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Family Traditions

This is the perfect time of the year for family traditions!  I was very moved by my daughter’s Facebook post on Thanksgiving Day. She wrote,  “I’m thankful for family and for family traditions. I know traditions aren’t always good, but I’m thankful for the ones that surround the holidays in my family. They give a sense of stability each year and something to look forward to. Even though we are celebrating tomorrow, the whole family will be here! And Mammaw is here until Christmas! God has blessed us with so much and I’m truly thankful! He is always faithful to provide for us, sometimes in unlikely ways. I can’t wait until next year, when we get to show our new nephew and three new nieces our traditions and be thankful together! God is so good! I love you all, family!” I wholeheartedly agree with her!

Below are photos from our ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving weekend. And by the way, there was really nothing very healthy on our menu for our Thanksgiving meal! Although I didn’t overdo it on the sweets, I did overeat a bit and boy was I miserable! However, I am committed to getting back on my healthy eating plan and thankful I didn’t have a significant weight gain. I am even more thankful for my beautiful family and our memory-filled time together.

“O give thanks unto The Lord for He is good!”

Do you have family traditions?  I would love for you to comment.

Healthy, wealthy and wise tip for today: Be sure to eat within one hour of rising each morning. Eat every three hours  and eat at the same time everyday. This will balance your hormones and blood sugar levels. However, make sure what you are eating is healthy!

Our “Giving Thanks” decorations.

Cornbread for the dressing baked in my iron skillet. Yum!

Dressing started. Wonder why it’s called ‘dressing’?

My homemade chocolate pecan pie (recipe courtesy of the Neely’s from the Food Network).

Everyone gathered in the kitchen – serving up the Thanksgiving meal buffet style.

Homemade mac and cheese, turkey and dressing, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, creamed corn, watergate salad, homemade rolls, cranberry sauce, little sweet pickles, olives and Mammaw’s hot potato salad. Delish!

Table laden with homemade desserts: pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate pecan pie, coconut cake.  How did that store bought pecan pie get in there? Oh well, it’s from Whole Foods so it much be healthy!

Enjoying our meal and each other’s company!

Remember the kids’ table when you were little?  I do!

After our Thanksgiving meal the family gathered for our annual tree hunt at Clark’s Hill Tree Farm.

Hayride to find the perfect tree.

Cousins having fun on the hayride.

On the hunt…

…for the perfect tree!

Found ours! Will it fit in our house??

The boys found theirs!

Our perfect trees are loaded on the wagon and soon will be gracing our homes.

Boiled peanuts and cocoa before we leave the tree farm.

Even the youngest grandkids love boiled peanuts!

Annual measuring of the grandkids. My how they’ve grown!

Our perfect Christmas tree has found its perfect resting place. And it fits!

All lit and  decorated with our traditional ornaments – some nearly 50 years old. Now we just need some presents!

Our annual family picture…the perfect end to a perfect day!


Saying Goodbye to the Pond

Detouring a bit from my usual blog.  This was originally written November 27, 2010.

Every time I walk to our pond, a few hundred feet downhill from our house, I ask myself why I don’t go down there more often!  It’s so beautiful and peaceful, quite a retreat really, and I rarely walk down to it.  I’m usually just too busy – what a terrible excuse!  During the fall or winter months, when the leaves are falling or gone, I can see it from my kitchen window as I wash dishes.  During the spring and summer months, when the trees are loaded with leaves, I can’t see it – but I know it’s there.   The pond is constant, tranquil, beautiful and quiet.  It never calls to me through the kitchen window, “Please come see me!”   It’s simply there and when I want to, or the occasion calls for it, I walk down.

Today was one of those occasions.  We have just over a month until we move out of our home of nearly 18 years, and since the whole family was here, I wanted all of us to walk down to the pond.  I was very nostalgic, knowing it was the last time we would take this trek as a family.  So down the hill (“over the river and through the woods” comes to mind right now) we walked to the pond.  One of our favorite spots is a clearing on the back side of the pond where a huge tree stands.  We buried our dog, Harley, under it when the kids were younger.  Today, the grandkids tried to climb a vine that had grown around the tree.  We all enjoyed the fun, even though I had to fight back tears thinking of leaving this place.

