As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving ~ 2017

Even though everyone else in Blogland and in the stores (and, truthfully, even at my house) has moved on to Christmas, here in this space I am going to linger at Thanksgiving just a bit longer to record the blessings of the day. 

Kati had some extra days off during Thanksgiving week. I am thankful that we girls were able to enjoy planning, decorating, cooking, and preparing for Thanksgiving Day together. 

This year we used brown transferware and green accents, inspired by one of Jenny Steffens Hobick's tables. We found some muted gold ribbon to tie the napkins and tucked in a sprig of rosemary from the herb garden. 

Then we gathered up pumpkins and gourds from inside and outside to decorate the tables. This one is my favorite stem of the year! Kati bought it to decorate her room (chosen for that stem, of course), but she donated it to the cause on Thanksgiving Eve. 

We always sing a hymn before we pray and feast. We have sung "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come," "We Gather Together," and "For the Beauty of the Earth." 

This year Kristin suggested a new one (new to me, at least): "My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness" by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. What a song! It is my new favorite Thanksgiving hymn because it speaks thanks for our spiritual blessings. (Hear Keith Getty talk about this song ~here~.)  

I am thankful for all of our precious family who gathered to celebrate! I am thankful for the happy noise of young children. I am thankful for teenagers who are more "present" with the adults now. I am thankful for my adult children and for their spouses and that we are friends. I am thankful for my husband and for the life that we have together. I am thankful that my parents are still with me and that they enjoy hanging out with all of us. I am thankful for the servers and for the cleaner-uppers at our Thanksgiving dinner.

Instead of "Wrapping Paper Antics," we had "Table Setting Antics"! You might guess the initiator of this game by the number of times he appears in this collage. 😁 But he was quickly joined in his creativity. (A few more participated, but I didn't get a good photo.)

The grand finale of our feast! 

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; 
let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God 
and the great King above all gods. 
Psalm 95: 2, 3

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Reflections {And Tables}

"In November, people are good to each other. They carry pies to each other's homes and talk by crackling woodstoves, sipping mellow cider. They travel very far on a special November day just to share a meal with one another and to give thanks for their many blessings - for the food on their tables and the babies in their arms."  ~ from In November, by Cynthia Rylant

2016, our first Thanksgiving at Pineapple House

I am in love with November.

It seems we were just saying Hello November, and now Thanksgiving is nearly here and the month is ebbing away and another autumn is coming to a close. Such is life. The older I get, the more I realize that there really aren't that many autumns. 

Just the other day, I was that little school girl who was thrilled to be wearing a brown dress with a white collar and (this was the thrilling part) brown knee socks. Up until then, I had worn my short white socks but now it was officially fall because Mom let me wear my knee socks. I was coloring pictures of the Mayflower and learning about the Pilgrims and Indians.

And it was just the other day that I was the little girl at her grandmother's table, enjoying the Thanksgiving feast with lots of giblet gravy and wondering what a giblet was. And then there was the year that our family went to the big city to have Thanksgiving dinner with cousins who had no children and they treated Linda and me like very special guests.

Just the other day, I was the young mama of littles who came home for Thanksgiving dinner. A few days later, the family grew and Thanksgiving moved to The Farmhouse. And now, Pineapple House is the home for gathering and singing and turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

2016, one long table at Pineapple House

Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year, this day set aside for counting our blessings and giving thanks and gathering with my family and feasting! Indeed, we have so much to be thankful for!

All year long I think about Thanksgiving and who will come and how we can make the tables beautiful and festive. Yes, I am that person. I will not judge you if you are a paper plate and Solo cup kind of person because truly the giving of thanks is what the holiday is all about. However, I love to celebrate with a pretty table! Yesterday, Bekah and I went in a gazillion stores looking for ribbon and candles in just the right color for the tables we are seeing in our minds' eyes. (We do not mind doing this. It is the thrill of the hunt.) And we already have plans for next year's tables!

2016, the Grandmother dishes


2009, iced gingerbread place cards, made by Kati




2011, children's table



2015, children's table



A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours! May you day be filled with grateful praise to the Giver of all good things!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Time is Love

Time is love. 

My friend Barbara said this to me recently after we shared an evening at a craft workshop: "I am thankful for you, Cheryl! Making great memories together is such a blessing! Time is love and that is what we did last night." 

And this is the phrase that keeps playing over in my head and heart. 

Time is love. 

It is a profound thought. Giving someone our time, often one of our most valuable commodities, is truly an act of love. We demonstrate who and what we love by the way that we spend our time. 

Taking time to listen is love. 
Spending an afternoon with a friend is love. 
Performing mundane tasks to meet your family's needs is love. 
Taking time to have a bedtime chat with a child is love. 
Putting down your computer to scratch your husband's back is love.  
Setting aside time and effort to invite someone into your home is love. 

Barbara's words have made me think about how I am spending my time. 

Do the people who I love know how much I love them by the way that I give them the gift of time?

Even more importantly, does my time reflect a lavish love for my Lord? 

A few of the things to which I have given my time this week . . . 

The November meeting of our homeschool book club. 
This month the girls all read diary- or journal-style books. 

A delicious Thanksgiving lunch at Barbara's house. 
I forgot to take any pictures of the butternut squash-apple soup and turkey paninis with cranberry-apple chutney (yes, you should be jealous!), but I did remember to photograph this scrumptious pumpkin cake!

While Bekah taught piano lessons to his sisters, Paul cleared some space on a book shelf in the library and "read" to the cats! 

Have you expressed love recently by giving time? Have you received a gift of time? 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Pumpkin Recipe Roundup

Pumpkin: the quintessential autumn flavor! At least, it seems to be a favorite here at Thinking About Home based on the number of pumpkin recipes I have shared over the years. 

If pumpkin is your cup of tea too. . . and in case you have not made all the things yet this fall . . . I'm providing you with a little pumpkin inspiration here today. 

Perfect with your afternoon tea (or a cup of coffee if you're me).

A show stopper of a dessert with a pumpkin filling!

For slathering on toast or biscuits. Easy peasy recipe!

Really easy, creamy dessert. You can whip this up in a flash!

The photo does not do it justice. My favorite pumpkin bread. I like it with chocolate chips. (Of course I do.)

Breakfast comfort food. 

When you want something tiny and cute. And yummy.

Autumn is not complete until we have pumpkin waffles for supper!

The second time I made this, I used the adaptations in my notes at the bottom of the recipe. I liked it lots better!

I couldn't leave this one out. It is actually Kati's recipe (and her photo), but it is a regular here at our house. Soooo good!

Happy pumpkining, everyone!!

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