Thanksgiving Traditions

Norman-Rockwell-Thanksgiving-thanksgiving-2927689-375-479Here I am getting ready for the second holiday season without Tom. In 35 years of marriage we have only missed two wedding anniversaries, two Christmas’s and one Thanksgiving and one New Year. Not bad for a military wife, but then he only served active duty for part of our marriage before serving the rest of his career in the PA National Guard. Lets face it, although I am proud of the National Guard and all the work they do in their states and across the sea, it is a lot easier being married to a weekend warrior then a full-time soldier.

In that 35 yrs we have made some new traditions while keeping some of the old traditions. When I was growing up we did not have many old family traditions.  Coming from a military family and a grandmother with “itchy” feet my father’s family was thrown to the four corners of the earth. My mother being from Germany never celebrated Thanksgiving so it was a new experience for her. My father was raised in the depression had a very difficult life so I always thought it was his dream to have the traditional Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving.

Dad would always buy the biggest turkey, no matter how tight the household budget. He would cook everything in that turkey including the bone for his turkey soup. To this day I cannot eat stuffing, turkey soup or homemade gravy after I helped him one Thanksgiving – he literally used all the “extra’s” that come with the turkey, for flavor he would say, but that did not encourage me.

Now mom on the other hand was not a turkey connoisseur , I can still hear her say why do we have to eat turkey? But always wanting to become American she adapted. I am sure dad taught her everything she needed to know to make the best roast turkey this side of the Atlantic Ocean. She never did understood the concept of eating turkey only once a year. I always assumed they compromised for Christmas by having ham instead of turkey or the Christmas goose.

There is a clip in a movie “Avalon” which is a movie about Polish Immigrants that reminds me of my mother. Change the accent to German and I can almost hear my mother say “I don’t understand this holiday…we don’t eat turkey all year why do I have it eat now”.

movie clip ~ I will never understand this holiday

So our Thanksgiving holiday was a table filled with all the traditional Thanksgiving Day foods and our family of 5 would eat leftovers it seemed for weeks, although I am sure it was only days afterward.  My sister and I would normally argue over who was to wash or dry the many dishes dad left for us.  Dad would say you can tell a good cook by how many dishes and pots he used…well if that is true, then my dad was a master chef!

Tom comes from a traditional American family, big dinner of turkey and ham, tables filled with food that everyone brought, family gathered around, cousins running all over the place, along with a kids table, I am sure. He was amazed when I told him I was not that fond of turkey. Poor guy did not realize he was not going to have turkey for Christmas, ham would become our  traditional Christmas dinner. He never complained as long as he had his homemade pumpkin pie, his favorite holiday pie. Being newly married and wanting to impress him since he said his mother never made homemade pies I made my Aunt Marty’s pumpkin pie from scratch…from then on I would bake all my pies from scratch using love as my secret ingredient. For 35 yrs, we would have pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and one year I surprised him and made him one for his birthday!

The only time we did not have turkey was for our first Thanksgiving, we had chicken. This was before you could buy turkey breasts or smaller turkeys. I would start baking my pies the day before and instead of homemade stuffing we had stove top. Although I do remember the first time I made homemade stuffing I burnt it…don’t ask me how, I followed the directions and sticking to my convictions I used store-bought broth instead of making my own.

It is time to make new traditions but keeping the many happy memories of the past Thanksgivings.  I remember my parents, my brother and Tom with tears, laughter, and smiles. My traditions are not like the Norman Rockwell pictures or from what is shown in holiday movies.  But like how all traditions are started, both my old and the new ones my children and I will make together, they all start from the love I have for them.

My children and I will still have turkey with all the trimmings and instead of pumpkin pie this year I am making a pumpkin roll. Instead of football it will be watching all the traditional Christmas movies, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas”, It Happened On Fifth Avenue”, “Christmas in Connecticut” and to keep things silly “A Christmas Story”. 

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? I would enjoy hearing about all the different ways we celebrate, including my Canadian friends.  For my friends across the world, do you also celebrate a thanksgiving holiday?

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Honoring Our Veterans

Veterans DayThe past few days I have been thinking on what to write to about for Veterans Day. Most of know the history of Veterans Day or Armistice Day and in case you do not just click on this link: Veterans Day for the history of how we came about to celebrate this day.

