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Thanksgiving is not just about the turkey

A few years ago, we invited our friends to join us for Thanksgiving and I learned something very important. Although my friend is an amazing cook, I told her I would do the turkey and the main dishes if she would handle the dessert. “Are you sure you don’t want me to cook the turkey?” she said. I was excited to use my grandma’s roaster so I told her I had it covered.

The two of us began to plan the table decorations, and between both of our houses, we set one of the most beautiful tables I have ever seen. “Everything is going to be just perfect,” I told myself. I was going to make a Thanksgiving dinner to be remembered.

Sometimes the best-laid plans go sideways. Thanksgiving morning the comedy of errors began. As I set the turkey in the roaster pan, another friend told me, “You need to add water because if you don’t it will burn.” I questioned that, but then again, what did I know. I had never used the roaster before and cooking is not exactly my gift. An hour later the turkey was steaming, not roasting. The legs looked like they were going to fall off. Help!FullSizeRender

I tried to call my friend, who was also my neighbor, but she was not home. Her husband told me she was at our other neighbor’s house. In a panic I called, and when my neighbor answered the phone, I said, “I have a turkey emergency!” Within minutes, I had three women in pajamas standing in my kitchen. The first thing they said was, “Why is there water in here?” As one of them tried to lift the turkey out of the pan, she said, “You didn’t get everything out of the inside.” I had looked in the wrong end apparently. There I stood in my kitchen in tears as they tried to fix the turkey.

My friend, the amazing cook, said, “Let me take it to my place and cook it because I have a new electric thermometer.” Out the door the turkey went. Silently I cried, as I put the roaster away. I wanted so badly to cook the “perfect turkey” so I could have the “perfect dinner” to go with the “perfect table”. A few hours later my friend called to tell me the turkey was done. “Are you kidding me? It can’t be done yet,” I said. “We are not going to eat for a while.” Her response was, “My thermometer says it is.”

As we were getting everything ready to serve dinner, my husband began carving the turkey. I will never forget the look on his face as he informed us that it was not cooked all the way through. The turkey was then cut into pieces and placed on the barbecue. The poor thing was steamed, baked, and barbecued before it made it to the table. My “perfect dinner” was not perfect. Then again, maybe it was better than perfect.

I had put so much emphasis on the “perfect dinner” that I forgot what Thanksgiving was all about. It took a turkey to put things in perspective for me. As we sat down for dinner, we gave thanks and spent an evening filled with laughter about the stupid turkey. What mattered more than anything was the fellowship that took place around the dinner table. Too often we get so wrapped up in the production of the meal that we forget the reason behind Thanksgiving. Looking back, it was a Thanksgiving to be remembered. Maybe it wasn’t what I had originally envisioned but I am glad that it turned out the way it did. That day has become one of my favorite memories.

Now I am not saying I still don’t go a bit overboard on my table but I have learned that family and friends are more important than the turkey. Last year the same family came over and we shared what we were thankful for as we ate our dinner. We played Bunco and the room was filled with laughter. As I watched my friend hold her grandson, I gave thanks that she was responding to her cancer treatment. I had learned a lesson in what was truly important.

This Thanksgiving, don’t get so wrapped up in the table decorations, the “perfect turkey”, and all the other details that you forget to really enjoy the day, instead make memories that will last a lifetime. Take time to give thanks, and remember, Thanksgiving is not just about the turkey.

Also Posted on The Whatever Girls and on Living Better 50 Magazine.Whatever-Girls-ButtonLB50ContributorSQ

 

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Never Lose Your Laughter

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My mom and I

Over the years I have had more than one person mention to me that they were surprised by how much fun I had for being a Christian. I guess I missed the memo that said once you have been saved you will never have fun again.

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My best friend

 

As I have grown in my walk with the Lord there have been some things I no longer take part in because they just don’t feel right to me anymore. My laughter and desire to have fun are something I cherish and I know God would never want me to give up. (The silly photos of myself, family and friends from my sons graduation party should be evidence of my desire to have lots of fun).

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My son and some of the guys from my “Dirt, Trucks and Faith” series.

While trying to type this post, my phone has been going crazy with text messages from a group of my friends. They are all believers, Christians who have not found the need to give up their sense of humor. The photos they sent me had me laughing so hard and that laughter blessed me after the very hard week I had been having.

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My husband and his best friend. Two of the funniest guys ever.

 

Sadly when I became first gave my life to the Lord I had another believer tell me that my sense of humor was not honoring to God. It was not that I was saying anything crude but I liked to have fun and I always seem to have a line for everything. Her words crushed me. I was new in my faith and I wanted to honor God so I began to shut down in the humor department. The feeling that I could no longer be funny and have fun made me wonder if I really wanted to be a part of this new life I had found. How could something that feels so good and so right mean I could no longer find joy in laughter?

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My wise friend who told me the my sense of humor and my laughter were gifts.

Thankfully someone who I knew and respected pulled me aside one day and asked me if I was okay. She said where is your joy? You have always been full of laughter and so much fun to be around. She told me that my sense of humor and quick wit was a gift. Apparently she felt my ability to make others laugh was important.   As I cried and shared with her what I had been told by another person she told me that God gave us laughter for a reason. She told me that God would never want me to give up my sense of humor.

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Having fun with some more of my friends

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My daughter and a couple of her friends that I love like they were me daughters also.

I hope you understand the importance of laughter and that just because you are a believer in Christ it doesn’t mean you have to give up all fun. God is a loving God, and I can’t help but think that our laughter must be music to his ears. He is more than just the God we call on in our hard times; he wants to share in our good times also. Laughter is good medicine and we all need to remember to use it. “We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. 
And the other nations said, “What amazing things the
Lord has done for them”. Psalm 126:2 NLT  Go ahead and laugh a little. Better yet laugh a lot. Laugh until it hurts your stomach or until you cry. Life can be a lot easier with a good laugh and a joyful heart. Never loss your laughter.

 

Originally ran on Living Better 50 magazine.

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