Can we all just pause and say Hooray for the weekend? Even after a 4-day week, this pause is such a beautiful treat. This weekend has me thinking on learning curves and hang time. Perhaps it’s a few pics I came across on my phone last night, or maybe the fact that I’m just past ready for that boy of ours and his bride to come back for the school year. Either way, I’m hoping somehow there will be a bit of this in my weekend …
I know. It’s kind of an in your face blog post title. It’s bossy. I’m a mom, so I guess I come by the “mom tone” quite honestly. But, when you find something that breathes life into your day, don’t you just want to call your bestest of friends and tell them all about it? So let’s just settle now that this is where I’m coming from today with my bossy title. From the perspective of a friend wanting so share a treasure. While we’re at it, let’s just pretend we’re sitting across the table at your local coffee house with our favorite beverages and catching up, while I share why you and I need to find time to hold dearly.
Meet my friend, Sarah …
You know when you walk away from the briefest of conversations with someone you’ve just met feeling Read More
With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, many of us have started planning the menu, writing out the grocery list and even detailing preparations for the big day. The menus may vary from home to home, but each family seems to have some sort of tradition as to how the day unfolds and what will be served. In the end, the feast is typically bountiful, gratitudes are expressed and memories are made. Every year, we seem to pick up another way to streamline the “work” that goes into the day so that we can focus on the “together” that happens.
It’s not like any of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes are very complicated, it’s the sheer quantity that make it such an ordeal. When the kids were little, we assigned each of them an easy dish that Steve and I helped prepare. We each took 2 of them and figured out how to coordinate mixing, and cooking times. It sounds like some sort of child labor abuse, but they actually enjoyed it. They always made sure we knew which dish they had prepared when we sat down, as if we had mysteriously forgotten, and waited somewhat patiently for us to comment on how wonderful it was.
Now they choose which dish they want to make and we coordinate it all so everything is ready on time. A few years ago I wrote it all out on my iPad, including my shopping list and the schedule for when to prep and put each dish in the oven. The next year it dawned on me that I could just use the previous year’s list and tweak it as needed based on how many we were hosting and menu changes. Apparently, I was too tired to realize that the first year.
10 Tips for a more relaxing Thanksgiving Day
1. Smoking your turkey saves room in the oven, and they taste amazing too.
2. Mixing and freezing dishes ahead leaves more time and energy to enjoy the company. Some of our favorites to prep are dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and butternut squash pie ingredients.
3. Using a crock pot and roaster oven frees up space in the oven.
4. Accepting the offer of local guests to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish ensures that even if it isn’t their usual menu, they have at least one familiar dish to enjoy.
5. Making a list of which days to complete specific tasks, like cooking potatoes or chopping onions and celery, reduces exhaustion when the big day arrives.
6. Picking up some festive paper goods is actually okay for some occasions. If you’re hosting a large gathering, consider this to be one of them.
7. Searching the Internet provides great inspiration for recipes and decorations, but don’t make it the standard for measuring a successful Thanksgiving. It’s an idea list, not a task master.
… and a few bonus ideas…
8. Allotting a specific amount of time, maybe 1 hour or 9 pm or whatever works for you, to work through the to-do list and then calling it done can be very freeing. It helps us prioritize, de-stress and have energy left to enjoy the true purpose of the day.
9. Spending 30 minutes to an hour de-stressing – reading, soaking in the tub – after #8 is a great way to slow down and savor the moments ahead.
10. Breathe. Be present. Savor every moment in your mind and enjoy!
So what tips and secrets do you have for de-stressing these days of celebration?
This post was updated from one originally published in November of 2015
Some days it just dawns on you. Whether it’s the beginning of a full collection of hours and days, or perhaps the wrapping up of the same. Whichever side of the bounty, we’re graced with a moment of decision. It’s the choice that must be made when you’re the only one who can sign the permission slip.
“Onward and Upward! To Narnia and the North!” For some reason this quote from C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy has been popping into my mind a lot lately. Actually, it’s more like “Onward & Upward the learning of Sabbath”
As God is doing His work in my heart teaching me to Sabbath, He’s slowly peeling back the layers and stirring a new thing deep in my soul. There’s an awakening of sorts to the vital importance of Sabbath and soul keeping and relationship. And somewhere in the midst of it is the realization that this continuing Onward in the journey necessarily walks hand-in-hand with the moving Upward.
Part of Summer’s beauty is found in being outside and having a slightly slower pace to enjoy those around us. Granted, we don’t all enjoy the childhood privilege of having the summer off, but the pace tends to be slower in many ways. To quiet these summer days and create even more summer thriving, alfresco dining is a great option.
We spent this past week in Birmingham and found this wonderful little street cafe, Delta Blues Hot Tamales. It was just perfect! From the ivy covered patio entrance off a bumpy old brick street to the bamboo shaded tables and a nearby waterfall.
The food was delicious, but the atmosphere made it even more enjoyable, even at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I was a bit beside myself to have found a dedicated gluten-free restaurant too, those are hard to come by!
