Talking With My Mouth Full: A Lesson on Proper Manners at the Thanksgiving Table

I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. Psalm 34:1

This Thanksgiving, my husband and four children will join a Texas-sized family to indulge in an equally large feast wreathed around an expansive table.

Time to ramp up the good manners.

Which calls to mind Milly the Monkey.

No, no, Milly!

No, no, Milly!

This adorable creature has been a virtual member of the Felkins family since my children were very young. When I came across this photo in My Big Backyard, a children’s science magazine (, I enjoyed a good belly laugh, promptly named the creature Milly, clipped it out, and have used it as a visual for how one might appear if they should do the unthinkable and talk with a mouth full of food.

Especially at the Thanksgiving table. Sheesh! Unless, of course, one is, in fact, a monkey with a mouth full of banana – in which case, the etiquette faux pas could be overlooked.

Otherwise, the rule stands firm: it’s improper to talk with a mouth full of food.

But there IS a time when I must speak with a mouth stuffed full.

All. The. Time.

Talking With My Mouth Full-2-picmonkey

When interacting with others, I pray my mouth will be so full that I can’t help but open my lips to speak.

…A mouth full of God’s goodness

…A mouth full of His grace in the gift of salvation that cost me nothing. NOTHING.

…And a mouth full of the mega-huge doses of mercy upon me and my family, much of which I’m probably unaware.

However, if I’ve chosen to taste and fill my mouth with that which isn’t good or edifying, or with what might cut sharply with my rusty knife of criticism, then I pray simply this:

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips Psalm 34:1.

When I draw a mental blank on mouth-filling reasons to be thankful, I do a quick review of Psalm 103 to dislodge the sordid ingratitude. Particularly verse 10:

God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

Regardless of whether nor not my circumstances suit me, that’s one darn good reason to be thankful. Even when there’s an unsightly chip in my treasured ‘Give Thanks’ pumpkin plate

God is good. Even when there are chips on plates.

God is good. Even when there are chips on plates.

(gentle sigh). Or a shortage of Diet Coke at the Thanksgiving table (Maybe a louder sigh).

Eh. I’ll live 🙂 In fact, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I’ll live on forever. Think I’ll grab a fork and shovel that truth inside my mouth, then speak it back to a world that needs to hear.

A hope of life ever after from The Afters’s latest, Live On Forever