Countdown to Thanksgiving: Seven Ways in Four Days to Help Make Your Thanksgiving a Celebration.

"Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before

His presence with singing."

Psalm 100:2

The letter "S" is for .....


We serve our spouses, family, children, coworkers, friends and strangers on a daily bass, We all serve someone at sometime in someway. But our attitude and how we serve one another is more important than the act of serving. No one wants to be served out of obligation but rather out of love.

2 Corinthians 9:7

"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver."


Have you ever eaten a salad made with love compared to one made without love? Keep tracking with me here. There is a difference,

I know when I've made a salad with love. My ingredients are fresh. I add a variety of extras to the salad such as walnuts, fruit, maybe some feta, etc,.

I may even follow a recipe. Perhaps the dressing was made from scratch and carefully presented on a salad plate.

Now compare that to my unloved salad. I open a bag of already shredded iceberg lettuce and put some ranch on it.


What's the difference? The salad made with love took time, effort, thoughtfulness, and execution. with the receiver in mind.

It reflects:

"I'm thinking of you."

"I want you to enjoy your salad experience."

"I want this salad to taste good and be satisfying."

Whereas the unloved salad has the server , not the receiver in mind.

"I don't have time for this."

"Im in a hurry... lettuce get this over."

The salad becomes a filler, not a a feature. Food made with love nourishes the soul.

Psalm 34:8

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him."


Instead of going through a buffet line this year, try passing the food family style, around the table counterclockwise, to the right. When several dishes are being passed they will go the same direction and no one will get overlooked. It is orderly. Passing the food connects you to each other. It is sharing a common purpose. We are communing with one another. The older can help the younger. One day when we as believers sit at the banquet table with Christ, I doubt Jesus will say, "Now everyone grab a plate and go through the line."


We will sit down at His banquet table and He will serve us because He loves us.

And I can't wait.

So this Thanksgiving be a cheerful giver. Serve with gladness.

Take time to add thoughtful detail to your presentations.

Love is in the details.


Here are two of my favorite salad recipes. The pear salad is from my sister Sarah, and the spicy pecan salad is from my mother-in-law Mary.

Both are fabulous.

Spicy Pecan Salad


Vinaigrette: ⅔ cup sugar 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon salt ⅔ cup distilled white vinegar 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 4½ teaspoons onion juice 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 1 cup vegetable oil

Salad: 4 cups mixed field greens 2 green onions, chopped 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup) 1 Granny Smith apple, cored, seeded, chopped ¼ cup coarsely chopped Spicy Pecans

Combine sugar, dry mustard, salt and vinegars. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in onion juice and Worcestershire. Add oil slowly, whisking continuously until blended.

Toss greens, green onions, blue cheese, apple, and pecans in salad bowl. Add vinaigrette, tossing to coat.

Spicy Pecans: 2 large egg whites 1½ teaspoons salt ¾ cup sugar 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper 4½ cups pecan halves 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Recipe directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat egg whites with salt until foamy. Add sugar, Worcestershire, paprika, and cayenne. Fold in pecans and melted butter. Spread pecans evenly on a baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Store pecans in an airtight container. Yields 4½ cups.

You can make the pecans ahead of time and store in airtight container.

Craisin Pear Salad


  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons diced onion

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

  • 4 ounces grated Parmesan

  • 1 cup cashews

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

  • 1 apple - peeled, cored and diced

  • 1 pear - peeled, cored and sliced

  • 1 cup - blueberries


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard, and salt. Process until well blended. With machine still running, add oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture is thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds, and process just a few seconds more to mix.

  2. In a large serving bowl, toss together the romaine lettuce, shredded Parmesan cheese, cashews, dried cranberries, apple, and pear. Pour dressing over salad just before serving, and toss to coat.

The letter "G" is for.....


There are a ton of games that are family friendly that the old and young alike will enjoy. We love to play group games. Yes all 37 of us will play from ages 13-88. Here are two games we enjoy.

The Salad Bowl Game


Write down people, places, and things.

Ask everyone to write down a single word on a slip of paper. They might be the first or last name of a famous person, a city to visit, a movie, or even a favorite food.

Fold up all the papers and place them into a salad bowl.

Divide into two teams and learn the rules of the game. Split the group into two teams.

There are three rounds in the game and each round is played in a similar way (see the rules for each round below).

To start, a person from the first team picks a word out of the salad bowl and his teammates try to guess the word. Once the word is guessed, the same player picks another word quickly from the bowl for his teammates to guess. He keeps picking words until his 1 minute turn is up (you need a timer to keep track). After 1 minute, give the team 1 point for every correct word that was guessed. Once the first team finishes, the next team goes until all the words in the salad bowl are guessed.

Round one: verbal clues The player picks a word from the bowl and describes it to his teammates without saying the actual word. Once the word is correctly guessed, he can select another word from the bowl for his teammates to guess. He continues picking, describing each word for his teammates to guess, until his 1 minute turn is up.

Round two: charades In this next round, the player picks a word from the salad bowl and must act it out without talking. Once it’s guessed, he picks a new word and continues until his 1 minute turn is up.

Round three: one word clue For this last round, a player picks a word from the bowl and gives 1 clue to get his teammates to guess the correct word. The team with the most points after all three rounds wins.



This is a perfect game for a family gathering, a Christmas lunch, a big birthday, and for dinners. It’s fine for kids aged 7 upwards.


  • Plenty of adults (and kids)

  • A game leader

  • A pen and paper

  • A sense of fun!

GET READY Each person needs to think of a celebrity or famous name. They will be this person. Most of the kids will think of TV celebs and singers. The older adults usually go for politicians and people from the news and history. That’s all good, but if there are lots of kids, the adults should think up names that they would know. For each game, one person is the game leader: they leave the room. They will not play. Everyone takes a turn to go out and secretly tell the game leader their famous name. The game leader writes down all the names and adds three extra "wildcards". They then come back into the party room and start the game. PLAY! The game leader reads out the list of names three times, including the wildcards. The person on the left of the leader now starts. They pick any person (not the game leader) and try to match a name from the list to that player. For example I could call out “Mum, are you Winston Churchill?” They let you know if you are right or wrong. If you are right, you “team up” with that person and start working as a little team. You can should share your famous name when you join a team. Whether the guess was right or wrong, the next turn belongs to the person who was asked. So in this example, it’s Mum’s turn. You keep going, with the teams getting larger and larger, until you have a winner….the last person left. EXTRA RULES A couple of extra rules:

  • You can’t bluff by asking someone if they are the famous person you selected for yourself

  • Once the game leader has read out the list three times, they cannot read the list out again.

  • Don't forget the game leader does not play. Nominate a new game leader for each game.

Have a great week! See you tomorrow. Next two letters coming up:


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Ryan Twogood • (402) 764-0099 •

Rachel Twogood • (402) 764-0240 • 

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