Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Memories

 

“Over the River and Through the Woods” is a well-known Thanksgiving song written by Lydia Maria Child. It was originally written as a poem, entitled “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day and celebrated childhood memories of Lydia Maria visiting her grandparent’s house. Although it is sometimes substituted as a song for Christmas, our family never failed to sing this song in our unmelodic voices on our way to Thanksgiving Dinner at Nana and Grandpa’s house. Usually driving over a bridge precipitates it and we break into song. It is a tradition that spills over into the grandkids. It goes:

“Over the river, and through the wood, To Grandmother’s house we go; The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow. Ohhh”

Over the river, and through the wood—Oh, how the wind does blow! It stings the toes and bites the nose , As over the ground we go.”

Thanksgiving, like Christmas, is a traditional family gathering either at our parents, if we still are fortunate enough to have them, or a sibling or whichever family member does the cooking that year. The holiday conjures up memories of other Thanksgivings and more often than not, there is a big stuffed turkey, with lots of vegetables and trimmings. If you are Italian, or any other nationality, there is sure to be favored ethnic dishes piled high. We try to make sure we have room for the pumpkin, apple and mince pies – what is Thanksgiving without the memories of feasts we’ve shared?

The day, of course, is in gratitude for all our blessings and family members. As we gather round, we are grateful for the gathering and maybe some new additions to the family. There may also be some empty chairs for many reasons that once were filled, and we are grateful for the memories we hold for these family members, too.

We probably all have similar sayings and customs for this “Thank You Day” or “Turkey Day”. I always say something which my mother always said when we sit down at 3:00 pm for dinner, “Do you realize how many people are doing this same thing right now?”…..and most likely my daughter will say it someday when I’m not around in memory and fun. She does so already.

Here are some of our happenings on this special holiday.

  • After our first blessing, I ask one of the children to say grace. Children love to be part of an adult gathering and they love to say grace. They are thankful for everything, so make sure all the plates are covered against getting cold. The rest of the children want to add their thanks, too, and you get a good idea of what makes these little people the happiest. Anyone who wants to add a prayer, is welcomed.
  • After dinner, we always go round the table and each person tells everyone what they are most thankful for this year. The kids enjoy this part the most. This is always special as some people always joke; some always get very serious; some get emotional; and some articulate beautiful thanks to someone there who especially went the extra mile to help them. This part of the meal – while digesting – and before dessert – is very family-oriented. No hand-held video games, iPods, or cell phones are brought to the table.
  • During dessert, we ask if anyone wants to do the ‘Christmas grab bag gift’ idea. We started this when the family and kids and grand kids started to number 30. Instead of buying small gifts for everybody, we have a grab bag. Everyone’s name goes in the hat and each person picks a name and buys a gift for that person and that person only. We put a price tag on it – one year it was $25.00 and that was a little too much for the teens and kids, so we settled on $15 or $10.

I wish you all a blessed and memorable Thanksgiving ~~~

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

Marie Coppola November 2013

 

If You Have No Expectations ~ There Will Be No Disappointments


As we look around and see results of the recession in some lives of family and friends, we can see how expectations for a good life can meet with disappointments. We can learn from what caused the recession.

“It’s a boom-bust world” says Kenneth Rogoff . When asked what caused the worst recession to grip the globe in decades, Professor Rogoff, a Harvard University economics and public policy professor, said history shows the pattern. Recessions follow booms.

Expectations for prosperity caused great disappointments. We can say these circumstances were beyond our control and yet, they cause disappointments. Big, major disappointments.

What if we add all those big ones to all those little disappointments we experience each day? If we depend on circumstances to gauge our happiness, we are in jeopardy because circumstances are constantly changing. And like the big ones, they are beyond our control. You might say you don’t do that. In a day’s time you may do it more than once. I use to.

I have felt like that when a great promotion was coming up that I just knew I was ready for; it was ‘my time’ in the department to move up, and I ‘sensed’ that I would get it — and I didn’t. I ‘expected’ the schools to close due to the bad weather, but it didn’t, and I had two teens bored from being indoors with ‘nothing to do’ while I had made my own plans for that day. I expected’ that I would get an “A” I worked hard for in my writing class, and instead, I got a “C.” No way! I expected my best article ever to be selected for a contest, and it didn’t. I set myself up for these disappointments because I ‘expected’ them.

When you place your expectations on people, you will usually be disappointed. A good friend whom you thought would never betray you, may have told another of a secret you told him. Or your child may turn off into another path you had not envisioned for them. Or an illness in the family changed the dynamics of plans you had made. You may be having a divorce which separates the family into a lifestyle you never thought or expected would happen to you. Crushed expectations; big disappointments. Life and people change; the unexpected happens. To us all.

I know that men and women can never fulfill all of each other’s needs. Only God can fill that place in my heart that needs that fulfillment. But I use to expect them to and in those expectations of them, when they don’t or cannot, I was disappointed. Disappointment is ‘the first seed of doubt’ and can lead to defeat or depression.

So how do we learn not to expect things from others, not to lean on others for our joy or happiness? Can we unlearn the emotion of expecting others to fulfill our needs and do the things we think they ought to do?

