plans are all set for Thanksgiving next week. My husband and I are visiting a close friend for Thanksgiving so food should not be such an issue; however, today at the Weight Watchers meeting, our leader, Kathy, passed out paper plates. She had us look and select our chosen foods on a pretend buffet. I jotted my food choices down and went back to my chair to calculate the power points, discovering that the Thanksgiving meal would set me up for total destruction. My total power points for Thanksgiving will be a whopping 33 points. OUCH! I have decided that I will be most careful on Thanksgiving and I will only eat a bite of each food choice, and if I should weaken, I will simply tell myself that tomorrow is another day! That is one of the most important lessons we, the members of Weight Watchers learn…When we fall off the wagon, we stop. Regroup…and begin our journey once again. We do not beat ourselves up, or discontinue our journey. We move on! And On… AND ON! ONWARD!!!

Last week was a busy week for me. Phil and I were in Murrells Inlet, performing for the Elks Lodge. I think I had the correct mindset during our trip and I am happy to report that this week was the best week I’ve ever experienced with Weight Watchers. Much to my surprise, this week saw a decrease of 3.6 pounds for me, and a total weight loss of 36.6 pounds! Goodbye Plateau!

WHAT DID I DO TO CHANGE THINGS?

Beats the heck out of me. This week, much to the credit of severe insomnia, I have been too exhausted to work out. I have tracked my food intake faithfully, and I started calculating my calories. Yes, I know, Weight Watchers does not count calories, but I was desperate to break this 12-month vicious cycle! I found an App titled Lose It so I downloaded it to my iPhone.  Now, not only do I track my food on Weight Watchers, the Lose It program calculates the amount of calories I eat. At the moment, I calculate less than 1600 calories daily. According to this program, I could hit my goal in September 2014, based on my current history and my exercise routine.

GOALS ESTABLISHED

Losing weight is such a tedious, time-consuming task and when we hit a plateau, we could easily just throw in the towel and give up. For me, that is no longer my style. I made the commitment to lose weight the Weight Watchers way and if I had to change things a bit to make it work for me, it is worth the struggles — at least for me. I have a goal weight established and I am confident today I will accomplish that goal. Today was filled with encouragement for me. Next week is Thanksgiving and I have much to be thankful for, including the weight loss, not to mention the inches and dress sizes I am losing. I have much to be thankful for. Good health. Family. My precious four-legged children who warm my heart daily. A devoted husband. OK…I admit he drives me crazy and he could cause me to binge, but now, I ignore his PTSD attitude and MOVE ON!  I have a few Good friends, and so much more. Much of this is due to Weight Watchers. The friends and acceptance I have made is to the credit of my first step into the doorway of a Weight Watchers meeting. I will never forget how devastated I felt, especially when slipping on to the ‘confidential weigh-in.’ I wanted to place a bag over my head so no one would recognize me. What I discovered is something I never imagined — acceptance and encouragement. Everyone at Weight Watchers has walked in the same shoes.  They have been just as discouraged and fearful as I was, and now, we take it one day…one week…one month…one loss…at a time. Regardless of how long it takes to achieve goal, we are still — WEIGHT WATCHERS.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to the United States of America, 2012


Gobble. Gobble. We awoke to a beautiful morning. Warming the oven, we pop the turkey in, ready and excited to make our delicious Thanksgiving meal. Thanksgiving has been a tradition in America since the pilgrims. Just imagine cooking that delicious meal the way the pilgrims cooked. No microwave. No conventional ovens. No electric ovens. Everything was cooked using all that they had to use back in those days. The days before electricity. The days without convenience, or technology. Just imagine, not being able to communicate with precious long distance loved ones far away. No e-mail. No texting. No Facebook.

I, for one, am happy I didn’t live back in those days. The days before women had rights. Nonetheless, today is a Thanksgiving Day that is always precious to me and my family. On this date many years ago, my husband shipped out from Ft. Dix to Vietnam. Seems the military could care less about holidays!  Phil and I were newlyweds at that time and I was staying with his family while he was away. At least that is what he wanted me to do, but when his father (and I use the term loosely) chose to stay drunk 24 hours a day, telling me that ‘I had only married my husband because I wanted his money.’ I was only 18-years-old at the time. He was a PFC in the Army. His family lived in a trailer. Enough Said! Let’s just say, our marriage started off without much planning. I didn’t meet his family UNTIL AFTER OUR MARRIAGE. How I was hoping and praying Phil would not behave like they did. After my father-in-law’s drunkenness continued, I chose to move back to my mother’s home. Not a good decision, but it was the only decision I had.

OK, let’s flash forward to our Thanksgiving time together. For two years of our marriage, the Army kept us separate. So now, I do my best to make certain Thanksgiving is special. I use my best china, and I cook lots of food. We have enough leftovers to feed us for at least three days.

Our dinner feast included:

Roast turkey with homemade cornbread dressing with Italian sausage and giblets

Macaroni and cheese

Mashed potatoes

Gravy

Dessert – Cream cheese pound cake and cheesecake

What was your Thanksgiving feast?

This year I was sick for four weeks with bronchial asthma. So sick and weak I failed to invite anyone over for Thanksgiving.  Next year, I’m hopeful I will not get sick so I can work on that. I simply love cooking for others. The year 2012 has kept me busy so I haven’t exactly shared my cooking skills with others. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day!

My wish for everyone on this Thanksgiving Day is to appreciate others. Take a moment to share your love with your friends, family and significant others while enjoying this special day of thanksgiving.

I hope all of your holidays are filled with happiness. Remember to take time to say a prayer for our United States of America Armed Forces. Let us hope that all of them know how much we miss them and appreciate all that they are doing to keep America safe.

May your holidays be wonderful, and please, remember to keep Christ in Christmas.