Plenty to be thankful about

Area residents show their gratitude

LAUREL — Thanksgiving is at time when many people reflect on the blessings in their lives.

A few Laurel area residents recently took time out to tell what they treasure about Thanksgiving.  

Many traditional ideas about the holiday came to light and most bonded them with religious ideas. Throughout their memorable stories and treasured ideas, it seems the main idea is found within the name of the holiday itself, “giving.’’ As one related, it is a time that can be shared by all.

“Our modern holiday is modeled on the harvest feast held by the Pilgrims in 1621.”  “ While the 1621 event may not have been called Thanksgiving, the sentiment was certainly present in that historic celebration, just as it would play a defining role in how the tradition developed....Giving thanks is really an important part of both cultures,” said Tom Begley, the executive liaison for administration, research and special projects at Plimoth Plantation.  “For the English, before and after every meal there was a prayer of thanksgiving. For something on this scale, celebrating a successful harvest, there definitely would have been moments of giving thanks to their God.”  For the Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving, giving thanks was a daily part of life. “We as native people [traditionally] have thanksgivings as a daily, ongoing thing,” Linda Coombs, the former associate director of the Wampanoag program at Plimoth Plantation,  told the Christian Science Monitor. “Every time anybody went hunting or fishing or picked a plant, they would offer a prayer or acknowledgment.” (

These Laurel community members might have some views in common with the first scouting party sent to find food for the pilgrims and Native Americans to share in a time before shopping lists and Gary’s Food Town.

Four individuals that Governor William Bradford sent out to gather food and game when he organized the first Thanksgiving celebratory feast invited the Wampanoag Chief Massasoit, according to Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow.   

These Laurel individuals have related their acknowledgements of Thanksgiving and honored their traditions by sharing them.   

Kristi Lipp,Laurel, looks forward to Thanksgiving with messages of gratitude for others

“My earliest memory of Thanksgiving is traditional. My Mom would do a turkey. We would talk about things we were thankful for. I had grandparents in Hartington and Laurel. There was always plenty of food and family around so we had a lot to be thankful and grateful for. I don’t remember it not being that way,’’ Lipp said.”I just hope to carry on the tradition when we get together. Both sets of grandparents are still in our lives so the torch hasn’t been passed.’’ One year was particularly set apart because Lipp was expecting and on bed rest.  “We had to have Thanksgiving at our house so we had Famous Dave’s,’’ Lipp said.”Another year we tried the turkey, chicken and duck wrapped in one with stuffing.’’ “This December we are planning to serve a meal at the Mission in Norfolk,’’ Lipp said.  “The blessings we share we hope to teach to our kids,’’ she said. “We usually attend Thanksgiving service at church and are grateful for what God gives us.

Lipp recalls the Bible verse, Job 12:10, that says:  In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind? (New King James version)  “I think a lot of is, no matter what the circumstances are, there is something to be thankful for,’’ Lipp said. “Give God credit. He will help us.’’  “Be thankful for what God gives us,” Lipp said. “We have family and live in a great community. It’s true that God gives us breath. God allows us to get out of bed. Give praise to God.’’

“I think that when we try to make our lives so perfect we miss out on what is authentic,’’ said Lipp. “We see the perfect picture on social media. We want that. We see the perfect turkey, perfect table setting. We love the people in our lives and need to be thankful for everything even the hard times. We see the most growth in hard times.’’ Unless people find contentment Lipp said, she believes that they will lose out on what they have right now.

This may call to mind the Bible verse,  Matthew 13:12 

 “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.’’ “Don’t lose sight of what God has given you. Reality is where we live. We need to make the most of time, especially with kids.”

One thing Lipp described that she experiences is attempting to be always correcting to help kids take the next step. She said she thinks by doing this we may lose out on the process where God is taking us to where he wants us to be and what he wants each child to be.   “Kids change you. We are beyond blessed to have our children. We need to rely on Him,’’ she said. Although we tend to focus on circumstances, Lipp describes, if we ask God, he says, “Let me show you that I love you.”

Gary Anderson relates the importance of Thanksgiving

Anderson, Laurel, continues the traditional theme of Thanksgiving when asked about the holiday.  “My earliest memory of Thanksgiving is a good meal and family,’’ he said. “Most important to me is being with family.”

Anderson said Thanksgiving is important because it is an American holiday that can be shared by everyone and not only someone who is religious.  

