Tag Archive | Thanksgiving

It’s That Time of Year by Charlene Roberts

From Christina: I loved reading Charlene’s thoughts about the Christmas season. I, too, miss some of the “old-fashioned” celebrations. Maybe we can bring them back!

 

It’s That Time of Year

by Charlene Roberts

Oh, it’s that time of year!  Festivities, friends, family and fun!

Charlene 1

I have to admit, as much as I don’t like the over-zealous Christmas commercialization (I mean really; Christmas songs and advertisements right after Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween? In October?), I do feel that extra bit of excitement when the first snowflakes are flying through the air.

I wish sometimes that Christmas was celebrated the old-fashioned way—visiting neighbors, buying gifts that meant something and treating it as the cherished holiday that it is. Call me old, I don’t care—I miss the friendliness of strangers yelling “Merry Christmas!” as they scurried hither and yon, looking for that perfect gift. It doesn’t happen as much as it used to.

I also like to spend the holidays reflecting on what has happened in the past year and what I can do to make the next year better, for myself and for others. I also use the time to think of goals; I don’t wait until the New Year (I’m sort of like Santa; making a list and checking it twice). Besides life goals (weight loss, work already!), I also like to work on my writing goals; I’m a slow writer, so having a rough outline of what I would like to accomplish for the next year helps to keep me on track.Charlene 2

But Christmas should be fun time! Whether it’s watching television shows (Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Carol), going out to admire the Christmas decorations, or attending church) or honoring the season in your own special way, please enjoy yourself (hey, if you’re one of the lucky ones like me, that’s five days off work—whoo hoo!!) 🙂

Charlene Roberts is an active member of the Romance Writers of America. She lives in Toronto, Canada.  She’s been a model, and has also worked in the film, consulting, and insurance agencies.

Charlene says she likes for her heroes to be a little unpredictable, and she loves when plans come together. Be sure to check out her latest release, Festive Persuasion, a Christmas novella available from Ellora’s Cave.

 

 

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An American Thanksgiving by Tasha Taylor

From Christina: As we come to the end of the Thanksgiving season, I thought it would be fun to end on this note from across-the-pond author, Tasha Taylor. Here’s her experience with an American Thanksgiving. 

An American Thanksgiving

by Tasha Taylor

Thanksgiving 1993 – Thursday 25th November

1993 was a year of firsts for me. The first time I was away my family in the UK and my very first Thanksgiving.

I was 21 years old, and working for an Air Force family as nanny to their baby son. I had never heard of Thanksgiving before, but totally loved Christmas, so was well up for finding out all about it.

The process of preparing for Thanksgiving started the weekend before. My employer, and now dearest friend, had me help her locate the seasonal crockery, cutlery and decorations in the attic. I had never before come across such bright coloured crockery and the idea of changing it all over was a little strange. At home, my mum had a bone china dinner set that was only used on holidays and special occasions, so the idea wasn’t so unfamiliar after all.

The sheer amount of food that was purchased and prepared was overwhelming and I came across several dishes that were unusual – the jello and the green beans with fried onions. But I still love the green beans dish to this day.

I have to admit I knew little about the origins of Thanksgiving and it was really interesting to find out the reasons behind it.

The First Thanksgiving

In the UK, bank holidays (the equivalent of your national holidays) are not equally spaced throughout the year and so the idea of a holiday prior to Christmas is a great idea.

In the UK, we have the following:

  •  New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • May Day (first Monday in May)
  • Whitsun (last Monday in May)
  • August Bank Holiday (last Monday in August)
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

 

So you can appreciate how it’s a long time from the end of August to Christmas!

For me, now, some 20 years on from my first Thanksgiving, I do think of my friends across the pond and I do give thanks, in my head, in a blog, in an email or on social media, because the time I spent in the US, and the lasting friendships that I formed, and the new friendships that I continue to build through my writing are precious to me.

Two things I hold dear are friends and family. One verse I hold dear is:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”

I believe that life is too short to spend time on regret and thinking what if. Take the time this season to give thanks for what you have, to tell those that you hold dear that you love them, value them, miss them, even if they are not in your life on a daily basis. At one time they meant something to you, and be thankful that you had them in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tasha Taylor is a UK based author, writing contemporary romance and is also a fiction addict. It is not unusual to find a book open in her home – next to the bath, next to the bed, in the office, on the stairs and then there’s the e-reader, smart phone and laptop. She is also mother to her son and future ex-wife to her partner. Other duties include cat lover and dog washer.