There will be poems and articles of our brave men and women who over the years served this country, either on the battle fronts or behind the lines. I read somewhere today that over 48 million served in our armed forces since 1776. Most not seeing combat, for every combat soldier there are 5 or 7 soldiers serving in supportive roles.

So, what better to way honor Veterans Day than to honor the men and women I know personally who served?

Many of you know I am an Army brat, that khaki green runs in my blood.

Today I would like to honor the veterans that I have had the privilege to know

My grandfather served in the Army during World War I; My father served in the Army in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, only seeing combat in WWII in France, Belgium, the Rhineland and Germany; my brother enlisted just as the Vietnam war was coming to an end; my husband enlisted in the Navy and served in Europe with the NATO Forces in the middle of the Vietnam War, then after college re-enlisted in the Army serving with Joint Services in CENTCOM (Central Command), Gulf War and the War on Terror, retiring from the PA National Guard with over 30 yrs service; my son served proudly with PA National Guard in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

One cousin served in the Army doing 2 tours in Vietnam and another cousin some of you may know served in the Marine Corp retiring after a few tours in Vietnam and 30 yrs of service. My two brother in-laws served, one in the Air Force in Europe and one in the Army also doing duty in Vietnam.

I have had the honor to work with one lady who served as an Army nurse on one of the hospital ships in the Atlantic during WWII. There was the young man who was a close friend of my fathers who served in Korea but tragically took his own life, suffering from shell shock or what we call today PTSD. I have worked with men serving on board air craft carriers and one gentleman who retired from the Navy was on the first sailors to serve aboard the USS John F. Kennedy, the only ship of her class and the last conventionally powered carrier built for the United States Navy.

There is my neighbor, a retired Korean War Veteran, who for years he served on the military honor guard at funerals of many veterans. Now retired from the military honor guard and no longer being able to get around he put on his uniform one last time to serve as part of Tom’s honor guard.

One gentleman at our church comes every year in his old Army uniform for our Veterans Day service. Another gentleman who served in the Army during WWII has not been able to attend church, came out Sunday to be a part of the service. He spoke at our youth group one Veterans Day and told us he did not do too much during the war. He served in what is now Iran, keeping the supply trucks moving along making sure the troop’s supplies were getting through to places like North Africa – no he did not too much did he, he only made sure food, supplies and letters from got through to the men on the front lines.  Like many Veterans he doesn’t see himself as a hero.

My friend’s husband, whom I never met, passed away over 30 years ago from cancer, served in the Coast Guard. There are sons and daughters of friends of mine serving in the Army, Navy and Air Force. Husband, Wives, Brothers and sisters of friends over the years that choose a career in the military leaving the comforts of home to serve in places like DMZ zone in Korea, the Middle East, Iceland and submarines or battleships.

Who is your Veteran or perhaps you are the Veteran? Please add them to my list – let us honor them by remembering what they did. No matter when, where or how our Veterans served, they are our protectors and defenders of freedom.

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Book Review – Heart and Home

It feels good to be back on my computer (almost said typewriter!) writing down my thoughts and creating stories. Although like most of my projects I have about 5 ideas going around in my mind at the same time. I guess that is how God created me, with an over active imagination, like my favorite character in literature, Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gable who was always looking at life through her “scope of imagination”.

Heart and HomeOn to one of my projects – my latest book review, Heart and Home by Jennifer Melzer

Over the summer I was determined to get back into the habit of reading and I am now comfortably in a routine. I used to sit and read at a drop of hat, anywhere, anytime. Well, life gets busy, especially now as I still struggle with finishing everything that needs done. Through trial and error I now end my busy days in comfy clothes, all curled up in my favorite spots with my nose in a book.

One of my favorite summer reads was a book written by my cousin, Jennifer Melzer. She did an interview on my friends blog – Marcia Meara, you can find it here. …

Our family comes from a long line of story tellers. Imagination and writing is in our blood. If my father had written down all of his stories we would have been rich! So although he never made it to be a famous author, he did keep us rich in his stories or maybe I should say tall tales.

Jennifer lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and dragons, “but dreams nightly she is laying on the beach watching the stars fall over the Atlantic Ocean”. Although our family are mountain people, there a few including my grandmother, Jennifer’s great grandmother and my daughter who love the ocean. Jennifer like the rest of the family is a story teller. Unlike those that came before us who would sit in front of the fire and telling tall tales, Jennifer sits at her computer for hours perfecting her craft as she tells her own fables.

