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.