Hymns of Thanks


When the English settlers gathered to give thanks to the harvest they shared a common faith, a common bond. Through the years Christians have continued to give thanks and some wonderful hymns have come out of that tradition of worship and thankgiving. Here are the first verses of four of the most loved Thanksgiving Hymns.

Come Ye Thankful People, Come,
Words by Henry Alford, Music by George J. Elvey

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

Count Your Blessings
Words by Johnson Oatman, Jr., Music by Edwin O. Excell

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Now Thank We All Our God
Words by Martin Rinkhart (translation Catherine Winkworth), Music by Johann Cruger

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

We Gather Together
Netherlands folk hymn, translated by Theodore Baker

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Have a favorite Thanksgiving hymn?  Or a favorite post about Thanksgiving?  Share in the comments!

Hops in the Park!


This past Saturday, the first “Hops in the Park” was held at Henricus Historical Park in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

Henricus is a living museum operated by the Henricus Foundation and the counties of Chesterfield and Henrico.hops4

The Citie of Henricus was the second successful English settlement in the New World. Three hundred settlers, led by Sir Thomas Dale left Jamestown where the environment was less than healthy and traveled some 80 miles up the James River. Henricus Historical Park re-creates this part of early American history.


On a brisk, sunny, autumn day hundreds of beer aficionados and their families came out to experience the finest offerings from more than fifteen Virginia craft breweries, farmer’s markets and historical interpreters, all on the banks of the James River.

This event was a free harvest festival and definitely one of the highlights of the fall season.hops3

We were there to partake and enjoy. And while we had a mishap or two navigating our way from the parking lot via shuttle bus, it was a delightful afternoon.

And, oh yes we sampled several excellent brews.

As the sun began to set, a large bonfire was being built on the hill. Another obligation took us away, but we left planning (and hoping) that we’d be able to come again next year.

And this time get there earlier.

Photos: Henricus Historical Park

MONDAY: Five Blogs We Love

In our continuing series, here are five more great blogs you should check out.

300 words a day
Five days a week Jon talks about his life following Jesus, usuallly 300 words at a time.

Glitchy Artist
Alex Markovich shares his love for photograph and art from his home in Russia. He says his style is Contemplative Photography because it gives an “evanescent mood and a deep feeling for the present moment.”

Word Jazz
Sharing a love of language and how it is used in art, in media, in advertising, and in everyday conversation. Check him out and increase your own vocabulary.

Pursuit of Life
John shares his love of the outdoors and taking photographs. He’s had the opportunity to work in several countries as an ESL teacher. He’s now in Colorado and we get to enjoy his photography.

The Daily Post
Here’s an excellent resource for WordPress bloggers. Whether you’re new to blogging or a veteran there’s lots of good stuff here.

Why the Cornucopia?


Origins of the cornucopia go back to ancient mythology. It was the attribute of several Greek and Roman deities, most of all those associated with the harvest or spiritual abundance.

Here in America, the cornucopia has become associated mostly with Thanksgiving. The display usually consists of a hollow, horn-shaped basket filled with an abundance of fruits and vegetables.

Want to make a cornucopia of your own? Check out these resources.

Martha Stewart offers instructions to make a handmade cornucopia from raffia. Then she recommends filling it with wheat stalks, squash, apples and pears.

Make it a family project. KidzWorld gives instructions to make a cornucopia from breadstick dough that’s edible when you’re through with the display.

Favecrafts walks you through the instructions for making a cornucopia including suggestions for how to modify a craft store cone-shaped basket.

LilyShop offers instructions for three different types of cornucopia, including making one from pizza dough.

Artists Helping Children suggests several ways for kids to make a cornucopia. Check out the felt one made for holding silverware or a cornucopia wall hanging.

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.
– Henry David Thoreau

Five Cost Cutting Tips for Your Next Event


Working on a budget for your next meeting? Who isn’t, right?

Here are some tips to keep the budget from getting out of hand.

1) Instead of a sit-down plated dinner, consider instead a reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, maybe a
pasta bar, or a mashed potato bar. Have an ending and starting time so that your attendees can make plans
afterward to go out and continue their evening on their own or so that they can head back to their room to

2) Take a look at what A/V you actually need for your meeting. Do you really need so many Power Points?

3) Consider trimming back on decor. Depending on your venue, you might be able to install your own. Take a
look at the room or venue that you’re using, can you enhance the features rather than hide them with
decorations? Maybe you don’t need to consider such an elaborate theme for your event.

4) Save on speaker fees by using the experts within your own organization. Sure the big names may be a draw,
but if a fellow employee can provide an entertaining and informative presentation, give them a shot. If you
do hire an outside speaker, offer them the opportunity to stay around for a book signing (and selling).

5) Can you adjust your dates? Sometimes a venue might be booked on your preferred dates, but if you can be
a bit flexible, they may just be willing to give you a deal to fill a void in their calendar.

What ways have you cut back on meeting budgets? Share your ideas in the comments.

Honoring those who served

veteran’s Day was created in the United States as a way to honor and pay respect to the men and women who have served in the military. When it began on November 11, 1918, it was referred to as “Armistice Day” commemorating the first anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1926 a resolution was passed in Congress to observe the day. It was established as a national holiday in 1938. Still known as Armistice Day, President Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veteran’s Day as a way to ensure that veterans of all American conflicts would be remembered.

Here are some quotes to meditate on this Veteran’s Day.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
– John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men.”
– George Patton

“Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don’t have that problem.”
– Ronald Reagan

“The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”
– Patrick Henry

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
– George Washington

“Never give in –never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
– Winston Churchill

“My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place—police, firefighters, and members of our armed forces.”
– Sidney Sheldon

“Damn the wars but bless the soldier.”
– T.L. Moffitt

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
– Elmer Davis

“America’s Veterans have served their country with the belief that democracy and freedom are ideals to be upheld around the world.”
– John Doolittle

“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.”
– Abraham Lincoln

Everything Pumpkin Spice


You know the approach of fall is upon us when the Pumpkin Spice Lattes appear at Starbucks.

We’re well into the fall season now and Christmas decorations and recipes and coffee drinks are on the menu.

But it’s not quite Thanksgiving, so there’s still time to enjoy some delicious pumpkin. Whether it’s pie, or cheesecake, or soup that you crave, nothing quite says fall like the flavor of pumpkin.

Here are some favorite recipes you might want to try. And remember, these are just a sampling. The choices really are endless.

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie
Simply Recipes offers up a made from scratch recipe with pie made from a fresh pumpkin or pumpkin purée from a can. The choice may be a taste preference, but either version sounds delicious.

Savory Pumpkin Soup
Minimalist Baker has a simple, but tasty, recipe for pumpkin soup. Try this seven ingredient soup that starts with sugar pumkins.

Pumpkin Bread
Once Upon a Chef shares memories of her grandmother’s pumpkin bread recipe and, best of all, shares the recipe. It’s a delicious family tradition.

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Martha Stewart says these cookies “transform pumpkin pie flavors into portable treats.”

Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake
It’s hard to go wrong with a recipe from Southern Living. This one combines the best of Thanksgiving dessert favorites topping the pumpkin cheesecake with a sweet praline topping.

We haven’t tried all of these. If you do, let us know how they turn out, or post your favorite recipe (or link to) in the comments.

photo credit: Pie via photopin (license)