Who Will Be Missing From Your Thanksgiving Table?

Author’s note:  This post is similar to one I wrote several  years ago.  However, I feel that the heart of it will still be of value to many.

How I miss my brother this time of year. He loved all the holidays but he really loved Thanksgiving and having our family all together. This will be our 13th Thanksgiving without him. While time truly does take away the searing pain of loss, it also means more time has passed since I’ve heard his voice and especially his laughter.

In Thanksgivings of yesteryear, the phone calls would have been flying about now between my brother and our mother and me. Do we have enough chairs? Does Grandpa need a ride? Who’s bringing games for the kids? Who will have a football to throw around before dinner? How big is the turkey? Who’s making the banana pudding and the cheesecake?

My brother and I are both grandparents now. We would have had so much fun showing off pictures and trading stories. We would have held and admired one another’s grandchildren while telling stories about our own children when they were small.

I mentioned this to my husband last night and he said, “You have reason to feel sad, but don’t forget about all of the people who have joined our family and our lives in the last 12 years.”

And, he’s right. I miss my brother every day but I am thankful for the 41 years I had with him and I hope that somewhere, somehow, he will be sitting around a Thanksgiving table enjoying our children and grandchildren from afar.

We all have those we are missing this time of year. We must cherish our memories while also being thankful for the time we had with them. I have much and many to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and I bet you do too! Sometimes, the people in our lives are there to remind us.

“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:2


Never Forget

There is a long-standing tradition of military service in my family. My grandfather, father, and uncles all served, as did my brother, Jeff. Currently, I have a cousin in the Marine Corps. As you can imagine, I have a soft spot for veterans and a great appreciation for their service.  We have our flag out today in their honor.

My brother had a great smile.  I asked him one 

time why he looked so stern in his U.S. Army 

photograph.  He said they told him not to smile.

Today is Veteran’s Day. It was originally called “Armistice Day” and was a United States legal holiday to honor the end of World War I on November 11, 1918.

In 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the Act of 1938 by changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans.” This legislation was approved on June 1, 1954, and then November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Since Veterans Day 2018 falls on Sunday, November 11th, the holiday will be observed on Monday, November 12th. Since Veterans Day is a federal holiday, government offices and post offices will be closed, and there will be no mail delivery. Schools have the option of remaining open, but most schools will be closed on Veterans Day.

Not only are America’s national parks open on November 11th for Veterans Day, but Veterans Day is one of four days each year that they offer free admission. The other three days were January 15th: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, April 21st: First day of National Park Week, and September 22nd: National Public Lands Day.

Many restaurants will offer free meals and deals to veterans. Here is a list of participating restaurants (from the fortune.com website) for Veterans Day 2018:

Applebee’s-Hopes to serve 1 million free meals to veterans, offering full-sized entrees from eight popular menu items, including a bacon cheeseburger, a 6-ounce sirloin, fiesta lime chicken, and three-cheese chicken penne.

Denny’s-From 5 a.m. until noon on Monday, veterans and active duty military can build their own grand slam meal for free.
Buffalo Wild Wings-On Nov. 11, the chain is offering a free small order of wings and fries to armed service members. You can choose either traditional or boneless.

Chili’s-On Sunday, military can choose from one of seven entrees, ranging from burgers to chicken crispers to quesadillas.

Dunkin’-The chain formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts is offering a free doughnut on Nov. 11 to veterans and active duty military. It’s also offering a month’s worth of K-Cup coffee pods to a dozen franchisees who have served the country and will surprise other military members with a coffee shipment as well.

Little Caesar’s-Come in between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on the 11th for a free Hot-N-Ready lunch combo, which includes four slices of pepperoni pizza and a 20-ounce drink.

Starbucks-Swing by Starbucks for a free tall hot brewed coffee on the 11th.

California Pizza Kitchen-Veterans will get a free meal on Sunday, choosing from six popular pizzas, four full-sized salads or three pasta dishes. They’ll also walk out with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon, which can be used from the 12th through the 18th.

Cracker Barrel-They’ll have to buy the meal, but veterans can wrap it up with a free Goo Goo Cluster Latte or double chocolate fudge Coca Cola cake for Veterans Day.

On the Border-The Mexican chain will offer a free ‘create-your-own’ combo meal to veterans, choosing any two items off of the combo menu, including tacos, empanadas, and enchiladas, on Nov. 11.

Outback Steakhouse-Members with a valid military ID can get a free Bloomin’ Onion and beverage on the 11th. They’ll also always receive 10% off their entire check.

Red Robin-Show proof of service and you’ll get a free Red’s Tavern Double Burger and bottomless steak fries at the burger chain on Nov. 11.

Red Lobster-For Veterans Day, the seafood chain is offering either a free appetizer or desert on both Nov. 11 and 12 to anyone with a valid military ID or proof of service. Options include the lobster and langostino pizza and seafood-stuffed mushrooms, along with key lime pie and brownie overload.

Thank you and blessings to all of our United States Veterans!  Never Forget.


Coming In November 2018!

It’s a scary proposition for someone who’s known primarily as a children’s book author, to publish writing for adults.  But that’s what I will be doing very soon. “Coffee Without A Cup” is my first e-offering on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.  It’s not a novel, but rather a 6000 word Christian story about love and loss and healing.

All of us have lost someone close to us at one time or another. When that happens, there are people in our lives who step forward to help us through those very difficult times.  One of my trusted readers asked me if “Coffee Without A Cup” was also a love story.  I’ll let you be the judge of that.

From “Coffee Without A Cup”:

He looked into my eyes with his warm caring ones and said, “Janie, the love we have for other people continues on. We may lose people, but the love they have shown us stays with us forever. Your parents may be in heaven now, but God will send other people who will step forward to provide the love and support you need. You have to be able to accept that love and help.” Perhaps Tom Yeager was one of those people my grandfather was talking about that day?

Look for “Coffee Without A Cup” by Thanksgiving of 2018!