Gratitude, I think many of us if asked would say of course I am grateful for what I have but that statement doesn’t always play out in how we live our every day lives. Right?
Yesterday, my husband and I went for a walk. It was a beautiful fall day in the city of Nashville. Crisp fall air, bright blue sky, and golden leaves shimmering in the sunshine. We walked past the historic First Baptist Church which was built in the late 1800’s. It sits right at the edge of Broadway, right before you get to the main part of the street filled with Honky Tonks and dreams of the young and old singers and songwriters trying to make those dreams come true.
I thought about all the people who have passed through these historic doors over the many years and all the stories of God’s faithfulness. This church still has an active community and I was feeling grateful or at least I thought I was – until…
A homeless man was walking toward us with a rose in his hand. A rose he had obviously picked off of a nearby bush that was still blooming. He went to hand it to me and I said, “oh no, thank you.” He looked me in the eye and said,” I don’t want any money, I just want you to have a blessed day and enjoy this rose.” So I took the rose from his hand and he smiled so big. I thanked him and told him how sweet it was for him to offer me this flower and I hoped he had a blessed day too.
I put the rose in water when we got home and it has opened and is blooming. It has been a beautiful reminder to me to open my eyes to the blessings right in front of me. Isn’t that what gratitude is? Often times it is right there, we just need to open our eyes, see it and be thankful. I almost missed an opportunity to join in another person’s gratitude because it felt awkward. I didn’t have any money with me to give this man, yet he wasn’t wanting anything in return, he truly just wanted to put a smile on someone else’s face. A gift, without any strings attached. A reminder to me of God’s gift of grace and sacrifice.
As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I hope you will be inspired by this story, share freely your gratitude with others and invite them in to sharing their gratefulness too.
I am praying we all will recognize the beauty of life that is right before us and celebrate that in gratitude.
Simple recipes are the best. My Grandma Swenson lived in Minnesota and my family would travel each summer to visit her along with the rest of my Dad’s family who lived simply on farms and in small towns. I remember the wonderful home cooked meals served by my grandma and aunties. They also made the best desserts and treats. I have an old church recipe book that my grandma gave me when I graduated from high school. I love to look through this treasure of small town Minnesota and I always bring it out this time of year when I make snacks for Halloween night. The caramel corn is so yummy. It stores well, but we usually never have any left to store. The Goblin punch was fun to make when my kids were little and was a favorite at the elementary school parties each year. And of course, who doesn’t love a warm apple crisp on a chilly fall evening. Enjoy!
Old Fashioned Caramel Corn
6 cups popped popcorn
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda; mix well. Pour over popcorn and stir until well-coated. Pour into two greased 13×9-in. baking pans.
Bake, uncovered, at 250° for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Store in airtight containers.
1 quart chilled orange juice
1 quart orange sherbert
2 quarts chilled ginger ale
8 medium apples, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. flour
1 c. oats
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. butter
Grease 9×13 pan. Layer apples in the bottom of the pan. Mix remaining ingredients well and sprinkle over apples. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes until apples are tender and the topping is golden brown.
I like to serve this warm over french vanilla ice cream.
Every season has its special beauty and autumn is no exception. Watching the trees turn from a uniform green to all the varieties of gold, yellow, orange and red is always breathtaking. In Colorado the changing of the Aspen trees draws visitors from all around the world. With all this beauty there is a certain sadness in knowing that the changing colors foreshadow the arrival of a long cold winter.
Until then I will enjoy all that fall has to offer. My favorite fall recipe is a Pumpkin Cake that my friend Mary shared with me years ago. I’d like to share it with you.
The aroma of pumpkin and cinnamon baking in your oven is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Enjoy!
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 C. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 C. flour
1 15 oz. can of Libby’s pumpkin
Beat eggs with a mixer, add sugar and oil. Stir together flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add this dry spice mixture to the pumpkin then mix all ingredients together.
Bake in a well greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 45- 50 minutes.