Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  It is the day we give Thanks for all the blessings we have received. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving Day.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, it is a good time to look back over the past year and express our thanks for all of our blessings.  In this post I will be showing you through my photographs a few of the many blessings I have experienced during the past year.

God, Family and Church

Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church
God has blessed me with a wonderful husband, two great children and their spouses and four wonderful granddaughters.  For this I am grateful.

I also belong to a church family that has many wonderful supportive members.  They are true blessings.

Photography

I enjoy taking photographs and honing my photography skills.  I belong to a photography club that gives me opportunities to learn more about my hobby and also provides the opportunity for field trips around the area.

Fort Zumwalt Park
Civic Park

St. Louis Riverfront


Nature Photography

I enjoy taking photos of nature, but I am particularly grateful for all the opportunities to take nature photography in my own back yard.  Here are a few of my favorites from the past year.





Lighthouse Photography

Over the past 12 years since my retirement, I have enjoyed photographing lighthouses and have photographed over 150 in that time period.  This year I am thankful for the lighthouses I was able to photograph on the east coast.



Photography Near my Home

I live in the St. Louis metro area and have some wonderful opportunities for photography near my home.  Here are a few from the past year.
Art Hill



History Museum

St. Louis Wheel
Bandstand in Forest Park

Sunrise and Sunsets

I find the variety in sunrises and sunsets to be amazing.  I love photographing them at all different times and different weather conditions  The first photo here is a sunrise in Jupiter, Florida and the second is a sunset in Cape Cod Massachusetts.





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Thursday, November 7, 2019

DIY Pumpkin Succulent Centerpiece



It's pumpkin season!  Now is the perfect time to round up some pumpkins and create unique centerpieces as a festive touch for your holiday celebrations.  A DIY pumpkin succulent mini garden will be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving decor.  Not only will it be a real attention-getter when you host guests for the holidays, but you will have the benefit of enjoying your new container garden long after you finish all those turkey left-overs.

Here's What You Need:
  1. One large flat pumpkin 
  2. A variety of succulents
  3. Clear gel glue
  4. Spray adhesive
  5. Moss
It's best to use a flat pumpkin with a slightly indented center .
While I prefer to use a pumpkin in its natural state, I chose to paint mine for this demo project.  I used a lovely Solstice Blue paint color (a subtle blue-gray) that will blend in with the woodland theme I am using for my holiday decorations.  It reminds me of the beautiful shadows you see on fresh snow.  A neutral colored pumpkin better accents the succulents.

Removing the Stem

Once the paint was dry, I used my Dremel with a cut-off wheel to remove the pumpkin stem. 

Spraying on Elmer's Craft Bond 
I then sprayed adhesive on the center top of the pumpkin where the moss will be placed. 

Press Moss Into the Adhesive
While the adhesive was still fairly wet and tacky, I pressed a nest of moss onto the sticky surface.  It seems I got a little moss happy.  Could have used a bit less moss, but it would have made a big mess to attempt to remove it.  I let the adhesive set for several minutes before moving to the next step.

Preparing the Roots for Planting

While the adhesive was setting up, I gently removed the soil from the cacti roots in preparation for planting them on the surface of the moss.  I also separated the succulent clusters so I would have more options for spreading out individual plants.

Vary Succulent Colors, Textures, and Heights
Start your succulent placement with your largest plant.  Visually, it is most pleasing to the eye to position the first cactus off-center and toward the edge of the pumpkin.  It is also a good idea to group your taller cacti near that first featured plant.  You will use clear gel glue to fasten your succulents to the moss.  Don't worry!  The glue won't hurt your succulents.

Time to Lightly Mist the Moss
Once your pumpkin succulent centerpiece is complete, carefully give the moss a light misting of water.  You will provide moisture to the moss about once a week.  It's important not to let water pool under your plantings.  It will lead to premature rot.  Simply tip your pumpkin slightly to the side to drain any excess water after each misting.  

To extend the life of your pumpkin, and to give your succulents what they need, carefully choose a location away from heaters.  Try to situate your succulent container garden such that your cacti get the sunlight they need without getting too much heat on the pumpkin.  Likewise, take care to protect your succulents from freezing if you will be displaying your centerpiece on a porch or outdoors.

One last tip:  Place your pumpkin on a piece of cork or thick cardboard to keep the bottom from early decay (especially if placed in a location where surface dampness occurs).  Take care to protect your indoor furniture with the use of a waterproof planter mat.

With proper care, your pumpkin succulent centerpiece should last several weeks.  Once the pumpkin has reached the end of its season of life, you can either cut off the top of the pumpkin and plant it on top of appropriate cacti soil, or transplant the newly rooted succulent cuttings to another container.  Of course, you may also choose to use a faux pumpkin to eliminate this step.

