With all the uncertainty we face from week to week during this ongoing pandemic, it can be hard to get into the holiday spirit this year. Our normal family gatherings are being put on pause out of an abundance of caution. And areas of strain in our life, may seem even more unbearable, in the midst of the world’s current chaos. How do we find hope in a seemingly hopeless time ? Remember Jesus is and will always be our hope, and he always prepares and provides for his people. How can you prepare and provide for your family this season?

Prepare the Necessities

I have recently felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to prepare my home. And He has sent numerous confirmations along the way. So, I encourage you as well, to grab a few extra groceries, toiletries and have an emergency plan for your family. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom as to how to budget and what to buy. Check with your doctor if you need extra prescribed medications, and keep a few general items to build your immune system. Elderberry syrup is my families go to for immunity support. This syrup can be purchased or made with a few simple ingredients from home. In addition, many foods you use on a daily basis can be frozen and stored for and kept fresh for months. Breads, greens, meats, and milk are just a few food items that freeze very well. Don't forget drinking water and whatever juices your family drinks regularly. When Noah began preparing the ark, many people made fun of him, but when the rains came, God had prepared Noah and his family well in advance. Let's be obedient so if these items are needed, we will be ready and not caught off guard!

Provide Space to Connect

Look for special devotions to do as a family, crafts, movie time, and discussion. As long as we are living we can chose to make the best out of our circumstances. Create new traditions. Cook, sing, and play together! Ask your children how they are feeling and share how you are coping as a parent with God’s help. Be intentional to reassure your children that you love them and you love making holiday memories with them. Start up a family game night with extended family, during the holiday break. Even though virtual gatherings dont allow us to hug and touch physically, our love for one another can still be felt, and you all can have tons of fun and memories to last for years to come!

Provide a Special Meal!

Still enjoy your holiday meal and special treats. Try to do at least one recipe as a family. Take plenty of pictures to create a scrapbook or digital photo album. The youngest to the oldest can participate in some task. Decorate your table in festive and home in festive colors. I've noticed that some families have even started decorating for Christmas early! Whatever, your family decides… just make this Thanksgiving special. Sometimes, we have to do things and allow our feelings to catch up later.

Looking for a new recipe to try? Try my recipe for sweet potato pie!

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


1 Deep Dish Pie shell or 2 Regular Size pie crusts

2 Cups Baked and Mashed Sweet potatoes (don't boil!)

3/4 Cup of Sugar

1 TBSP All Purpose Flour

1/2 TSP baking powder

1/2 TSP Nutmeg & Cinnamon

1 Egg (slightly beaten)

1 TBSP Lemon Juice

1 TSP Vanilla Extract

1 1/4 Cup Evaporated Milk (unsweetened)

Mix all dry ingredients first, then add others until combined.

Bake for 30-45 mins until knife comes out clean. Enjoy!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Your kids whiny? Complaining? Are YOU complaining? Are you grateful for your spouse and all that they do for you or all that you're blessed to do for them? Ungratefulness can sneak up on you, but we can’t allow it to take up residence in our hearts. What we allow to foster in our heart and our children's hearts will affect the atmosphere in our homes. Deal with ungrateful scenarios “head on” and replace them with thanksgiving! Can you imagine going into a home that has an awful smell? That’s what a home filled with complaining is like. Let’s be sure that we keep each other “in check” and be intentional to only allow gratefulness to rise from our households as a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord. A grateful atmosphere makes your home pleasant for everyone who lives there, and visitors will recognize the sweetness as well.

With everything that has been going on in our world lately, I am grateful just to be alive and well. God has been better than good! Nevertheless, I still have moments when I forget some of the goodness of God, and so does my family. Let’s commit to truly taking advantage of this Thanksgiving season and throughout the days and weeks that follow.

Remember the faithfulness of the Lord. There is not a day that goes by that the Lord does not prove Himself to be all we need and more. We may forget to acknowledge Him and all that He does, but He is steadily keeping us and equipping us to do every good work. Write down the things your grateful for and share them as a family. God deserves to be praised continually and he desires to hear our thanks from a sincere and grateful heart.

Look for opportunities to give. An opportunity to give may not always fall directly in your lap, but God will guide you and provide the means for you to do so. Look into your local nonprofits and your church. Lots of organizations are using their social media platforms to increase donations this year due to COVID. COVID has increased the number of families that are in need, so don’t neglect to give. Social distancing does not apply to meeting the needs of others. It’s not too late! Get involved in both faith- based and non-faith-based groups that support families in need. Giving to those who are less fortunate helps to cultivate an inner attitude of gratefulness as well.

It was our 10th year anniversary, over 700 miles away from family, four children with one on the way,no baby-sitter and COVID-19 was lurking! I am chuckling as I write this, because all things were still possible. After being married for this long and choosing to win through every circumstance, my hubby and I gave no place to discouragement. We just chose to “run” with the punches. Literally, it was a race to make our day as special or as memorable as possible in spite of the fact that my hubby’s work hours were ridiculously crazy. Honestly, the day of our anniversary, I only saw him for about 2 hours. The night before our anniversary, I decided to make our room super welcoming before he arrived home. I had placed all white sheets, a white comforter and white pillows on our bed. I wanted him to feel like he had entered into a hotel room. I had an artificial grass plant placed on my armoire to make the room feel a little bit airy. I dimmed lights to set the atmosphere in our bedroom. Everything was strategically placed and relaxing.

I framed the vows my hubby had read to me on our wedding day. Our first marriage picture and a card given to us by my grandfather (who passed away a few years after our wedding) were also strategically placed in the room. Before I was married, I was always saying, “I want the man that I marry to have a love like my grandfather had for his family.” And, God truly granted me with that blessing! The next morning, was our anniversary! But before sunrise, my hubby headed out the door for work. So, I got up with him, put my phone on record and videotaped him as he entered our sun room where there were photos of some of our favorite framed memories. He smiled. We hugged. We prayed. We kissed and continued our day.

I even had a special gift for my husband tucked away in the backseat of his car! We used FaceTime almost the entire day... But my husband never realized that his gift was in the back seat of the car! I couldn’t hold the surprise any longer! On his drive home, I asked him if he had seen anything in the backseat. He said, “Yes, your laptop box!” I explained that it was mine. It was his! He started screaming with joy! He told me I shouldn’t have said anything, because he could no longer focus on driving. I was ecstatic and so was he.

Two days later, when he had finally recovered from his strenuous work schedule, I made a special dinner just for the two of us in the corner or our sun room while the kids were having diner in the kitchen! I dimmed the lights and set the table with steamed steak and potatoes, a mixed-salad, grilled kale, cornbread and a frozen fruit drink in champagne glasses. I placed our framed vows on the table, lit with tea light candles and turned on Jazz music. We ate, read our vows to each other and conversed about the memorable moments throughout our 10 years. The evening was beautiful, and we were stuffed. I was blessed with a special gift from my husband as well! The only thing I wanted was a replacement for my original wedding ring that I had lost quite some time ago. My husband remembered and delivered!

It was truly a Happy Anniversary – Our Special two-day celebration...COVID style! Over the years, I've learned to make every moment count. Whatever you can do to celebrate your marriage, do it! Don’t focus on the limitations. Focus only on the possibilities!

Sha’Meca Latai’ Oliver is a wife, mom of 4 (and one on the way!) She is an entrepreneur and builder of Women in business and ministry. She creates space for women to connect and achieve their goals. Follow Sha'Meca on IG @iamshamecalatai and @womenwholeadconnect to learn more about her family life, business, and ministry.

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