Jennifer has a an imagination that would make Anne Shirley proud! She writes fantasy romance fiction, and as it says on her facebook page she “spins yarns woven from heartstrings”. I am proud of her accomplishments, although I do not normally read fantasy fiction I wanted to read her latest book which at the time was “Edgelanders“. While waiting for it to come out, I noticed another book she wrote, ” Heart and Home“, an endearing story of the area we live. So I chose to start off with that one.


Janice McCarty is a young journalist living in Pittsburgh when she gets the phone call we all dread. Her mother has suddenly passed away. She left her home in Sonesville, PA 8 years before and had seldom returned home. As she arrives she begins to feel out of place. While her friends married, had children, attended church suppers, quilting bees and a scrapbooking club, she had found a career in journalism.

Her plan was to make sure her dad was taken care of before she headed back to civilization where her job awaited her. Soon her life gets complicated by a former class mate and football star who had ambitions of his own. They kept bumping into each other in their small home town or maybe they were being thrown together by her mother’s restless spirit who, “leads her daughter down a path she swore she’d never take, and Chandra McCarty’s ghost has no intention of letting go until her daughter finally sees she’s more than just a byline, and home is where the heart is.”

You will enjoy this story about a young woman who comes face to face with her past only to realize that her past will soon become her future.

I have not yet read any of Jennifer’s other titles, but they are on my list. Jennifer’s writing style, imagination and attention to detail has me anticipating reading her other titles. I hope you enjoy her books too and please leave a comment with your review as well.

You can find her list of books on Amazon by clicking here – Heart and Home

Her latest book is Sorrows Peak -  is also available on Amazon

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The Day After Thanksgiving

I dedicate this song to everyone who waits until Thanksgiving to play Christmas music, decorate and start their shopping!

You can thank my son for giving me the CD – now I will think of all of you with smiles as I listen to this song and secretly sing to you “It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas”!!

You know I love all of you! :D 

“The Day After Thanksgiving” by Brandon Heath
There’s still plenty of leaves
Golden on the trees
Hoodies, blue jeans and football
Bonfires and school nights
Scarecrows and hayrides
It’s fall everywhere except the mall

I don’t want to hear about Santa Claus coming
No silver bells or a dozen drummers drumming
I don’t want to see an inflatable nothing
Till the day after Thanksgiving
(And not a day early)

Don’t plug in those electric candles
Or dangle those stockings from the living room
Those tangled up lights are more than I can handle
Till the day after Thanksgiving

Then oh let it snow
Go and tell everyone you know
That Christmas is here
Every day between now and new year

Don’t deck the halls with the tinsel or the holly
You can make me grumpy but you can’t make me jolly
Elves don’t even make curly haired dollies
Till the day after Thanksgiving

Then oh let it snow
Christmas card, everyone you know
Then pour on the cheer
Every day between now and new year

I want the cookies and the mistletoe kissing
Angel on top of a tall tree glisten
Wrap it all up in a pretty red ribbon
The day after Thanksgiving

(You can put antlers on your car for all I care)
As long as its the day after Thanksgiving

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Here Comes Santa Claus

CharlieBrownChristmasUpdate.JPG-675x550It it is time to start thinking “Christmas”.  Actually I think of Christmas all year-long as I reflect the birth of Jesus.  Then as I start sing Hark the Angels, Joy to the World and other favorite Christmas classics, soon I am singing, I Want A Hippopotamus, Nestor the Christmas Donkey, Deck the Halls, I’ll Be Home For Christmas and of course Here Comes Santa Claus sung by my two favorite singers, Doris Day and Gene Autry.   I could type a list of all my favorite Christmas songs.  You name it I love it!

I know everyone is going to comment that it is not Thanksgiving yet and you are right!  Years ago I thought how sad that we get to only listen to Christmas songs for 30 days out of the year.  So  I decided to started listening to Christmas songs the first day of school to celebrate the children going back and having the house to myself!

Then the movement of the stores to have Christmas in July came and I was hooked in bringing out the Christmas songs in July. 

This year I did start a bit later than usual only recently switching my regular CD’s over to Christmas.  But I am proud to say my daughter is following in my footsteps and is also listening to Christmas music. 

