Happy Friday, RISERS! I hope this week has been good to you. To quote A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, “It seems Thanksgiving is upon us.” I hope your blessings were ever-present as you spent time with friends and family on this holiday, whether you are Team Turkey or Team Ham. Now, we begin the mad dash to Christmas and then 2024.
Quote of the Week: “Reflect upon your present blessings—of which every man has many—not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” –Charles Dickens
Book of the Week: I want to introduce you to my very first novel, penned back in October 2020. My Forever Christmas is a foster care story that opens in the beginning of November and goes through the new year. The novel particularly emphasizes Thanksgiving, so it would be a good read. Charity Walters, Henry Thompson, and the other characters give you a front-row seat for holiday time in Jefferson County, Tennessee.
Holiday Tip for the Week: Although Thanksgiving is over, you can use this information for Christmas and each holiday after that. First, realize that brumotactillophobia, the fear of foods touching other foods, is a real thing. Meals can cause anxiety for people who have this condition. To help ease this concern, try to use plates divided into sections. My son, Jacob, has a fit if you place food in the spot where his macaroni was before he ate it. Second, people with sensory issues need to know what to expect. Please consider scheduling breaks from social time with the family, having familiar foods for them to eat, and offering suggestions to calm them if they become overwhelmed.
Nugget of Wisdom of the Week: You have heard the expression “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” right? Well, while that may be a true statement, we must remember that what doesn’t kill you can also wear you down until you feel completely spent. As I wrote this blog, I was in the hospital with my stepfather dealing with a subdural hematoma, or a brain bleed, that will most likely claim his life. The last four months have taken a heavy toll on my family on both sides, with losses that include my mother-in-law, maternal uncle, stepmother, and now, potentially, my stepfather. It has really thrown me for a loop.
While Thanksgiving is a time to recall the good things we have experienced over the past year, we can’t help also remembering what was lost. It is okay to be sad and miss the people who are no longer with us. Until recently, I didn’t know about a church service called “The Longest Night” (or “Blue Christmas”). Places of worship typically hold it on December 21, the longest night of the year. Our church is planning a quiet ceremony for anyone grieving the loss of loved ones during this season. If you feel this could bring you comfort, check to see if any of these services are scheduled in your area. Regardless of your faith, trials are a part of life. Even Charles Dickens could testify to that. Be mindful of your feelings, and please talk to a friend if you get low. You are loved, and you matter. The world needs your kind of you.
Recipe of the Week: With Thanksgiving out of the way, I can start to bring out Christmas recipes! You’re gonna love this one for Christmas Punch.
What You’ll Need:
2 cups orange juice
2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 two-liter bottle of ginger ale
Mix ingredients and chill. This is a tangy treat at any party or family gathering. Enjoy!
Shout Out of the Week: I know this is a repeat, but with all I have had going on this week, I want to shout out to everyone who works in the medical field: nurses, doctors, specialists, X-ray techs, and EMTs. Thank you for your constant care to the people in your charge. It can be a thankless job, especially when families are stressed over the health of their loved ones. A special thank-you goes to the nurses on the fifth floor at Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Alabama. I appreciate them for not only taking care of my stepfather, but also answering all of our questions.
Have a great weekend. Remember, you are most awesome, and YOU ROCK!
Marion Rhines is a foster-turned-adoptive parent. She lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with her husband and five children. She has written and published two children’s books as well as two foster-care-themed novels. She has a Facebook blog, Tips from the FLIP Side, and enjoys working with children of all ages.