“I think the holiday is so popular because it offers a chance for people to get together,’’ he said.  “My favorite thing at Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie and turkey. Although recently my wife and I have added corn casserole that we’ve been enjoying.’’ 

One important way to enjoy the holiday is to take time for it, he said. “I would say that Thanksgiving is a day set aside for all people to gather and give thanks for all that they have,’’ he said.

Anderson said his favorite Bible verse would be: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. (New King James Version)

Kim Buoy has many fond memories of Thanksgiving from growing up on a north central Nebraska ranch.

“I was very young five or six maybe,’’ Buoy said of her earliest Thanksgiving  memory. “We had a large family gathering with lots of fun,” she said. “The holiday celebration was for what it is — to be thankful,’’ Buoy said is what is most important at Thanksgiving.

Stuffing is a favorite for her. She says she makes it with dry bread crumbs, grows her own herbs to use in it, adds celery, broth, onion and then stuffs the turkey the old fashioned way.”The family getting together,’’ Buoy said is her favorite part of Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving causes us to be reflective or to reflect on what is important,’’ Buoy said. “We look at what we should be thankful for. Share your giving with others. Make your holiday less about self more about others.’’

She also thinks the holiday allows a time to feel a part of something bigger than themselves and give a peacefulness by taking part in Thanksgiving. She said she hopes that people might be able to experience that.  

“Thanksgiving gives us a chance for renewal. Think about thanking God for all the blessings we’ve been given and starting a new season of renewal,’’ Buoy said.  

Linda Morris has a special Thanksgiving memory from the time she spent in Alaska while working as a traveling nurse.  

“I was in Alaska for Thanksgiving and the maintenance man brought us a full turkey dinner and pie,’’ Morris said.  

She spent five months working at a Native American Hospital.  

That was quite a change from the way she grew up.

“MyMothermadethe Thanksgiving dinner, with the dressing made from scratch. Turkey and dressing is my favorite. Something that was special about my Mother’s dressing was she always added pieces of tomatoes,’’ Morris said.

Morris said that while the feast is always important, it’s even more important to reflect on the day.

“Most important we need to remember our blessings and people that are not with us. We get so involved in food that we forget the rest. We go day to day and forget how many blessings we have.  We should reach out to others and include people that don’t have dinner,’’ Morris said.

She is personally very thankful for how helpful people have been to her.

“What I am most thankful about is Laurel. I have had two hip replacements. I don’t have any family locally. I know what it means when they say, ‘It takes a village.’’ It did. Whatever I needed, people were there to help me,” she said. “My friends are my local family.”

Morris and Buoy each chose the same Bible verse as their favorite without consulting each other or having verses to choose from.  Each chose “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’’ (New King James version)   

 Jackie Cyphert said she is thankful for those who work hard to secure our freedom.  

“Thanksgiving is a time that helps keep us thankful and humble to live in a country where we have all these blessings to celebrate,’’ said Cyphert.

She said, personally, Thanksgiving is a day she thinks is all about family.

“It just so happens that all four of us children as adults were expected to come home for Thanksgiving. This is something that my parents embedded in me. I’ve tried to keep it alive with my children, although they don’t all live close by, except in South Sioux City,’’ Cyphert said. “They travel from South Sioux City to get together with me.’’ 

Reflecting on the holiday, Cyphert was asked about what it means to her.

“It’s a time of harvest, a time of coming together. We need to be thankful for all we’ve been given,’’ she said.  

She has fond memories of Thanksgiving from her youth.

“The earliest time of gathering that I remember as a child was my aunts, uncles and cousins getting together for a large turkey dinner. It was a time of happiness and thankfulness. It was a time to get together. We have taken turns at different homes, same family coming together.’’

“I always look forward to turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing,’’ she said. “Turkey dressing is my favorite.’’

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,’’ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is the Bible verse that is a favorite for Cyphert.

“Being thankful with love and appreciation of what we’ve been given is important,’’ she said. “We see so much turmoil everywhere. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made for us, to have freedoms for families and freedoms for so many things, a person could go on and on.’’

“Most of all we need to be thankful for our freedoms and those that have provided them for us,’’ she said. “Not everyone has as much to be thankful for as there are those with pain and hurt. It is important that we reach out to those that haven’t received the blessings that we have. Everybody needs a helping hand sometime.’’ 

Cyphert says we should all watch for an opportunity to give that helping hand and look for things to do behind the scenes to invite others to join in such as the elderly.

“Extend a helping hand where you see a need,’’ she said. “I would pray everyone would enjoy Thanksgiving time with their families.’’

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