Saturday, November 29, 2014

So Thankful, So Reflective

It’s been a minute or so since I’ve done a post. I didn’t even do a Thanksgiving post this year – Alas!

It has been just the two of us for this Thanksgiving and we have been relishing the quiet with some minor exceptions to a few televised football games (WOO HOO UofA) and walking the dog.

Yesterday was Black Friday and we stayed put! We haven’t done Black Friday for five years now. Every year there is some catastrophe associated with this shopping date; fighting in the isles, people being trampled to death all for the sake of a “good deal.” We tend to forget that it is the celebration of Christ’s birth instead of the commercialization of materialism.

Perhaps it is the aging process, but we don’t seem to want or need as much as we once did. Could it possibly be that our focus has shifted? Indeed, it has. It is more focused on the intrinsic, the simple, and the eternal.

Yesterday I focused on the leftovers. We didn’t have a whole turkey, only a turkey breast that was more than sufficient. Of course we prepared the standard mashed potatoes, bread dressing, and baked sweet potatoes. Husband asked for green bean casserole, which has been absent for a number of years now, so I obliged. I made homemade cranberry sauce. I just cannot “do” the canned variety. My grandmother always made homemade cranberry sauce, so I must too! Even though I didn’t eat it as a child and who among us remembers the cranberry cancer scare during the 60’s? As I recall, it was on the news nightly and nearly killed the cranberry industry.

Remembering how at our county fair in Ohio they offered wonderful cooked, shredded turkey sandwiches, I focused on trying to recreate that. I took the remaining sliced breast meat and placed it in the crock-pot with a bit of broth. I cooked it until it could easily be pulled apart with forks into a wonderful shredded concoction, then added some of the leftover gravy into the mix. When complete it was served atop rolls (in bun fashion) as little “sliders”. It turned out as well as I remembered from our county fair!

I did take the bones and skin from the breast and cooked it into a wonderful broth that will be made into soup for Sunday. Meatless, but I’m thinking perhaps a rice noodle and some Asian veggies like Nappa cabbage, bok choy, water chestnuts, broccoli, zucchini, and maybe some mushrooms. I’m not sure yet, but the creative juices are flowing! I love being creative with holiday leftovers.

Re-created Mudroom
Earlier in the week, I read an article on Houz titled “9 Ways to Appreciate Your House Just as It Is” (you can read it here www.houzz.com/ideabooks/7178281/list/9-ways-to-appreciate-your-house-just-as-it-is). I believe I will begin a new journal just to show appreciation for our simple townhouse!

Husband gifted me with a “new” mudroom. OK, OK… so the townhouse does not have room for a mudroom, per sé, so he removed the folding door to the “guest” closet, re-mudded the corners, removed the hanger rod, re-painted the entire area, put on new hook / hangers and put a bench with two shelves on it to hold shoes! I could not be more thrilled! I placed a repurposed yard sale basket on the top shelf to hold gloves, scarves (yes, it occasionally gets cold enough to use them), and the recycled plastic grocery bags for “doggy-do.”

IKEA Expandable Table - Seats 6
As I appreciate our home, I am thankful for the block walls that help silence the noise from neighbor to neighbor. I love our little “beehive” corner fireplace, and finding deals to purchase new-to-me items that help with storage and expansion such as the IKEA table that will expand out to seat six.
With one side expanded

Living in Metropolis (Tucson) we no longer pay for cable or satellite TV. We use an antenna and do quite well with just that. We can also watch Netflix programs or hook the computer up to the TV and watch Amazon Prime movies / TV shows. And still we watch too much and do not read enough!

The Fireplace that makes me go "Ahhhh!"
I still struggle with wanting to purchase “cute-sie” items to fill our home, but then I must consider how crowed things would become. I am determined to live more simply, more intentionally, more minimally and more gratefully.

This item was printed in -Pockets, Jan/Feb 2012 and is still timely today:

1.     Start the day with prayer and praise. Before you get up each day, take a moment to praise God and ask for God’s help in seeing the good in the day ahead.
2.    Smile! You don’t necessarily need to pretend to be cheerful when you’re not, but sometimes just smiling can help you feel better.
3.    Count your blessings. When your problems look bigger than your blessings, it’s time to focus on those blessings. There are probably more than you think.
4.    Expect the best from God. Remember that God loves you and cares for you, even when you can’t see it. And remember that God is with you no matter what’s going on.
5.    Choose an encouraging scripture for the day or week. Write it down and keep it with you or memorize it.
6.    Speak positively. When everyone around you is complaining and looking at the worst in people and situations, try to say something positive.
7.     Trust God. When everything seems to be going wrong, that’s the moment to trust God. Pray. Ask God to guide you through the rough parts of your day.
8.    Try not to worry. Worry rarely helps, and most of the things we worry about either won’t happen or won’t be as bad as we think. When you feel worried, turn your thoughts to God’s love and care for you.
9.    Make the best of even the worst days. Ask God to show you something good even on the worst day. And remember that even a terrible day is just one day.
10. End the day with prayer and praise. Thank God even on the worst days. Ask God to help make the next day a better one.


Today's Journal Page
Truly, I don’t want this to sound like an afterthought, but my heart has been weighing heavily with the events of Ferguson MO. I have no answers or wisdom, but my God does! My devotional today was from Jeremiah 31:15-17. The New Revised Standard Version reads:

15 Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
    lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
    she refuses to be comforted for her children,
    because they are no more.
16 Thus says the Lord:
Keep your voice from weeping,
    and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the Lord:
    they shall come back from the land of the enemy;
17 there is hope for your future,
says the Lord:

    your children shall come back to their own country.

Indeed… weeping for her [Rachel’s] children… refusing to be comforted… refrain from weeping, and your eyes from tears…

Though we mourn, we must not murmur! Ahhh… Ferguson MO! I am praying!!  The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said very succinctly, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” May we all remember his peaceful stance for justice everywhere.

Can you believe it? Advent begins Sunday and Monday is December 1st! Where has this year gone? Thanksgiving begins the year end countdown and holiday season.

My wish, my prayer for you this holiday season is HEALTH, PEACE, IMMOVABLE FAITH and LOVE
      
Wishing you everyday grace… EVERY.SINGLE.DAY,

Tamara