It's easy to see why these pumpkin centerpieces are so popular.  Besides being unusual and visually stunning, they let you take your creativity to a whole new place.  This DIY centerpiece is sure to be a fun conversation-starter at your next gathering.  Why not make one to share for a hostess gift?  Who wouldn't love such a thoughtful gesture? 

Enjoy this project and my best wishes to you for a blessed holiday season.





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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Being Thankful Reviewed

Celebrating Thanksgiving

thankful
Give Thanks every day (image courtesy of pixabay.com)
Instead of spending this morning reviewing a product, I choose instead to review being thankful instead. This emotion is not something that can be purchased but instead is a choice that we make every single day, not just on Thanksgiving Day. Well, at least that is what I think. It is a choice whether we realize it or not. 

For me, every morning when my eyes open I humbly say a prayer of thanksgiving for being on this side of the dirt for at least one more day. I do look at each day as a precious gift and promise each morning to try to make the best of that day as is humanly possible for me to do. 

Sometimes our lives seem to be filled with obstacles that could make us choose to be bitter, sad, angry and lost. Holidays, often times, bring our negative emotions closer to the surface. We find ourselves being depressed due to the loss of someone close to us that won't share the holiday with us. Perhaps we are far away from home and family and are heart broken with the thought of being alone during the holiday. I know those feelings well, more than I like to remember. I can empathize and sympathize with all who feel that way as Thanksgiving approaches with Christmas not far on the horizon. 

There was a time in my life when I wasn't sure that Thanksgiving, in particular, would ever be a happy time for me again. At the time my life was forever altered just two days before the holiday. I feared that this time of the year would forever be darkened by that horrible event. I realized the following year that it would only be darkened if I let it. I could sit around and feel depressed or I could make the choice to look for the people and things in my life to be thankful for. It wasn't hard to see hundreds of reasons to feel grateful and thankful. I made up my mind that year to always look for the good and wonderful things in my life.

So, this year as every year, I am most thankful for my beautiful family. My children, my grandchildren and my loving husband fill my life with joy every day. I am thankful for a roof over my head and food on my table. I am thankful for good health and an abundance of friends. I am thankful for each day that my eyes open. There are people who are not on this earth to share the day with me this year but I am thankful for the time that I did get to share with them and I know that they are here in spirit and will always be in my heart. I won't be saddened by the things that are lost but will be happy with what is here and look forward to what is to be found. I am thankful for it all.

For those of you who are reading this, my wish is that your Thanksgiving will be filled with joy and happiness. Actually, my wish is that you find something to be thankful for every day. Just remember to look, it shouldn't be too difficult to find if you open your heart.







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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Review This wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall Grape Leaves

Happy Thanksgiving from the Review This Staff! May you be blessed with the love of family and friends.  Thank you for stopping by Review This and spending some time with us throughout the year.





Our Thanksgiving Holiday

This year we are spending our holiday week on the beach at Panama Beach Florida.  Here are a few photos from our trip.






God Bless you during this Thanksgiving Holiday.




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Monday, November 20, 2017

Preparing the Food and Mood for Thanksgiving

The Review This! contributors are very talented holiday hostesses and Thanksgiving is no exception. If entertaining isn't your best talent, or if you feel you are forgetting something, have no fear  - we have tried and true recipes and entertaining ideas right here at your fingertips.


Thanksgiving - the Good Food



The Thanksgiving Turkey ~ Part I of Thanksgiving Recipes

Our Cynthia Sylvestermouse shares her love of Thanksgiving and a peek at how she manages the preparation during the week prior as well as the timing of cooking the turkey on the day of. It is clear that family and family traditions are very important in her home. Follow the link and you can get expert tips at baking a turkey from the designated turkey cook at the Sylvestermouse home.


Thanksgiving Side Dishes ~ Part II

This article is a compilation of favorite Thanksgiving meal side dishes from a variety of contributors. If you still aren't quite sure what else to prepare, or are looking for that special "something", you are likely to find that perfect addition to your holiday list here.


Holiday Desserts ~ Thanksgiving Menu Part III

Desserts. Definitely my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal menus. A pumpkin whoopee pie recipe is included in this list of dessert ideas. 


Thanksgiving Menu of Recipes Review

This is another compilation of recipes perfect for the Thanksgiving feast - including several bread recipes. Mary Beth's Cranberry Nut Muffin recipe makes my mouth water. 


Gatherings - Setting the Mood

Barbara has some of the best ideas for setting the mood - in both decor or entertaining. In How to Create a Positive Environment for Your Thanksgiving Dinner she lists 10 ways to keep a calm and kind gathering. 

BarbRad shares a large selection of Thanksgiving Praise Music. She writes "songs of praise can often bring gratitude back to our hearts".