Tasha started writing at 15, creating her own little world where everybody went to boarding school and found true love in their teens. She’s moved on grown-up romance since then. No love is ever without its difficulties, but it’s the strength of that love that sees us through the good, the bad and the mornings when mascara alone just won’t cut it. Tasha also has an addiction to social media. You can find here at her website: Tasha Taylor or you can follow her on Twitter @tashatayls. She loves to hear from readers, so drop her a line at tashatayls@gmail.com.

 

Be Thankful by Tori James

From Christina: Today, I’m very thankful to share this wonderful post from author Tori James. It’s a special day for me — a sad one in many ways, but a day of honor, as well. My younger sister passed away several years ago. Her birthday was November 21, and even though she’s no longer here with us to celebrate, I still want to honor her memory. I miss her, and I’m grateful for the love and friendship she gave to me — and to everyone she met. Jan would have loved Tori’s post about being thankful.

Be Thankful

By Tori James

I think about Thanksgivings past and how, especially when I was younger, to be so grateful for the things I had, the people in my life. It’s easy to be grateful for all the good, easy and wonderful bits but as I’ve grown older (maybe even a bit wiser? Jury is still kind of out on that one, honestly), I’ve learned to be thankful for the whole of it, the big ball of crazy that is my life.

Thankful

I’m thankful for the bad days, they show me who  I am, what I’m made of and what I can conquer.

I’m thankful for the rain because it cleanses, washes away the dirt, the shadows, and that first peek of sunlight after a good storm is breathtaking.

I’m thankful for my enemies, they mean as much to me as my friends. They tend to show me that which I don’t wish to become and make the sweet sincerity of my friends more meaningful.

I’m thankful for the days where pain stings because I’m  a warrior at heart and it reminds me that nothing can keep you down. If life knocks you, you come up swinging.

Thankfulness is more about recogizing the teensy miracles that happen in our ordinary, every day lives. On the comical side, I’m thankful I wake up. Thankful someone brewed the coffee I need to survive. I’m bloody thankful that chocolate exists or things would be sketchy at best. I’m far from being a beauty queen but I am thankful for my face, my form. Even my freckles. All my flaws. Because they make me…me. And despite it all, there is no one else I’d like to be.

My life is full of blessings, large and small. Every day is a gift and every day I wake up, there is just more to appreciate, both in myself and others, in the world.

When we stop seeing the simple miracles; a child’s laugh, our fave song playing on the radio, the fact that Starbucks has finally started serving Holiday Drinks (Caramel Brulee Latte….how I love thee!) or the fact we are able to pay the bills on time (mostly), that’s when we start taking things for granted.

So this year, I’m beyond blessed and I know it. I’ve had my share of both good and bad happenings and events in the last 365 days but there is not a single moment that I wasn’t learning, reaching, growing and living. Rising up to my challenges, meeting new people and making my own lil mark on the world. There is thankfulness and joy to be found everywhere, every way…every day.

Happy Gobble Gobble to one and all!

STT

 

Torie James has loved reading since she was old enough to hold a book in her lap. While her friends were out playing, she was generally curled up nearby falling down rabbit holes, catching second stars to the right, and stepping through wardrobes into mysterious lands and countless adventures. When those stories ended, she made up her own and kept going. Her debut novel, a paranormal romance called Timeless Night, was released on Sept. 20th 2013 and she’s currently working on the sequel.

Readers can find Tori on Facebook as well as on her blog: Oh, the Places I Go!

 

The Thanksgiving that Almost Wasn’t by Karen McCullough

Holidays should be fun, but sometimes… well, here’s Karen’s story. 

The Thanksgiving that Almost Wasn’t

by Karen McCullough

 Three years ago, my youngest daughter was married on November 20th, which was the Saturday before Thanksgiving that year. Weddings are always memorable and this one was no exception. Sarah was a beautiful bride and her new husband a very proud groom. The weather was perfect. It was one of those rare, mild days that sometimes happens in late fall in North Carolina. The whole thing went off without a hitch. The day was perfect.

 

Marriage

Well, almost. We didn’t find out just how not-perfect it was until the next day when the bride, and about two-thirds of the other people who’d been at the wedding woke up horribly sick. I was fortunate that I wasn’t, but my husband, older daughter, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and a lot of others were all miserably nauseated. Fortunately, it only lasted about 24 hours, but it seemed a lot longer to them.

We initially suspected food poisoning, but later events suggested it was actually a fast-moving and nasty virus. (We’ll get to that.)

The bride was so sick that by nightfall she was at the hospital and spent most of the night there getting intravenous fluids. The doctor who cared for her was the first to suggest a virus was the likely culprit. Sadly the honeymoon had to be cancelled. There were a few bright spots, however.

