Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

The recipe for a Thankgiving prayer that rocks

Stood in line with your 17-pound turkey at the grocery store? Looked up the recipe for green bean casserole? Hauled up your extra chairs from the basement?

I hope, at this point on Thanksgiving week, you’ve done all this and started thawing your turkey in the fridge at least three days ago.


I’ve done all these things in anticipation of the nine people I expect to gather around my Thanksgiving table tomorrow. And now I’m thinking about the purpose of the day.

If you have any interest in praying or God at all, you surely must say a prayer at Thanksgiving. It is, after all, a holiday about giving thanks. Even if you’re not the sort to thank a god, a verbal message of thanks for all to hear is good for, well if not your soul, then your well-being. Gratitude is good.

Have you given any thought to the blessing you want to share around the table? A lot of books and Bibles have perfectly acceptable prayers to say together, if you like, but I like personalizing the prayer. Here’s an outline:

  • Thank the people who gather around your table. Missing someone? Remember them.
  • Acknowledge the sources of your meal (and be thankful you didn’t have to make the ultimate sacrifice).
  • Thank the cooks who prepared the food and, be proactive, thank the people who will help clean up.
  • If you’re spiritual, here’s where you can thank God (in whatever form He or She takes for you).
  • Wrap it up. Amen is a good word. I once heard it meant “I can put my tent stake in that,” which is a powerful statement from a culture of nomads who preferred driving camels to driving tent stakes. Choosing to stay in one place was against their nature, so “I can put my tent stake in that” was a real statement of certainty and approval.

Here’s how it might look:

Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to give thanks. [Hold hands or bow your heads or whatever works in your tribe.] We are thankful to be together around this table on this Thanksgiving Day. We are missing Uncle Wally but we’re thinking of him fondly. We are thankful for the rain and sunshine required to grow this abundance of food and we’re thankful to the turkey who made the ultimate sacrifice to create our table centerpiece. We are thankful to the cooks who toiled to prepare this amazing meal (especially Nina for the pies) and we are thankful to the servant-hearted guests who will help clean it all up later. And finally, we are thankful to God in heaven who makes all these blessings possible. Thanks be to God. Amen.

It doesn’t have to rhyme, it doesn’t have to be recited perfectly and it doesn’t have to be long. Good luck. Have a grateful day.

A gratin even a vegetable-hater might love


Brussels Sprouts Gratin, half devoured

You know the Brussels Sprouts Gratin recipe making the rounds? I’ve seen it in Country Living magazine and multiple times on my Facebook feed (and now I’m adding to it, too) so the Brussels sprouts growers and Gruyère cheese makers are either thrilled with the attention or happy with their marketing efforts.

Anyway, I made it tonight to go with the rotisserie chicken my Beloved picked up at Costco, and it was universally a hit, kind of like macaroni and cheese with Brussels sprouts instead of macaroni. So if you’re compiling a list of side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner this week, this one is a keeper.

Here is a link to one version of the recipe.

The upshot of upchuck: A lesson in gratitude

Today’s post is about vomit.

Perhaps for a bulimic, a post about purging on the day before we stuff ourselves makes sense, but for the rest of us, the connection may be lost.

To be fair, it’s not entirely about puke, but in any case, if you’re of queasy stomach, you may take a pass.

My dog, my sweet little miniature schnauzer who turned 7 this past summer, got sick on Friday. We returned home from a little trip and found one of the purple chairs in our living room covered in greenish puke.

Oh, sweet girl, what’s wrong?

Over the course of the next 24 hours, Chloe proceeded to barf on the living room carpeting, a throw on the sofa, the quilt on the bed, a throw on the bed, her own bed, the hallway carpeting and my sweatpants.

I did a lot of laundry.

Naturally, we couldn’t find a reason for her illness. We hadn’t changed her food, we didn’t think she’d eaten anything unusual, she hadn’t spent time with strange dogs and she didn’t have any weird bumps or lumps. I hate mysteries like that.

I was getting worried so I played detective. As she listlessly went out in the back yard to do her business, I learned she was still peeing but she was also suffering from Hershey’s Squirts.

By Saturday night, Chloe quit barfing (because she was empty) but she refused eat or drink anything.

Of course, Murphy’s Law was in effect. She got sick on Friday, the day before a weekend. So we toughed out Sunday by convincing her to lick on ice cubes. She continued to get up twice in the middle of the night to attend to her diarrheal impulses.

At 4:30 a.m. Monday morning, she was whimpering.

If it wasn’t bad before, it was now.