Heather shares with us her favorite Thanksgiving hymn and her childhod memories attached to particular piece of music: The Thanksgiving Canon.

After The Feast


And of course, there is always the dilemma of what to do with all of that food after Thanksgiving. If in doubt, refer to Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers.

When the dust and the food has settled, relax with a good movie. These three movies have become Thanksgiving classics at my house. Especially The Other Sister. Carla Tate teaches us about love and things to be thankful for. 

Photo credit: public domain/creative commons 2.0



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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Music to Prepare Your Heart for Thanksgiving: A Review

Thanksgiving and Praise Music Go Together


When our hearts are especially thankful, we can often express our thanksgiving and praise best with music. Even when our hearts are heavy, music can remind us of all God has done for us and help us remember his faithfulness during times stress. Songs of praise can often bring gratitude back to our hearts. Today I'd like to share some music and verses that help my own heart give thanks for God's many blessings.

Prepare Your Heart to Praise the Lord with Music - Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Let's get started with a song I first heard back in the seventies when I had many albums by the St. Louis Jesuits. I think I had all of them. Even though I'm Protestant, the Catholic Church was more innovative in writing music that expressed what was in  my young adult heart. Here's a sample I found on YouTube so you could hear the complete song, "Glory and Praise to Our God."




Even though  I'm now old, I still appreciate the simple melodies and beautiful harmony of many of the St. Louis Jesuits' songs.


The Music in This Thanksgiving Album Has All I the Qualities I Want

When I started searching Amazon for some of my favorite songs of thanksgiving and praise, I wanted to find an album with a variety of styles and artists. If I'm going to listen for a while, my attention wanders if the voices or music styles don't change periodically.  It's especially important to me that the rhythm changes. Even creators of albums by a single artist try to vary the rhythms as they put an album together.

I also wanted music with understandable words. All you need to do is listen to YouTube for a while to know that some choirs and smaller groups enunciate their words more clearly than others. It's wonderful that some videos show the words as they are sung, but most of us aren't able to watch our music on video when we are driving or doing the dishes. I don't know about you, but I normally listen to music to keep from getting bored while I'm doing some physical task

My personal music preference is songs with strong melody that beg me to sing along, and at least some harmony as the music flows. I want music that will lift my spirit, and tunes work with the words to do that.




This album meets all my criteria. There are a few songs included I wouldn't buy separately, but they work in the album to vary the styles and rhythms.  Click through to see a complete listing of all the songs and sample them right from the page. Although the thumbnails featured on the videos show different covers, the songs are the same ones by the same artists you will find on this video. OCP puts many of the songs in several different albums. If a song is only from a different album, I will tell you.



What's in the Glory & Praise: Third Edition, Vol. 26 Album?


Here are some of the videos I've found that will let you hear more complete recordings of some of the artists featured on the album. Most of the traditional hymns included are sung by the OCP Session Choir. Here is their YouTube presentation of one of the most popular Thanksgiving songs you will find in the album -- "Now Thank We All Our God." It dates all the way back to Pilgrim times and I grew up singing it every Thanksgiving.



I'll be the first to admit that the cover of this album is not very exciting, but one isn't going to listen to the cover.

There are also many songs associated with the St. Louis Jesuits which you can stream or still get on CD's.  Among them was the song in the first video I showed you above. This next one, also on the album, is by Bob Dufford and the St. Louis Jesuits. I'm giving you the visual version here. It's prettier than the album cover.






The album also features another of my favorite Thanksgiving songs: "Let All Things Now Living." It's sung to the popular folk tune of "The Ash Grove" by the OCP Session Choir.







Now let's vary the style and the rhythm a bit. This one is bilingual:
"Alabaré / O Come and Sing" by Manuel José Alonso and  José Pagán. It will start you dancing. It's also on the album.





The songs by Grayson Warren Brown are a bit slower and reflect a different cultural style.  Here's "Been So Busy." This artist was new to me.



If you'd like to sample more of this artist, which I did, you can not only steam his music, but also buy his CD. I like that, because I don't have an MP3 Player. Actually, I do, but it's ancient and I never figured out how to work it.


While checking out all this music, I see that to get the music I really want to buy and play it in a portable form I may need to invest in an MP3 Player. I'm checking out this one.


Still More Songs to Check out from More Artists on this Album


"Grateful" by Tom Tomaszek is also included in the album. Here it is complete. It's yet another style.




All these new styles are getting to me. I need to calm down a bit with another traditional hymn by the choir. Here's another of my favorites: "All Creatures of Our God and King." It dates back to St. Francis of Assisi in 1225 and was translated into English by William Draper in 1926. It appears some of the words have been modernized since then. The tune dates back to 1623. This version is from the Cambridge Singers and a different album, but the song is also sung by the OCP Session Choir on the Glory and Praise Album linked to above. I put this version here because I like the extra organ and trumpet music in many of the selections.



