Hey, friends. Welcome to another Monday Mayhem with Stephanie!
We revealed our new Around the Table series this past Friday, but before I give you more details about this series, I want to take a few lines to thank our friends who are sharing in His peace with us. Your support is appreciated more than you could ever know.
Truthfully, even though Maggie, Vanessa, Jamie, and I feel God’s guiding hand in everything we write, it isn’t easy to put such raw and emotional “stuff” out for the world to read. It isn’t easy to be so vulnerable, to be such an open book. In fact, it’s actually downright hard and pretty scary (throwback to our previous series on fear).
BUT…here we all are. Following God. Being obedient to his call on our lives to share our struggles, hurts, secrets, revelations, victories, redemption with a potentially massive audience. Writing our Jesus stories for all to read. So we thank you for giving us the courage and strength to continue on writing, even if we sometimes want to give in to our fear and quit.
God is good, my friends. He gives us exactly what we need to keep doing what He has called us to do. You guys are proof of that. Hugs!
And what do you know? I’ve actually already provided an introduction to our new series Around the Table.
There are many ways that Around the Table can be interpreted (can’t wait to see how my fellow Share His Peace-ers approach this topic), but ultimately we chose Around the Table because we wanted something that meshed with one of the most celebrated holidays of the year, Thanksgiving! You know, the holiday where, at least for some of us, family and friends gather around a table and give thanks for all the blessings in their lives.
Like all families, when I was growing up, my family experienced a lot of different struggles.
I have a clear memory of being in the backseat of our mammoth-size, baby blue, Buick Regal when I was four. It was a Sunday, and my dad, in the driver’s seat, sat in the parking lot of the Methodist church where the service had just ended, not going anywhere. Funny that my dad didn’t usually go to church with me, my mom, and my older brother on Sundays, but on this particular Sunday, my great great (?) uncle was preaching, and so my dad went. Anyway, we were all just sitting in the car. My dad hadn’t even turned the ignition, and my parents were crying—both of them, even my dad. And I heard my dad ask my mom, “Did you feel it, too?” And my mom said, “Yes,” but she could hardly get the word out because she was sobbing so much. I’m not sure exactly what my dad said after that, but I do remember some of the words he spoke: God’s calling, preacher.
And the rest, as they say, is history. My dad decided to follow God’s call and go into ministry, BUT…life was still full of struggles, maybe even more so than before “The Call,” in spite of the newfound God-given purpose in his life, in my mom’s life, and really though we didn’t know it at the time, in my brother’s life, and in my life, too.
Money was tight (as in sometimes a visit to a food pantry was necessary). We moved around a lot, like every couple of years. It took my mom seven years and three different colleges to finally get her teaching degree. She often worked, attended school, looked after two kids and a home, and preacher-wifed. And frankly and ironically, church-going folks aren’t always the nicest and most supportive people. Both of my parents quickly learned that a life in ministry was often lonely and painful; bouts of depression weren’t uncommon. BUT….
The holidays. My mom made sure that the holidays were special. She would start making dough for Christmas cookies in October. She would buy fresh “pie pumpkins” and have my dad cut up and scoop out the meat so she could use it to make pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving, none of that store-bought, canned pumpkin for us.…
Thanksgiving…when the menu included turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, rolls with whipped butter, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, Mom’s infamous broccoli casserole and…(drumroll)…the green stuff, made especially for me.
Ahhh…Thanksgiving. One of the few times of year when my family actually sat around the table to eat together. Good times….
Friends, I would like to share that my parents weathered their various storms together and stayed married, but I can’t. They separated when I was 16 and were divorced by the time I was 17. Their divorce remains one of the most traumatic experiences in my life, and obviously, holidays were never the same after that.
And yet…when it was Mom’s turn to have my brother and me at her house for Thanksgiving, I could always count on her making the green stuff, just for me.
And you know what, friends? She still makes it (even sometimes when it’s not Thanksgiving), just for me…and now my Caleb who loves it just as much as I.
And I savor the green stuff every time I eat it because it not only takes me back to Thanksgiving days of yesterday when my mom, dad, brother, and I gathered around our family table, it also helps me remember what Jesus has done in my life. I remember the trials He has brought me through, the pain He has given me strength to endure, the struggles He has helped me overcome, the healing He has given me, and now I am following his call on my life by sharing it all with you.
So…thanks for letting me share, friends.
The Green Stuff Recipe
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
- 1 (3.4-ounce) package Jello pistachio instant pudding
- 1 (16-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping (Cool-Whip), thawed
- 1 bag miniature marshmallows (Campfire)
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- In a medium bowl, stir together the full contents of the pineapple cans and the pudding mix until smooth.
- Fold in whipped topping and marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Sprinkle pecans on top before serving.
Yes, friends. I know that the more appropriate name is Watergate Salad, but it will always be the green stuff to me. See you Friday!