Worthy to be Remembered

karen in her hat small


By Karen Wills

For many years, when our extended family gathered for Thanksgiving dinner, I elicited groans, especially from the younger crowd, by insisting no one eat until I read a section of William Bradford’s account of the Pilgrims’ first winter in what he called, “the desert wilderness.” I did so because I felt, and still do, that we should acknowledge not just the Puritans’ capacity to give thanks, but their character and endurance. 

     William Bradford, who sailed on the Mayflower and became the second governor of Plymouth Plantation, began a journal in 1620. He did much more than merely document events; he showed the fiber of his companions. Here, in part, is his account of the misery of their first winter in America.

     “So as there died sometimes two or three a day in the foresaid time, that of one hundred and odd persons, scarce fifty remained. And of these, in times of most distress, there was but six or seven sound persons who to their great commendations, be it spoken, spared no pains night nor day, but with abundance of toil and hazard to their own health, fetched them wood, made them fires, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes, clothed and unclothed them…all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least, a rare example and worthy to be remembered. Two of these were Mister William Brewster…and Miles Standish, their captain and military commander… And what I have said of these I may say of many others who died in this general visitation, and others yet living, that whilst they had health, yea, or any strength continuing, they were not wanting to any that had need of them. And I doubt not but their recompense is with the Lord.”

Thank you, William Bradford.

     What historical figure or figures are you thankful for?



The Ghost of Thanksgiving


When Nate still had brown hair and wore glasses, and I had a 24 inch waist and the courage to go sleeveless.

When Nate still had brown hair and wore glasses, and I had a 24 inch waist and the courage to go sleeveless.

 The holiday season is here again. I don’t know who originally set the dates for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, but I do wish he or she had spread them out a little. In the stores, the paper turkey centerpieces set across the aisle from rows of lighted artificial Christmas trees. Several stores have their plastic 2015 champagne flutes stacked neatly in a bed of confetti. Thus, it gets harder every year to give each holiday its individual significance. After considerable time spent pondering this commercial symbiosis of holidays, I conjured up a way to separate them evocative of Scrooge’s three Ghosts.

New Years represents the futureIt’s time to make the list of resolutions, knowing most will fall by the wayside by spring thaw. Still, we plan, we hope, we resolve, we look forward to a new year as a reboot of our dreams and desires.

Christmas time represents the present. However you celebrate the season—Christmas, Hanukkah, or other—this is the time we rejoice in the company of family and friends, wish glad tidings to all, and open our hearts and wallets to those we love, and hopefully, to those in need.

Thanksgiving represents the past. Why? Because this is the holiday we look back over the past year and give thanks for both the strength to get through the tribulations that came into our lives, as well as the many blessings.

This Thanksgiving, I can look back on trials like my father’s death and my brother’s battle with cancer, as well as the blessings. Our children are grown (too soon) into educated, loving, responsible adults, and Nathan has retired and is home for good. We celebrated our 31st anniversary in Oct. and I’m still wondering how the years went by so fast. And I’m happy to say my aging BFF and therapist, Jasmine, is still here snoring away right beside my chair. 

Thanks for stopping by and y’all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.      Jasmine (ready for therapy work) 001

Deborah Epperson
Deborah Epperson
Breaking TWIG

Breaking TWIG

Small Blessings Count


Another Thanksgiving season has arrived and as I reflect on this year so far, I have to admit, it’s been a rough year for both family members and close friends. Too many accidents, too many illnesses, too many days filled with anxiety and frustration. Yet, as I did a mental review of months past, I realized the list of blessings is far longer than the list of negatives, which frankly surprised me. It dawned on me that the amount of time we spend celebrating a blessing is often so much shorter than the quantity of time and energy we give to dwelling on a difficulty. Is this where attitude seeps in and pushes gratitude down into the recesses of our conciseness? Can this “habit” or tendency be reversed? Yes. Definitely.

