Coming Home – A Harvest Party Guest Post

It’s hard to believe that next week will be the last of my Harvest Party post series, and I can think of no better way to wrap up this particular gathering of inspiration than with an inspiring guest post from Joan Hall. As she recounts her special Thanksgiving memories, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own and I’m sure you will be as well. Enjoy!

Coming Home

I love the Thanksgiving Holiday—decorations of cornucopias, pumpkins, acorns, and autumn leaves. I enjoy having family for dinner and family traditions. It is a time for special memories of past years. It’s a time of “coming home.”

One of my earliest memories of Thanksgiving was 1962. It was the first year in our new home. As a four-year-old child, I recall being excited because Christmas was just around the corner. Mom always said she wished she had time to sit and watch the Macy’s parade, but never found the time. She spent hours in the kitchen, roasting the turkey, making dressing, green beans, and pecan and pumpkin pies.

Another special time was in 1978. The day was warm and my father and brother spent some of the time building my brother’s new cabin. I helped mom with the meal and we took numerous walks to my brother’s house. Around this time a new item was added to our traditional menu—Watergate Salad. Later that evening, I flew to Los Angeles to visit friends. My Dad passed away a few months later, so I cherish the memories of this day.

In 1984, I was newly married. Uncertain about dividing time between families, I’m thankful my mother-in-law was gracious enough to serve their meal on Wednesday evening. This allowed John and me to spend all day Thursday at Mom’s house. By this time, we expected my brother to bake homemade bread each Thanksgiving. We also introduced John to what had been a long-standing Thanksgiving custom—walking to the top of the hill on our property.

The Hill in Autumn - courtesy Joan Hall

The Hill in Autumn – courtesy Joan Hall

In 1988, my brother, his wife, and two daughters moved away, but they were able to come home for Thanksgiving. We all had a special day together and everyone except Mom climbed the hill. Ironically, I asked Mom if I could help make the dressing, because I didn’t know how. I didn’t know this would be her last Thanksgiving.

The year 1993 was also special. We celebrated John’s release from the hospital for cancer treatments. My brother and his daughters visited. The weather was icy and cold—no climbing the hill that day. While John and my brother watched football games, my nieces and I gathered in the bedroom to watch movies. With Mom gone, it was up to me to cook the meal.

Times change. We don’t walk the hill very often these days. My nieces, now grown, have children of their own. My oldest niece, Jessica, lives nearby. She and her family always come for dinner and she insists on my making the Watergate Salad.

I still cook the majority of the meal, but I’ve never been able to make dressing like my Mom. I improvise with an easier way. I don’t spend hours roasting a turkey—we order a smoked one. Yet our meal would not be complete without my brother’s homemade bread and the Watergate Salad. As Jessica says, it’s like “coming home.”  

Watergate Salad

1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 pkg. pistachio instant pudding
1 cup miniature marshmallows

½ cup chopped pecans

1 8 oz. carton Cool Whip


Combine pineapple, pudding, marshmallows, and pecans. Stir in Cool Whip. Refrigerate a minimum of one hour.

Do you have special memories of Thanksgiving? Does your family have special traditions? Please share in the comments.

From her earliest recollection, Joan Hall has always enjoyed listening to a good story. Now she enjoys sharing stories about life and faith. Her desire is that her writing will cause people to reflect upon living a simple life, strong family bonds, and most important, faith in Christ. Connect with Joan on her blog at, on Facebook—, or on Twitter—@joanhallwrites.

Linking up with Desire to Inspire

Feasting on Thanks at The Harvest Party

It’s Harvest Party Wednesday and I’ve been thinking…

Isn’t it interesting that a month centered on giving thanks coincides with the month that ushers in growing reports of depression in people?

If you’re there, go here to and read more about how writing down things you’re grateful for can help.

Because, when you really think about it, we all have some reason to be thankful. Sometimes, we just need a reminder.

So here’s another creative way to count blessings…Read about the 5 kernels of corn idea at

Or how about baking thanks right into the thanksgiving meal with these Gratitude Rolls from

Let’s learn to be grateful so that we can teach the next generation how to be. Here are 10 ways from

“All that we behold is full of blessings.”
William Wordsworth

May your November find you feasting on thanks from God’s harvest of blessings.

P.S. I’d love to hear from you! Connect with me in the comments or stay in touch by signing up for blog updates. If you do that now, you’ll also get on the list to receive my quarterly newsletter and be automatically entered into the drawing for my giveaway which ends on Nov. 19th.

I Want to Fall Back

Today’s Harvest Party has a bit of a nostalgic theme (with the help of Pinterest).

Since Daylight Savings Time is on the calendar this weekend, I couldn’t help but think about how I need to remember to set the clock to “fall back” an hour.

But lately, my heart feels like going back further…


I want to fall back;
fall back to simpler days
when kids could just be kids
and time moved slow

I want to fall back;
fall back to autumns past
when candy was a friend
and not a foe.

I want to fall back;
fall back through all the years
and stoke the fire of dreams
yet unfulfilled.

I want to fall back;
and look into God’s face
and thank Him for the grace
that holds me still.

Sometimes I long for the old-fashioned simplicity of life. How about you? What makes you want to fall back?

I’m linking with Thursday Favorite Things


Finding Happy at the Harvest Party

It’s Harvest Party Wednesday and I’m borrowing a phrase from Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame to declare that the theme for today is “Happy, Happy, Happy!”

Because I’ve been reminded in recent days that when the heart falls sick with sadness a smile can work wonders, and laughter really is the best medicine.

So here are a few things that lightened my heart and/or got my giggle going this week.

1. Dog Vader – That’s my nickname for this cute little guy. He might not look very happy but I bet he’s smiling on the inside thinking about all the candy he’s going to get. 🙂

Dog VaderIf you haven’t seen him or the rest of the family, here’s a link to the commercial that cracks me up whenever I see it. Don’t you just love a dog in a Darth Vader costume?

2.  Wise Words – I really enjoyed reading this great post by Gary Morland. I think you will too. Click here to read Humor Wins.

3. Happy Songs – Music is a great mood lifter. Here are a few tunes for your listening pleasure. When You’re Smiling – This is the Doris Day version. And here’s a very fun rendition of Put On A Happy Face by Dick Van Dyke from the musical Bye Bye Birdie.

And for 4 minutes of happy, watch the following Gene Kelly classic, Singin’ In The Rain!

He who heeds the word wisely will find good,
And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.
Proverbs 16:20

Linking up with the Grace at Home Party

What is one thing that made you happy this week? What about a song to add to this list? Please share it in the comments.

By the way, don’t forget to subscribe to enter my giveaway which ends on Nov. 19th.

Gathering Friends on Harvest Party Wednesday

I’m excited to be guest posting today over at Joan Hall Writes! Click here to read A Prophet, A Pit and A Lesson In Friendship.

It’s appropriate, I think, talking about being a friend on Harvest Party Wednesday. Because that’s what I was hoping for, really. That this would become a place to gather inspiration for the heart and home, to encourage one another and forge some friendships along the way.

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: Life is about relationships.

We need each other.

I want to thank Joan for being so gracious in allowing me to share some thoughts at her blog. I hope you’ll hop over there and leave a comment to let me know you stopped by.

And I wouldn’t hate it if you decided to come back here and share a note, even a link to your own inspiring blog post. 🙂

You never know who might need a lift today.