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Renewing and Strengthening our Connections with Friends and Family on Thanksgiving

Connection is the energy that exists among people when they feel valued;   when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they obtain nourishment and strength in the process.

I am a visual person. Most of what I convey on this blog is through pictures rather than my words. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest. This photo was taken by a high school friend of the bank across the lake where I grew up. Much of what I experienced growing up there has influenced how I have lived my life.

Growing up in the Midwest we always celebrated Thanksgiving on my Aunt and Uncle’s farm. They didn’t have a lot of money but the dinner was always delicious and the camaraderie with my cousins even better.  My cousins and I usually spent time playing in the hay mow (a Hoosier term?), gathering eggs (they raised chickens) or rolling up in blankets and tumbling down the stairs. It was a special time with my cousins that I have never taken for granted. We are still close and have regular reunions.

Here we all are. That’s my sister and I stylin it in the v-neck sweaters circa about 1966. My poor cousin Jeff surrounded by women.

Our family has our own traditions now.  We usually gather at our home for Thanksgiving.  Just as I gathered with my Indiana cousins, Thanksgiving seems to be the one holiday where all of the California cousins get together.  We will be missing Erin this year.

I always look forward to doing the table decor.  I have a box that my friend Steve made from reclaimed fence boards that is a favorite vessel of mine.  I love it because it is long and narrow.  It leaves plenty of room for the table settings.

This was 2015’s version filled solely with flowers from my yard. I have used this box so many times.  I think this was my all-time favorite. You can check out the post Better Late than Never Thanksgiving Post

Below is the 2016 version.  You can view the post My Thanksgiving tables and what I wore for all the deets.

Here is the same box on our patio table filled with whatever I was growing in my yard that year!

Prior to owning the box I usually did a free-form combination of cinderella pumpkins and gourds.  I may repeat something similar this year…who knows? Pottery Barn had these great leopard napkins a few years back.

Before we redid our game room we would cover our pool table with a big burlap table skirt and go to town.  This particular year I just threw a cowhide rug over it, gathered my wicker covered bottles, and added olive branches.

I always have to add a smaller table of six to my Thanksgiving mix.  Here I set up the table by the pool.  The glass vase is filled with nothing but Hydrangeas and fall leaves.

This table is from last year in our newly refurbished game room.  This blue vase is filled with sunflowers and pomegranates from my yard.


This has been a bit of a trying time for our family of late.   Regardless of how we celebrate Thanksgiving, it should always be a time to gather and reconcile our differences, and a time to heal.  A time of sharing our triumphs as well as our struggles.  In the hope that we can find strength and go forward and derive sustenance and strength from our bonds in the coming year.

I am joining the wonderful By Inviatation Only Group today


Stop by A Daily Plate of Crazy and you can visit all of the other wonderful bloggers for what Connections mean to them.

Reader Interactions


  1. Design Chic says

    I love seeing the picture of you with your sisters. So beautiful! We are excited to spend time with family and friends over the holiday and happy that you will be doing the same, Your table is gorgeous!! Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!

  2. Jacqueline says

    I’m so sorry to hear that you and your family have been having a bad time of it Cindy and hope that things are on the up. Beautiful images { I particularly love the 1966 photograph ….. I love seeing old photos !! } A great take on our Bio subject this month and I loved reading it. XXXX

  3. Sandra Sallin-apart says

    What an eye! Love your taste and style. You mid-westerners have always been my favourites. Down to earth and real. Your Thanksgivings sound perfect. Family and farms are what it’s all about. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. michele@hellolovelystudio says

    Your tablescapes are so beautiful, Cindy, and I bow to you, fellow hoosier (I can say that since I was born there, right?). I’m really only learning to create a pretty table now since this has always been my hoosier mom’s domain, and her tables are legendary. Thanks for sharing memories of past holidays. I will be in the desert this year with the family for Thanksgiving so it is bound to feel different. My parents take the holidays seriously, so I know the setting will be magical. The true magic though happens when hearts come together at the table fully present, leaving politics/religion/past grievances behind to breathe the air of HERE and NOW (which is always the sweetest air). Too much nostalgia is depressing, and too much wishing is anxiety-provoking, but THIS MOMENT…well, anything is possible and it’s where the fruit is. No matter what family issues and brokenness exist, staying at the table with an open heart is the answer, without trying to fix or solve. I wish you joy and love this holiday, friend. xox

  5. kim says

    Cindy, Love this post. What a great photo of you and your family! So cute. I really enjoyed seeing all the different versions of your Thanksgivings! It’s fun to look back isn’t it? I adore all of these, but especially the leopard napkin year and the wicker bottles year. You have an amazing eye and always inspire me. Wishing you a good Thanksgiving with the family. I know what you mean about family and issues. Last year I had everyone at my home after some disjointed years. Thanksgiving is the one time we can celebrate being family. I love that part. xx Kim

    • Cindy says

      Hi Kim! Those leopard napkins were from PB. They turn up on Ebay on occasion. If not there check out Etsy. I am sure you can find some there. Thanksgiving is the best isn’t it? We need to meet for lunch one day! If you are every this way let me know. I never mind an excuse to go to Los Gatos either!

