Thanksgiving is just a little over a week away. It’s a time when we look back over the past year and celebrate what we’re grateful for. One thing I’m most grateful for is my family. It’s changed over the years with the grandkids getting married and having kids. Now some of the great grandkids are married too.

We gather at someone’s home and have our annual feast. Turkey (of course), stuffing, cranberry sauce, both canned and homemade (there an on-going debate in my family as to which is the “real” kind), mashed potatoes, an appetizer, rolls, fruit salad, deviled eggs, and several pies. 2016 Thanksgiving

Festivities typically start around noon that day, with people arriving from all over. It’s a long way, but always worth it, as we only get to see the whole family once a year. The time becomes more and more significant as we get older too.

After a large meal, everyone goes for a walk even though it’s getting dark. The cool air helps counter the effects of the Tryptophan in the turkey. At least that’s what they say.

Charades is a family tradition after our evening walk each year. We form two teams (guys vs. girls) and each team comes up with movies, books, songs, and TV shows for someone on the other team to act out without saying anything or making any noises. Everyone has up to three minutes for their team to come up with the right answer. There’s always lots of laughter, teasing, and good-natured competitiveness. In recent years, we’ve added more games such as Fish Bowl and a Factoid Game. Whatever the details, it’s guaranteed to be fun.

So, how about you? What does Thanksgiving mean to you? How do you celebrate the holiday? Share it here.


Dinner Out Every Week

I’d finally gotten out of the hospital after four months. I’d come home but was very limited in what I could do.  Walking with a walker and quite slowly at that, it was discouraging, even as I improved each week.  I was cooped up in the house, other than doctors’ appointments and physical and occupational therapy, since I couldn’t drive.

One of my friends recognized my plight and asked if she could take me out for dinner one night. “Sure!”  I said.  I’d get out of the house and spend time with a friend.   Toots MotisherWhat a great opportunity.  But then I had second thoughts.  How would I get around with the walker?  I was very slow with it. How could I get into her truck?  What if I didn’t have enough energy?

I talked to Toots about all of it and she assured me it’d be okay. That we would just go at my pace, and that she wasn’t in a hurry. As for the truck, she reminded me she could help me in. She said she could even lift me if I needed it and she didn’t mind at all. I had to admit that she was certainly strong enough.

So I agreed and we went out. Sure enough, Toots helped me in and out of the truck and we had a good time talking and just spending time together.  Then, to make it even better and more memorable she and I went out every week.  Toots doesn’t live near me, but was dedicated to ministering to me, even though I didn’t know I needed it.

It’s been over a decade now and I still remember how much it meant to me. Even the simple things can make a difference.. What have you done that’s made a difference in someone’s life? Or, perhaps someone’s made a difference in yours.   Share it here.

Personal Care at a Pharmacy

By Ellen Andersen

I buy my medicine from an independently owned pharmacy called Mauldin Family Pharmacy, about 3 miles from my home. I’ve been going there for over five years now and know all the employees by name. They know me too.  When I walk in, they greet me specially, saying, “Hi Ellen. How are you doing today?”  When I’ve called ahead of time, they have my prescription and any over-the-counter meds I often buy there, set aside in a bag for me, often already rung up.

Last month I went to pick up some medication. When I arrived, they brought it out and when I went to pay, I discovered I didn’t have my credit card. But I was completely out and needed it that night.  I HAD to have it.  I talked to Deb about it and Tony, the pharmacist, overheard the conversation. He came to the front and said,

“Go ahead Ellen. We can give you what you need for the next couple days. I trust you.”

“Thanks Tony!” I said. I took the medicine and headed home.  I went back the next day to pay and pick up the rest of the prescription.

I’m sure that never would’ve happened at a chain pharmacy or anywhere in a big city, but because this is a small, family-owned place where I’ve been a customer for years, they were willing to trust me. It made a difference, giving me peace of mind as well as the medicine I needed.

What has someone done for you that was out of the ordinary or that you didn’t expect? Encourage someone by sharing it with us here.


Souvenirs from an Unforgettable Trip

I just got back from a 3-week trip up the eastern seaboard and into Quebec. It was a wonderful time and we saw so much it would take much more than a blog post to go through it all. But I’ll share one experience here.

As we made our way back home from Canada, we stayed in Madawaska, Maine with some friends who have a cabin there. As we toured the town and its surroundings, they shared many details about the area, including the geography, topography, and personal history.

Paul and Bonnie live about 50 yards off the shore of Madawaska Lake. Madawaska Lake in Paul & Bonnie's backyard in MaineWe stayed at their home three days and three nights and got to meet and enjoy their friends. One evening, their some of their long-time friends and extended family sat around the campfire with us, sharing stories and generally enjoying each others’ company. They were so friendly I felt like we’d known each other a long time.


The second night we were there, John brought me forget-me-nots from their garden for no particular reason. Forget-me-nots from John (Paul Todds cousin) in Maine I’d only met him 24 hours prior, but he wanted to give me something. I have no idea why, but it was a nice gesture.  I pressed them in a journal and will have them for years to come.


