Orange Groves, Stuffed Celery Sticks and Corn-Bread Stuffing–Thanksgiving Memories

Vintage Postcard from www.cardcow.com

Vintage Postcard from http://www.cardcow.com

Do you remember your Thanksgiving celebrations as a child? I do. Every year we would take the long drive through the country from Orlando to my grandmother’s home in Clermont. In the 60’s Highway 50 was only two-laned and was lined on both sides with orange groves as far as the eye could see. As a kid I thought it was the most boring ride ever taking a whole 30 minutes! Now I would give anything to see those orange groves laden with fall fruit lined up in perfect rows like toy soldiers again. To be the first one in the car to see the Citrus Tower rising above the trees and yell, “I see the tower, I see the tower!” 🙂 To walk into Big Mama’s house and breathe in the aromas. To see all my first cousins and aunt busy in the kitchen helping prepare the family dinner. To take a bite into the crisp celery stalks stuffed with pimento cheese, the only thing we were allowed to eat before dinner. To play hide and go seek with my first cousins, once removed (yes, my Mom finally helped me understand how this works), in her orange groves behind her house. And to finally sit down together, all 25 of us, at one long table to thank God for another year of His blessings and faithfulness in our lives.

But those days are over. Many who sat at that table then, are now feasting at the Table of the Lord in Heaven. In fact this is my Mom’s first Thanksgiving in Heaven where she is reunited with my Dad and her Mama. Ah! To hear the laughter and stories being told there! This is my hope, to one day see and experience the glory of Heaven for myself, but until then, it’s my turn to make Thanksgiving memories for my children and grandchildren. To help them appreciate the reason we give thanks to God on this day each year. To build an excitement in celebrating the blessing it is to be together. To not let this day become Black Friday Eve, as some are trying to call it, but to give it the time and attention it deserves.

It’s good to ask yourself what parts of your current Thanksgiving celebrations will your children and grandchildren remember most when they’re grown? Then, go about creating those memories for them. This is the privilege of growing older–to participate in creating the memories of future generations.

I want to share with you Big Mama’s cornbread stuffing recipe. It’s not her original one, but Mom told me a couple of years ago that my stuffing tasted just like Mama’s. Now that was a compliment I received with a warm heart. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

It Was My Grandmother’s Hope…

…and now it is mine!

My-Hope-America-with-Billy-Graham

It wasn’t finding affordable healthcare; it wasn’t having financial security. Her hope was bigger and better than anything this world has to offer!

Thursday night there is an event taking place that reminds more of my grandmother than any other event ever has since or will ever in the future. The sad part is this is the last time it will happen.

Billy Graham, the great evangelist, was my grandmother’s favorite preacher. And Thursday is his 95th birthday. He has been working on this final broadcast for 7 years, and the time has finally come for us to hear what he has spent the winter of his life preparing to say.

I remember vividly as a squirmy kid hearing my grandmother call me to come sit by her on the couch to listen to his 30 minute appeal to the thousands attending to come to Jesus. Just As I Am would play while I watched in amazement how many people crowded the aisles in response to his simple invitation. Big Mama would tell me of God’s love for me and my need for a Savior. She was faithful to do that on a regular basis, and I’m so grateful. I owe my salvation in large part to her constant sharing of the Gospel message and even more for her prayers.

Do you have someone in your life that makes such appeals to you? Do you realize the gift they’re extending and how life-changing it is to those who accept such an invitation? I urge you to watch Hope For America this Thursday night and place your hope in the only One who is able to save, if you haven’t yet. Take a minute and watch the following trailer…