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10 / Making merry


I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord; “plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”



A Happy Thanksgiving

November 21, 2016

I love Thanksgiving.  Such a simple holiday, so unassuming and amazingly free of the mercantile trappings of other celebrations.  As much as I yearn towards the Christmas season each year, I am always sad that a day set aside for no other reason than to say ‘Thank You’ to God is often overshadowed, if not shoved impatiently aside by a culture obsessed with getting and spending. 

I love the day before Thanksgiving, too; there is something about the preparation and bustle that is dear to my womanly soul.  I love the scents in the air and the cheerful upheaval in the kitchen and the comfortable familiarity of Mama’s Autumn Leaf dishes.    

I often muse on the fact that God has given us the ability to anticipate as well as enjoy; this is blessing upon blessing to me.  It more than doubles our joy—it heightens and intensifies it, and makes each holiday’s sweetness part and parcel of all those that are someday coming.    

Every year on Thanksgiving Eve I make a big fragrant pot of cranberry conserve from a recipe that is well over a hundred years old.  The tangy aroma as it simmers away is positively heady with memory and meaning for me; I often lift the lid just to breathe in my own personal little essence of Thanksgiving.  And the glowing garnet-colored jars late in the afternoon are in themselves small mementoes of both days gone by and yet to come. 

Two years ago a precious friend spent this day of anticipation with me in my kitchen.  She arrived early in the morning armed with casserole dishes and sweet potatoes and as we peeled oranges and chopped nuts we talked—over matters great and small, but mostly great, as hard and fast as we could.  It was all delight, the fire on the hearth, the ready pot of tea, the fragrances rising signifying good food for our loved ones, and the stimulation of a kindred spirit to share it all with. 

I will always remember our conversation from that day: the ‘hidden art’ of homemaking, as Edith Schaeffer so aptly put it; the joy of discovering new passions and creative outlets in our already full lives; the books we love.  Some of what we discussed was the misunderstandings we regularly face about our vocational approach to homemaking.  At one point I interrupted to direct her towards the quote I have hanging over my kitchen sink, copied carefully onto a porcelain plaque by another friend as a Christmas gift:

“…It was homemaking that mattered.  Every home was a brick in the great wall of decent living that men erected over and over again as a bulwark against the perpetual flooding in of evil.  But women made the bricks, and the durableness of each civilization depended on their quality, and it was no good weakening oneself for the brick-making by worrying too much about the flood…” from ‘Pilgrim’s Inn’ by Elizabeth Goudge

We both teared up at the inspiration of those words, and at the freedom God has given us to follow those ‘dreams dearest to our hearts’.  We have much to be grateful for.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all of you dear readers… 


I am grateful and honoured that Lanier Ivester shares some of her beautiful writing here at Cultivating. 

You can read more by her at and at The Rabbit Room.  

Pilgrim’s Inn by Elizabeth Goudge is my favourite of her books – though I read it under its British title – Herb of Grace. 

Many blessings to you, friends, from our homes to yours ~ 



Lanier Ivester


  1. Lynn Severance

    November 22nd, 2016 at 1:04 am

    A Blessed Thanksgiving, Lancia!
    I loved reading about your kitchen traditions the day before “official” Thanksgiving day.
    It felt as if I was there in the coziness of comfort, care, and fellowship!

  2. Lancia Smith

    November 22nd, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Hi Lynn 🙂 A blessed Thanksgiving to you also. You and I both enjoyed the glimpse into Lanier Ivester’s kitchen traditions the day before Thanksgiving as this is her lovely post. I have loved the way Lanier creates windows into her home life since the first time I laid eyes on her website years ago. In fact, her website has been inspiration for my website almost since its inception. I wish I could truthfully account for beautiful, calm preparations in my kitchen. Regrettably I am a little more intense in my methodology – though that does change when we sit down to the table and I can relax. 🙁

    I pray your Thanksgiving is filled with good company, peace, love, and gratitude. Blessings to you!

  3. Lynn Severance

    November 22nd, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you, Lancia – seems I best meet up with you “at your table” !!
    I do give thanks for many blessings that have come my way this year – and the best of company.
    xo L.

  4. Denise Armstrong

    November 22nd, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Lancia, pieces like this, of Lanier’s, exactly fulfill the theme of your site. It stirred rich, deep & lovely desires in me to bless my family & world. Thanks to you both, and a wonderful, wholehearted thanksgiving.
    Denise Armstrong

  5. Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    November 22nd, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Lanier! I am so honored to get to keep company with you in this lovely, quiet place. I hope that someday I’ll get to see that plaque on your kitchen wall and share a pot of tea and talk hard and fast about the things that are dear to both of our hearts. What a lovely picture you painted here of the things that matter most–good friends, good food, good books, good conversation, and a heart able to see and know them for the gifts of grace they are. A blessed and happy Thanksgiving to you! xox.

  6. Lancia Smith

    November 23rd, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Thank you so much, Denise. I am praying for you today that the Lord will indeed work through you to bless your family and the world. A most beautiful and peaceful Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  7. Jan Hoffman Benskin

    November 23rd, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    Thank you for this lovely writing…a perfect read as I sit down for a breather on Thanksgiving Eve. I love Elizabeth Goudge books and have framed a quote and a copy of the drawing of Pilgrim’s Inn. It’s hanging in the kitchen … my favorite room. If possible, I will take a picture and send it along. Blessings,
    Jan Benskin

  8. Jan Hoffman Benskin

    November 23rd, 2016 at 11:31 pm

  9. Jan Hoffman Benskin

    November 23rd, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Sorry the picture is sideways! Happy Thanksgiving to you.

  10. Kirk Manton

    November 25th, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Beautifully said, and I will forward this to my wife for she is truly my brick maker, all builder – the strength of our home against the flood.

    Thanks for sharing Lanier’s words….


  11. Lancia Smith

    November 26th, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Jan, thank you for your kind words and sharing the picture! What a sweet reminder that must be. 🙂 Blessings to you this Thanksgiving and always!

  12. Lancia Smith

    November 26th, 2016 at 6:42 am

    You are most welcome, Kirk. Lanier is such a remarkable writer. It is truly a blessing and an honour to have her writing for The Cultivating Project. Please give my warm greetings to Chelle! And thank you, friend, for your good company along the road!

  13. Lanier Ivester

    November 28th, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you, Denise! It’s truly an honor to be sharing here on Lancia’s site! I’m so glad to hear these words moved you. Elizabeth Goudge says things like no one else! 🙂

  14. Lanier Ivester

    November 28th, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Kimberlee, I would absolutely LOVE that, friend. So much.

    I hope that you and your dear ones had a beautiful Thanksgiving. xx

  15. Lanier Ivester

    November 28th, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you for the image of your own bit of Pilgrim’s Inn, Jan. It’s always so lovely to encounter another Goudge lover. 🙂

  16. Lanier Ivester

    November 28th, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you, Kirk!

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