The O Praise the Lord of Heaven album it comes from features only a couple of the Thanksgiving hymns in my featured album. Most of the selections in O Praise the Lord of Heaven will appeal more to those who are "high church" or who enjoy classical music. If that's you, try the downloads from this album.



Let's change the style again with "Lift Up Your Hearts" by Roc O'Connor - a song that comes from our featured album:



Now we'll bring in a female vocalist, Sarah Hart.  She sings "Hallelujah is Our Song" in our featured album.



If you enjoy this artist and style, you can buy the CD or stream the songs by clicking the link below.


We've almost got this album covered. I haven't shown you all the songs, but you can sample the rest on the Amazon site. I do want to leave you with one last song from the album by an artist who was new to me and I'm glad to have met. It's another song I love, "Alle, Alle, Alleluia" by Richard Ho Lung. It will wake you back up if the slower songs were making you drift off.



If you enjoyed that song, you might want to check out others by the same artist and a couple of others on Working for the Lord. Most feature the faster rhythms, and some of the songs include female vocalists.


We've Come to the End of the Album


At least we've reached the last song from it I want to share with you in video. This is the version you will find on our featured album. The hymn has been around  with many different tunes. The English translation by Jane Campbell has been around since 1861. This version of "All Good Gifts" is by Kevin Keil.




I hope you've enjoyed our video tour of Glory & Praise: Third Edition, Vol. 26. If you'd like to purchase the album or individual songs just click the link to see the Amazon listing where you can listen to parts of each song. You can stream 13 of them for free if you Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial. That membership will also allow you to listen to many of the songs in the other albums featured here. If you'd like to do that, I'd really appreciate it if you'd click the affiliate link above to look at the offer instead of the one on whatever Amazon page you land on if you go to look at the music.




I hope this music will help you nurture a grateful heart and teach you more songs to help you praise the Lord.


Photo Adapted from Pixabay Photo


For more Thanksgiving music, check out what our contributor Heather Burns, wrote: Thanksgiving Canon, A Hymn for the Ages




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Friday, November 3, 2017

Thanksgiving Canon, A Hymn for the Ages

Thanksgiving Canon~Wondrous Thanksgiving Music!

Thanksgiving Canon worship hymn
Why I am reviewing Thanksgiving Canon: It's my favorite Thanksgiving Hymn and I love to play it this time of year

It's great to play any day you feel like singing a praise song! The notes of Thanksgiving Canon are on the  pentatonic musical scale that is very pleasing to the spirit at the cellular level. Science has now actually  proven this. (with brain scans) So if you listen, you will feel better.

Photo is Autumn Leaves by Pixel Anarchy on Pixabay and can be found here

The Thanksgiving Canon is an old standby and we sang it as a round, ending in a sustained Amen when I was in choir growing up . When I went looking for a video of it for you, the best ones were from the Girl Scouts.

How funny, but understandable, as we sang lots of wonderful uplifting songs in my Girl Scout troop. But I did not know that the Girl Scouts have their own CD's now! So had to spend an afternoon listening to some of their renditions of some old Camping favorites! 

Below is the original sheet music that I saved from an old Choir book. I think it was from 6th grade. 


Thanksgiving Canon sheet music

Enjoy the Thanksgiving Canon and Happy Thanksgiving!


For thy gracious blessings,
For thy wondrous words,
For thy loving kindness,
We give thanks, O Lord.
~Thanksgiving Canon



About Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated mostly in the United States and Canada. It is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving in Canada falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the United States. In ancient times, This was the Autumn Equinox festival. Man has always thanked the Creator for the harvest.

And man has always sung to celebrate everything. The Thanksgiving Canon is not only beautiful, but the sound tones are very soothing to your ear and soul. I always play it on Thanksgiving day. 

The Thanksgiving Canon Performed
Listen to This Stunning Worship Song


Thanksgiving Canon is On This Album
Thanksgiving Canon

I was a lifelong Girl Scout, who camped out every month for years, singing campfire songs into the late evening under the moon and stars. Those are some of my favorite memories. Lots of faves on this CD.




Thy mercies have been numberless;
Thy love, Thy grace, Thy care,
Were wider than our utmost need,
and higher than our prayer.
~O King of Kings



Here is the Thanksgiving Canon by Itself to Download
Thanksgiving Canon






With grateful heart
My thanks I bring,
Before the Great
Thy praise I sing;
I worship in Thy Holy place
And praise Thee
For Thy truth and grace;
For truth and grace
Together shine
In Thy most Holy Word Divine,
In Thy most Holy Word Divine.
~ Psalms 138


Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday and I wish it would be adopted worldwide. How wonderful to be thankful, if only for a day!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!





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We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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