Archive for the 'Enjoyment & Rest' Category

Published by Kelly Wilson on 14 Nov 2021

Thanksgiving Tips 2021

If you are alive to read this post, you have something to be thankful for!

As we approach the 2021 Thanksgiving Holiday, I am reminded of the tumultuous year that we have lived through. I won’t list anything other than the word covid – which I know is usually spelled with a capital c – but it makes me feel like we take away some of the “ominous-ness” by using a lower case c.

I love the Thanksgiving holiday because it brings together so many of my favorites things… I get to cook, eat, and prayerfully host some of my family and friends. I get to be a little lazy and lounge the day of and day after, if I choose to.  For many of you, there is a weekend of celebrating with extended friends and family who are in town. And best of all – we take time to tell God how grateful we are for blessing us.

Psalm 111:1 captures this sentiment beautifully…

I will thank the Lord with all my heart, as I meet with his godly people.

Isn’t this a great passage to describe Thanksgiving!

To help you get ready, here is my 2021 list of Thanksgiving tips and ideas…

12.    If you haven’t done so yet, now is a good moment think about the people you can safely celebrate with this year. Try to confirm whether these people are available and willing to gather. And if yes, determine how and where. Is it dinner in person, or a Zoom meeting after dining with the people you can eat with? Or is it a gathering on a different day?

11.    Once you know this, those who are hosting/cooking can plan the menu. I usually type my plan on a spreadsheet. (See the screen shot below.) I list the dish, the person who is making it, and if it’s me, when I will cook it. Some things get cooked well in advance and they go into the freezer. Most are cooked the day before. My list helps me not forget things people are looking forward to and also to pace myself and to help from other people.

10. I have noticed that turkeys might not be as plentiful this year. Rather than fret, this could be a chance to try a new protein. One year my mom made fried chicken to go with the turkey. From that point on our family demanded friend chicken and most only eat turkey when the chicken runs out. Or you could roast a whole chicken and have a similar look as a traditional turkey. What ever you have – it will be delicious – if you cook it with love and thanksgiving like the first celebrants did.

9.    I find that the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are a perfect time to clean out your refrigerator and freezer. You are going to need that space for the feast and leftovers. I typically plan to cook and eat whatever is currently in the frig/freezer. I candidly have more this year because of covid. I trust we will be eating some creative combinations…

8.      If you are making a dish for the first time, or one you haven’t made in a long time, consider making a small sample as a practice dry run. That way you will be confident when the big dinner arrives.

7.      If you are hosting the dinner, layout the serving dishes that you plan to use a few days in advance. That way you will know what you have and what you might want to borrow from friends or family.

7.      Take pictures of the preparation and throughout the big day. Don’t worry about posting them anywhere. Just keep them, the good, the bad, the ugly, like the dozen uncooked yeast rolls that my dog pulled from the table before I got a chance to bake them, to savor during future holidays. (And if you must share just do a quick air drop to people in the house.) These photos may become precious mementos like the one below of my mom, who is now celebrating in heaven.

5.      If you are a house guest staying at someone else’s abode, ask how you can help. Men folk, maybe you can keep an eye on all the garage cans in the house and be the emptier/bag replacer. My favorite guests help clean the mountain of dishes from dinner. That is one of the best gifts that can be given.

4.      If we have a large crowd, our dining room table isn’t big enough for all our guests to sit there. So we dress-up the kitchen table and add a cute table in the family room, so the football heads can watch the game while they enjoy the meal after we say grace. Each is decorated and set with plates and utensils that guests can carry through the buffet line. This can be a great strategy to help manage create social distancing spaces.

3.      Consider setting up the food buffet style. We sit our dishes around our kitchen countertops so folks can serve and get seconds easily. I try to make it attractive while self-sustaining once the eating begins. Keep plenty of hand sanitizing handy so people can be safe. And wear masks while fixing plates, especially if guests have not taken the vaccine.

2.      Make it a priority to enjoy the process of cooking, cleaning, visiting. Make sure you laugh. Play encouraging music or listen to books on tape/CD while you cook and clean or pack if you are traveling. (Check out this playlist of music written by Vince Guaraldi – for inspiration. And definitely watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special. Make popcorn and toast as your show-watching snack if you dare. Gather up some board games to play when Thanksgiving dinner is over.

1.      As you finish reading this post please take a moment to tell God how grateful you are for His grace and mercy in your life. Be thankful this Thanksgiving holiday and don’t stop. (Just like Psalm 103:1-5 says…

Published by Kelly Wilson on 24 Nov 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

This is a different kind of Thanksgiving – because this is a different kind of year. I am writing this post to be your pep squad and hopefully idea provider, as you get ready. Even though it will be different, it can be really good.
May I encourage you to look at Psalm 136 NLT for inspiration to be grateful.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
His faithful love endures forever.

The Hebrew word for “good” in this passage is tobe, which means good, pleasant, agreeable, excellent, rich, valuable in estimation, kind, right, glad, happy, prosperous. Sometimes I think of God as Holy – which of course He is. But as when I think of Him as this type of good, it makes my heart feel gratitude.
So even though things around the earth are really challenging – God is still good. He worthy to be the One we say thank You to.