Somehow, taking any meal out to the deck just makes it taste better. Whether it’s a few minutes alone, or gathered with family and friends, there’s just something significant about it. Maybe because it so easily lends itself to lingering a little longer after the eating is done. And picnics and summer? Well those two were made for each other.
With the freshest ingredients
If it’s just entirely too hot in your zip code, then the next best thing might be stopping by a local Farmer’s Market. We have several in our city throughout the week. It’s fun to browse the tables and find new fruits, veggies and flowers that I never knew existed, and fresh produce is always tastier than canned or frozen. Just think about it, if you have to go grocery shopping, it’s just more pleasant to do so surrounded by food laden tables, fresh flowers and the sound of the outdoors as opposed to the piped in music and fluorescent lighting of the grocery store, no matter how nice your grocery store is?
If it’s just too beastly hot or if your alfresco plans are hijacked by rain, just move the party inside. Throw a blanket on the floor and have an indoor picnic, followed by a game of cards, becausemost of us moms have no appreciation for frisbee in the house.
And a hint of extra flavor
While you’re at it, add a bit of fresh mint or fruit to your water or tea. It’s amazing how refreshing a plain old glass of water can be with a sprig of mint or a splash of citrus, or even some lemon essential oil if you forgot to pick up lemons.
What are your favorite tips and recipes for eating alfresco?
According to the calendar, it is officially spring. It has been for a good two weeks. But don’t tell those parts of our country that have been covered in a fresh dusting of snow … or more. We even had a slight prediction of the white stuff in the wee hours of this morning here in Kentucky. Ahh, spring!
Whatever the thermometer happens to say at the moment, there’s just something about this long-awaited season that just makes us want to get out and explore. And hopefully, enjoy a little sun on our face. And maybe warmth … if it’s not too much to ask.
The great thing is, it really doesn’t matter if you live in the country, a small town or a metropolis of some sort. There is beauty to be discovered anywhere.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying these shots we captured last month when we were at Navy Pier in Chicago. What a great city to explore!
Whatever your weekend holds, may it include a bit of adventure and beauty seeking!
I used to be pretty good at multi-tasking. Let’s face it, I didn’t really have many options. Who does, right?
There are seasons when options seem quite minimal. Fortunately, they are just that … seasons. That is if we choose to make them so.
Sometimes it’s harder for us to learn than others. And other times, age and life catch up to us, and we begin to realize this multi-tasking may not necessarily be the ongoing badge of honor that we’ve made it out to be.
These past few weeks have been ones of multi-tasking with random items to do under each of several headings. My mind doesn’t switch as instantaneously as it once did.
And here’s the thing about that. It just may be my friend. I’m starting to believe it’s a blessing in disguise. This only really being able to give my full attention to one thing at a time.
So on those days that begin with a 3-hour training session, a really good one I might add, and flow right into dinner prep and hours of sewing instruction with a handful of women, followed by finishing up a blog project and subsequent post, just in time to fall into bed waaaaaay past my usual time…
On those days when the multi-tasking simply can’t be avoided…
On those days, it’s a glorious thing to be fully present in the moment. And, the fact that this season of my life demands this sort of single-minded, fully present sort of attention is something for which I’m quite grateful.
The day’s calendar may well require entirely too many tasks for my liking, but this focusing on the one I’m square in the middle of is something I’m enjoying more with each passing day.
This movement from one calendar to the next is a funny thing. I’m not one to make resolutions, as I can be quite hard enough on myself without adding more expectations to my days. But, the weeks after Christmas always bring a bit of reflection and considering for me.
Many years, these musings are also accompanied by a purging of sorts. Yes, to cleaning out those dust balls that collected in the corners that the Christmas tree made unreachable. And yes, to sifting through decorations to determine which ones are worth storing or passing on for next year. And then the mushrooming of these tidying projects to somehow include every closet and nook and cranny I can find.
But the bigger purging happens more on the inside. And more so with each passing year. Not inside my home, but inside my heart.
Last week I started reading Soul Keeping by John Ortberg, and oh my, it’s an eye opener. The kind I didn’t even know I needed. Desperately. It’s the sort of internal examination that my counselor-self aches for at the end of a crazy calendar.
And last night, curled up on the couch with a nagging headache, it seemed the perfect time to pull out that little garland project I wanted to get together for Christmas. Instead of chiding myself for not completing it “in time”, whatever that even means, I casually stitched little heart shaped quilt scraps and cloth yo-yo’s onto a strand of ice blue pearl cotton.
There’s a sort of calming in the unremarkable and familiar that is so needed after our days have been cleared of so much activity. Curling up and reading a book that speaks to the depths of our soul or the slow of creating something without a deadline – we need that. I need that.
May your year and mine be scattered with plenty of moments to reflect on who we are and who we’re becoming. Along with time to enjoy the grace of the ordinary and even mundane that each day brings. For they are the things that allow our souls to breathe and focus on the best over the urgent.
Here’s to breathing in deeply this grace of the familiar.