So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

My mother-in-law Shirley was a gifted country cook. Thanksgiving at my in-law’s house was celebrated with a huge stuffed turkey, perfect gravy, creamy mashed potatoes, Mom’s light-as-air dinner rolls, and homemade cranberry sauce, finished off by a dessert choice of pie, fudge, and cookies, all from her own special recipes.

My favorite of favorites will always be Mom’s homemade turkey stuffing. My father-in-law and his four sons are basic meat-and-potato guys. They don’t want anything fancy in the stuffing, no sausage or cornbread or – horror of horrors – oysters, which was the highlight of my own mother’s stuffing. Yet, my mother-in-law’s stuffing is the best I’ve ever tasted.

In her early eighties, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. For many years, I was her caregiver, and one of the most difficult days of the year was Thanksgiving. My husband and I lived next door to his parents, so it was no trouble to include them as an active part of our Thanksgivings, but my mother-in-law mourned her inability to host the meal or to follow a recipe well enough to contribute to the feast.

One year, we hit upon the perfect solution. I prepared the turkey in her kitchen and cooked it in her oven.

Invariably, when I went over to baste the bird, she would ask, “What day is it?”

When I said, “Thanksgiving,” she would counter with, “Oh no. I don’t have anything ready.”

Then I’d say, “We’ll eat at my house, Mom.” And to her next question, “What am I going to bring?” I would open the oven door and let her see that beautiful turkey. Her beaming smile was well worth the effort of hauling the huge bird over to their house, and, when it was cooked, having my husband or our son haul it back.

Shirley has been celebrating Thanksgiving in heaven for 8 years now, but, as we celebrate the holiday here on earth, her wonderful turkey stuffing will add precious memories to the joy of the day.

If you have a meat-and-potatoes guy at your house, I can almost guarantee that he’ll love this country style dressing. (You can always add oysters for the adventurous! But wait until after the dressing is cooked.) 

Shirley Harrison’s Turkey Stuffing

1 ½ pound loaf of fresh, soft bread, your favorite kind, shredded finely (I use a steel blade attachment on my food processor at “crumb” setting. Shirley shredded the bread patiently by hand.)

1 can (10 ½ oz.) of condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 soup can of milk

1 egg

1 medium onion diced and sautéed in 2 tablespoons of butter

1 stick of butter, melted

1 tablespoon of sage

½ teaspoon of poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon of salt or to taste

½ teaspoon of black pepper

In a large bowl, combine bread and spices. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients and stir until the bread crumbs are well-moistened. You will have a very “wet” mixture.

My preference is to bake the stuffing in a greased crockpot. I bake at low setting for about 4 hours. The trick with crockpot baking is to stir the stuffing every half hour so the bottom and edges don’t over bake. A big wooden spoon is the perfect tool to blend in the edges before they get too crusty.

This recipe makes a wonderfully moist, delicate dressing that serves about 8 people. When I’m expecting a huge crowd, I double or even triple the recipe, bake some in the bird and some in crockpots. Oven baking in foil or a casserole dish dries out the dressing.

Happy Thanksgiving!! May you ever be blessed with a legacy of wonderful memories AND recipes!

(Photo by Sue Harrison.)

A Thanksgiving Legacy

Sue Harrison

BIO: Novelist Sue Harrison is best known for her Alaska trilogies. Her novels, national and international bestsellers, have been published in more than 20 countries in 13 different languages. Her novel Mother Earth Father Sky was named by the American Library Association as a Best Books for Young Adults. Sue lives with her husband in Michigan, but has family here in Nebraska and love Nebraska's rich history. She is currently writing romantic suspense for the inspirational market. Catch up with Sue on her website and blog – .

Dear Introverted Mom, Take that Break

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman outside with book and food

I am alone, in a hotel room, 20 minutes from home, lying back in the crisp bed, feet propped up on billowing white pillows. A good book is in my hand. The large window beside me overlooks the Mississippi River as the sun slowly sets and people unwind for a southern Louisiana evening in downtown Baton Rouge. I’ll probably order room service for dinner. I spent the afternoon at the coffee shop across the street, sipping on a deliciously caffeinated beverage carefully made to my liking. I ate a delicate snack filled with fruits, fancy lettuce, and expensive cheese while...