Recently, I found a new power tool that helps remind me of that goal – a white dry eraser board. In the past, I had notebooks that I wrote weekly tasks and goals in and tucked into a drawer. But more often than not, I’d forget to write in it for a few days or to check my lists until finally I’d get so far behind, I’d toss it. I’m a visual person, so that old saw “Out of sight, out of mind,” really applies to me. My eraser board is right on my wall, next to the light switch and I walk by it dozens of times each day. Every Sunday evening, I write down what I need to do the coming week, where I have to go, who I need to call, and when and why an item needs to be finished. It’s my who, what, where, when, why whiteboard that brings a modicum of organization to my sometimes chaotic life. Plus, as I mark off each item, I give myself an imaginary pat on the back for having accomplished that task, and that gives me the momentum to tackle the next item on my little board.

So as I am reflecting on all the big things I am thankful for like family, friends (human and canine), and the joys of living in this wondrous land called Montana, I want also to be appreciative of the smaller blessings in my life. The last bloom in the flowerbox for example, or the wild turkeys watching me through the kitchen window, and even the little white board that shows me what I’ve done so far this week, and makes me ask, “Now, what’s next?”

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and thanks for stopping by.


by Deborah Epperson

Website: http://www.deborahepperson.com

Breaking TWIG: http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-TWIG-ebook/dp/B005OUJGNS/

Gratitude with Attitude!

By Kathy Dunnehoff

Maybe we all have a picture in our heads of the ever-grateful doormat.

You know what I’m talking about. She’s the woman who smiles and says thank you with that eternal kick me sign on her back.

Well, I don’t think that’s gratitude at all. I think that’s lowering the bar on what we’re willing to live with, and using our thank you’s so we don’t have to speak up and say what we really feel… “I don’t think so.” “No.” or “Hell no!”

I think gratitude is a place of strength. To me it’s appreciating what’s both lively and nourishing in our lives.

Something I can learn from? Lively. Something I can relax into? Nourishing.

And with those guides, I’m grateful for my teenage daughters – lively! For the tea my husband brings me in bed every morning – nourishing. My writing life – equally lively and nourishing. And the Montana Woman Writers – two parts lively & 3 parts nourishing… a perfect combination!

Happy Reading & Happy Thanks- giving!


Spring break 2013

Dreaming of anything but buttermilk


By Leslie Budewitz

I adore the movie “White Christmas.” Love every scene, every actor, every song. Can sing most of them—but I’ll spare you. I watch it at least once every holiday season, to Mr. Right’s amusement—unlike him, I usually consider once enough for most movies.

You know where I’m going, don’t you, since this is November, the month of Thanksgiving and gratitude. To the scene in the Lodge where Bing and Rosemary bump into each other in the middle of the night, and sing “Count Your Blessings,” which got an Oscar nomination in 1954. “When I grow weary and cannot sleep, I count my blessings, instead of sheep.”

Sappy and corny as it is, it works. On those (happily) rare nights when Irksome Thoughts and Bad Ideas keep me awake, and won’t be quieted by me getting up to jot a few notes, I start first thing that morning and identify everything I’m grateful for. Start small. Really small. The pettier, the better. Be grateful for the warmth of your bed, the one you didn’t want to leave this morning, that feels so darned brick-like now. Be grateful for the toothpaste, that there’s still some in the tube, and that you actually remembered which flavor you dislike least last time you bought the stuff. Express gratitude that  you didn’t slide down the steps on your backside this morning when your slipper hit that thin spot in the hall carpet, and that you didn’t trip over the cat—why does he have to nap on the landing?—and crack your braincase.  I run back through the day that way, and rarely get past mid-morning before conking out.

Try it. I all but guarantee you won’t have to get up in the middle of the night, like Bing and Rosemary, for a song and a glass of buttermilk. (Okay, so there is that one thing I don’t like about the movie—but it is great in cornbread and scones!)

Readers, any tricks to share about those occasional sleepless nights? 

Death al Dente

Leslie’s first mystery, Death al Dente, is set in the fictional NW Montana village of Jewel Bay,and features a kitchen full of tasty recipes—none calling for buttermilk. Read an excerpt on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com