by Becca Couch
Thanksgiving is right around the corner!
I’m sure you have your favorite Thanksgiving dish on your mind. Here are just a few tips to help you set up a delicious thanksgiving meal!
- Turkey bags work wonders! I double up to make sure I don’t lose any turkey juice. You’ll want to use all that for the gravy!
- Make homemade rolls! They’re simple the best!
- Don’t skip the beans! If you’re not a fan of green bean casserole (like myself) fry up bacon and onions throw in a couple cans of green beans (drained) and sear green beans. Top with butter and salt. Delicious ! How can you go wrong with butter and bacon?
- Team work! Now if you’re like my family, we like a lot of food. Everyone has their favorite appetizers, main dishes, and of course tons of dessert. There must be enough leftovers to enjoy after a long night of Black Friday shopping. Don’t put this all on your mother or your aunt. Help out! Cook a day or two before and make sure everyone chips in on bringing a couple dishes.
- Everyone can help, even those sisters that don’t cook! Last but not least, we all have that family member that just can’t or shouldn’t be cooking, for example, my sister Rachael. Here is the list we always save for her: plates, cups and napkins as well as a vegetable, meat and cheese tray and drinks.
I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving shared with lots of love, laughter, and full bellies!
Becca and her husband Kenan live in Aurora with three adorable kids. She spends her days learning more than she ever imagined while homeschooling her kids. She loves to cook and try new recipes out! Kenan is the lucky guy that gets to test them out for her. They attend James River-West Campus Church and love spending time with friends and family.
by Jennifer Duncan
One year, during this season of thankfulness, I received an unexpected but welcome surprise, in the form of a letter. Yes…it was a “snail mail” letter, in actual handwriting, from a real person! I loved it. It was from a former student, whom I taught during my brief career as a junior high English teacher. This sweet girl just wanted to express her gratitude for the influence I had on her life so many years ago, and she spelled out in precious detail the words and acts that positively affected her life. There is no greater gift she could have given me.
So I decided to pay her the compliment of copying her idea! I thought of the people who had influenced my life, and grieved over the reality that I had never thanked them. I am not a spontaneously “thankful” person, unfortunately. But I know that when I consciously, deliberately elevate my level of thankfulness, I automatically elevate my level of joy. And I know that gratitude also raises the level of joy in the recipient as well. In that spirit, I wrote my own letter…to my seventh grade Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Sullivan.
In seventh grade, I wasn’t a particularly pleasant child. I alternated between being surly or rude, and being what I thought was “funny” at inappropriate times. Every Sunday when I entered the class, I would quip, “Never fear; Jennifer is here!” I thought this was hilarious, and so did some of the other girls. Mrs. Sullivan probably didn’t, but she would just smile, and say something pleasant, like, “And I’m glad you are!”
She never lost her patience, even when the six or seven clever girls refused to stop their silly talk long enough for her to cover her brief lesson points! She just kept trying to get a word in…always smiling…always kind. She even brought us lemon candies almost every Sunday. Maybe she was hoping to get to teach a bit, while our mouths were occupied!
Mrs. Sullivan sometimes sat by me in the worship service, and often gently placed her hand over mine, as if to say, “You are a precious gift to me.” I knew, though, that she deserved that title much more than I did. I knew that, even then, and I know it today with even greater clarity.
So I wrote her the letter, expressing my thankfulness for her, and telling her specifically the words and acts that meant the world to me. I told her about how God had worked in my life, and nurtured the seeds of Christian commitment that she planted. I told her that I “turned out okay,” in spite of myself!
Do you need to elevate your level of thankfulness? It’s one of the best ways to honor God for His faithfulness. Do you need to write your own letter, or perform some other act of gratitude? It’s one of the best ways to increase the level of joy in your life, and in the life of another. When we express our gratitude to others, we honor the God who placed these special ones in our lives.
I hope you’ll think of a way to thank your “Mrs. Sullivan” during this Thanksgiving season.
“Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” Philippians 5:16-18
Jennifer is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is mom to two grown (twin) sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and four granddaughters. Her late husband, John, pastored two churches in Barry County, Missouri, and one in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jennifer serves in teaching, music and lay counseling through her church, Arnhart Baptist Church, Purdy, Missouri. She also enjoys leading retreats and Bible studies for women.
With the days getting shorter and the nights getting colder, it is time to start thinking about winter in the Ozarks! While yes, that means trading your tank-tops for sweaters and your iced latte for hot chocolate, it is also important we think about our vehicles. Winter can play a toll on our cars however, our sponsors at Les Jacobs Ford have some great tips for all of us to consider!
Prevention is the best plan for keeping your vehicle starting in cold weather. Each fall have your vehicle winterized by a professional mechanic. Be sure the following are checked:
- Battery tested
- Radiator and hoses inspected
- Anti-freeze levels checked
- Have your oil changed to proper oil weight for winter
- Battery cables and boots examined
- If you car has a Distributor cap, have it inspected
- Spark plugs examined
- Thermostat checked
Always carry in your car:
- Warm blanket
- Additional warm clothing (especially mittens and stocking hats)
- Jumper cables
- Gas anti-freeze additive (isopropyl type additive)
- Extra windshield washer fluid
In addition, consider carrying the following in a “Winter Car Kit”:
- Matches and candles
- Food items like granola, candy bars, or other high calorie non-freezable snacks
- Battery operated or handcrank portable radio
- Emergency shovel
- Tow chain/rope
- Small bag of sand
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Road Flares or signaling device
- Never let your gas tank get more than half empty. Even with today’s gasoline, fuel lines can freeze up in extreme cold weather.
- On particularly cold days, start you car and let it run for several minutes at least once every 6 hours. This prevents your battery and engine from getting too cold to start.
- We highly recommend a service such as AAA. For a yearly fee you receive roadside assistance, from car starting to towing services, as well as maps, and travel discounts.
- If your car is prone to tough starting, a battery blanket may be a wise purchase. This foil and fabric blanket protects the battery from the full brunt of cold weather.
- Be aware if your vehicle has fuel injection. If it does, DO NOT pump the gas pedal when trying to start your vehicle. This will only flood the engine, making it harder to start.
Have a question about winter driving or need Darrin and his crew to take a look at something? They would be happy to help! You can give them a call at 1.888.259.3009.
A few weeks ago, we told you all about the annual Rock4Kids Zombie Run from our sponsors at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Fitness. What a great family event to get you and your kiddos moving and having fun together!
This year, the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Fitness has teamed up with the Missouri Beef Industry Council to remind us all the importance of eating family dinner together when possible. And we couldn’t agree more!
Please take a minute to read the benefits of eating a family meal together and also enjoy two yummy recipes provided by the Missouri Beef Industry Council at the bottom of the post. We can’t wait to give them a try!