Because their flight wasn’t until Monday, the newlyweds had booked a room at a local Bed and Breakfast for the night. Fortunately for them, the B&B wasn’t crowded so the proprietors let them stay when it was clear the new bride was in no shape for a long airplane flight. They were extremely nice and accommodating, even bringing them tea, toast, and sodas.

Meanwhile, the sick people recovered and we thought we were beyond it, when a second wave hit. The groom, myself, my son, and most of the others who hadn’t gotten sick initially were all ill by Wednesday. Oddly, none of us were as drastically sick as the first wave of people had been, but it was still no fun at all. It was that second wave that convinced everyone it had been a virus.

And though I was over the worst of it by Thursday morning, the last thing I felt up to doing was cooking a big Thanksgiving feast. I had to tell everyone I couldn’t do dinner.  But both daughters were fully recovered by then and since the new bride hadn’t managed to get away for the honeymoon, the girls got together and cooked up a nice dinner for all us. Some of us, myself included, weren’t really eating normally yet, but I managed a bite or two of everything.

And because we weren’t sure Thanksgiving would even happen that year, we were particularly grateful when it did. And despite all the illness, we felt very blessed by the lovely wedding and the unexpected presence of the bride and new son-in-law at the Thanksgiving feast.

Karen McCullough is a web designer by profession, and the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, four grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years. She’s released two short Halloween/Fall related stories this past month, and her Christmas Vampire story — “A Vampire’s Christmas Carol”  — is now available.

You can find Karen at her website and blog: Karen McCullough or you can connect with her through Facebook or Twitter.

 

Thanksgiving — Better than Christmas by Stacy Moran

Christmas tops the list of “favorite holidays” for many people, but not for romance writer Stacy Moran. Today, she shares a few thoughts — and a special recipe — for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving — Better than Christmas

Thanksgiving. I love it more than Christmas, and here’s why.

Thanksgiving is getting absorbed by the Christmas festivities and shopping before it ever has a chance to be truly enjoyed.

With the Christmas season coming earlier and earlier every year, Thanksgiving is becoming known more as “the day before Black Friday” than an actual holiday. Christmas is swelling to monstrous proportions, swallowing Thanksgiving. Retailers are even staying open on Thanksgiving in order to beat competition’s sales.

A holiday that is in some ways controversial, but to me is the best time of year, is disappearing.

To me Thanksgiving is about…

  1. Family
  2. Amazing Food
  3. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  4. Gone with the Wind (my family tradition)
  5. A room filled with napping people
  6. The smell of turkey and pumpkin pies
  7. The start of colder weather
  8. Charlie Brown
  9. Memories of childhood
  10. Leftovers

This year take a moment and remember your childhood, watch the parade, play football in the yard, savor Grandma’s stuffing, and just appreciate the day.

To make the day a bit easier here is my “go-to” recipe for moist turkey.

Turkey Dinner

INGREDIENTS

One Turkey, approx. 15 lbs.

Juice of a lemon

Salt and pepper

Melted butter

Tops and bottoms of a bunch of celery

2 carrots

Parsley

Sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme

METHOD

Step One

To start, if the turkey has been refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before cooking. Keep it in its plastic wrapping until you are ready to cook it. While in the refrigerator, and or while you are bringing it to room temp, have the bird resting in a pan, so that if the plastic covering leaks for any reason, you are confining the juices to the pan.

Handle a raw turkey with the same amount of caution as when you handle raw chicken – use a separate cutting board and utensils to avoid contaminating other foods. Wash your hands with soap before touching anything else in the kitchen. Use paper towels to clean up.

Remove the neck and giblets (heart, gizzard, liver). Use the heart and gizzard for making stock for the stuffing. The neck can be cooked alongside the turkey or saved for turkey soup. Or all of the giblets can be used for making giblet gravy.

Step Two

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Step Three

Wash out the turkey with water. Pull out any remaining feather stubs in the turkey skin. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Lather the inside of the cavity with the juice of half a lemon. Take a small handful of salt and rub all over the inside of the turkey.

Step Four

For flavor, put in inside the turkey, a bunch of parsley, a couple of carrots, and some tops and bottoms of celery. You may need to cap the body cavity with some aluminum foil so that the stuffing doesn’t easily fall out. Close up the turkey cavity with either string (not nylon string!) or metal skewers. Make sure that the turkey’s legs are tied together, held close to the body, and tie a string around the turkey body to hold the wings in close.

