Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving Day’ Tag

Reflecting back on things learned   2 comments

Each morning when I rise I reflect

on things God is showing me new each day

if not with words I often write,

but with an audible voice to say,

God, how do I pray? Show me your way.

Life brings us troubles we don’t understand,

things that move us the way they do,

and the emotion whelms up inside our soul

and we need a forgiving and loving heart

for one whose life spins out of control,

one who needs help but there’s much we don’t know,

so in my place of quiet solitude

where my mind is stilled and I ponder all,

and for once not ask for myself to receive,

but offer up my prayers and pleas

for the one who needs divine intervention.

It is what God asks me to do,

it is what I do now, because I believe.

___________________

Joyce E. Mannhalter (C) 2018

As I think back on this last year and what I have gone through with the challenges God put in my path there were times when I didn’t know if I could get through it. But, as time went on I realized it was the prayers and support of friends that cared when sometimes I didn’t know what to do because of the pain, bitterness and unforgiveness I carried in my heart. But, God calls us to have a forgiving and understanding heart and pray for the one who has hurt us. In Colossians 3:13 it says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Luke 6: 28 “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

I am so thankful for what I have learned through this last year as I went through a painful divorce. It has made me grow spiritually. This is the season of thanksgiving as we enter into a time of celebration of the birth of God’s son, and give thanks for what we have, and this is what I am most thankful for. Life is full of lessons in our journey and there is much we can learn and reflect back on. It can change us in ways that make us a better person. I believe it has done that for me. I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. God bless you and yours.

Joyce E. Mannhalter, Nov. 2018

Blessings; too numerous to count

A recent photo of Estes Park, Co., along the Big Thompson River, (Nov. 2015) photo credit; Joyce E. Johnson

A recent photo of Estes Park, Co., along the Big Thompson River, (Nov. 2015) photo credit; Joyce E. Johnson

I don’t count the years,

but, the memories I do.

I won’t dwell on times of sadness

that come with pain and tears,

but on the happy,

too numerous to count

that bring me joy and gladness,

for those that crippled me with fear

are all but gone; now in the past,

and for this day, I hope

that for the blessings which are many

I savor all, forgetting none

and though my life, not yet passed

anticipates the new, I’ll remember any,

and be thankful for them all

however great or few.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

As we near the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the U.S. (Nov. 26) I think upon the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, and know there are many who are afraid, live in fear of things that have happened, or things that still could, like more attacks where they live. Or maybe there are fears of another kind that grips one, and holds their mind hostage to those fears, so they cannot enjoy their lives now, or find things to be thankful for. I am so thankful to have the assurance that God has all under control, and holds all my tomorrows in the palm of His hand. It is that one thing I count as my greatest blessing in this country. Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate it this year.  

JEJ 

 

Merging cultures and diverse backgrounds

Mayflower II - Plymouth, Mass.

Mayflower II – Plymouth, Mass.

Pilgrim Memorial State Park, Plymouth, Mass.

Pilgrim Memorial State Park, Plymouth, Mass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Thanksgiving Day in 1967 my husband and I were invited to spend the holiday at the home of a Hispanic friend’s family. We were nineteen, newlyweds, and living in California while attending college and working, having moved there from the Midwest.

I remember the disappointment when I saw the food placed on the table; tortillas, refried beans, and other Mexican dishes. Because they were not the ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving Day dishes like cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie we were used to eating every Thanksgiving I was not sure I was going to enjoy this day. We also did not speak Spanish, so could not understand everything said. We felt like ‘pilgrims’ encroaching on new territory. I brought a Pumpkin pie to share, thinking at the time, At least we will have one favorite dish.

Yet, there was no culture barrier that could dampen our spirits, but instead a mutual desire to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Their smile, graciousness and hospitality made us feel welcomed.

It had me thinking about the first wave of pilgrims in a new country imagining how it was for them as they perhaps sat down at a rustic table in the woods of Massachusetts to share a meal with a group of natives so foreign to them; American Indians. Settlers from far away England and American Indians coming together, each bringing their native foods, sharing their harvested crops, celebrating as one. A new country was born, two groups united for that one day, supping together and giving thanks to God for their many blessings.

While vacationing on the east coast in 1998 we visited the famous Plymouth Rock landmark and the Mayflower II (an exact replica of the original ship the first settlers took on their journey to America) at Plymouth, MA. As we took a self-guided tour of the Mayflower, I was in awe of the sacrifices, ingenuity, and creativity the new Americans had, and the hardships they endured, how they could make their home inviting and hospitable.

