A Thankful Heart

A Thankful Heart

Jesus, help us to be thankful…

from Blessings and Prayers for Families (Dayspring Cards)

from Blessings and Prayers for Families (Dayspring Cards)

Jesus, help us to be thankful…

Thankfulness is the best way to combat holiday stress. Start with Jesus. He’s your strongest ally, a friend closer than a brother, and the best answer to anything that troubles or challenges you today.

“Jesus, help us to be thankful. It is a privilege to pray -a wonder just to be able to talk to You daily. Thank you, Jesus. We are so blessed to be trusted to serve You. Thank You for trusting us. Help us to always be faithful to You. Amen.”

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

Terrible Tues. is a Tuesday blog series for adults, because two-year-olds aren’t the only ones who have bad days.

Hickory Smoked Turkey & Gravy

Hickory Smoked Turkey


The Grill Sergeant at our house is my husband and this is his simple, but delicious, recipe for smoking turkey. The gravy has a slightly smoky flavor and is really wonderful too.

Our oldest son had turkey assignment for he and his buddies’ annual BrosGiving dinner, so we officially handed these recipes down to the next generation. They are a a sure-fire way to transform any turkey novice into a turkey hero. Trust me, the folks you feed will be thankful!


  • Lots of gas for the grill
  • Hickory Wood to smoke
  • Fresh Turkey
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon and/or orange
  • Freshly ground salt & pepper
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • 2-14.5 oz. cans chicken stock (or roasting pan or turkey stock if made ahead)
  • 2 onions (one for stock, one for roasting pan)
  • celery, 3-4 stalks cut into fourths
  • carrots, 2-3 cut into fourths

Turkey Prep:

  • Sit turkey out in normal room temperature for one hour
  • Clean turkey, keep neck for stock
  • Rub lemon or orange on turkey, put halved fruit in turkey
  • Rub outside of turkey with olive oil
  • Season with freshly ground salt, pepper, and a little sage
  • Fold wings under, lace or clip shut openings (with fruit inside)
  • Put on rack inside roasting pan
  • Pour 2 cans of stock (4 cups) and wedges of one onion into roasting pan

Turkey Stock:

  • Sauce pan of boiling water
  • Turkey neck
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Salt and pepper with a little sage & thyme
  • Bring to boil, then simmer
  • Use some stock for gravy and a little stock to mix with olive oil for basting

Smoking Turkey:

  • See grill manufacturer’s directions, or other trusted source, for wood use in smoking
  • Smoke on grill for 20 minutes per pound at 225˚-250˚, until breast temperature is 165˚
  • Baste with olive oil and turkey stock mixture every 45 minutes
  • Check to be sure flame didn’t get blown out by wind when basting and, if weather is excessively cold, assess whether grill temperature needs to be slightly increased
  • Add stock to roasting pan drippings as needed to use for gravy



  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup flour
  • 4 cups turkey drippings (add stock if not enough drippings)
  • salt, to taste


  1. Pour turkey drippings through strainer and let stand until fat rises to the top. With large, shallow spoon or suction baster, discard all but about ¼” of fat.
  2. In large skillet, melt butter on medium-low heat and blend in spices.
  3. Slowly add flour, mixing in with wire whisk in small circular motions.
  4. Add small amount of drippings, completely blending in with whisk before adding more, until all 4 cups have been added to gravy.
  5. Taste to see if salt is needed. If so, salt to taste.
  6. Cook gravy for several minutes, stirring constantly, to thicken and cook flour.

Food for Thought

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” –Cicero

Menu Monday is a blog series dedicated to great food and menu planning.

Acker Bilk

Aww, Acker Bilk passed away. Stranger on the Shore is one of my fav ‘oldies’. It’s always brought to mind an image of an old-time radio playing in an old-fashioned kitchen with gingham curtains moving to a gentle breeze and a woman in an apron listening as she works. The ‘simpler times’ feel is what appeals to me. Give it a listen and see what you think… Mr. Acker Bilk – Stranger On The Shore – 1961 – 45 RPM

Simple Life Saturday is a Saturday blog series hodgepodge of posts relating to family, home, friends, community, lifelong learning, pleasurable endeavors, and laughs along the way.

Mama Sugar’s Southern Fried Chicken

In honor of you, Mary Alice... Southern Fried Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli & Sweet Tea.

In honor of you, Mary Alice… crispy Southern Fried Chicken, buttery garlic mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli with lemon, and sweet tea.

