How Grateful I am for a Safe, Warm Home: Thanksgiving 2022 Recap

I’m doing one more Thanksgiving story before December starts. I just have to let Thanksgiving shine a bit longer. As a holiday, it’s kind of like a less flashy sister that gets passed over quickly for people to get to the attention-grabbing, full of thrills, older big sis Christmas. Even though Thanksgiving is just as beautiful. I am determined to let her shine in her own rightful, grateful modest glory, with even some days afterward.

So yes that means I haven’t put my tree up yet. I just love my fall decorations with my leaf garlands, found at Walmart on clearance for less than $2 each, right after Halloween. I can’t part with them decking my halls just yet.

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday with my parents, half of my children, and my sister. Her husband and son were both sick and couldn’t come. Also, besides their sickness, my husband’s mother took a turn for the worse by having a stroke just the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We were sad she couldn’t be with us. One of my adult children flew in from out of state with a significant other to introduce to the whole family. Apparently, we passed the test because both individuals are coming back for New Year’s Eve. Whew!

I used my favorite roasted turkey recipe, over here. The turkey looked and tasted amazing. I made the keto/low carb layered pumpkin cheesecake dessert, from this blog, pictured below. I decided it needed more sweetener. I have a strong sweet tooth. I’m owning it and not feeling bad about that one bit. I’ve realized if I want to eat dessert, I want it to be sweet.

We played these games, shown below, and completed an Eric Dowdle jigsaw puzzle with wonderful conversation.

I’m a firm believer that jigsaw puzzles are only worth doing if you are listening to an audiobook, podcast, General Conference talk, movie, TV show, or conversation that accompanies them. My sister told some wonderful stories as we puzzled so that we all felt the Holy Spirit. The younger kiddos went sledding, just outside in the yard, so fun was had by all.

This Thanksgiving story comes from the New Era, the magazine for youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from 1970 to 2020. It’s in the February 1999 issue, and it’s by Janna DeVore. The title is Please Bring Us Home.

Here is the story:

About 15 miles north of Elko, Nevada, is a stretch of highway dotted with signs warning motorists not to pick up hitchhikers because of a prison facility nearby. To four college students traveling from Provo, Utah, to San Francisco, these signs were a bit unsettling. My roommates and I were certainly glad to cruise by them on our way to California’s Bay Area for Thanksgiving weekend. We didn’t think twice about the signs until four days later on our way back to Provo. It was then that our car suddenly stopped precisely 10 yards north of one of those ominous blue signs.

Our first instincts were to flag down another car and ask for a ride back to Elko. But images of escaped convicts kept us locked inside the car. It was four in the afternoon, it was snowing, and it would definitely be dark and very cold within the hour. We needed help fast but were too afraid to even get out of the car. We offered a short prayer, and 30 minutes later a man driving a snowplow stopped and radioed the police for us. A young officer piled us into his car, called a tow truck, and dropped us off at a motel in Elko.

We soon got over our fears and realized how blessed we were to get off the highway unharmed and be in a safe, warm motel room. Our only problem now was getting back to Provo. Each of us dialed home collect, expecting that our parents would wire money for bus tickets or a rental car. We were surprised when each set of parents immediately offered to drive to Elko and get us.

Even for the closest set of parents, this meant a three-hour drive to Elko and a four-hour drive back to Provo. It meant disrupting work schedules and finding baby-sitters for the other children. Eventually we decided that it would be best for Jenni’s mom and grandpa to drive down to get us. Relieved, we went to bed and expected to see Jenni’s mom by noon the next day.

Things didn’t go quite as planned. Overnight the snow storm had worsened, and the roads were terrible. Despite leaving Salt Lake City at 10:00 A.M., Jenni’s mom didn’t get to us until four that afternoon. The roads back were equally icy, and a typically four-hour drive took six hours. Still, Jenni’s mom and grandpa never uttered a word of complaint during the entire drive home. They were only happy to help and grateful that we would be home soon.

No matter where we had been stranded, any of our parents would have done all they could to bring us back home. The same is true of our heavenly parents. And our Heavenly Father will take us all the way home, not just to a safe resting place. No matter how lost or confused we may be, we need only to make a humble call to our Heavenly Father, promising to heed His words, and He will lead us back.

Unfortunately, our earthly parents are not always at the other end of the line when we call. Many parents cannot or will not answer their children’s cries. As I rode home from Elko in the safe confines of a warm van, I realized just how much my parents love me. Even more, I knew that my Heavenly Father would always help me. He does so without complaint, for He is happy just to know that I am on my way home and will soon be safe in His arms.

by Janna Devore, February 1999 New Era

How wonderful it is to come to a safe warm home after being caught in a storm. How wonderful it is to go back to warm, joyful heaven after the storms of life. As my mother-in-law has entered hospice care and is preparing to go back to her heavenly home, I am grateful for my knowledge of Jesus Christ’s plan of salvation. I know it is true, and that He is at the center of His plan. If you would like to know more about Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation, go here.

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