The newcomers from England had lost so many settlers to death, disease and hunger. Yet, maybe there was expectation, excitement and celebration in the autumn air for the first of such feasts, gathering, coming together. Neither group could understand the language or culture of the other. The Indians could not have known what it was like for those new settlers to survive the storms at sea, suffer through disease and hunger on their crossing. Neither could the new Americans understand the difficulties and challenges the Indians faced living in a wild, untamed land. Yet, each shared their food and bounty to celebrate perseverance under the cloak of life’s burdens; American Indians, an existing group came, by right to belong, and the other, foreigners wanting to belong, determined to stay and build a new life.

On that day as my husband and I celebrated that Thanksgiving away from home, I realized how much we did have in common with the Hispanic family, and we began to relax and enjoy ourselves with them, and their own “traditional” holiday fare. The aroma of those homemade tortillas and Mexican dishes was tantalizing. It compelled my senses to welcome the experience.

They were not there to act as substitutes for our immediate families, but instead to be an extension to the family we already had of friends made while living in California. They shared the heritage of a people whose ancestors were original settlers of this state with its rich history. They were our hosts. We were their guests; but on that day we came together as friends, and we went away full, blessed and thankful.

Those four years we lived away from’ home’ taught us how to appreciate other cultures, and ethnic people of other nations. There were many other ethnic groups and people from other countries we came to know while living there. Our eyes opened to the ways that are different, but no less important than our own, and our hearts became tender towards those whose lives touched us with a diverse style of celebrating what is special to us all; giving thanks to our forefathers for their sacrifices made to birth a rich heritage in America.

Hebrews 13:16 (NIV) says, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

   _______________

   Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Desperately seeking

 

While on a vacation trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada many years ago we had reservations at a Bed and Breakfast place, but when we finally got into Halifax after driving all day with stops along all day we were unprepared for this huge metropolitan city during rush hour traffic using only a (print) travel atlas to guide us.  Our check in time was for 6:00 p.m., and it was nearing that time. We got lost several times while looking for the B&B. By the time we found it and drove up into the drive right at 6:00 sharp it appeared to be just an average looking residence with children’s toys visibly scattered around its back yard. We knocked on the door several times, but no one answered, so gave up and figured it had either gone out of business, or was a bogus site on the internet.

Frustrated and desperate to find a hotel room we drove around while praying for one to open up. It seemed every place was booked up. We learned later it was the eve of their Canadian Thanksgiving Day holiday, and places booked up.  As we came off an exit of the interstate we spotted this inn. We saw their ‘No vacancy’ neon sign lit up, as was the case with so many hotels that night. But, something told me we should stop and inquire. My husband didn’t think it would do any good, but I persisted.  

While he went in to ask, I waited in the car and prayed. Soon, he came out, smiling, holding a room key. They told him there was a cancellation at the last moment, and a room had just opened up. With the key, and our luggage we walked up a stairway and down a lit hallway to a warm, clean, spacious room with two queen beds and beautiful antique furnishings. It was perfect, so inviting, even luxurious with its atmosphere. I could hardly believe our good fortune that night. And yet, why not? After all, I prayed there would be ‘room at the inn’. 

We were also hungry and wished for a good hot meal. Again, to our unexpected, happy surprise we found a wonderful dine-in restaurant on the first floor, open late and serving their full menu items with the day’s special; roast turkey dinner with all the traditional sides. We enjoyed that meal like none other, had a delicious chocolate mousse dessert to top off the night, and slept like contented, happy kids with filled bellies. Our bodies were at rest, our soul was blessed, and our minds put at ease. 

I took this picture of the inn the following morning when we checked out before heading back on the road. Now, I look back fondly on that time when we drove desperately seeking a room that night and this special blessing that opened up for us so that we could enjoy a Canadian Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend. 

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)           

Scruffow’s Turkey Farm: no pardon here

Heritage Turkeys at Springfield Farms in Spark...

Heritage Turkeys at Springfield Farms in Sparks, Maryland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scruffow’s Turkey Farm: no pardon here

“Hey Strut! Get a look at this.” Sam stood on spindly legs peering inside their feed trough. He poked through the yellow corn with his beak. “There’s a new kind of grain mixed here with our old stuff. Looks like some kind of granola.” Sam scooped up a beak full. He took more, then a little more. The chewed grainy granola slid pleasantly down his gullet.

