giving thanks

thanksgiving is such a lovely time of year. isn’t it great to have an entire day – and season – devoted to giving thanks? an opportunity to refocus our hearts…which is especially beneficial heading into the Advent season.

often, on thanksgiving, families gather around the table and take turns mentioning what they are thankful for. we list the things in our life. some possessions. others, circumstances. life’s blessings: good heath, our home, our family, our jobs, friends, food. you know, the things that we post pictures of on our social media accounts with a hashtag. #blessed

but these things, the stuff we are often thankful for, those are not the blessings. not really. yes, we can be grateful for them, but life’s blessings are much richer and complex. in Christ’s sermon on the mount, He gave us a list of blessings. He told us the actions and spirits and behaviors and hearts that will receive blessing:

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and He opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

how ’bout them apples? i wonder if our families would think us strange if, this time next week, we started listing our gratitude for the times when we were persecuted for righteousness’ sake or for that person who despises us and does evil against us? but these are the things that bring blessing. when we are meek and hungry and thirsty and mournful and poor in spirit. God chose what is low and despised in the world to bring to nothing things that are lofty. the low will be lifted high. the poor will be rich. the crazy dynamics and economics of heaven. up is down and down is up.

and furthermore, instead of just offering up a list of things that we are thankful for. let us focus on the preposition, to. we are to be thankful to God. we cannot give thanks to nothing for something. we give thanks to someone. we don’t cavalierly say, “i am thankful for…this and this and this”. we give thanks to. we offer up our gift of thanks to the One who provides richly – above and beyond all that we ask or imagine. after all, thanksgiving means “the giving of thanks” and when you give something, you give it to someone identifiable. we give thanks to God for His bountiful blessings. so when you take time to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for, take time – more importantly – to reflect on the One to whom you owe thanks. all good things come down from above.

praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; praise Him, all creatures here below; praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. amen.

festive fashion

festive fashion


a few of my favorite things at j.crew for the holiday season. pretty sure that the items above would create the perfect wardrobe for family feasts all the way to festive fêtes. comfort and glitz and warmth and sparkle. that’s my kind of winter wear.

cheese night

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on saturday night, ben’s sister rachel and her hubby nathan came over for our inaugural cheese night. this is easily going to rival all other traditions. rachel makes this killer cheesy baked pasta and she doubles the béchamel so there is some extra for dipping. genius. a fondue appetizer before pasta is the very best of ideas. cheese and then cheese. so, after talking about this a few times, she suggested that she come to our kitchen and whip up a monster pot of cheese sauce for us to use 1) as a dip for yumminess and 2) as the sauce for a baked pasta entree. and thus, cheese night was born.

we got it on the calendar and they showed up on saturday with not only tons of cheese, but some apples and broccoli for dipping. AND an apple crisp, just because.

ben made fresh pasta and i was in charge of prepping the pretzel bread and the other items for the fondue starter. seriously, i got off waaaaaay easy. and i was even allowed to be a taste-tester which was a fabulous gig.

we served up the fondue and sat down at the table to enjoy while the noodles and cheese bubbled away and got all crispy on top.

it was a great evening. the Christmas tree was glowing away and Christmas tunes were playing. everything felt so warm and fuzzy.

after elinor went to bed, a very happy girl indeed, we dished up the apple crisp with hefty dollops of hand-whipped cream and served some french roast with eggnog. it was so wonderfully over the top. i can’t wait until next year. and i think we can all agree that i will need the full year to come back from all that dairy deliciousness. but no complaints here. full bellies and happy hearts, for sure.


humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.


it’s not about what we become for Him. It’s about what He makes of us for His glory.


if we’re poor, it’s because the world is unfair (not because of any failing or lack of talent on our part); if we’re rich, it’s because we’ve risen, through hard work, to the top of a fundamentally fair system (not because we benefited from advantages we didn’t earn). humans are excellent – and opportunistic - storytellers.


no grit, no pearl.

it is vain to do with more what can be done with less.


talent is a gift. bragging about it or letting it go to your head is about as interesting or sensical as boasting about how expensive some present you received is.

the most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children.

He’s not safe, but He’s good.


it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.


three things | fall comfort food edition

three recipes that i am wanting to whip up


one | three cheese macaroni a la martha stewart


two | oatmeal chewies via dessert for two


three | pumpkin spice cake with cinnamon bourbon buttercream frosting from m loves m blog

and before you say it…i am completely aware that none of these are health foods. not this time of year. nope. give me all the cheesy pasta and baked goods. but, at least i am getting my calcium in. oooh, and oats. oats are good for you. and ’tis the season for pumpkin. that festive gourd is a veggie. plus i am thinking about making a healthified version of the cake…but i won’t be messing with that frosting. buttercream just needs to be buttercream, you know?

here’s to balancing out the green juices and chia seeds with some good stuff from the dark side. hashtag, balance.