Not long from now, millions of homes will be preparing the same dish. The base of the recipe will be similar, some areas use cornbread, others white or wheat. Part of the country calls it stuffing, others call it dressing. It’s the extra touches that will make each unique, just like those around us.

Part of the joy of Thanksgiving is spending it with loved ones. The people God has placed in our lives enrich us through their love and diversity. Friends and family bring both stability and adventure to our existence. Our most precious memories are filled with faces, laughing, crying, and holding each other.  

As you go through this Monday morning, fighting the hustle and bustle of work, cherish those dear to you. As you are tempted this season to be irritated by all the obstacles between you and preparing the perfect holiday, remember the faces of those you love. It doesn’t matter that the turkey wasn’t perfect, or that Arnold had to go back to the store for the forgotten nutmeg.

What matters are the people in our hearts. They are the ingredients that add both spice and flavor to our days. In this life you are not alone, someone cares for you. They care about your joys and your sorrows, your hopes and your fears.  

No matter what you are facing, they are there to fill your heart, and to protect it with their own. When all else fails, and our hearts do break, they’re the ones waiting with tweezers and super glue to help put us back together. The stuff we face, is nothing compared to the people who dress our lives with love and support.

Agent Silver Plants And Rats

  No one expected what they saw when the lights came back on. It was Carl Lafayette that was holding the gun, and it was pointed right at Hunt McCluskey. Two of the Pick Axe men were covered in glass and bleeding, and handcuffed. Pin was standing over them with a rifle in his hand. 

“As Mayor of this town, I believe in law and order. I was threatened by the Pick Axe men to resign or be killed. I don’t like threats. Sgt. Silver and his department are going to keep this community safe, but he needs men. Men that aren’t afraid of people the Pick Axe organziation. This is your chance to stand up to them.”

 Only one person took them up on their offer, and that was Ralph Hearns, a young man barely out of his teens. Pin made him a deputy and the three men took their prisoners to the jail. “You two get in the cell there. McClusky, you’re coming with us. The Mayor and I want to talk to you.” Pin said as they went into a separate room.

 “Ralph, I’m about to give you your first lesson in police work. Things aren’t always the way they seem. Meet Nathan Clark, otherwise known as Hunt McCluskey, our man on the inside.” “Hello Ralph.” “Hello Nathan.”

 “When I heard that the Pick Axe’s wanted to kill the Mayor, I was in deep enough to volunteer as the trigger man.” “What’s the plan now?” “Nathan will be transferred, in reality he’ll return to his job as police detective in Oregon. Those two will go to trial, and the Pick Axe men will be vulnerable.”

 The rest of the night was uneventful. Pin stayed with the prisoners, the Mayor went home to his family. Ralph headed home as well, but not before making a stop. His cousin Eric was waiting. “Tell the Pick Axe men that Silver knows how to get a man inside their group. Hunt McCluskey was a plant, a cop out of Oregon.”

 “A plant, well, this new guy is smart. Of course, not smart enough to know we were already grooming you for the same thing. This just gave us an opportunity to strike early.”

Two hours later, Pin got a call from his man in the field.  “The rat took the bait.”  “Good, the Pick Axe men don’t realize that sometimes, keeping your enemies close, is better than getting close to your enemies.”

In next week’s Agent Silver, discover how Pin feeds bad Intel to an unsuspecting  rat.  

An Airport Thanksgiving 

airport2Carlos was worried.  He looked at his wife Nita and could see that she was unhappy.  Holly and Joquin were miserable.  Why shouldn’t they be, the family was supposed to be in New York for Thanksgiving.  They had an amazing view of the Thanksgiving parade thanks to Carlos’ Mom’s apartment.  Instead, they were stuck in a small airport outside of Toronto, snowed in.

It could have been a recipe for disaster, had it not been for a single sound, Holly heard a sneeze.  She looked over to see a young boy crying.  Holly, thirteen and afraid of nothing, went over to see what was wrong.  Neil’s Aunt Paula explained.  “His Dad is coming back from a tour overseas.  This is going to be their first holiday together in four years.  Now it looks like we may miss Thanksgiving.”

That was when everything changed.  Holly looked at her Mom, Nita looked at Joquin, and they all looked at Carlos.  He wasn’t sure what they were asking, but he instinctively agreed.  Holly whispered something to Paula, who wrote something down and handed it to her.  Holly promised she would be back, and made her way to the small restaurant in the airport.

Nita went with her, and in a few minutes, they gave Carlos and Joquin their instructions.  For an hour, they made their way to every store and person in the airport.  Everyone agreed to help and soon, Neil could hear music coming from the far end of the airport.  Before he knew it, he was watching a make shift Thanksgiving Parade filled with security guards, home made costumes, and one man who was handing toys out from the gift shop.

The music came from assorted smart phones, portable speakers, and a few singing travelers.  Everyone knows that the last float in a Thanksgiving parade is Santa Claus, so naturally Neil looked for a make shift sleigh.  What he saw was more than he could have expected.  It wasn’t a sleigh, there were no reindeer.  It was a small cart with a tablet computer, and on the screen wasn’t Santa Claus.

“Hi sport, I told you we’d be together on Thanksgiving.”  Neil and John wiped the tears away as they talked.  “I just wish it was in the same room.”  “It will be, but don’t worry.  Grandma is keeping the dinner warm, we’ve taped the parade, we’ll still celebrate Thanksgiving together.”  “But I won’t get there until tomorrow.”

John smiled.  “Son, it doesn’t matter what time you get here.  I’m so thankful to be with you, and I intend to give you all the love in the world.  Do you know what that means?”  “What?”  “That Thanksgiving isn’t about a day, a parade, or a dinner, it’s about being thankful for the people that God has placed into our lives.”

The two talked for almost an hour, and then all the stranded passengers were guests of a make shift Thanksgiving dinner.  The little restaurant was a hamburger place, so the closest thing to Thanksgiving was an apple pie milkshake.  It didn’t matter, one little girl had rescued everyone’s Thanksgiving.

The next day the snow let up, and soon everyone was on their way.  No one felt cheated, or sad, it wasn’t the Thanksgiving anyone planned, but it was what they needed.  For years to come everyone that spent Thanksgiving in that airport would cherish both it, and every Thanksgiving that followed.

They were reminded, Thanksgiving isn’t a commercial holiday, it isn’t about the turkey.  It’s the people, not the side dishes that matter.  The day isn’t measured by how big the floats are, or how well dressed Santa is.  Instead, our Thanksgiving is a success when we review the parade of blessings that God has placed in our lives.

iPainting: Winter Road

imageSome days, just driving along, you see a simple “Winter Road” that strikes your fancy.  We hope you enjoy our Sunday Afternoon Art Post.