“Hmm. Farmer Scruffow brought us some decent food for a change. Not the usual stuff we’re used to. Hey, ‘bird brain,’ come look at this.”

Strut padded over to the corrugated steel trough. Called ‘Bird brain,’ for his ability to analyze everything stirred the concoction with his beak, tasting it. He agreed. “It’s definitely an improvement. A better quality premium grade feed.”

Gerta waddled over. Her full-feathered white coat and natural boa clung to her well-endowed frame. A wiggle to her waddle caught the attention of the male turkeys that followed in her wake. “What are you all gawking at?” she asked.

“Gobble, gobble.” Sam croaked, his beady eyes bulged at the sight of her lofty breasts, stout thighs, and fanned spray of white feathers. Her large red beak made him dizzy, and his wattle quiver with excitement.

Squawk swooped down on the fence post, stirring up the molting turkey feathers in the pen. The nosy, black crow knew everything that went on at Scruffow’s Turkey Farm.

“Hey, Squawk. What’s up?” asked Strut.

“YO!. I haven’t had breakfast. How about sharing your …Hey! Is that some new feed, there? I overheard farmer Scruffow talking with farmer Sniffoo. Scruffow’s going to select one of you to be his guest for Thanksgiving Day dinner.” Squawk swiped at turkey feathers settling on his shiny black coat.

“I think he has plans for you all and one especially for his guest on….”

“Wo! You mean one of us gets to have dinner with the farmer and his wife?” Buff said.

“Hey, idiot. Does your pea brain not comprehend what kind of “guest” you’d become?” asked Squawk.

“Strut? Does that mean what I think it means?” Sam asked, nodding at the grain trough with his beak.

“Yes. One of us is going to dinner at the Scruffows. Slow roasted, dressed up on a platter, seasoned and stuffed. Then the farmer and his wife will toss out our remains in the trash. The gourmet grain is to help fatten us up like a pig so we will be plump and juicy.”

“You mean …” Buff could hardly get the words out. “Like a centerpiece?” The thought of him being slow roasted and served on a platter gave him the shudders and shakes.

“Remember Joe?” asked Squawk. “He went last year. I remember seeing the farmer carrying Joe’s carcass to the garbage can just hours after he ‘invited’ him to dinner. He was a tough bird. To capture that is. I bet he tasted juicy and tender after they fattened him up. He put up a real fight though. Feathers flying all over the place and then…well, you know the rest.”

“Oh my. To be so disposed…” Gerta’s beak and gullet turned as pale as her white boa feathers. Her rotund frame swayed, wobbling on thin spindly legs before finally falling to the ground like dead weight. Sam quickly trotted over and frantically fanned Gerta with his wings. She came to, but sat visibly shaken in a disheveled squat. Helping her upright proved to be harder. He tugged too hard accidentally pulling some of her prized feathers from her wings.

“What are we going to do, Strut?” asked Sam.

“We’re going to get out of here!” Looking over at Squawk, Strut said. “And we’re going to need your help, Squawk.”

Turning their heads toward a loud racket, they watched in horror at a truck rumbling down the street filled with live turkeys from the neighboring turkey farm. The open slats in the sides of the enclosed truck showed beaks, wings, and legs poking through the packed truck.

“Hey, dudes. You better come up with a plan fast. I won’t be anybody’s centerpiece,” exclaimed Buff.

Squawk flew over to the telephone pole where all his friends gathered. Their squawking, tweeting and chirping could be heard from one end of the road to the other. He then flew back to the turkey hutch with news.

“Strut, you know those trucks we saw?  With all the turkeys in them?” asked Squawk?

“Yea? Where were they going?”

“Trucks leaving from the turkey farms are packed and loaded with live turkeys. Hours later, the trucks come back empty. The turkeys are unloaded into a place where humans in rubber boots, aprons, and gloves put them onto moving ramps. They are …” Gulp. “Silenced! I mean no more gobbling, just one last screech, and …zilch.” Squawk’s wing swept across his neck imitating the hacking stroke of a turkey ‘whacker’.

Strut’s eyes looked as big as half dollars as he realized that he and his friends faced the same fate.

______________________

To be continued …

Joyce E. Johnson (2013)

Posted November 27, 2013 by Joyce in Fiction

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