And you realize that with the Christmas music comes the Christmas movies. 

So call me crazy and you would be right because I am crazy for Christmas all year-long!

Enjoy your first Christmas song of the season…now you can get back to thinking about Thanksgiving as I get back to listening Christmas songs on Pandora.

But remember Christmas is only 88 days 7 hours and 37 minutes away (as I write this).





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The silence of the morning
Tick tock goes the clock
A lonely bird cries out
The stillness opens the heavens
God fills our waking souls
The morning fog gives way
To the chill of an autumn day
Day is done
Silence fills the busy day
Darkness covers the weary land
As Crickets sing a nighttime lullaby
The silence of the evening
Tick tock goes the clock
God quiets our tired souls
                      Patty Beggs September 23, 2014
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Fall Is In The Air

My White Dogwood Tree Oct 2013 It won’t be long until my Dogwood is this bright and colorful once again

Autumn. Don’t you just love the smell of the weather change? “Fall is in the air” my dad would say when the temperatures begin to change.

Although autumn doesn’t start until Sept 21, for me it starts with the first day of school. My children are grown now but it doesn’t stop me from feeling the excitement of seeing back to school supplies, children shopping for school clothes and the memory of a class room on that first day. Do you remember the smell of the first day of school?

With the coming of September I welcome the change from the slower pace of summer to the hustle and bustle of church and school activities.

It is interesting how each season has its own distinct qualities.

Winter is a time to curl up with good books in front of my fireplace (it is an electrical one but still a fireplace!) while enjoying a hot cup of British blends teas. Winter is also a good time to get caught up on all those sewing projects I have lying around. Who can resist that first snowfall that blankets our world?

Spring refreshes my world with hope as I watch earth’s slumber awaken with the signs of spring; new growth, spring flowers, baby bunnies and all of the birds returning from their southern journey. Spring is also the opportunity to indulge in spring cleaning as I clean out my closets and freshen up the house. Don’t you love the smell of the house that has just been scrubbed with Pine Sole as the window curtains flutter in the spring breeze?

Summer is set aside for vacations, working around the house and lazy days on the deck. The dog days of summer brings relaxation and enjoying good old-fashioned southern ice tea in front of my air conditioner. Who can remember laying down on the grass, watching the clouds float by and daydreaming of your future?

Oh but Autumn ~ my favorite time of year. The air is not only cooler after the lazy hot days of late summer, but it is brisk, fresh, and clean. Our mountains come alive in the colors of autumn, gold, russet, brown and orange. The smell of chalk boards and freshly copied paper from an old mimeograph machine permeates my mind. To this day I still enjoy buying new clothes in August and enjoy opening up a new notebook just waiting to be filled. Who remembers the anticipation of the first day of school?

Today as an adult my routine in Fall takes a different direction. Instead of getting ready for school, I prepare for committees and activities after a restful summer. My office is also busy as the committees of the Presbytery return from their summer breaks, new pastors move in and other pastors move on. The Presbyterian Church is also ready to start-up doing what they do best – helping others.

And that is where the next chapter in my life is taking me ~ helping others ~ as I anticipate the new challenges God has called me to.

I will be serving on a mission committee at church. We will have our first meeting next week as we find ways to help those in need both locally and in different parts of the world.

Then there is my term as the Historian for the Presbyterian Women of the Synod of the Trinity. This year I will also serve not only as Historian but on their mission board. In addition I will also be undertaking the job of webmaster of their webpage. This is a story for a different time, because I did not see that one coming and walked right into volunteering to take over! But it is a challenge I welcome and will enjoy. I look forward to working with the person who set it up. (If you are reading this A.T. I thank you for this opportunity)

The biggest challenge has been to accept the responsibility of a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) group leader. I have been in leadership for a few years but not as a group leader. We had our first class night and God has blessed me with a wonderful group of ladies. I look forward to not only seeing where God will lead me but where He will lead the class as we study about Moses together.

Regardless if I buy school supplies or office supplies or if I purchase clothes for work instead of for school I will always anticipate the new challenges that autumn brings.

What do you look forward to in autumn?

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How God Views Us

Patty B:

How God Views Us – as His Priceless Treasure, more valuable than any number of cows. He delights in us because we are His Redeemed Children… ” If you don’t know this already – accept it as truth, God LOVES you – you are important and valuable to God! “This gives us Godly Self-worth so there is no need for Worldly Self-esteem.

