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.

Autumn Christmas List

Autumn Christmas List

Lessons from Christmas Past

Fall festivities and Thanksgiving require their own preparations and time allotments, so beginning Christmas planning in early autumn is always a wise move.

Wise Christmas elves remember holiday budgeting is most effective when included in their annual budget discussions and is made part of their savings plans for the year.

Learning from Christmas past is one way elves grow in wisdom. As you go through the holiday season, or after the powdered sugar settles, take notes as part of your planning for Christmas future and include them with a ‘master plan’ template for the years ahead.

Makin’ a List

Autumn Christmas List suggestions to start the snowball rolling:

  • Jesus is the Reason for the Season (make Him the centerpiece of your planning)
  • Develop a Master Plan Template (to reuse yearly)
  • Determine specifics for THIS Christmas (total budget, in-town/travel, caveats, etc.)
  • Pencil preliminary plan on printable calendar (Oct-New Year celebration)
  • Breakdown budget (ministry donations, holiday offerings, cards, postage, gifts, wrapping supplies, special meals, extra dishes/paper products, holiday clothing, baking & storage/wrap supplies, travel, holiday décor, unexpected, etc.)
  • Update personal and business contacts
  • Take family photos for Christmas cards
  • Buy or order Christmas cards and begin addressing envelopes
  • Determine dates for mailing Christmas cards and placing special holiday phone calls
  • Determine dates for gifts that need to be mailed
  • Place specialty food orders (turkey/ham, breads, desserts, etc.)
  • Determine dates to deep clean your home
  • Schedule in seasonal yard work and home maintenance
  • Determine and schedule in seasonal activities and special events
  • Ensure time in schedule for routine housekeeping
  • Determine dates you need your teenagers available and make certain they’ve arranged their work/social schedule accordingly
  • Working backwards, determine specific days/times for items that have to be scheduled in last days of preparations (pick up special order and fresh foods/produce, determine who is going to pick up Grandma and when, assemble serving dishes/utensils, set table, etc.)
  • It bears repeating here and be sure to tell others too… Jesus IS the Reason for the Season

Checkin’ It Twice

Go back through everything again with a fine-tooth comb and realistic eye. Ensure your plan is sound, anticipates surprises, and won’t allow the ‘Oh, I’ll remember that’ type item to be forgotten.

If you added new traditions or recipes to your repertoire, be sure you’ve eliminated some of lesser importance -unless you ended up with extra time and money on your wise-elf hands last year.

Be certain to have sufficient margins of open time throughout your days. Your vehicle will need fuel and you’ll need to fill your own tank occasionally too.

Make wise adjustments to lists and schedules now and thank your wise-elf self later.

For a little Christmas frankness and a few more suggestions…

It’s Christmastime, Let’s Get Real