Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Comes First

As I sit watching TV with a half eaten bag of Halloween candy, I am reminded, despite the barrage of Christmas commercials and the numerous news reports of people camped out in from of retailers for days to get "early bird" specials on Black Friday, that Thanksgiving Comes First.

And really, it should-- Thanksgiving coming first, that is-- Especially since it's early this year-- November 22nd.  To that end, I'm focusing on the things I am thankful for while I ignore the non-stop Christmas music on the easy listening radio stations and the endless stream of Christmas commercializing from retailers on the TV that started well before Halloween.  And I'm making a point of NOT Chri$tma$ $hopping before Thanksgiving to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.

Instead, in the 22 days leading up to Thanksgiving I am focusing on the many things I am thankful for...

1.  Chocolate.  Because just one bite helps minimize angst, exhaustion and anxiety.

2.  Lumpy turkey gravy.  It immediately reminds me of my late great-grandmother who made the best ever.

Dad, Mom, Granny and me - circa 1964-ish.
3.  Holding hands when my Ohio family says grace before a meal-- even if we're in a restaurant.  Stopping everything everyone is doing to hold hands and give thanks for the day and the meal we are about to share brings tears to my eyes.

4.  My grandparents-- The ones who always welcomed me with open arms and unconditional love.  My first Thanksgiving memories were at the kids' table in their crowded kitchen-- warm from all the cooking and so many people crammed into the small room that the windows "steamed up".

5.  Cool whip.  'Nuff said.

6.  Jello, because it's not Thanksgiving without it.

7.  Friends.  True friends.  Mine are few but priceless.

8.  100 watt light bulbs-- A lot of them, and having them turned on-- All.  The.  Time.  These days I'm still a little spooked because of these idiots so I'm lighting things up day and night to remind myself how thankful I am to have a home, even if it is all glass.

9.  Prayers for my loved ones in need.  Knowing that on a daily basis, loving and generous people I have never met, pray-- by name, for the well-being of people I care about is absolutely humbling and deeply appreciated.

10. My sewing machine and the ability to use my arthritic hands well enough to make this quilt for Middle Sister as a house warming present...

11. A whole week of school vacation for Thanksgiving-- Godson (now in high school) and I have big plans.  And to say that I am thankful that I'm still cool enough for him to hang out with is an understatement.

12. The old cemetery in my hometown.  It's a beautiful place where my dad and his side of the family are all buried.  Rain, shine, blazing heat or brutal winters-- it makes no difference. It's the place to go to be surrounded by love and peace.

13.  I give thanks for breakfast.  Second only to Thanksgiving dinner, it's hands down, my favorite meal.

14.  Flannel pajamas and warm fuzzy socks.

Mom and her dog, Noah.
 15.  I'm thankful for strong female role models growing up.  I had more than my share-- starting with my mother.

16.  All twelve of my nieces and nephews.  They full my heart with joy.

17.  My brother-- The one to call in case of an emergency.  He's rock solid, gives great advice, never judges, and loves with his whole heart.

My siblings and I - circa 1966-ish.
18.  My three sisters--  I can bare my soul to all of them and vice-a-versa.  We are blessed to have each other.

19.  Monopoly-- the game, because it's brought multiple generations of my family together after Thanksgiving dinner for more years than I can count.

20.  I am very thankful for my husband, the love of my life.

21.  My husband.  Because it's worth repeating.

22.  Grandma Lee's Nude Apple Pie.  It was a family favorite dessert, although it was a cake, not a pie and, it was "naked" because there was no frosting.  Gram kept the "recipe" on a 3" X 5" index card covered with spattered ingredients from decades of use.  The thing is though, that the recipe lists all the ingredients but not the quantities.  And her "secret" ingredient that made the cake so darn delicious was never written down.  No matter how hard we've tried, my sisters and I have never been able to come even remotely close to duplicating her cake.  But, the memory of Grandma Lee's cake is still vivid in our minds, especially at Thanksgiving.  And for that reason alone, I don't want to rush past Thanksgiving-- I want to linger in the memories and the joy it brings.

Thanks to Suldog, a terrific blogger and writer, for always reminding us that Thanksgiving Comes FirstCheck it out HERE.  

Happy Thanksgiving.  xo jj
Welcome to  -  Joanna Jenkins


  1. I enjoyed this. Filled with warmth and nostalgia and memories and reminders of many, many things to be thankful for. My house was also broken at a few months ago and yes the spotlights are on almost all the time and the cost of electricity skyrocket. He stole that from me. The fact that we were at home was the scariest thing.

  2. Yes it does come first!! I am so very thankful for so many things....Happy Thanksgiving hun!

  3. smiles...loving all the things you are thankful does come first...we did put our tree up already though....we needed it after last week so we did...

    hope you and your family have a great thanksgiving....and lumpy gravy...smiles.

  4. Now that is a list! I LOVE all of them, Joanna, and I am grateful for that cool picture of you and your dog. Plus the picture of your three sisters seems to have five people in it. One brother and... :-)

  5. You'd think with Thanksgiving happening on the earliest possible day here, more than a week before December even starts, it would be easy to just delay the onset of Christmas-themed activities. I'll be sitting out the Black Friday madness, as usual.

  6. What a great list and a nice insight into what you value. I can only do one holiday at a time so for me Christmas will have to wait until after Thanksgiving.

