Friday, November 21, 2014

It Is All About the Planning

I am such a planner. I love to do lesson plans for school, plan vacations, and plan trips to town. I really love to plan meals when family is coming.

I find so much pleasure in diving into my old recipe boxes, scouring cookbooks, searching Pinterest, and referring to my notebooks of favorite recipes. I really love to cook for my husband, but sometimes it is nice to add some special dishes when family comes.

My mom and brother are coming for Thanksgiving. I spread out all the recipes, magazines, my computer, my recipe holders, and cookbooks a few nights ago and narrowed down the choices for Thanksgiving Day, plus the days before and after. Color me crazy, but I love to create grocery lists also.

The first shopping trip is done; Food is organized and stored. The turkey is still frozen, but will come out to thaw soon. Another trip early next week will fill the cart with fresh produce, flowers, and last minute items. We will miss our niece that still put olives on her fingers, but maybe we will need to restart the tradition. We will also miss the rest of the family that will travel to southern Idaho. We will miss the family "back east."

I love having family here at Thanksgiving, I love preparing the meal, and I really love this quote.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. "

~Melody Beattie

Friday, November 14, 2014

Food, Family, and Traditions : Student Point of View

Somehow during my 7th grade class today we got on the subject of Thanksgiving dinners. It opened this amazing dialogue with my students about Thanksgiving, family time, traditions, and what they really love about holidays. One student said, " We should survey everyone and find out their favorite  family dishes at Thanksgiving".
It reminded me of what I center on all the time on "Gathering Around the Table". What better way to bring families together than with food, fellowship, and tradition. I think most of my students love Thanksgiving even more that Christmas when it comes to the food part. It was close to lunch and my stomach was grumbling as various students described Grandma's turkey, the best side dishes by an auntie, pies that they love to eat, and traditions that continue to be carried on.

I really love Thanksgiving and am so blessed that my mom and brother can celebrate it with us this year. I know I should learn more from Mom when it comes to stuffing a turkey, making the dressing, perfecting pie crusts, and baking perfect rolls. My problem is I just want her to do it the way it has always been done. That is a tradition I love.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Moving Outside to Inside

 From March to early November I love to surround myself with new soil, spring bulbs,  flowers, vegetables, blooming trees, changing seasons, hummingbirds, the rooster crowing at daybreak, and the harvest of flowers, fruit, and vegetables.

Then the weather turns cold, snow begins to fall on the ground, and everything changes. By November I am ready to move from the outside to the inside. The last three days I surrounded myself with the warmth of the fire and did necessary tasks that needed to be done inside. I also made time to can tomato sauce, reorganize my clothes closet for winter, and find space in the "food closet" to put up the food we have canned. I organized my books and decided to part with a few. I found the bottom of my desk in my space off the kitchen. 

I also rested and could feel my body move into hibernation. It is time for more sleep, warm soups, comfort food, hot coffee, amber drinks, wool socks, and sweaters. The cats are moving in from outside and the garage. The dogs have claimed spots in front of the fire. We have a shed full of wood. I have enough books to read until spring. We are ready, but I will still take time to watch the rest of the leaves turn.

 "Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."
-  Elizabeth Lawrence

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Words Today by Wiliam Stafford

November has been kind so far this year. It has been filled with brilliant turning leaves, afternoons filled with warm sunshine, a hidden pumpkin, and late roses still blooming.  Until I reread this poem today, I never thought about the sounds of November. Tomorrow I will listen.


You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or the silence after lightening before it says
its names- and then the clouds' wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon,
long aisles- you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head-
that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.

by William Stafford, from Smoke’s Way, 1983

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


 Whether it is an image of a simple bouquet,

a favorite place of solitude,

beautiful surroundings,

or home, 

my photos fill me with gratitude,

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