It didn’t cost John a penny, and it didn’t take any time, but his gift of those flowers is something special. A small act of kindness, for no reason, that I’ll remember for a long time.

Fathers’ Day

This coming Sunday is Fathers’ Day, and is a time to focus on, honor, and thank our dads for what they mean to us. My dad lives about 6 miles away and I’m privileged to see him each week for dinner. Dad at Amicalola Falls 2016 Great shot

When he gets home from work, he greets my mom, our dog, and me with a hug and a kiss and asks about our respective days. He listens, then shares how his went, often including the Bible study he’s attended that morning.

I appreciate that he shares things with me. I know not everyone is that fortunate. At the end of the evening, after we’ve had dinner and have played a game or two, Dad walks me out to my car to say good-bye.  Even if it’s not dark, he still escorts me out, helps me into my car, and tells me to drive home safely.  He does it because he cares.

There are times when Dad does “behind the scenes” work, particularly when it comes to planning a trip. For example, he, my mom, and I are going up the eastern seaboard to several places including Washington D.C. New York City, Pennsylvania, Maine, Niagara Falls, and Quebec.Niagara Falls Dad’s good at planning ahead, so he’s already made a lot of the reservations as to where we’ll stay along the way. He’s good at being in charge of things and taking care  of details, and it’s nice to depend on him for that. I’m looking forward to the trip.

What does Fathers’ Day mean to you? What memories or traditions do you have for Fathers’ Day?

Support Whenever We Need It.

Yesterday was Mothers’ Day, which I always enjoy. Every year it gives me a special reason to let my mom know how much she means to me. We’ve always been close and even to this day I consider her to be one of my most trustworthy friends.

 Mom at Amicolola Falls


I can share anything with her, knowing she truly cares and will listen and encourage me when I need it most. So today, Mom, I thank you publicly for your love and continuous support in everything.

I think most of us have someone (whether it’s our mom or someone else) we appreciate who’s been there for us in good and bad times. How do you show them how much they mean to you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Let’s keep the conversation going.


Breakfast in Bed

By Ellen Andersen

Today’s post features a friend of mine, Sharon O’Neal,  whom I’ve known for years.

Sharon picShe and I are both involved in Stephen Ministry at our church, where we reach out to help and encourage others who are hurting.  We’ve been recipients of others’ kindness as well.  Here’s a story Sharon recently related to me.

Sharon: I was laid low with the flu and wasn’t able to get up to prepare breakfast for my husband. He told me not to worry he could get his own breakfast. I figured it would probably just be a bowl of dry cereal since he wasn’t very adept at finding his way around the kitchen. But a short time later, he appeared in the bedroom caring a tray with a bowl of hot oatmeal on it for me.oatmeal pic--Small Acts of Kindness

Ellen: Sounds very sweet.

Sharon: I was surprised to see what he had gone and done and so pleased at his efforts, until I began to eat the cereal.

Ellen: Oh?

Sharon: Yes, well, he had put chocolate chips in the bottom of the bowl which is how he liked his hot cereal. I, on the other hand, can’t tolerate chocolate first thing in the morning. But the smile on his face and the expression of his love meant a whole lot.

Ellen: I’m sure it did. Little things can make a big difference, especially when we’re not feeling well.

Have you had an experience like Sharon’s, where someone went out of their way to do something kind and unexpected? Share it here.



Family and Friends Provided Help

Several of my neighbors and I had planned to go out for lunch to celebrate a friend’s birthday,  but I needed to take care of my dog first. I saw Mary Carol headed toward her car and I asked if she was joining us. She said yes and offered me a ride. I agreed, but said I had to take Petey out first. I walked him down the street and onto the island.

Something must have caught Petey’s attention, because he suddenly jumped off the island, taking me by surprise. Because I had his leash in one hand, I couldn’t break my fall. I hit the pavement, face first. Blood streamed from my nose, forehead, and upper lip. I cried out but no one heard me. Meanwhile, I was holding onto Petey to keep him from running into the street. I struggled to get up, then gingerly made my way back to the house, holding Petey’s leash in one hand while I used the other to try to minimize the blood flowing down my face. I stopped near Mary Carol’s house where she sat in her car. She gasped, then helped me walk home, clean up, and get some pain medicine. She called my mom when I agreed that I needed to see the doctor.

Mom drove me to the urgent care urgent-care-sign-600x295[1]and my next door neighbor, Mark, who’s an x-ray tech there, checked me in. As he was finishing up my paperwork, Mark called the nurse and told her not to take their next patient back yet. He took me to a private room, away from everyone else.

He came back twice, asking if I needed anything and suggested I try a retractable leash for Petey. A little later, he came to tell me he was headed home.

Mary Carol didn’t have to take me home and help me. Mom didn’t have to interrupt her day and take me to the urgent care. And Mark certainly didn’t have to go out of his way at work to put me in a room where I could wait by myself. But they did. It made an upsetting and scary situation a little less so. Sometimes the little things mean a lot. They did to me that day.