Step Five

Rub either melted butter all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle salt generously all over the outside of the turkey (or have had it soaking in salt-water brine before starting this process). Sprinkle pepper over the turkey.


Step Six

Place turkey BREAST DOWN on the bottom of a rack over a sturdy roasting pan big enough to catch all the drippings. This is the main difference between the way mom makes turkey and everyone else. Cooking the turkey breast down means the skin over the breast will not get so brown. However, all of the juices from the cooking turkey will fall down into the breast while cooking. And the resulting bird will have the most succulent turkey breast imaginable.

Add several sprigs of fresh (if possible) thyme and rosemary to the outside of the turkey.

Step Seven

Chop up the turkey giblets (gizzard, heart). Put into a small saucepan, cover with water, add salt. Bring to simmer for an hour or so to help make stock for the stuffing.

Step Eight

Put the turkey in the oven. Check the cooking directions on the turkey packaging. Gourmet turkeys often don’t take as long to cook. With the turkeys mom gets, she recommends cooking time of about 15 minutes for every pound. For the 15 lb. turkey, start the cooking at 400 F for the first 1/2 hour. Then reduce the heat to 350 F for the next 2 hours. Then reduce the heat further to 225 F for the next hour to hour and a half.

If you want the breast to be browned as well, you can turn the bird over so that the breast is on top, and put it in a 500°F oven or under the broiler for 4-5 minutes, just enough to brown the breast. Note that if you do this, you will have a higher risk of overcooking the turkey breast.

Start taking temperature readings with a meat thermometer, inserted deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast and thigh, an hour before the turkey should be done. You want a resulting temperature of 175°F for the dark meat (thighs and legs) and 165°F for the white meat (breast). The temperature of the bird will continue to rise once you take it out of the oven, so take it out when the temperature reading for the thigh is 170°F, and for the breast 160°F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, spear the breast with a knife. The turkey juices should be clear, not pink.

Step Nine 

Once you remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Turn the turkey breast side up to carve it.

kristin-emery-family-and-friends

Once again remember the point of the day is to enjoy and be thankful for your  family, friends, and the amazing food prepared.

About Stacy Moran: 

Stacy  was born in West Virginia but now finds herself living in Texas. She has loved writing since she wrote her first book in the first grade, The Land Without Rules. Her mother will tell you it was a brilliant piece of literature.

An author of several genres, she prefers to combine the mainstream genres of paranormal and gothic romance with elements of erotic, mythology and fantasy.

Her most recent works include, Blood Myth (The Myth Series), Sekhmet’s Revenge, The Lotus, and a series of erotic shorts,  Temptation Tuesdays. You can find her books on Amazon.

SAM

Readers can find Stacy online at her official website, at her blog, and on Facebook. 

Official Site of Stacy A. Moran

A New Journal Blog

Facebook

 

 

A Season of Thanks

As we come to the start of November, our thoughts turn from witches and ghosts and falling leaves, to gray days, dark nights, and maybe even the first snowfall of the season. We turn, too, to a season of thanksgiving, a time for sharing, a time for caring, a time for love.

I’d like to open this Thanksgiving season by expressing my appreciation to the many romance authors who’ve taken time from their busy schedules to share personal reflections on the autumn season or to give us a fright or two for Halloween.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about D’Ann Lindun’s childhood in Colorado, and V L Locey’s goat-herding experiences! Nikki Lynn Barrett and Krista Ames wrote about falling in love, and Deryn Pittar added her own very unique perspective to the season.  Flossie Benton Rogers put a supernatural spin on things, and Charlene Roberts gave us a fright! Tricia Andersen added Halloween treats, while Gemma Juliana gave us a chance to stop and think about how we like our Halloween.

While reading posts from these great authors, I learned that Ashley Nemer grew up in Kansas, discovered that Judy Baker and her husband take an autumn bike ride each year, and learned about almond harvesting from Janice Seagraves.

Cindy Christiansen gave us an inspiring look at home and family, and Rose Anderson shared her little game of “Can You Stand It?” Lena Hart shared personal reflections along with a cup of hot cocoa, and Barbara Edwards took us to the Rhodes End for a spooky All Hallow’s Eve.

For a change of pace, debut author Giaconda Lyss wrote about overcoming fear and taking risks — an important message for any time of the year.

Ladies, I thank each of  you for your contributions.

In coming weeks, the focus at Time for Love will be on gratitude and Thanksgiving. Please visit often! My hope is that the thoughts and reflections you find here will inspire you to reach out to others to share your own love, gratitude, and thanksgiving.

Best Wishes for this Season of Thanksgiving