Cranberries and Thankfulness


Waking up in my parent’s house in the very pink guest bedroom during a holiday always makes me happy and thankful. I wasn’t supposed to be here this year, and I am so glad that I am.

Sometimes the universe puts you where you are supposed to be (and work dictates your comings and goings, and work takes me to places that were the dreams of travel when I was a girl), thank you SharePoint.

A morning of ritual having Folgers with my Dad and Mom zipping around the house working to make her already perfect tablescapes and decorating even more so has been in progress. If you know my Mother at all, we are festive to the nines with pumpkins, fall leaves, glitter, candles and fresh flowers.

I am thankful and grateful every single moment for the life I’ve been given, with the amazing people and experiences who come into and are part of my life. My cup runneth over with wonder daily with the question, is this a dream? Another beautiful day on this big blue spinning sphere.

Holidays bring loving, goodness, celebration, nostalgia and the reminders of loss, what was, what could have been and a heightened sense of aloneness — all of it. No matter how joyous I am, which is where my heart sits normally, I too have the moments of pause and catches in my throat. Regret and forgiveness and grief are powerful and palpable.

I wish each of you ease, joy, lightness, the ability to feel the deep emotions and have them be a part of your story but not consume it. And know that I am always sending you big love and joy whether we talk every day, once in a while or maybe not at all.

Just finished breakfast here and Dad is about to put the turkey in, and I’m about to make the cranberries, and I love that so many of you make these as part of your ritual. The recipe, if you are looking, is below.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving, I am thankful every day for having such amazing family & friends in my life and that I get to do what I do in the world and with so many of you. Thank you for supporting me and foraging these paths with me. Love you.

Hedda’s Kick-Ass Cranberries (recipe from Chuck Williams)

I always double the recipe. 😊


1/2 orange

2 cups water

1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith or McIntosh

3 cups fresh cranberries

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves


Squeeze the juice from the orange and set the juice aside. Remove and discard the membrane from inside the orange rind and cut the rind into small dice. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the rind and the water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Peel, core and quarter the apple. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and place in a saucepan. Sort the cranberries, discarding any soft ones. Add to the apples along with the orange juice, orange rind, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the cranberry sauce to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a sauceboat and pass at the table. And enjoy.

Makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups.

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Written by Head Maven & CEO, Heather Newman, Creative Maven,

Heather is a marketer, writer, playwright, Microsoft MVP and lover of culture and “the why”. She has worked for over 20 years in technology and the arts. Heather lives in Los Angeles, California and enjoys traveling the world speaking about Office 365, SharePoint and Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. She is a published playwright, was born and raised in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Drama, Seattle WA and did a semester abroad at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Heather is always looking for an excuse to go to New Orleans, London, Brooklyn and the list of cities she made in her Dad’s Time/Life map when she was 11.

Follow her travels and writing on Twitter Instagram. Catch Heather on Medium where she is a top writer in Inspiration.

Check out her IG Story for #TheCurlerReport, tales of woman on the go who happens to love her hot rollers.

Listen to her podcast: Mavens Do It Better on iTunes, Stitcher or website. Full disclosure on LinkedIn.

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