When I pray, I try very hard to pray “Thy will be done” rather than making a long list of demands. I believe prayers are answered but honestly, I’m not a big fan of getting “no” for a response. I confess Imade an exception in this case. I reasoned with God on this one. “I don’t see how it would be that much trouble to make my dog better, God. It’s not that hard. It isn’t going to have cosmic ramifications. It couldn’t hurt. Could you see about working up some healing here? Please?”

We called the pet emergency room but decided to wait for our regular veterinarian to get into the office. We were sitting in the waiting room by 8:10.

Finally, we were about to get some answers.


The veterinarian couldn’t figure it either, though he did say she wasn’t dehydrated. We sprang for X-rays, which were as inconclusive as the visual exam.

She might have a bug, the vet said. She might get better naturally. Antibiotics could help. If she has an obstruction we can’t see, she might get worse.


So he gave her a shot and sent us home with a round of antibiotics, the doggy version of Pepto Bismol, canned dog food specially made for sensitive intestines, canine probiotics and brochures for three different animal hospitals that might be open on Thanksgiving if that were to become necessary.

The price of this peace of mind or, rather, piece of blind? $273.76.

Is this the sweetest little puppy face ever?

Is this the sweetest little puppy face ever?

This story ends happily.

I gave her a bath and brushed her teeth so she smelled as sweet as she looked. She loves the bland food and has been gobbling it up since about an hour after her first shot of antibiotics. She’s not a big fan of the eye dropper full of not-exactly-Pepto-Bismol but she quit puking.

She got better.

I thought for sure she had cancer and was going to die and that visit to the vet on Monday morning would be her last trip anywhere.

But she got better.

My dog had the flu and it was inconvenient.

She got better.

My prayers were answered.

I am so thankful.

Why I torture myself with worst-case scenarios, I don’t know. But I don’t think I’m the only one who’s paranoid and untrusting of the universe.

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”

~ Buddha

The lesson here is that all of us who would sooner assume the worst need to make room for an abundance mentality. Our thoughts shape reality. Think positive. Be grateful.

Prepare a prayer for dinner

Perhaps by now you’ve planned your Thanksgiving dinner. Even if it’s only in your head.

If you’re going to someone else’s house, you probably know what you’re going to be bringing to share.

Maybe you’ve looked up the recipes, watched Food Network, ordered your turkey or your pies, made your grocery list.

But you given any thought to the blessing you want to share around the table?

If you have any interest in praying or God at all, you surely must say a prayer at Thanksgiving. It is, after all, a holiday about giving thanks. Sure, you probably thank the people who come to visit, and you thank the cooks who help with food and you thank the people who help clean up. (I hope you thank them.) But if you’re spiritual, I hope you’re thanking God (in whatever form He or She takes for you), too.

A lot of books and Bibles have perfectly acceptable prayers to say together, if you like, but I like personalizing the prayer.

A few years ago, after my nephew had recovered from very scary battle with leukemia, and my brother-in-law was called back to work after being laid off as a pilot and my second nephew had been born a few months earlier, I wrote this prayer for our family Thanksgiving:

We begin with three verses from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

On this bright, beautiful Thanksgiving Day, God, we thank you for the circumstance of good health that allows us all to be together today. God, we thank you for the circumstance of meaningful employment in all its expected and unexpected forms and for the joys of retirement. God, we thank you for the circumstances that bring us to this table today, especially the fellowship of family and the miracle of birth. And we fondly remember those members of our family who can’t be with us today. And finally, God, we thank you for the circumstances that brought this wonderful feast to our table, especially the sacrifice of the turkey and the hard work of the cooks. God, let us be joyful, be prayerful and be thankful on this festive day. Amen

I have a friend (and regular blog reader) whose brother recently died suddenly. An uncle of mine — my mother’s brother — also died earlier this year. Those events reminded me of another prayer I wrote about a decade ago, this time for the Christmas, in honor of my brother, Curt, who died earlier in the year:

A Christmas Prayer

God, grant us strength and peace on this Christmas Day. We celebrate the birth of Christ today and also the life and the love we shared with one who cannot be among us — he is our son, our brother, our brother-in-law and our uncle.

As Joseph, who failed to make reservations and arrived late, heard “There is no room at the inn,” we think of Curt and how he piqued our anticipation with his often-late arrival.

As choirs of angels marked the day with songs of glory, we think of Curt and the humor he brought to life with his meandering stories and his laughter.

As the three wise men brought gifts to honor the Almighty, we think of the gift of Curt’s presence, no longer in body but in spirit.

Curt’s memory lives on in our hearts and in the acts of goodness performed in his name. Bless this family on this Christmas holiday. Amen.

I hope these prayers inspire you to prepare something special — or traditional, or unique, or whatever — but prepare something you can say around the holiday table as you gather with your family.