This year because of the CDC guideline that it is safer for all of us to celebrate with the people, who live in our households, you might not have all of your loved ones at the table with you. So you can approach things differently.

You can turn up the fancy or turn down the fancy.

This could be year to break out the china you never use. Drink from the goblets your grandmother passed down to you. Get dressed up. But it could be a year to eat less formally. Make it easy. Change up the menu – my family prefers fried chicken so we have that with a small turkey breast.

I print these on card stock. They remind us to thank God for His blessings.
  • If you are cooking and this is not usually your thing, plan what you are going to have before heading to the grocery store. Once you write down your menu, think about what you will cook and what you will need to buy to make it. Many barbecue joints and local restaurants have great mac & cheese, sweet potato casserole and corn bread. Local bakeries might be thrilled to supply the dessert.
  • This is a great year to get the family involved with the cooking. My children (25, 23 and 14) play music on our speakers and bring lots of good energy to chopping, stirring, baking and cleaning.
  • In my planning I try to think about when I should cook the things so they come out about the right time. This year there’s less pressure because we’ll eat when the food is done.

I print these on card stock. They help remind us to thank God.

Make time to proactively spend time being thankful. Before, during or after dinner take some time to speak to God and one another about the reasons we are thankful this year.

  • After dinner, get help from all hands to cleanup before playing board games, making Zoom calls, watching football and napping.
  • Think about how you want to spend the balance of the weekend. For many of us, the COVID wise choice is chill-laxing around the house. But whatever we do – let’s try to carry the spirit of gratefulness wherever we go.

Published by Kelly Wilson on 13 Apr 2020

Passover for Gentiles?

As I start to write, I hope to write carefully and gingerly… I don’t want to create aggravation like I promised my friend Patty that I would not do way back in 2005. At that time we each had a 4th grader, who is now 25 years old and we got to teach their class about the connections between “Passover” and Communion.

Patty is a Messianic Jew and she made sure that we would be reverent and accurate and true to Jewish culture. Since then, I have loved this celebration and had studied it so that we “gentiles” can celebrate it in a way that would honor Hebrew traditions, but also connect to Christ. So yes- it can be for non Jewish people.

Passover 2020 will begin on the evening of Wednesday April 8 and ends on the evening of Thursday April 16. Many people in Israel will eat the special meal, called a “Seder” meal on the first night. In other places people will eat the meal on the first or second night and maybe any night during these days.

The Seder meal is meant to commemorate the first “Passover” that is described in the Bible in Exodus 12:1-20. That first Passover occurred as God emancipated the Israelites from Egypt and gave them the freedom to worship Him as His nation.

I was fortunate to teach this celebration again at school when my daughter was a third grader in 2015. A group of mom’s each prepared one of the traditional items and we let the kiddos sample them. It was an absolute blast and they learned so much about the connection between Communion and Passover.

Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples right before His death and resurrection. This is described in Luke 22:7-22. And ironically in 2020 Passover is a few days before the Easter/Resurrection Celebration which is Sunday April 12.

Because of the corona-virus spread around the world, most of us won’t be at our regular church services…

But I’d like to encourage you to commemorate. Prayerfully you have at home some grape juice or wine along with bread or crackers that are made without yeast. In the original Passover there was no time for the bread to rise because the people were leaving quickly and also in many places in the Bible “yeast” is used as a symbol of sin. It spreads fast and people might not even be aware that it is lurking to take them off path. Hmmm…. sounds like COVID 19, but I digress.

May I encourage you to take communion on Wednesday evening and Sunday morning to celebrate the first Passover of death but also to remember Jesus, who is called “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” in John 1:29.

This Lamb gives us freedom from slavery to sin and gives those who believe in Him adoption into His family and life that is eternal.

If you are interested in learning more about celebrating Passover as a non-Jewish person, please let me know at

One last thing… I read the following this morning in Luke 12:8-9 NLT. Jesus says…

“I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels.”

I had never connected this passage to the Passover until now. In order to be passed over by the angel who would be delivering God’s judgment, those who sought protection had to make a very public declaration.

They had to place blood from the lamb that was sacrificed and eaten, over the door frame and side posts of their homes.

This would be a show of total dependence on God. It would show humility in that they needed God’s protection and favor. It showed that they would do things His way – even though it didn’t make sense in the non-spiritual realm. It also that they were turning away from the provision and protection of Egypt, a symbol of the world’s power and system.


So as part of my celebration – I am placing some red tulle on my front door as a show that I am trusting Christ for everything. (It’s not sophisticated. I’m using a CHRISTmas wreath holder to secure it.) But my red covering declares that: He will protect and provide for me and my family; He will care for and rebuild our community, city, state, country, world, when the comes; He will heal the sick; He will strengthen and encourage believers all over the world – and He is inviting anyone who wants to come – to come into His Kingdom – by the pathway opened by the Lamb.

Blessings to you and yours-


Next »