Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Beyond Words

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Corinthians 15:57
Happy Thanksgiving!!

How could we ever begin to give thanks for all God has done?
Sometimes, I come before His presence with thanksgiving, 
and I don't feel like I even come close to skimming the surface 
in conveying to God how very thankful I am.
I am so grateful that He knows!
He doesn't only understand words.
He looks on the heart.
He comprehends what is behind the spoken....
and the unspoken prayers.

If any given one of us counted our many blessings and named them one by one,
we would never be able to find a stopping point.

Truly, every day should be Thanksgiving day, in the life of a Christian.
But, in the busyness of everyday life, with all of its demands,
it is so easy to forget to pause and thank Him.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits..."
Psalm 103:2

How many forgotten benefits (click here to read) have we failed to mention 
when we are sending up thanks to Him?

Pretty scary thought, huh?
Thankfully, God is very forgiving...and ever, eternally merciful.

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22,23

So, what are your plans this Thanksgiving Day?
Who will you spend it with?
For what and whom are you most thankful?
What does your menu look like?

Lord willing, here's what we're having and who's making what at our house...

Debbie's Home-baked Ham
LD's Deep-fried Turkey
Debbie's homemade, creamy Mashed Potatoes
LD's famously-delicious, homemade Gravy
Debbie's savory, homemade Stuffing
Broccoli Casserole (recipe below)
Sweet Potato Casserole (recipe below)
Corn (store-bought, canned)
Special Recipe Green Beans (recipe below)
 Deviled Eggs (recipe below)
Cranberry Sauce (store-bought canned)
Brown-n-Serve Rolls (store-bought - we all love them as much as homemade)
Debbie's Homemade Pumpkin Pie (Hooray!)
Kevin's Homemade Cherry Pie 
(he even makes his own flaky, buttery crust..totally from scratch!  Yummy!) 

I think that's, are we ever blessed.
It sounds like a meal fit for a king.
I feel so unworthy....but eternally grateful for all of God's provision.
My heart goes out to those who are hungry.
It makes me feel very guilty...for devouring and enjoying such bounty.

I think it makes a meal so much fun when everyone pitches in and adds their individual contribution.
Mark contributes by footing the expense of the turkey and pop...
and helping out wherever and whenever he is asked.
His kind heart and gentle ways add so much joy to the holidays.
And, of course, Zach helps me out in countless ways...
"Zach, can you bring me this?
Zach, will you help me do that?"
He probably feels like changing his name by the end of a holiday!

He brings the table-extension leaves out of the closet,
helps me put on the Thanksgiving tablecloth,

(this year I layered our cream-colored lace cloth, over a rust-colored fabric one...
it looks so Thanksgiving-ish!)
helps set the table,
and all sorts of little other jobs.

He is such a blessing!
Sometimes, I still can't believe he is our child.
It still doesn't seem to sink in how abundantly blessed we are 
to finally have a precious child of our very own.

The weather here is really cold.
We are loving every minute.
Today was my absolute favorite kind of day....
gray sky, cold, chilly, wintry, cloudy....
I love days when we can stay in and stay warm...
and close together.
Thank the dear Lord for heat.

Times are difficult for many.
Trials abound nearly every direction we look.
The evening news is seldom pleasant.
But, through it all....God is ever-present...and in complete control.

My heart goes out with deep compassion to those who have lost loved ones this year
and those who are in the process of losing them.
This is our second Thanksgiving without Mom,
and it is so hard missing her.
I still expect to hear her familiar voice on the phone
or see her sitting at the end of our table in her favorite spot.
It hits all of us hard, when we are all together.
It makes the void and her absence so vivid...and so painful.

How grateful I am for each person in my life!
Shared sorrow deepens bonds.

Today, let us elevate our minds and lift our hearts and eyes Heavenward.
Let us give thanks to God...regardless of our circumstances.
Let us avoid negativity.
Let us fill our thoughts with the good things.
They outweigh the bad every time.
No matter how sad and challenging our circumstances,
we can always find something, however small it may be,
for which to be thankful, right?

Let us focus on that.

I really don't have words to express all of the thankfulness in my heart today.
How wonderful that God will settle for a simple, but extremely heartfelt
"Thank You, Lord."
It is the only place I know to begin.

Now for those recipes....

Broccoli Casserole

1 bag of frozen chopped broccoli, cooked according to package directions
1 small onion, finely diced
1 egg, beaten
1 cup mayonnaise
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
sprinkle of pepper

Mix all together in a casserole baking dish.

Top with shredded cheddar cheese 
(as much as desired...I probably use about 2-3 cups - we love cheese!)
Top with Pepperidge Farms stuffing mix
Place pats of butter or margarine on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
Sweet Potato Casserole

4 large, fresh sweet potatoes, boiled until tender
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix with mixer, until thoroughly mixed and mashed.
Pour into well-buttered casserole dish.
Top with topping.
Bake at 350 degrees until topping is brown (about 30 minutes or so).
Do not cover dish.


1 cup brown sugar
2 cups chopped pecans
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup butter

Mix topping with fork until thoroughly blended.
Sprinkle on top of sweet potatoes.
Use all of topping.
Deviled Eggs

The simpler, the better, I say.
The easier a recipe is, the more likely I am to repeat making it.
Honestly, this is the easiest, most simple way to make deviled eggs....
and of all of the varieties I've tasted, these are the best...hands-down.  :)
My sister, Sandi, shared this recipe with me, shortly after Kevin and I were married.

18 eggs, hard-boiled
Thousand Island Dressing

Peel eggs, cut in half length-wise, and remove hard-boiled yolks.
In mixing bowl, mix yolks with Thousand Island dressing.
I don't really measure this...just start out small, with 1 Tbsp.,
then continue to add until mixture is of a spreadable consistency.
With a knife, spread enough yolk mixture onto the tops of each halved-egg white to cover.

When finished, sprinkle eggs with paprika.
Special Recipe Green Beans

Here's another simple, yet very tasty recipe.
It's my family's favorite way for me to cook green beans.
They come out tasting like fresh from the garden!

3-4 cans of store-bought, canned green beans (your brand choice)
3-4 beef bouillon cubes (add one cube per can of green beans)

Cook in saucepan until all liquid has evaporated & beans are completely dry.
Remove as soon as they are dry to prevent scorching.

Simplify...that's the name of the game for me.  :)

And, always remember the most important ingredient to add to any recipe
is the love in your heart for the ones you are serving!



  1. What a lovely post--and such mouth-watering recipes! I enjoy gray, chilly, cloudy days too--it's perfect stay-at-home weather. I sympathize with you about your mother; my own dear Mother went home to be with the Lord nearly twenty years ago. But your first verse in this post says it all--victory is through Jesus and one day will all be together with Him. God bless you! Gin

    1. Bless your dear heart! I am so sorry you lost your dear Mother. Does the pain ever become easier to bear? Yes, praise His wonderful name, we will see our precious Mothers again someday. What a day that will be! Thank you so much for stopping by and for the encouragement you left behind. Love, Cheryl