Being thankful for difficulties


Good morning! Thanksgiving greetings from our home to yours.

Thanksgiving, in our home, spells out relaxation, kin, and gratitude.

Thanksgiving is not celebrated the same each year. As a girl, I enjoyed the challenge when our teacher would give us of writing assignments of the word Thanksgiving written down the left side of a paper. Then using each letter, we wrote something we were thankful for, starting with the letters of ‘Thanksgiving’. We’d make lists of things that we liked or tasted good and enjoyed. Were we also thankful for hard things? I don’t recall we were, but then what would we do without them?

Gatherings with my cousins was a highlight. Everyone chipped in with the Thanksgiving or Christmas feast. Grandma loved hosting all of us in the basement of their home. She was constantly bustling here and there, making sure everything was taken care of. Her cooking expertise kept us coming back for more. She was especially known for her tasty pies and old-fashioned stuffing, or dressing, as we called it. In the afternoon Grandma and my aunts would take the leftover mashed potatoes, gravy, and turkey to make soup for all of us.

Games, snacks, and stories were always a big part of our times together. In my earlier years Grandma would keep a stash of Smarties in her bureau drawer, where we were free to help ourselves every time we came to her house. I can still feel the excitement of peeping in among her black socks, to see if she was stocked with candy for us.

On some Thanksgivings we would put the names of all the church families and single households into a pot then mix them up and draw papers to see who would go where for the day. To us children it was a huge concern that at least a couple of children our age would be on the same group as we, so we could play games. Board games such as Farming, Masterpiece, and Monopoly were the go at the time.

A couple of years ago Daniel and I spent our Thanksgiving at home as a family, in the afternoon Daniel helped the children and I make cut-out cookies. Those are special memories for the children who were old enough to remember.

Perhaps I should make cut-outs with them again to help bring back those memories. Then I wonder too, how I can most effectively plant Thanksgiving into the hearts of our children- not just on the holiday, but actually in their hearts. Maybe by example? I also appreciate my sister-in-law’s encouragement from time to time, “The people that make life the hardest for us also bring the greatest opportunity for us to have our character strengthened, if we allow it to.” Isn’t that thankfulness- utilizing bad for good?

Those who expect life to bring hardships and even unfair situations are pleasant people to have around.

We don’t feel like thanking God for these hard things, yet as we muster the courage to do so, we find deeper heart healing taking place as He honors that act of faith.

I do not say that lightly. Some situations are completely unfair and beyond repair in our way of viewing things.

A few months before Daniel went to heaven the two of us were praying about things that had transpired in my life, leaving my heart broken in a thousand pieces. Daniel asked God what we can do with it. A simple statement came to his mind, “God specializes in healing broken things.” Together we gave it to God.

The simple trust of a child who knows that his or her parent will give him all he really needs is a truly happy child. (I have no brags here!) And what is more disturbing than to listen to the whining of a self focused child- or adult, for that matter?

This Thanksgiving, what is that one difficult thing you and I will thank God for? Be on the look out for change in positive directions; faith never goes unseen before the Father.

If you have a chance, be sure to try this yummy bean dish for your Thanksgiving feast.

Three Bean Casserole

1 can kidney beans

2 cans baked beans or pork’n beans

1 can lima beans

6 strips bacon

1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 onions, cut into rings

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

Pour beans into a 4 quart casserole dish. (I prefer cooking my own beans instead of store- boughten)

Cut bacon into bit-sized pieces and brown with garlic powder and onions.

Just before bacon is crisp add mustard. brown sugar, and vinegar. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring often. Pour over beans, stir, and bake covered at 350 for 45 minutes.

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