Thanksgiving Bumps and Bruises

I saw one of those sweet Publix Thanksgiving commercials the other day, and the family-shaped place in my heart ached. Watching their warm, endearing expressions toward each other, I wondered if everything was really this perfect in their world.

Or were some family members missing from the table?

Were any estranged from each other?

Had some gone to Heaven?

Did they have any problems?

Or were they a little more like our family?

With a few bumps and scrapes and bruises.

(If you can’t see the video of the commercial below, click here. It’s only a minute long.)

Watching this TV family, I longed for health and healing–in every way–for all of us in my family.

No barriers.

No illnesses.

Peace and joy.

I guess I wanted the impossible.

Heaven on Earth. 

The next morning I sat in my bedroom talking to God about life, and Clyde laid down beside me as always.

I spotted a handmade bookmark on my bedside table from a Daily Guideposts reader. I’d probably skimmed it a dozen times and had never noticed how the words were spaced on separate lines.

This time I read each phrase slowly.

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am.

Be still and know.

Be still.


Just be still like Clyde. Still and trusting. At peace.

One day, all the bumps and scrapes and bruises in our families will be healed.


Be still.

Be still and know.

“Be still and know that He is God,” Psalms 46:10.

I’ll be giving thanks tomorrow and praying for you and yours.




Three Secrets to Having a Brunswick Stew Kind of Day

It takes nearly a lifetime to learn certain things. For instance, everything I say isn’t pure gold.

Last Saturday, my husband and I were having our morning PORCH PARTY. The Georgia humidity had miraculously lifted during the night. As I wrapped my red fleece blanket around me, he said, “I think it’s a Brunswick stew kind of day.”

Brunswick Stew Days are new to our nearly 35-year-old marriage.

(I blogged about making stew last year here, TRUE LOVE AND BRUNSWICK STEW, but there’s a new recipe and a life lesson below.)

Later that morning at the grocery store, Rick grabbed a package of kielbasa sausage. Standing in the meat department, I thought…

You don’t put sausage in Brunswick stew. Should I remind him?

Or keep my mouth shut.

I nearly chewed my lips off, but I didn’t say anything.

Way too many times, I’ve offered helpful hints.

Because I wanted to be right. To prove a point.

Being quiet is new for me.

Back home in the kitchen, I stopped chopping onions to watch him cut up the sausage.

I smiled. He was so happy.


 We grilled the pork chops and chicken.

Browned the ground beef, onions, and celery…

Our son Thomas and I waited…anticipated…:)

Even Clyde knew it was a special day.

The stew was amaaaaaaazing.

He was right about the kielbasa sausage. 🙂

Sometimes the simplest things take forever to learn.

Three secrets to having a Brunswick Stew Kind of Day:

1. Be flexible. Forget the recipe.

2. Slow down and smile.

3. Some things (most things?) aren’t worth arguing over.

Live in harmony with one another.” Romans 12:6

Do you have secrets for having a Brunswick Stew Kind of Day? Please share them!

Recipe for gluten-free Brunswick Stew–you can play with this–hard to mess it up

The recipe called for one 3-pound fryer chicken. We used 4 boneless chicken breasts.

1 package kielbasa sausage, which wasn’t in the recipe (We used JOHNSONVILLE, it’s GF.)

4 cooked pork chops (We grilled them with the chicken breasts.)

1 pound ground beef

Chopped onion (about 2 cups)

Chopped celery (about 2 cups)

2 cans 15-0z chopped tomatoes (We used frozen tomatoes from our garden–see how flexible this recipe is!)

1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (We used SWEET BABY RAYS, it’s GF)

1 (give or take) teaspoon pepper

salt to taste

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (If making it GF, use LEA AND PERRINS)

4 cups GF chicken broth

About 1/2 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon (or more) of hot sauce (We used TEXAS PETE)

4 ears fresh corn, cut off cob (You can use canned)

* * *

Brown ground beef with onions and celery. Drain.

Bring chicken broth to a boil.

Add everything together, including the already grilled pork chops and grilled chicken. The sausage, we didn’t grill–just added the chopped pieces to the pot.

Let it simmer all day.

If you used canned corn, wait until the last hour of cooking to add it.

Add more liquids if you want it soupier. Measurements don’t have to be exact.