Faith · Family · Health · Perspective

Giving Thanks – Memory Style

Thanksgiving. Food. Family. Giving of Thanks.

We are on the cusp of one of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving.
My mom alternates between watching the Macy’s Day Parade and preparing dishes. After 30+ years of watching/helping this process, this is also what I do on Thanksgiving morning. It’s tradition.

Typically, we decorate for Christmas during this week as well, also a habit adopted from my mother. The whole crew gathers for a meal during this week. The last few years, we also pick a day this week to work cattle in the hills. Sadly, gathering plans are different this year.

Instead of dwelling in the muck that is a local covid outbreak, my mind shifts the focus to a couple general favorite holiday memories. All my favorite holiday stories revolve around family. My life overflows with gratitude for the loving foundation I was raised in. Surrounded with love on all sides.

My grandma Ramona laughing so hard she couldn’t finish- or sometimes start- a story. Tears would stream down her face. Gosh, I love that memory! Cramming the tables, sitting on the floors with plates, singing the doxology and eating-napping-playing outside- eating again… On repeat every year for that side of the family until we said goodbye to our patriarch and matriarch.

Similarly, mom’s side gathered and filled the house for holidays. The kitchen aromas -always Grandma Evelyn’s French bread, laughter, competitive games such as pitch, Rummikub, and spoons, and the younger boys getting into a scrape… Always placemats on the table. The enjoyment of spending time with my aunts, uncles, and cousins is treasured.

It was a crowd and volume adjustment for my husband the first years of holidays with my family. We get loud and then louder. Holidays are not just one meal. They encompass entire days.

If you are like me, 2020 has made you extremely weary of the cancellations and limitations. We’ve all been asked to undertake the uncomfortable by altering our cherished traditions. On hard years, such as this one, it is imperative we shift our focus to the beautiful holiday memories!

What are your Thanksgiving memories?

Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Friday Recap

I’m starting the last day of this work week in a reflective mood. A comedic mood. Slightly triumphant.

I started this day with a grumpy 10 year old. This is our 8th full week of in-school education. He’s tired. He’s going to be even grumpier when he finds out that he isn’t going to the farm for Friday night and Saturday. His bag was packed, but my mom called this morning to say she’s down with stomach flu (which is circulating thru adults in our area). Eeek.

However, we did get both kids on the bus with hugs, water bottles, and backpacks. So, I’m considering that a win. Cue the triumphant music!

My morning surprise was walking out to see my large morning glories finally blooming! I’ve waited months. This was my first attempt at planting this flowering vine. I had no idea it would overtake a 8ft x 14ft area. These vines have been a happy place for many insects and creatures this summer. Each bloom is 5-6″ wide. What a startling blue color!

Next, I headed to town to donate blood. This was donation #10. I did a whole line of Oreos yesterday to get my iron high enough to donate. This should have been donation #14, but I’ve been turned down three times for my iron being too low and once for a “timing issue.” Did you know Oreos are iron fortified? Yes. Yes, they are. I’m trying to make healthy choices (and Oreos don’t fit that eating plan), so you better believe I wasn’t going to waste that line of Oreos by not showing up at the donation drive. Boom. My iron was 14.5. After donation, the organizers treated me to a bowl of chili, a sandwich, and a piece of apple pie. A second breakfast at 9:30am? Absolutely.

Have you ever used an automatic car wash and had it shut off on you while you were in it? Strange. That happened this morning. My extremely dirty vehicle (dirt roads, fall harvest, three months of bugs) was due up for a wash. A friend at the auto parts store where I grabbed filters for the shop made fun of how dirty it was. Thus, I headed over for a quick scrub. It went thru the pre-wash/ undercarriage and then everything just turned off! No lights. No movement. I drove forward and backward multiple times thinking maybe I just wasn’t placed quite right. Then I called the phone number. “Yes, it seems we’ve had a complete failure of power at the car wash.” Ok then…. All I could do was marvel at the ridiculousness and laugh. I ended up washing it by hand in a different bay in my nice, new cardigan.

I’ve been back at my desk for a couple of hours doing normal work things. What a full and crazy morning! All you can do on a day like this is giggle. Keep it positive. I feel like I’ve lived an entire day in 6 hours.

On a different train of thought – I realized that as much as I was trying not to, the social media comparison game was getting in my head (thank you therapist!). I deleted the Facebook and Messenger apps off my smart phone. If you are feeling anxious, try doing that. Weight lifted. No nervous pressure to click and see what everyone else is doing. Just be in your moment with your people.

Have a glorious weekend! — Jen