    • Cindy says

      Hi Sue! So glad to have met you through bio! I loved your post. I too am a lover of anything vintage and fortunately, my children still appreciate furniture and accessories with history as well, but with a more modern twist!

  6. KATHYSUE says

    Cindy your table’s are as warm and welcoming as your beautiful words about your family. Love seeing pictures of days gone by. Gorgeous tablesettings as always, love the use of all natural and free flowing arrangements are my favorites.

  7. Karen Algrim says

    I find everything you do so comfortable and homey. I love your use of natural things…making table arrangements easily attainable for just about anyone. Your use of rich colors added to a neutral palette is always spot on. Never overdone. I so enjoy reading here and following your instagram page, and feel grateful that you share with us so much of yourself. Todays blog post felt like a Friendsgiving for me…which is becoming quite popular here in the Midwest.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving,
    Karen from the Chicago suburbs

  8. LA CONTESSA says

    YOU are the one in the BLUE SWEATER……….RIGHT?
    YOU remind me of MYSELF back in the DAY!
    YOUR TABLE and utensils and FLOWERS and those CHAIRS………are ALL CONNECTED!It is a VISUAL FEAST for the EYES upon entering YOUR HOME!

  9. Kathy fulton says

    Hi, Cindy! Reading this has brought back a lot of wonderful memories. Days spent outside, swimming, skiing or in winter, ice skating. We had a great childhood! Now that i’m a grandmother, i want to pass on some of the traditi0ns from my childhood. So for this Thanksgiving, i’m Going to make a centerpiece and you’ve gave me some great ideas. Thanks!! Happy Holidays, Cindy, Steve and Family

  10. Karen B. says

    I’ve always admired, and gained inspiration from, your tablescapes. I love the organic feel to the pieces you use and as a fellow-Californian, I feel like these lovely settings reflect our lifestyle.

  11. holly says

    Ah Midwestern holidays are truly remarkable; jumping in piles of amber leaves, rake and repeat, high grey clouds overhead and a bit of chill in the air making your nose rosy pink, fuzzy woolen sweaters and corduroy pants making that “sound” with each step, recently bathed dogs smelling a bit like a wet sweater barking and jumping as we run in the autumn grasses, the smells from the kitchen of heady spices, steamy potatoes, apple and pumpkin pies, Ready-Whip (ugh), and the grand bird emerging from the oven…gravy, gravy and more gravy. These are the happy memories i choose to keep, leaving those childhood scars in the past where they belong. I too, am a Californian now, and although i cannot replicate those autumns of long ago, i continue to hold Thanksgiving dear to my heart and find new piles to jump in…family laughter the color of amber, gathering at our feet, rake and repeat. Hugs to you Cindy and your family here and there. I am thankful for all you share..

  12. Janet Faker says

    My cousin Cindy and her sister Cathy are pictured in the stylish sweaters in the old photo. I am in the beige sweater with the glasses, holding my sister Jayne (I think- she and Jodi are identical). Cindy and Cathy were the stylish, popular and pretty ones! We were sorta poor but we had fun! (Cathy was allergic to hay so she was usually miserable!). But Cindy was a true sport in our farm antics. She is correct, the food came from the farm and garden- it was necessarily organic before it was vogue! Mom never felt as though her house was nice enough or cooking tasty enough and she never seemed to enjoy the crowd. But we did!!! Those were difficult days for Cindy and Cathy and we cousins had no idea of the memories that were created in the hay now and rolling down the HARDwood stairs. So, I surmise there is a deeper lesson in her blog. Cindy is so amazingly talented- we all know that- but we shouldn’t aspire to perfection if it makes us stressed or not-quite-good-enough! Just open your home and heart-no matter if your centerpiece doesn’t look as gorgeous as Cindy’s- and create a memory of family. Fun. Fellowship. Forgiveness. Mercy. (And give rolling down the hardwood stairs and building hay bale forts in the hay mow a try!). We Love you cousin Cindy!

  13. Rachael says

    It’s all beautiful – I’ve never been good at tablescapes. I do “European hotel” pretty well, I collect white table linens and silver, but I’m ready for something a little less serious. Thanks for the inspiration. Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. D. A. Wolf says

    That box with its delicious texture would get used non-stop in my home. But you create such beautiful arrangements in it, Cindy. The colors, the combination of leaves and blooms. Heavenly.

    I also love seeing the old pictures — and the fiery foliage is magnificent in the photo by the lake.

    I can’t imagine growing up with chickens around (or hay)… I’m a city girl. But you make it sound wonderful. And family is, of course, for most of us, truly the greatest gift there is.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. And thank you for staying connected with all of us via By Invitation Only. (Delighted.)

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