Living Large In Our Little House

Mental Aspect of Holidays Sometimes Harder Than the Physical

Photo from Mother Earth News


Every holiday at Our Little House since 2007 has been about trying to establish new holiday traditions.

Some years have been easier than others, for some reason.

Thursday, I would say, was one of the hardest Thanksgivings since we’ve been here. During past years, we have either been to my aunt’s house to celebrate or gone down to our neighbors, but this year, they both left town.

As I wrote several months ago, we just haven’t made many friends in our new small town and the ones we have made have never mentioned getting together on a holiday. (Several did ask me what we were doing, but we didn’t receive an invite!)

Dale and I did plan a special dinner for Thursday. Neither one of us has ever cared for the traditional turkey and both of us have family stuffing recipes that we can’t seem to duplicate, so we planned on grilling a prime rib I bought Dale for Father’s Day (he takes a while studying the grilling methods and working his way up to the actual cook).

However, when we got up on Thursday morning, something – I don’t even remember what now – reminded me so vividly of my mother – that grief and sadness set in.


Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

On this day that we are supposedly giving thanks for all of our blessings (and not making it about family squabbles, the size of the meal, shopping, or who won the football game), I’m, of course, taking this opportunity to blog about gratitude.

On most days, I have an “attitude of gratitude,” I find it within myself to be thankful for at least one thing in my life that is good. Oftentimes, when I am writing in my vision journal, I try to find as many things as I can, not limiting myself by finding “at least five,” or “at least ten.”

Sometimes I come up with a whole page of things I am thankful for.

I think for some people, it isn’t so easy. They will always find their glass half empty, or wishing for more than what they have. They see gratitude as a fine line of accepting what they have as “defeat” or that they may not ever have more money, that bigger house, the newest technological device or the latest car.

They fail to see that we all must be truly grateful for everything in our lives in order to attract more.

On the days I find many things to be thankful for, it creates a positive energy that allows me to accomplish more in my personal and my work life.

That’s how gratitude plays into the Law of Attraction.

I hope all of our Living Large community, whether you reside in the U.S. or someplace else, will find time to count your blessings today.

It will make you feel better and just might help attract more of what you want into your life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Boycotting Black Friday

Only three more days until the Silly Shopping Season officially gets underway, when people flock to stores to purchase socks, ties, hats and other “stuff” that can be returned on the day after the Silly Season ends.

Or, should we say, only two more days until the Silly Season gets underway, because the retail Gods in all of their wisdom decided this year to push Black Friday to Thanksgiving, opening their stores at 10 and 11 p.m. Thursday night.

When I began my first and only retail job, at J.C. Penney, 30 years ago this fall, holidays were sacred. If we couldn’t count on anything else in retail, we could at least count on spending time with our families on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That, unfortunately, is something people working in retail can no longer count on.

“But,” you say, “they don’t have to be to work until that night.”

Wrong, most retail employees don’t just show up when the doors open, they typically have to be at work a couple hours ahead of time to stock and do inventory, especially before such a huge event as Black “Friday,” meaning people who work in a store that is opening at 10 p.m. will have to report to work by 6 or 7 p.m., which means they also had to presumably sleep before coming in.

Doesn’t leave much time with their families.


A Greener and More Humane Thanksgiving

I visited my massage therapist yesterday and I always enjoy our conversation almost as much as I do the massage. We’re generally like-minded on most issues – she is the one who founded our local sustainable page that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

I was surprised to learn, though, that we didn’t agree on the uproar PETA made this year over the Turkey Trot Festival, in which live turkeys are thrown from an airplane. The wild turkeys, which can only generally fly at low altitudes and slow speeds, sometimes plummet into the ground, cars or buildings with a sickening splat.

She generally agreed with most of the townsfolk that it is a long standing, 60-year tradition and the kids were the ones who really missed out on getting to chase the birds – if they survived the drop – which is the whole point, she said (I’m glad she said this is the point because up until now I did not get it).

“There are turkeys dying everyday in the factory farms and far less of them die in one day at the festival than in a factory farm,” she argued. “I choose to pick my battles over other animal rights issues.”


Newspaper is for More than Fetching or Piddling on in the Country

Many people in the big cities think that traditional media is already dead.

What I’ve learned from living in the country is that it may be gasping for air in the city, but traditional media is alive and well in rural America.

The power of local traditional media was brought home a couple of weeks ago when my husband heard about those two lost Jack Russell Terriers on a popular daily local radio program.

Thanks to that program, the two dogs were home within a day.

This morning, while scanning the Lost and Found section of the classifieds, I realized the local media had brought home another dog, only according to the ad, this wasn’t a happy ending for the dog or his family.


The Disaster Plan at Our Little House

Congratulations to Sue Moak, who won the copy of “The Parchment Paper Cookbook,” by Brette Sember. Please email me, Sue, with your snail mail address to claim your book! fivecoat Brette also has a great Thanksgiving version ebook for Kindle for .99 cents through November 19. I hope you check that out too! I will have some more great book giveaways just in time for the holidays. Watch for them on Fridays through November!


The woodburning stove in The Little House

The brutal early snowstorm the East Coast of the U.S. experienced a couple of weeks ago should be a reminder to us all to be prepared in case of an emergency.

Several of my friends weathered the storm in their homes. Many were without power for a day. Others had to go and stay with friends and relatives.

Nearly four years ago, we were without power here at Our Little House for 10 days.


The Parchment Paper Cookbook Giveway

Today, Living Large community, we’re beginning a series of Friday book giveaways, just in time for the holidays. We’re beginning with one of the best, “The Parchment Paper Cookbook,” by Brette Sember.

I did an interview with Brette this week about her work and her book:


Dogs, the Good in Bad Situations and New Friends


I apologize for my unexpected absence from the blog on Tuesday. It has been the “Week of the Dog” around here.

Dakota, our Doxie/Beagle mix is having terrible problems with her allergies again. This past spring, she dug her eyes so badly that she actually created what the vet called a “divot” on her cornea. It took us several weeks for us to get that to heal so she wouldn’t lose her eyesight.

This past weekend, she began digging everywhere (except her eyes, which now required two medications, twice daily). By Monday, she had scratched herself raw and by the time the vet could see her on Monday afternoon, she was bleeding from her ears, her neck….you get the idea. She was miserable, we were miserable and it was a mess.

Fast forward to this morning and she seems to be healing, the allergy meds and antibiotics to clear the bacterial infection from scratching are starting to take effect and she is acting more herself.

The vet has no idea what suddenly caused this outbreak, but suspects it was a diet change more than a month ago. We switched from one high quality food to one I felt was even better. While they all seem to enjoy the new food, Dakota’s sensitive allergy system didn’t, so back to the old food for her.

Now, Abbi has severely cut her paw and she will not allow me to put anything on it (she immediately licks it off), so I foresee another trip to the vet in our future.

We hate it when our dogs are ill or in pain and cannot tell us what is wrong.