Nut Cups & Servicemen

Turkey edited familybringsjoy.comI want you to think of your most memorable Thanksgiving.

I want you to take a stroll down (good) memory lane.

Close your eyes if you need to.

Who was there?  What made it special?

This morning I was remembering past Thanksgivings.  There is not one Thanksgiving which does not include me spending time with my family.  Isn’t Thanksgiving synonymous with family?  I believe so.

When I held Once Upon A Family “Celebrations” as a consultant I asked each person what their most favorite family memory was.  The majority of people said their most favorite family memories were spent around the table during the holidays.  It wasn’t the food they remember.  It was the TIME spent together talking, laughing and just being together.

One Thanksgiving that sticks out in my mind was when I was elementary school age.  I have fond memories of traveling to my grandparents for Thanksgiving.  My grandma always seemed to be the perfect hostess with a cheery disposition.  {I have a difficult time doing that as I’m always stressed out in the kitchen}  I remember sitting at the bar while grandma & grandpa were busy preparing all the food for our Thanksgiving feast.  My siblings, cousins & I would color in Thanksgiving coloring books while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in our jammies.

Grandma making candy familybringsjoy.comMy grandparent’s kitchen was open to the dining room.  The bar I’m referring to shared the kitchen counter.  Even though many kitchens are designed similar to this way now, they were ahead of their time with this open concept.  Side note: this newly designed kitchen happened because a massive tornado tore through their home.  Looking back, this was a blessing for our family.  I don’t mean the tornado was a blessing.  I mean that because of the tornado, my grandparents were able to create a family conducive space.  Back to my Thanksgiving memory.

After a leisurely morning spent watching my grandparents cook, coloring in coloring books and watching the parade, it was time to get dressed for the day.  Then came one of my favorite traditions my grandma had at Thanksgiving…the nut cups.  Each person at the table had a small paper nut cup by their place setting.  Us kids loved helping grandma fill the cups with different nuts, m&m’s and dinner mints.  I don’t remember if her mom did this as well.  I will have to ask my Dad if he remembers.  It would be interesting to find out if this is a long standing tradition passed down through the generations.  It became increasingly difficult for grandma to find these nut cups as the years went by.  However, it didn’t seem like Thanksgiving without them.  It’s funny because it is such a small thing, yet it obviously meant a great deal to me.  That’s kind of the way it goes with traditions.

Airmen_Basic_in_column_formation_(Lackland_AFB)Anyway, I remember on this particular Thanksgiving the door bell rang.  In walked two young men dressed in military uniforms.  My grandparents greeted the young men and introduced them to the rest of the family.  My grandparents volunteered to have two Air Force men eat our Thanksgiving meal with us.  Here’s the deal…it was weird for me.  I kept thinking, “why are these 2 strangers interrupting our family Thanksgiving.”  I didn’t know them.  My grandparents didn’t even know them.  They weren’t family.  They were strangers.  I can only imagine what came out of my mouth.  I say that because I’ve witnessed my own kids ask questions that weren’t quite appropriate or might come across as offensive.  It was just different to have these 2 men there.  Grandma explained to us kids that these young men were stationed at the local air force base and weren’t from here.  They weren’t able to go home and spend time with their own families for Thanksgiving.  To be honest, I still didn’t like having them there.  They stole some of my grandparent’s attention and it bugged me.

Grandma cooking familybringsjoy.comAs an adult, I now look back and see how my grandparents were fully participating in Thanksgiving.  I don’t mean the holiday.  I mean they were giving thanks…really in so many ways.  They were giving thanks by inviting the service men into their home.  They were giving thanks by serving them a meal.  They were giving thanks to God by sharing what He had blessed them with to others.  As I have mentioned before, my grandpa served in the military.  I believe he was showing thanks to these men for serving our country as he did.  My grandparents taught me a lesson that day.  We are to give thanks by sharing with others.  Almost every Thanksgiving after this one, my grandparents welcomed the air force men into their home.  It was easier to accept this new tradition each year.  I enjoyed learning about where the servicemen came from and what they did in the Air Force.  I am so grateful for my grandparents’ example.  I think of all of our men and women who are serving in the military on our behalf all over the world.  I pray someone will give thanks to them on Thanksgiving this year.

Writing this post reminds me…the people who shared the “First Thanksgiving” were not all members of the same family.  The Pilgrims and Indians were strangers, yet they celebrated a bountiful harvest together too.

Now it’s your turn.  I would love to hear about your most memorable Thanksgiving.

Who was there?  What made it special?

Thanks for SHARING,

A Mom Makes A Home

I’m continuing my list of one thousand gifts…not of gifts I want, but gifts I have.

I am writing them down, one to one thousand.

22. Grateful my internet was repaired!

23. New music!  Loving the group Tanlines.  Listening to their album Mixed Emotions right now.  I heart their All Of Me song…great beat and makes me feel happy.

24. Time spent with my Mom & oldest Daughter on Saturday.

25. The beautiful handmade quilted bed runner my Mom gave me as an early {3 weeks} Birthday gift.

26. Time doing crafty stuff in my craft room. It’s been neglected lately and craft therapy is wonderful.  The creative side of me was having withdrawals.

27. Kids back in school brings some much needed uninterrupted time for me.  Let’s face it, who likes to listen to their kids quarrel all the time? Not me!