Years ago my dear southern cook extraordinaire mother-in-law, Mary Alice, typed out all her favorite recipes and assembled cookbooks for her family and dearest friends. She was a southern lady in the truest sense and had hostess skills on par with her cooking acumen. Her grandchildren lovingly called her, “Mama Sugar,” because she called everyone she loved, “Sugar,” and said it as she said everything else, in her lovely, distinctive Chattanooga, Tennessee dialect which she never lost despite living most of her adult life elsewhere.

When my husband and sons request fried chicken there is only one place I go for the recipe. Mama Sugar’s cookbook. She recorded several versions, but this is her classic which she soaked in buttermilk all day.

Mama Sugar’s Southern Fried Chicken

  1. Cut spring fryer (about 3 pounds) into serving pieces
  2. Cover with buttermilk and refrigerate for several hours to tenderize
  3. Drain and dredge in mixture of flour, salt,  pepper, and a bit of garlic salt
  4. Fry in Crisco shortening until brown on both sides
  5. Move to covered baking dish OR, for crispy-style, place on a cookie sheet
  6. Bake at 350°F degrees until tender (45-60 min.)

My guys like the crispy style for the crunch, in which case I go a little heavier on the salt for a salty-crunchy combo. However, those who love their meat particularly moist and tender may want to try the covered version. The frying and the lid both lock in moisture -just don’t over bake. Rule of thumb for doneness is 160°F white meat/165°F dark meat. Mary Alice usually baked her fried chicken covered. I love it both ways and let my mood or my guys dictate which way we go.

Food for Thought

“In the childhood memories of every good cook, there’s a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot, and a mom.”

Barbara Costikyan, Food Critic, New York Magazine

Menu Monday is a blog series dedicated to great food and menu planning.

The Psalm of the Precious Secret

Psalms 16:8

Psalm 16:8

Verse 8. Set the Lord always before you as—

  • I. Your protector.
  • II. Your leader.
  • III. Your example.
  • IV. Your observer.


On Psalm 16 from The Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon

TITLE. MICHTAM OF DAVID. This is usually understood to mean THE GOLDEN PSALM, and such a title is most appropriate, for the matter is as the most fine gold. Ainsworth calls it “David’s jewel, or notable song.” Dr. Hawker, who is always alive to passages full of savour, devoutly cries, “Some have rendered it precious, othersgolden, and others, precious jewel; and as the Holy Ghost, by the apostles Peter and Paul, hath shown us that it is all about the Lord Jesus Christ, what is here said of him is precious, is golden, is a jewel indeed!” We have not met with the term Michtam before, but if spared to write upon Psalms 56, 57, 58, 59, and 60, we shall see it again, and shall observe that like the present these psalms, although they begin with prayer, and imply trouble, abound in holy confidence and close with songs of assurance as to ultimate safety and joy. Dr. Alexander, whose notes are peculiarly valuable, thinks that the word is most probably a simple derivative of a word signifying tohide, and signifies a secret or mystery, and indicates the depth of doctrinal and spiritual import in these sacred compositions. If this be the true interpretation it well accords with the other, and when the two are put together, they make up a name which every reader will remember, and which will bring the precious subject at once to mind. THE PSALM OF THE PRECIOUS SECRET.

Continue on with Spurgeon and the ‘precious secret’ here…

Sanctuary Sunday is a Sunday blog series focusing on matters of faith, spirituality, wisdom, and the Journey.

Worthwhile Thoughts

CM on Worthwhile Thoughts

What Are Worthwhile Thoughts?

Scripture According to Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

  • advantageous
  • beneficial
  • constructive
  • excellent
  • good
  • important
  • invaluable
  • justifiable
  • lucrative
  • productive
  • profitable
  • rewarding
  • useful
  • valuable
  • worthy
  • estimable
  • gainful
  • meritorious
  • money-making
  • paying
  • priceless
  • remunerative
  • serviceable
  • bad
  • disadvantageous
  • hurting
  • unhelpful
  • unimportant
  • unprofitable
  • unworthy
  • useless
  • worthless

That’s quite a wide berth, but considering what is -and is not, ‘worthwhile’ IS a worthwhile thought to ponder. 

Simple Life Saturday is a Saturday blog series hodgepodge of posts relating to family, home, friends, community, lifelong learning, pleasurable endeavors, and laughs along the way.