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Remembering to be thankful this wonderful season

By Peggy Walker, R.D.

Today’s Special

For the first time since 1982 I believe, there’s only one table set at my house for Thanksgiving.  We took the health warnings seriously and downsized Thanksgiving.

My mother is safely staying in her assisted living residence, my sister and brother will stay home for the holiday. And Uncle Benny, DW’s brother, won’t be bringing his family nor his famous smoked ham, which I, for 40 years, have always been honored with tasting the ceremonial first slice.

Only our children and grandchildren will join us for Thanksgiving 2020, so the dining room table is set for seven adults and the little ones get to spread out at the kitchen table. We are already missing everyone but ever thankful for each other and the far-substitute honey-baked ham.

Times might seem rather dire for us right now, but this holiday reminds us to think about those brave Pilgrim souls at the first American Thanksgiving. They faced danger, death, and disease and gave up everything to seek what was important to them… a place to live and raise their families with freedom from tyranny and the right to worship as they believed. And they chose to be thankful and celebrate in spite of all the hardships they had endured in establishing a new home and they did so in peace with their neighbors, sharing their meager bounty.  It’s a powerful message from American history and one not to be forgotten.

God be with us in our current struggles, but let’s not allow our problems to diminish our blessings.   My thought is that our blessings are not tangible, for that would make God a respecter of persons, but they are found in our hearts… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These blessings are all given freely, abundantly, and unconditionally from the heart of the Good Lord above to those who choose to walk in His ways.

I hope your hearts are full.

Happy Thanksgiving from our Tennessee home to yours. Take care.

Recipe of the Week

Spice Bags

Bring joy and a wonderful aroma for a calming treat.

Cut cheesecloth, folded to double-thickness, into the needed number of 5-inch squares.

For orange-anise spice bags: spoon ½ teaspoon dried orange peel, ¼ teaspoon anise seed and 2 whole allspice in center of one cheesecloth square. Tie securely with cotton string.  Attach a small card with instructions: Steep each bag in a 6-ounce cup hot apple juice or apple cider for at least 5 minutes. Sip and enjoy.

For Cardamon-Cinnamon Spice Bags: spoon 2 whole cracked cardamom pieces and 1 large broken cinnamon stick in center of the cheesecloth square. Tie securely with cotton string and include the instructions to steep in 6 ounces hot cranberry juice for at least 5 minutes.  Sip and enjoy.