Yes, I believe we can. God made all of us in His image – not everyone else’s image. We are all separate beings. He did not make a commandment saying, “Thou shalt expect others to fulfill our needs and do what we want them to do.” Actually, the commandments are a compilation of honoring and doing good to others ;not expecting them to do good for us.

My answer to “Have no Expectations – Have no Disappointments”, is to experience gratitude and thanksgiving. By daily acknowledging gratitude for all the gifts and blessings I have in my life, I make them more important than the things I expect or want from others.

I had a tremendous expectation turn into disappointment with my teen-age son. It was a turbulent time and I loved him, but did not like him much. The disappointed expectation turned into a life role play where I was the mother of expectations and he was the child of disappointments. I had visions of what he should do with his life and he had much different views of what he wanted. So much so, that it affected our relationship and the whole family was affected.

I finally went to a trusted family counselor and gave him my story. He wanted my son to come in to hear his view. That being done, he then told me my son did not have to come back, but I did. What? Is there some mistake here, I am paying for this session and I’m the disappointer?

I did return and he explained that my son was perfectly happy with himself and in his choices for school, work and his future. I had different expectations for him and that was my problem. His remedy was that I should learn to love my son as he was and to compliment him each day on something he did that was good. I told him there was nothing he did that pleased me. And his answer was, ‘If he takes the garbage out, that is good – thank him.’

Which is the only thing I could do and the garbage taking-out WAS good and I did genuinely thank him. I’m happy to say that I did follow the counselor’s advice, I thanked my son for all the good things (and there were many I had overlooked) and downplayed what I thought was bad.

Within a week, the tension subsided and we were talking and smiling to each other. The mother of expectations and the child of disappointments were no more. I took stock of what the doctor told me and found that once I lost my expectation of what I believed was ‘good’ for my son, I found what was ruining our relationship.

Today, I am so blessed to have such a close and endearing relationship with this man – my son, who has done well in his life and succeeded without my expectations. Instead, he had my support, love and encouragement

I made a habit of gratitude instead of expectation. Don’t grumble or murmur if your mate forgets to put the mail out. Yes, you expect him to do that every morning, but he was in a hurry today. Instead, call him and ask him how his day is going and don’t mention the mail. It will get where it’s going. Expectation can become a habit and sometimes the more you expect, the more you want. Then you have to deal with more disappointments.

Marie Coppola © Revised November 2012

Thanksgiving Memories


 

“Over the River and Through the Woods” is a well-known Thanksgiving song written by Lydia Maria Child. It was originally written as a poem, entitled “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day and celebrated childhood memories of Lydia Maria visiting her grandparent’s house. Although it is sometimes substituted as a song for Christmas, our family never failed to sing this song in our unmelodic voices on our way to Thanksgiving Dinner at Nana and Grandpa’s house. Usually driving over a bridge brings it on and we break into song. It is a tradition that spills over into the grandkids.

“Over the river, and through the wood, To Grandmother’s house we go; The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow. Ohhh”

Over the river, and through the wood—Oh, how the wind does blow! It stings the toes and bites the nose , As over the ground we go.”

Thanksgiving, like Christmas, is a traditional family gathering either at our parents, if we still are fortunate enough to have them, or a sibling or whatever family member does the cooking that year. The holiday conjures up memories of other Thanksgivings and more often than not, there is a big stuffed turkey, with lots of vegetables and trimmings. If you are Italian, or any other nationality, there is sure to be favored ethnic dishes piled high. We try to make sure we have room for the pumpkin, apple and mince pies – what is Thanksgiving without the memories of feasts we’ve shared?

The day, of course, is in gratitude for all our blessings and family members. As we gather round, we are grateful for the gathering and maybe some new additions to the family. There may also be some empty chairs for many reasons that once were filled, and we are grateful for the memories we hold for these family members, too.

We probably all have similar sayings and customs for this “Thank You” or “Turkey Day”. I always say something which my mother always said when we sit down at 3:00 pm for dinner, “Do you realize how many people are doing this same thing right now?”…..and most likely my daughter will say it someday when I’m not around in memory and fun. She does so already.

Here are some of our happenings on this special holiday.

After our first blessing, I ask one of the children to say grace. Children love to be part of an adult gathering and they love to say grace. They are thankful for everything, so make sure all the plates are covered or they will get cold. The rest of the children want to add their thanks, too, and you get a good idea of what makes these little people the happiest. Anyone who wants to add a prayer, is welcomed.

After dinner, we always go round the table and each person tells everyone what they are most thankful for this year. This is always special as some people always joke; some always get very serious; some get emotional; and some articulate beautiful thanks to someone there who especially went the extra mile to help them. This part of the meal – while digesting – and before dessert – is very family-oriented. No hand-held video games, ipods, or cell phones are brought to the table. The kids enjoy this the most.

During dessert, we ask if anyone wants to do the ‘Christmas grab bag gift’ idea. We started this when the family and kids and grandkids started to number 30. Instead of buying small gifts for everybody, we have a grab bag. Everyone’s name goes in the hat and each person picks a name and buys a gift for that person and that person only. We put a price tag on it – one year it was $25.00 and that was a little too much for the teens and kids, so we settled on $15 or $10.   It seems like Christmas is just around the corner from Thanksgiving.

I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving ~~~ “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures.”

 

Copyright © Marie Coppola Revised November 2012

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