  7. Hey there chicky, I was wondering how you were doing, imagining you packing your bags and moving to Ohio forever. I'm glad you're home and putting on all of the lights. Put an especially bright spotlight on a machete, hehe.
    Your grammy's kitchen looks a lot like mine. We do the same thing, squeeze in and steam the windows up. The way you describe everything sounds so nice.
    I am thankful for many of the same things; family, family, family.
    Is godson really in high school already? They grow up too fast.
    Hugs and a peck, xo d

  8. I love that I can count on you to always do something related to celebrating Thanksgiving first. Your list is wonderful and full of things that are worthy of thanks.

  9. Just catching up here.... sooooo sorry to hear about your robbery! That is one of the sickest feelings in the world.
    But - I am so thankful for so many things... good times, good memories - and good people like you!
    Hope your Holiday is wonderful!

  10. I do this too--one holiday at a time!
    You have some wonderful family traditions--it's great that you keep them going.

  11. Amen amen amen! I hate it that the big chain stores are now actually open on Thanksgiving and that people actually go shopping instead of enjoying this lovely holiday with family or with friends.

    I love your list. It brought a smile to my face to read it. :-)

  12. Best thankfulness list I've seen. Check this out for amusing take on T'giving coming first:

  13. I would skip the 100 watt bulbs but given the circumstances I can understand.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  14. We have some similar memories; and I love the photos!

  15. My mom had a big turkey roaster like the one your grandma has sitting on the counter next to the fridge. I can almost smell the warmth of food and love in that picture. Great post!

  16. That's a wonderful Thanksgiving List.

  17. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your memories & the accompanying wonderful pictures. This post actually made me tear up. I have such wonderful family memories of my childhood Thanksgivings. We would be allowed a small sip of champagne from a beautiful crystal glass. I felt very glamorous & "grown up".

    Also my late Aunt Bette would bring the mist delicious lasagna. Oh how I miss her.

  18. Love the photos, and to read all that you have to be thankful for. That quilt for middle sister is a beauty.

    I think this is my favorite holiday, because it reminds us of our blessings, and hopefully reminds us that there are those who need our kindness and assistance. Food banks always need turkey and fixin's!

    A very Happy THanksgiving to you, by cyber friend.

  19. It's so wonderful to hear that your family is a close and happy one, that your siblings, nieces and nephews are so present and such a joy in your life. May this Thanksgiving be a special one for all of you!

  20. Love this post....Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! xo

  21. That's a heartwarming list and sweet pictures, Joanna.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  22. That's a great list of things to be thankful for.

    Wishing you a joyful Thanksgiving.

  23. happy thanksgiving jj....i hope you and yours have a great day...filled with love....and peace....

  24. Love this post. Wow I have one brother and three sisters too. Families are the best. And your Mother is beautiful and looks very graceful. Very sweet pictures. I think it's a great idea to write our list of what we are thankful for several times a year. Because we all have long lists when all is said and done.

    And Godson is in high school? Oh my where does time go. You are very talented with your quilts. I cannot think of a more wonderful and personal gift. I am sure your sister was very excited. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and got to spend it with those you love.

  25. I love the picture of your mother and her dog. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  26. P.S. I'm a HUGE fan of your quilts. They are always beautiful.

  27. Oh, Joanna, you always warm my heart - &, occasionally, bring a tear to my eye. I'm home from India...glad I am here for the holidays. I am actually home till after my first grandchild arrives the end of April, then I hope to return to India. Thanksgiving was wonderful...all three of my sons were with me. My middle one ( the papa-to- be ) grilled a turkey & though poor Laura ( a paramedic ) had a 12 hour
    shift ), we fared quite well. We joined her for meal two when she came in at 11PM. I'd better be careful or I'll gain those 35 pounds back that I've lost over my nine months in India!

  28. still stuck on the quilt!!! gorgeous, as are you my dear friend. you are so very beautiful. xoxox

  29. I really enjoy reading your list, there are a lot of things to be thankful for everyday like waking up and seeing the sun shines.

  30. This was such a wonderful post, you are truly blessed to have so many special people in your life.;) And I am with you on the chocolate and cool whip. And definitely the husband.;)
    Happy belated Thanksgiving to you as well.;)

  31. You know, I thought of you and sent you a blessing on Thanksgiving Day. I hope you could feel it.
    EC Snarky Sister!

  32. What a lovely post. I, too love Thanksgiving. Memories of getting together with family and eating yummy meals. Can't beat that. I was especially blessed this Thanksgiving to spend it with my aunt, cousin and my cousin's two girls. I had to unexpectedly fly home because my dad broke his hip. I was so grateful for their generosity and a chance to once again experience Thanksgiving surrounded by extended family.

  33. Thank you, love. Late getting here because I take the Thanksgiving week off, mostly. Wonderful list of things to be thankful for. You are blessed, for sure!

  34. I love all the Christmas decorations, but hate the pressure to shop. I do not like Black Friday at all.

    I love the list. Hooray for flannel pajamas and warm fuzzy socks!

  35. i'm eternally behind, but it's because they don't have thanksgiving in denmark - not realizing it's the best holiday of them all...but i like your list and i love that quilt!! happy thanksgiving (even if i am a little late). :-)


  36. I LOVE seeing these photos ... thanks for sharing these memories with us!

  37. I am vowing to be more thankful next year. I am ashamed to admit I hated every time someone on facebook posted what they were thankful for this year. Its been the hardest year of my life and not until God sent me a sign was I able to get over it. I am thankful its now the Christmas season. The hope of Christmas always lifts my spirits.


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