“I usually have my Christmas shopping done by now,” a girlfriend told me last week.

My stomach lurched. “Really?” I was astounded, because I knew she wasn’t shipping overseas. I was just happy we’d purchased a birthday gift for our grandson, who’s about to turn six. Was I living in the land of denial? No, I reminded myself, we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. And I’m busy finishing a manuscript. Shopping can wait, although retailers are raring to go, as if the world is spinning at double-speed. Hurry up, already, and spend your money!

My generous sister-in-law hosts a fabulous Thanksgiving feast each year. We don’t get leftovers, but I’m spared the ordeal of attempting to create perfection, which includes a turkey cooked at the right time and no lumps in the gravy.

I asked an Old Order Amish woman in Lancaster County, PA, if they celebrate Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. She said, “Oh, my, yes!” Her voice brimmed with enthusiasm. I imagine her daughters and in-laws help her, and that her home is already neater than ours. She’s industrious and organized. Still, many relatives might arrive and cleanup time without a dishwasher would be a tremendous chore. No matter, she’d have a system of shared responsibility. And genuine thankfulness.

No-VehiclesAlong with disappointments and loss, our household has much to be thankful for, including a miracle in the health arena that would make many doctors shake their heads in amazement. My husband and I sure did. The AMA accepts a double-blind study that prayer works, so why am I always so surprised? Yet not all prayers are answered the way we’d like.

How about you? Have you found a way to keep November and December from spiraling into anxiety-filled fast-forward? I’m not ready for 2015!

Amish-PursePlease share a tip or leave a short comment to enter to win this petite Amish-made purse (approx. 4” X 9”) from Lancaster County, plus a copy of one signed book from The Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy. An early Christmas or Chanukah present from me! USA & Canada. Winner has five days to respond.