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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Random Thoughts On the End of November


So, November is over.  Another Thanksgiving week has come and gone.  Ours was different from any we’ve had before, but I suppose one could say that about many others we’ve had as well. :-)  This one…well, I’m glad it’s past in many respects!

The last week and a half of November certainly had some big challenges for me.  Things I’d been forewarned about that I knew wouldn’t be “nice” along with some surprises that were far from pleasant.  One surprise is a new health issue that I was hoping was a fluke, but apparently it isn’t.  (What is it about being in your 40s – all of the time new things popping up and not wanting to settle back down?)  There were also some trials that I’m not free to discuss, but that were emotionally draining nonetheless.  (At least they didn’t affect our household directly!)  Also, the evening before Thanksgiving the daughter/sister of some friends had a serious health problem which added a real burden to the holiday.  (Thank God she is doing well, all things considered, and is home from the hospital now!  She could have died!)

But, as my dad says, the Lord always balances our experience.  There were some sweet blessings from my Savior just when I needed them most to help me over the hurdles or pick me up on the other side!  I had some sweet emails and messages that were an encouragement.  We enjoyed the Lord’s supper with our church family the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We had visits with family and friends that were a blessing and a help.  There were times for self-examination that, although not pleasant, were useful and hopefully productive.  We had some interesting and busy times as well.  Some things got done.  Some friends joined us for Thanksgiving dinner and we had some food adventures too.  I thought it might be fun to share some of these things with you.

First of all, all three of the working men on the property were off the whole week, which was nice for all the families.  Also, the weather was beautiful most of last week – mostly sunny and warm.  The fall colors were splendid here!  There are oak trees on our property that put on a gorgeous show some or most years.

[Colors may appear brighter than they actually were. :-) ]

One day my brother and sister-in-law loaded up the majority of the metal junk we had sitting around waiting to be sold as scrap and actually took it in.  My husband helped them load the truck and rented trailer they used.  This was a happy thing because it got rid of some real eye sores as well as giving them a little income they needed for housing expenses (unexpected repairs)!  There were 6 defunct appliances sitting behind our well house!  Yeah, you might say we’ve had some lousy experiences with appliances on this property over the last 6 years!  On average, one dud per year!  I won’t try to explain why they sat there as long as they did.  :-)  But, they’re gone!  That’s the main thing. :-)

I also had the pleasure of seeing my husband use my rotary cutter and cutting board for the first time!  (I keep trying to tell him that he would enjoy some aspects of quilting.) :-)

He was cutting little fabric loops to hang some string lights in our bed room.  These lights are not for Christmas, but for ambiance.  They’ll be used all year.  Of course, this is the time of year to buy them and he wanted LED for the lower watts, so we picked some up when we were in Costco one day.

This is how he used the tabs.  The fabric blends quite well with the trim.

For various reasons, not everyone we invited for Thanksgiving joined us, but our friends who recently moved here did as well as my parents.  We were a smallish group of seven.  (I blurred the picture for their privacy.)

They are also all three not supposed to eat gluten, so SURPRISE – we had our first gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner! :-)

Chicken baked with coconut flour, butter and spices.
(This is something I had done before.)

Potatoes baked with coconut oil and herbs.

Tabouli made with quinoa, gluten-free pasta salad and rolls, two kinds of hummus, and watermelon rind pickles (made by me).

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t take a picture of the desserts.  They were mostly store-bought.  There was one pie and cookies and an interesting dessert my mom made with brown rice flour.  (It didn’t turn out the way we expected, but it was good.)

The gluten-free foods that were styled after traditional ones varied in goodness.  I’d say the rolls, tabouli and cookies were the best.  Everything tasted good, but some things had a different texture.  The food also affected my system a little differently than the usual gluten foods do.

Thanksgiving weekend is also my husband’s annual baking holiday.  He loves to bake bread, but he doesn’t do it much because of the time commitment that it requires.  So, he sets this time aside to try to bake at least one bread of some sort.  (Some years he does two!)

This year he made cinnamon rolls!  Yes!  He made them the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day and part of our local family joined us to eat them warm from the oven.  We had more the next morning when some of us ate breakfast/brunch together.

Maybe it’s been too long since I had cinnamon rolls, but even with all respect to my mom, I think these were the best I ever ate!  They were SO good. 

If you have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, he used the recipe in the cookbook that came with it.  He made some slight changes, the most significant being that he used half white whole wheat and half all-purpose flour (plain white).  He also used a different glaze recipe since we didn’t have the ingredients the cookbook called for.  He found one online that was made with butter, powdered sugar, water and a generous amount of vanilla.  It turned out great.  (But, they were more sugary than what we usually eat!)

Even with the extra work of having company (I did start early and pace myself) and all the extra things going on last week, my husband and I were still able to make it to church Sunday night.  (We usually go for the evening service since we drive quite a distance.)  I am very thankful for that since usually I wouldn’t have expected to be up to going!  Then the Lord brought these verses to my specific attention during the preaching of the word - 2 Corinthians 7:5-6  For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us

Praise the Lord for His kindness and for the many blessings! 


  1. Your Thanksgiving meal looked lovely and I am sure was enjoyed by all. A clean up in the yard and house always feels so good, seeing the building up of "stuff" going and leaving a clean space is quite liberating!! Issues, either health or otherwise often strike when we least expect but the Lord is always there ready to give us the strength that we need and the encouragement to get through these problems, He knows us by name and wants to carry our problems for us, just sometimes we are a little stubborn!! May December be a joyful month for you :)

    1. Jo, I'm sorry I forgot to answer this comment you left.
      Thank you for your encouraging words. We did enjoy our Thanksgiving meal. It was a good day overall.
      Thankfully, the health issues have improved some this month so far. The other issues may actually be even harder to resolve over the long run, but God is gracious. I pray He grants my husband and I wisdom to show the love of Christ to those who need to see it.
      So far this month has had some big challenges too. My brother lost his job, a friend of a friend was murdered and one of our donkeys died under mysterious circumstances (possibly a snake bite). I can't dwell on it or it's all overwhelming! Again, there have been blessings too.