Keep Reading

As an Anxious Mom, I Remind Myself You Were God’s Child First

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping

I remember bringing that squishy baby home from the hospital. His 9-pound birth weight didn’t label him as scrawny by any means, but he was so small to us. I cringed the first time I laid him in the bassinet beside my bed. I wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on him all night long like the nurses in the hospital nursery. I couldn’t make sure he was breathing every second of my coveted slumber. To calm my worries, we turned on our bathroom light and left the door wide open. The extra light wouldn’t disturb our angel from...

Keep Reading

Home is Holy Ground

In: Faith, Motherhood
Kids and mom at home

Some days, I wake up and walk around my house feeling my chest rise looking at the chaotic mess I didn’t get done the day before.  Trampling over toys, incomplete laundry, and dishes that seem to load up by the end of the day. I pause, I stare, and I wonder which of the objects in each room I should tackle first. I take a deep breath and notice my heart and my mind are overwhelmed with a running checklist. Why can’t everything just get done all at one time? You can talk to a dozen mothers and I am...

Keep Reading

I Want My Kids To Know God’s Always There

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman holding cross in the palm of her hand, color photo

A few months ago, my friend lost his dad. And it impacted our community profoundly. Because he loved SO BIG. Everywhere he went, he couldn’t help but talk to and engage with people—sharing a joke to make them smile or offering a compliment to build them up. He was a connector. And in all the connecting he did, he was quick to remind everyone he encountered that our hearts are ever connected to a God who loves us. It had become his thing to pass out little wooden crosses to those he happily chatted up as he went about each...

Keep Reading

In Motherhood, Grace Makes up the Difference

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding young child

Today, I have been the mean mom, the tired mom, the overwhelmed mom, the anxious mom, the impatient mom, and the want to turn in my mom card mom. Mostly, I’ve felt like the I have no clue what I’m doing mom. I have raised my voice 47 times, told children to “suck it up, buttercup” 36 times, and have intervened in approximately 83 sibling disagreements. I have rolled my eyes 59 times, sighed 148 times, and visibly showed other signs of impatience, well, way too many times. RELATED: I’m a Good Mom, You Just Caught Me in a Bad...

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in Motherhood With His No Matter What Love

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother embracing daughter in sunlit room

My toddler was that kid on the playground—the one who would push and bite, erupting into a tantrum and needing to be carried home screaming. As I would carry my child to the car, the other moms looked at me with sympathy, confusion, fear, and . . . judgment.  Parents of challenging kids know this look well. We see judgment everywhere we go. I knew others were judging me, and I knew our challenges were beyond the normal bell curve, but as an overwhelmed young mom, I did all I knew to do: I blamed myself.  At my lowest, I...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Dear Girl, Give Jesus Your Mess

In: Faith, Living
Woman holding Bible, color photo

Oh, dear girl, Give Jesus the mess. Your mess. The mess you think is too much or too big or too unbearable. The depths of the mess. The very worst of the mess. Lay it at His feet. He knew you long before the mess existed. Nobody knows your mess like Jesus. I assure you—this will not catch Him by surprise. Even when you do not understand, even when it is most difficult, even when you have your head buried in your hands. Praise Him, for God wastes nothing.  Even when it feels like opposition is coming at you from...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love Is an Endless Pursuit

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child on bike, color photo

I look at him and my heart breaks into a million little pieces. It simply hurts too much to know he hurts. He is my heart, and it squeezes and revolts when he struggles. I want to close my eyes and hold him close, and when I resurface, I want the world to be different for him. Look different, smell different, taste different. But, it remains the same, this pain.   In the beginning, when he was in my womb, I held my hands on my stomach and his tiny feet kicked me back. His bodily imprint on my skin. He...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Brings Me to the Floor and Jesus Meets Me There

In: Faith, Motherhood

I recently came across a short memoir writing competition with the theme, “Places that have made me, changed me, or inspired me.” I could write something for that, I thought. I’m by no means a jet-setter, but I do have a passport. I spent my 16th birthday in Russia on a three-week mission trip. During college, I lived in Thessaloniki, Greece for a four-month study abroad program. After my British husband and I got married, we settled in the UK, where we’ve spent the last 10 years. And now, I’m back in my sunny Florida hometown. These experiences and places...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids


Proven techniques to build REAL connections