Then I stood and just looked at the pond.  Hardly a ripple marred its smooth, glass-like surface. I was reminded of the first day I saw it and fell in love.  I spotted my husband and oldest son across the pond standing on the levee.  He later told me they were reminiscing of times spent there fishing and camping. We took lots of pictures and then started our walk back up the hill to the house.  I stayed a little behind the others, turning around from several different angles to catch final glimpses of the pond. I was taking mental snap-shots to tuck away for future use. I didn’t cry, but I wanted to. I thought of how much I would miss that pond that I rarely went to see!

Walking back up the hill, the thought came to me that my relationship with Jesus is much like my relationship with our pond.  He is constant, ever present whether I can see Him or not.  I know He calls to me, “Please come see Me,” but I don’t always listen.  Of course, I go to Him when there’s an occasion – like a crisis or a problem. But just to sit with Him and enjoy His presence – I’m usually just too busy. What a shameful excuse!  When I do spend time with Him I am awestruck at how beautiful, tranquil, loving and glorious He is!

Today I was also reminded of the first time I fell in love with Jesus, how I couldn’t wait to spend time with Him.  Slowly things changed. Life happened. Ignoring Him during the week, I was content with just a weekend love affair at church. I had turned away from my first love.

I want that ‘first love’ relationship again. I want to see Jesus more often. I remember the times that He has come to my aid and seen me through difficulties and times spent with Him in worship.  But I want to make new memories – to see Him in His beauty, majesty and glory in a fresh way. I don’t want just mental snap-shots to tuck away for future use. I want an active, on-going love relationship with my Savior.  Lord, may it be so!

I guess it’s time to say goodbye to the pond.  I am so thankful that I will NEVER have to say goodbye to Jesus!


We moved to our new home in late December of 2010.  Guess what?  There’s a pond just down the hill from our house that we have access to whenever we like!  I’ve only been there once…some things never change.

Have you ever had to say goodbye to something you hold dear?  I’d love for you to comment.

It’s All About Relationships

Detouring a bit from my ‘I Want to Be Healthy’ blog – well, not really.  Having loving relationships is a huge part of your health and well-being.

July 16 would have been my mom’s 94th birthday and her 75th wedding anniversary.  She married my father on her 19th birthday.  Mom was a tried and true Proverbs 31 woman.  She went to heaven went she was 83 years old and one of my nieces read Proverbs 31 at her funeral.  When it came to the verse that says, “Her children rise up and call her blessed,” all of my brothers and sisters and I stood up without prompting and remained standing during the rest of the reading. She was a blessed woman and it was our way of paying a final tribute to our mother.

These beautiful words that Solomon penned thousands of years ago truly describe my mom:  ‘Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her;  so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.  She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household…Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.’  from Proverbs 31

The words ‘She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household’ have special meaning to me.   When I was growing up I don’t ever remember a morning that I didn’t wake up to the smell of coffee brewing, bacon sizzling and biscuits baking!  Although I couldn’t smell them, there was always a platter of freshly scrambled or fried eggs on the table and sometimes a bowl of gravy and sliced tomatoes.  I don’t know how early mom had to get up to prepare those delightfully delicious breakfasts for us but it was well before daylight.  I never once heard her complain.   After breakfast, no one got up from the table because we knew it was time for our daily devotions.  She read from a book called Our Daily Bread and then the suggested daily Bible reading.  Mom always finished by praying for all us and the pressing needs of the day.  I will always cherish those memories.

One such morning in 1968, mom was praying for our brother, Mike, who had been wounded in Vietnam.  We knew he was back in the states but we just weren’t sure when we would hear from him.  Just as mom finished praying, the phone rang and she said (before she answered the phone), “It’s Mike!”  She picked up the phone and sure enough it was!  We were all jumping up and down and yelling, so much so that Mom had to tell us to be quiet.   I’m sure I didn’t think about it at the time, but looking back I am in awe of the answers that came as a result of my mom’s prayers.

‘Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.’

It really is all about relationships!  Love you, Mom!

My mom and dad in the 1940’s.

john pavlovitz

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