October 30, 2017

This Is Why What Moms Do Matters So Much

A few weeks ago, I wrote a Facebook post about the joys of having our older children choose to love us. 

Several sweet moms responded that they hoped their children would make that deliberate decision when they got older. One mom commented, "I wish you could share the formula for this."

I've thought a lot about that formula lately, and of course you know there really isn't one. Most moms are just trying to do the best they can, day in and day out, while they hope their love for their children is what carries through above and beyond all the messes and mistakes and meltdowns.

But as I've pondered that formula and how I spend my time as a mom and the love my family has for me, I've come to realize one thing: maybe the most important work I ever do as a mom is to care for my family's souls.

I'm deeply grateful for the chance to share about this on Her View From Home. I'd be honored if you'd take a moment to head over and read a little more about this subject that's so dear to my mom heart.

**This post may be have been shared at some of these blog link parties.**

October 13, 2017

Ten Things You Might Not Know You Need This Thanksgiving

I think it's important you know right from the start that this post has nothing to do with the latest in turkey basters or brine injection systems.

I'm not going to tell you what to do if your turkey is dry. (Slice it thin and add some extra broth, I think...but I go with an herb-butter basted turkey breast every year and just skirt the dry meat matter entirely.)

On the other hand, if you find yourself needing one of these other Thanksgiving non-essential-but-nice-to-haves, here's what we're thankful to have on hand in our house.

1. If you need a Thanksgiving book that will become a family classic: Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember, by Barbara Rainey. This is our family's go-to Thanksgiving resource. Filled with rich details about the voyage to the new world (condensed version: this was no Carnival cruise), life for the Pilgrims (condensed version: this was no "woo hoo, we got away from jolly old England" vacation), and the history of Thanksgiving as a national holiday (condensed version: Sarah Josepha Hale was one determined woman), this instant heirloom also offers President Lincoln's entire 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation and journal pages for recording your family's personal thanksgivings. 

2. If you need a new appreciation for what the Pilgrims went through: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with The Mayflower Voyagers. Trust the Peanuts gang to tell the Thanksgiving story in their own fun-but-factual fashion. Even my teenagers love to watch this double feature. For one thing, it makes them thankful they weren't Pilgrims.

3. If you need Thanksgiving dinner background music: George Winston's Autumn album. Soothing, somehow seasonal music, and no lyrics to compete with conversation. May possibly encourage your dinner guests to linger at the table for at least a quarter of the time it took you to put the whole meal together. 

4. If you need the world's best pie crust: My mom's pie crust. A couple unusual ingredients push this over the edge into flaky-yet-workable fame. Think you can't make your own pie crust? With this recipe you can..and with this recipe, you'll be glad you did. You could fill this crust with almost anything, and it would give you something to be thankful for.

My Mom's Pie Crust {print}

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into smallish pieces
1/2 cup shortening, cold
1 egg
1/3 cup cold water
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar

In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Throw in the pieces of butter and tablespoon-sized "portions" of shortening and cut all these into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or a fork or two knives. Whisk the remaining crust ingredients and toss with the flour mixture until it starts to form a ball. Add a couple extra drops of water if it seems too dry. Divide in thirds, form into balls, wrap in plastic, and chill until you want to roll out and use. (You need to at least rest and chill the dough for an hour or so, but longer is even better.) You can also freeze your dough portions for at least a few months. Whenever you use it, roll it out and bake it according to the directions for whatever recipe you're using it with. 

Makes 3 (9") single-crust pie shells 

5. If you need a Thanksgiving banner even a "crappy crafter" (as the birthday card my sister gave me one year put it) can make: this gorgeous Thanksgiving banner from The Deliberate Mom. Truly, if I (personal hashtag: #idkhowtodiy) can make this, anyone can make it. 

6. If you need a plan for when the day doesn't go as planned: this post in which I recall the Thanksgiving I was surprised by good. 

7. If you need an alternative to "let's go around the table and say something we're thankful for": NOT, mind you, that there's anything wrong with doing that! I happen to love this tradition. But depending on the crowd you've got gathered, sometimes it's nice to have an option that doesn't require people to think on the spot. A couple years ago, I made Scripture place cards using the word "THANKS" as my guide. Each Scripture contained a word that started with one letter of the word "thanks." We went around the table, and each guest read the Scripture on their card. A little cutesy, but very Thanksgiving-y. It just so happened we had 6 people to go with the six letters, but you could adapt this idea based on how many guests will be gathered around your feast. And if you need a one-stop-shopping source for Thanksgiving Bible verses, you'll find a lovely collection here at Daily Bouquets

Click here for a printable version of this. 

8. If you need a classic Thanksgiving sitcom episode: "Thanksgiving orphans," from Cheers. (Warning: food-fight alert.) 

9. If you need a lesser-known-but-should-be-classic Thanksgiving sitcom episode: "Thanksgiving Until It Hurts" from Dharma and Greg. I'm already laughing just thinking about it. 

10. If you need a quote about gratitude that puts everything in perspective: "Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff. To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God's accomplishments. To rehearse God's accomplishments is to discover His heart. To discover His heart is to discover not just good gifts but the Good Giver. Gratitude leaves us looking at God and away from dread. It does to anxiety what the morning sun does to valley mist. It burns it up." (Max Lucado)

Now it's your turn: what do I need for Thanksgiving that I don't know I need? 
Please let me know about it, either in a comment or over on my Facebook page
Blessings on all your Thanksgiving preparations!

**This post may be been shared at some of these blog link parties.**