FOOD FOR THOUGHT, by Minister Hugh Bradford

 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. — 1 Corinthians 10:31

What are the things you are thankful for that are often taken for granted?

Recycled Thanksgiving Leftovers, by Leslie J. Ansley

Turkey soup with stuffing dumplings; a turkey dinner pie that includes leftover gravy and dressing – I’ve run out of ways to use leftovers. By the third day, no one really wants them, either. However, here’s a nice way to use both leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. Pulled from the Pillsbury website, it’s made with the familiar crescent-roll ring seen in other recipes.

crancrescentCranberry Turkey Crescent Ring


2 cups cut-up cooked turkey (1/2-inch pieces)

2 cups lightly packed spinach leaves, chopped

7 oz Swiss cheese (about 10 slices), cut into 1/2-inch squares

½ cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce, and (if desired) extra for serving

2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, mix turkey, spinach, cheese and 1/2 cup cranberry sauce.
  2. Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 8 rectangles. On ungreased large cookie sheet, arrange rectangles in ring so short sides of rectangles form a 5-inch circle in center. Dough will overlap.
  3. Spoon turkey filling on the half of each rectangle closest to center of ring.
  4. Bring each dough rectangle up over filling, tucking dough under bottom layer of dough to secure it. Repeat around ring until entire filling is enclosed (some filling might show a little).

Gently separate dough perforations on top until filling peeks through. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until dough is golden brown and thoroughly baked. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into serving slices. Serve with extra cranberry sauce.

Here’s a step-by-step video:

Decorate with Ornaments, by Leslie J. Ansley

Deck the halls, the windows and the door with leftover and mismatched ornaments. I like stacking them in clear glass  vases and placing them around the house, also mixing them in with houseplants. I’ve even put earring hooks in the smaller ones and worn them to holiday parties.

My Christmas tree is filled with ornaments, and the more the merrier. While it may not look color-coordinated, it actually is:  The colors just happen to be red, green, blue, silver, gold and purple, LOL. And those are just the standard round, glass ornaments. There are many others — mostly Hallmark collections, like the African-American angel series from several years ago — but mostly those colorful round ones.

Think outside the tree this year and use ornaments in new and different ways. A few suggestions …

Turn that wine glass you’re not using upside-down and trap some ornaments. Top with a tea light or votive.
Simply string ornaments onto ribbon and hang them from your curtain rod. Add garland to the top if you want.
String ornaments onto thick ribbon and use this colorful garland on top of curtain rods or on you mantle.

“What I Love About the Holidays”

by Reverend Katrina McCoy Swann

tangledWell, fall is here, and the beautiful colors of the leaves are about gone.  We’ve just finished eating Thanksgiving dinner and the Cowboys have won the game. Next was the hustle and bustle of Black Friday and full-gear Christmas shopping, but not for me! It’s time to bring out the thousands of Christmas lights, tree, candles, little village and poinsettias for the yard. 

In addition to fall, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I enjoy the Christmas lights and all of the decorations that come along with the holiday.  Each year, as long as I can remember, the lights have always been my favorite.   As a child, it was our family tradition to go to the different malls just to see the amazing decorations they would have.  My mother, grandmother, sister and I would take a Saturday drive from Durham to Raleigh to visit Crabtree and North Hills, just to see what was different from the mall (South Square) in Durham.  As a little girl, it was amazing to see.  There wasn’t any shopping, just admiring the decorations. 

Then it was back home to pull out all the thousands of Christmas lights and begin to outline the house, hedges and trees.  My grandmother and I enjoyed decorating the outside with lights.  Sometimes my uncle would come by to help, but we told him that he was in the way.  He didn’t understand that we had a vision. Soon, that little white house that sat on the corner could be seen from two to three blocks away.

My mother and sister would trim the live tree (that was a must_, put out the red and white candles, holly and gold bowls filled with Christmas candy.  The tradition of the lights has stayed with me through the years, although I’ve toned down the number of lights that are on the house. 

Another one of my favorite things to do is driving around on Christmas Eve to see all of the decorated houses.   I believe this tradition began as a way to try to get us children to go to sleep early. It caught on and continued for many years.  Even now, I enjoy driving around on Christmas Eve to see the lights. My traditions have not caught on with my guys, so I have to trick them. At least one night during the Christmas season, I tell them that we’re going to the movie or shopping. I volunteer to drive and then … it’s on!  They always ask, “Where’re you going?” and my reply is, “The long way home!” This way and that way I go, slowing down and sometimes stopping to admire the lights.   After awhile they know what I’m doing and just sit back, relax and enjoy it all. 

Christmas is a magical time of the year.  It’s full of Love, Joy and Peace.

Merry Christmas.

What do YOU love about the holidays?

Send us your thoughts in written or video form and we’ll share it right here. Email your story to Leslie Ansley. Please include a photo if you have one. If you have a short video to share, upload it to Leslie’s Dropbox via this link.  Pleasant Holidays continues through Sunday, December 25.