{good thing they’re so cute! ;)}

28. Opportunity to learn & grow spiritually by giving a talk and teaching a lesson at church yesterday.  With that being said, glad it is over…double duty is exhausting. 😉

29. Youngest saw this new art plaque I bought and said out loud, “This is true.”  The little things like this make my heart melt.

Check out that awesome price!

30. When my husband calls me beautiful.

31. Having far away friends come for a weekend visit.

32. Listened to another awesome fantasy book: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.  It’s part of the Bloodlines series.  Just finished it & can’t wait for the next one!

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Gifts Bring Joy,

How Far We’ve Come

My youngest is having a friend sleep over tonight.

“You need to clean your room before your friend comes over.”

Grumpy face on my daughter.

“I hate cleaning!  It’s so BORING!”

“Why don’t you put on some music?”

An hour later…

“Mom, did you have to clean your room before your friends came over?”

“Yes, I did.”

Later, I checked on her progress…

She was almost done.  I reminded her where the homes were for some of her items.  Next thing I know we were dusting and vacuuming.

“It’s less than an hour before we pick her up!” 

{I think she’s excited. We obviously don’t have friends over enough}

Her iPod rings.  It’s her friend calling her on Facetime.

“Hi! We are cleaning my room before we come pick you up.”

I had to smile watching her talk to her friend.  Her iPod is docked on her nightstand alarm clock.  She leans against her bed while she talks to her friend.

I am in awe.

What an age we live in.

I never thought I would live to see my children talk face to face on a little device.

It’s just so cool!

Having this technology has become mainstream.  Many times I think we forget how far we’ve come.  {food for thought}

I’m grateful to live in this technological era.

That’s all.

P.S.: Photos were taken on my iPhone. {no, I was not paid by Apple to write this.}

Good things come in small packages ;),

Do Not Spoil What You Have

I’m continuing my list of one thousand gifts…not of gifts I want, but gifts I have.

I am writing them down, one to one thousand.

11. My Son graciously allowed me to take photos of him after his band concert.

12. Being able to say “I love you. Have a good day.” to my Daughter before she leaves for early morning seminary.

13. Daughter (16) asking questions about the scriptures.

14. The miraculous peace prayer and fasting brings.

15. Dolls left out to remind me of a sweet girl who lives here.

16. Medicine to help balance my brain.

17. Yummy energy bars that help fuel my runs.

18. Our living room sectional sofa that promotes cuddling with the family.

19. Waking up early and not being able to go back to sleep…I was able to count my blessings and get an early start to a busy week ahead.

20. Receiving a superb graduation announcement for a good friend’s Son.  Happy for their family…happy he’s going to BYU. {Go Cougars!}

21. My new vehicle.

Source: pinleresl.com via Shan@ on Pinterest

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What are you thankful for today?

The Secret To Having It All…

Today I’m beginning a list…

My list of one thousand gifts…not of gifts I want, but gifts I have.

I am writing them down, one to one thousand.

1. The pitter patter of rain falling and blessing our land with a drink of water this morning.

2. An apology note from my Son.

3. Blueberry pancakes for breakfast.

4. A sweet couple from church came to visit yesterday.

5. Watching Once Upon A Time with my kids.

6. Devotional time with my Creator.

7. My cat will eat lunch meat since I haven’t made it to the store to buy her cat food.

8. Audio books to listen to while doing mundane tasks.

9. When my husband sits by me on the couch.

10. On Saturday, for about an hour, my two youngest kids did not quarrel.  Instead they talked and laughed…truly a miracle.

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What are you thankful for today?

Angels ARE In Our Midst

Saying this week has been a challenge for me is somewhat of an understatement. There is no need for me to go into details. I really don’t want to “relive” the week anyway. One day this week I was feeling very down. I noticed a brightly colored gift bag in between my storm door and my front door. I brought it in the house and looked inside. Two of my very favorite treats were inside, Extra Cheddar Flavor Blasted Goldfish (we call them “extra cheesy“) and Reeses. It brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eyes. My first inclination was they had to be from my husband. I quickly looked at the card to see: “Hey Shan, Here’s something to hopefully brighten your cloudy day! I’m praying for you! Love, Sara”

I was in shock. This is my new friend. We haven’t spent that much time together and I am not the type to talk about food. How did she know?! Not just about the snacks, but that I was feeling blue. How did she know? I immediately called her and expressed my gratitude for her uplifting gift. She relayed the story of how she found out from my husband what I liked. Honestly, I am still very stunned that she went to that much trouble to bring me those treats.

Sara, if you are reading this, thank you again. 🙂 You don’t know how much it means to me. I really can not even put into words how very touched I am. Your friendship, although new, is a priceless treasure to me.

This is yet another testimony to me that our Father in Heaven hears our prayers and is mindful of us. I do believe that there are heavenly angels. However, I believe we can be angels to others when God needs us to be. Sara, whether she realizes it or not, was one of those angels for me this week. I am grateful to my loving Heavenly Father and to Sara for listening to His promptings.

I challenge you to listen to the still small voice this week. Maybe you or I can be on the Lord’s errand and bring the joy that only HIS LOVE can bring to someone in need.

Very Sincerely,
Shan