God sent His beloved one and only Son Jesus the Christ, a gift more precious than anything imaginable,

Originally posted on Freedomborn's Kingdom Garden:

Cow 33Cow 33A Story is told of a primitive culture where Brides were purchased from their Parents using cattle as an exchange medium.  An average Woman might merit the bride-price of two cows, an exceptional Woman

 might bring three; Cow 33Cow 33Cow 33

While a less desirable Woman’s family would receive one.

Cow 33

Into this Society, the Story goes, a rich and attractive Suitor came, looking for a Wife… 

 All the families paraded their eligible Daughters before him.  Everyone was surprised when he announced his intention to negotiate with the family of a young Woman who was unattractive and clumsy. 

 Perhaps it’s a bargain he’s after”, the Townspeople speculated, wondering if perhaps he would offer chickens instead of cows. 

  To everyone’s amazement, he offered the girl’s family six cows for their Daughter and quickly whisked her away for a long Honeymoon.

When they returned, months later, no one recognised the new Bride.  Gone were the…

View original 361 more words

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Favorite Children’s Song

Mannheim school 1For some reason this week – it is probably with school starting, that I was reminded of when I was in the First Grade and the first two songs I learned.  You can say they are my favorite because whenever I hear it I am transported back to the DOD (Dept of Defense) Mannheim Elementary School in Mannheim Germany where my father was stationed.

The two most things I enjoyed was learning to read and singing songs.

I can hear my mother as she sang with me.  To me she had the most beautiful voice in the world as I think of her singing German folk songs and the songs from the hit parade.

What is your favorite song from childhood? 

Frere Jacques

Frère Jacques, frère Jacques
Dormez-vous, dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines
Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
Brother John, brother John
Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

Author: Unknown

London Bridge Is Falling Down


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Little League Baseball Unites The World

Carl StotzEvery year for two weeks children unite the world with a game called “Little League Baseball”.

It all started in 1938, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania when a young man by the name of Carl Stotz organized the first Little League Baseball League. In 1947 the first National Little League Tournament was held. The Maynard Midgets of Stotz’ hometown of Williamsport defeated a team from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, to become the first Little League Tournament Champions. From there the series would change from a regional baseball league to include teams from all 50 American States, and eventually be televised on national TV. “By 1950, the first international Little Leagues had been established at either end of the Panama Canal and in Canada, prompting the National Tournament to be renamed the Little League Baseball® World Series.” 1 And in 1957 “Monterrey, Mexico, becomes the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series”2.


For two weeks out of the year we see cultural differences, hear foreign languages, and see the children of our future play together in a sport called Baseball. Year after year I watch the teams come together forming friendships and sharing an experience of a lifetime. I see firsthand the people of Williamsport and the surrounding communities welcoming the teams and their families.

We complain about the traffic, joke about not eating out at the local restaurants for 2 weeks and claim we will stay away from South Side (South Williamsport) where the games are now held. However by the end of July the town comes alive as the city plans for the teams arrival.

Before we know it, chairs start to line up on the parade route the night before as The Little League Grand Slam Parade begins and Williamsport welcomes the 16 teams.

Since 1975 when I moved to this area with my family, I have watched teams come from all over the world to participate in the Little League games. And during that time political and cultural differences are set aside as young boys and girls come together from as far away as Australia connecting the world by playing baseball.

Through the years teams from Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, South America, Africa and Russia to name a few, arrive in our little city. Those of us in the stands cheer and applaud the teams from abroad as if they were from our own hometowns. We do not see Asian, Mexican or Russians, we see young children coming together having fun and determined to do their best to win the championship title.

1408043155008-phxdc5-6gln00seb5k1k164ycsw-originalAs the world around us burns with unrest, these teams and their families show the world sportsmanship and team work. They show the world that people from different nationalities can indeed get along. So often I see the crowds stand up and applaud, supporting all the competing teams.

For two weeks in August the ball players, their families and the local community all come together as one.

There is a lesson to be learned from these two weeks– if those young ball players can bring the world together for two weeks out of the year why can’t world leaders find a common bond and come together the rest of the year? Can it be as simple as a baseball game?
Note: To find out which team will hold the 2014 Championship Title, you can watch the final game on Sunday August 24, 2014 on ESPN.


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