Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

Thanksgiving was a big deal at our house when I was growing up. 

So naturally, when I married and started hosting my own, I continued the tradition. 

Time and energy were put into planning the menu, decorating, cleaning the house, pulling out the best china and tablecloths. The night before I would bake at least four desserts. I wanted to present the best food and experience for the guests. 

One year, I realized that while we had celebrated Thanksgiving with all kinds of family and friends, I had not spent a Thanksgiving with my dad for twenty-some years, mainly because my mom divorced him the same year I got married.

Now, this lack of spending Thanksgivings together was not because we never saw one another. He was a beloved member of our family and one of our favorites. Most every summer, he would drive 12 hours to come visit us for a month or two. And most every vacation we talked him into joining us. 

We had many memories of my dad and us doing, going, and celebrating. None, though, involved Thanksgiving. 

So, one night during our weekly two-hours chats, I suggested we come visit him over the  Thanksgiving holiday.

He protested, at first, saying it was a long way to drive for only a few days. He also reminded me that he lived in a small two-bedroom apartment. 

When he heard I was serious, he started to get excited.

Now, my dad was a poor farm boy who grew into a humble hardworking man with simple tastes. He drove a 15- year old car and furnished his apartment from finds at the thrift store. Possessions were not important to him. Relationship and people were. 

We squeezed in that first night, hubby and I sleeping in the extra bedroom, the two children on the living room floor. 

Dad hovered over us, concerned for our comfort and the lack of space at his place. He even suggested a hotel room.

No; we had come to spend time with him. 

I wanted this Thanksgiving to be special for my dad. I wanted to make delicious food he did not cook for himself as a bachelor. I wanted him to feel loved by us. I wanted to make up for all those Thanksgivings we had not shared together. But cooking breakfast in his small kitchen, with about two feet of workable counter space, I realized I was going to have to pare back my grand Thanksgiving plans.

Despite that small kitchen, I managed to bake a delicious turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes, a vegetable, fruit salad, stuffing, and cobbler. 

Dad’s kitchen table only sat two. So, when it came time for the grand feast, dad pulled out a plastic-topped card table with four matching chairs. Then he pulled up a kitchen chair. We set the table for five. No fine china. No tablecloth. No flowers. No fancy little butter dish or roll plates. But there was laughter, love, stories, and good will flowing in and out and around that small apartment. 

We had a simpler Thanksgiving that year. Humbler food and surroundings, but it did not matter. Because if you had looked around that little living room and seen us sitting there at the card table with laden-down plates, laughing and eating, you would have seen the love. Felt the closeness. Seen the delight in my children’s eyes. Noticed the sparkle in my dad’s eyes at the joy of sharing this day and gift with us. 

When it comes down to it, I usually stress and worry about Thanksgiving. What to cook? Who to invite? How to decorate? When the important thing is the atmosphere, the love, and the offering of the food itself to those who come to participate. 

That was the last Thanksgiving I had with my dad. He died unexpectedly a few years later. 

But like he did so often in life with his quiet and humble manner, he taught me that a simpler Thanksgiving in a tiny living room on a card table can be the best Thanksgiving of all. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Theresa Boedeker

Theresa Boedeker is a humor hunter who works and plays in words as an author, storyteller, and English teacher. She tells stories on her podcast, Life as it Comes. She provides encouragement, tied up with a litle humor, on her blog and on Instagram

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading