A Week of. . . 1000 Gifts

Thanksgiving week. As everyone else, I have plenty of God-given blessings to be thankful for.  Here are a few from my week that made it to the continuation of “1000 Gift” list (as denoted in Ann Voskamp’s excellent book, 1000 Gifts).


91.  A surprise visit at Chik-Fil-A with my friend Dara Pernell, with whom I used to work. She lives in Graham and was in Durham for the day!

92. And a visit with Ms. Kat (Katherine), Dara’s adorable 3-year-old daughter

93.  Receiving a glowing letter of recommendation from one of my docs for whom I’ve worked for 13 years. It made me cry!

94. Getting another excellent letter of recommendation from another of my docs the same day

95. Finding the perfect set of gas logs for our fireplace, thanks to Chris, Mike, and Cindy Davis — Al’s and my Christmas gift to each other this year

96.  A church-wide Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday night with some of my most favorite people on earth

97.  A (half) slice of Kim Salmon’s wonderful from-scratch carrot cake at the church dinner. Just like my mama used to make!

98.  My sister-in-law Jackie arriving from Tennessee for a few days

99. Two good job leads within a few hours of each other. HOORAY!

100. The ritual of brining the Thanksgiving turkey, a new-found tradition for us Huffmans

101. Daughter Melanie arriving, with grand-pugs Bogart and Penny  in tow

102. Leaves scooped up out of the yards, front and back, and blown off porches–thanks several hours of work by Melanie and Al!

103. Housecleaning and scrubbing until everything shone–thanks to Audra!

104. Late Thanksgiving Day dinner, with eight of us under one roof. VERY THANKFUL. All my chicks home to roost, at least for one night!

105. Playing Apples to Apples around the dining room table and all of us getting soundly beat by Holly (son Casey’s girlfriend).


I pray you too had a memorable “thanks-living” holiday with your family! May Jesus be praised for His “indescribable gift”!

Lookin’ up,


Countdown to a Perfect Bird

One of the pleasures of eating at Thanksgiving is the succulent centerpiece of most holiday tables—the turkey. At the Huffman house, we do things a bit differently. We brine the bird first, to give it its unmistakable moistness and deliciousness. This requires some thought aforehand, because its preparation begins several days in advance.

We also cook our turkey the night before—there’s no need to stress over the bird on the big day itself!  You begin by roasting it on high temperature for a short time on Wednesday night, then turn the oven completely off and go to bed. The slow-decreasing temperature in the oven will perfectly cook the bird the rest of the night. On Thursday morning, open your oven and voila! The tenderest, most wonderful turkey ever.

Our timetable begins the Saturday/Sunday before Thanksgiving. Here’s the gist of it:

1) Saturday/Sunday before the big day: Begin thawing frozen turkey in refrigerator. (If you’re using a fresh bird, ignore this step.)

2) Tuesday before: This is the day you start the brining process. Most commercial brine preparations tell you to boil the contents of the brine mixture in water and then let it cool to room temperature. (Please don’t add an uncooked bird to the hot brine. That will just be a hot mess!)

Be sure to adjust the amount of brine you use from the package. I don’t always buy a 20-24 pound bird but usually buy one in the 10 to 12-pound range. I divide the commercial brine mixture in half and store the second half for the next year. Be sure to read the directions on the package to make sure you’re getting the dilution right!

You will also need to buy/procure plenty of ice for the ice chest you’re using (one big enough to store the bird).

3) Tuesday night: After the brine cools and you’ve cleaned the bird inside and out, you enclose the turkey in a special brining bag (think super-sized, heavy-duty Ziploc) that is made for this purpose. Most commercial brine products usually include one of these bags in the box of spices. You can also buy these turkey-size brining bags at the store.

Pour the brine over the bird in the bag. Seal the bag well. Place into ice chest and cover with ice. We leave ours outside on the deck.

4) Wednesday morning: Turn the bag over once or twice today during the day, to allow the brine to soak well into all surfaces.

5) Wednesday night, about 10:00 p.m. or so: Remove the turkey from the brine. Butter/oil the skin, if desired. Inject additional flavoring into the turkey under its skin with a commercial syringe also, if desired.

Follow the rest of the directions in the recipe below.

6) Thursday/Thanksgiving  morning:  The turkey’s all done! So get busy with the rest of the meal. . .  you can print out the roasting portion of the how we do it below.

As Al is wont to say, this is good enough to make your tongue slap out your brains-Enjoy!

Lookin’ up,


Baked Turkey


  • 1 turkey (any size)
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 apple, whole
  • 1 large onion, whole


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees, very hot, about 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. the night before your feast. Place the turkey on the rack off the bottom of the pan. Nestle celery, apple, and onion around the bird. Add 1 quart warm water. Cover with roaster lid or tent well with aluminum foil.
  2. Bake 1 hour on 475 degrees, then turn oven off. DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR.
  3. Leave all night. In the morning your turkey will be golden-brown and you’ll have plenty of broth for making dressing and gravy.


**From Bell's Best Cookbook, 1981

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Mentoring: Mirroring God’s Grace

(If above link is not working, try this one:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L–Y2jxNQPY )

This week at Ladies First Tuesday at Ridgecrest Baptist Church, several of our ladies presented a Christian mentoring skit.  In the introduction, I proposed an observation about Christian mentoring or discipling:

Mentoring is mirroring the grace God’s given you to another believer.

As the writer of Hebrews instructs, we’re to” spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).  The red scarf you see–is God’s grace which is passed to others. We must be intentional about mirroring this grace!

Grace may take different forms along the way. No one’s faith is cookie-cutter to another’s–our relationships to an infinitely creative God will always be individually tailored to each of His children.

As we take the red scarf, pass it along, then say goodbye to that person (but not forever, knowing we will meet up again in heaven someday!!), God puts that believer in the path of another to make a lasting difference in her life.  This next believer hears and sees the translated Grace of Christ and can’t help but be shaped by it in return.  She then passes Grace along. . . and Grace is  passed. . . and so on and so on. A never-ending blessing of generations. . .

Has God called you to Christian mentoring? If your church doesn’t do formal mentoring, would you consider praying for God to place another woman in your path, one to whom you can mirror God’s grace?

Or someone perhaps you yourself can learn from?

Lookin’ up,