I sustain myself with the love of family.
– Maya Angelou
Some relationships in families are complicated. We’d like to handpick our family members, but we cannot. But even if we could choose our peeps, we probably wouldn’t get it right anyway. Think about it. Over your lifetime, how many of your friendships have come and gone? Some were short-lived and a few continued for decades.
Thanksgiving is less than one week away. And let us remember that the holiday is a celebration of unity and gratitude. If you have a warm place to sleep, food on the table, and are alive, stop and give thanks. You are blessed. Churches, community centers, food banks, and other generous souls cook, deliver, and serve thousands of meals for less fortunate and homeless individuals. Those of us who have options and do not have to rely on others for the holiday feast need to recognize and not take it for granted.
That said, I ask you to consider your Thanksgiving plans. How so? If you are prosperous enough to enjoy a meal, then think about a family member who you have not spoken to for some time. Maybe it’s time for you to reconnect. Perhaps it is time to bury the hatchet. You don’t have to become best friends with them. Enjoy a meal together while giving thanks for being alive and for the opportunity to make amends. Or, at the least, pick up your phone and start a conversation with them.
Each year, I look forward to hosting our family holiday dinner, but 2017 is, generating, even more, excitement for me.
For the first time in my life, I am celebrating
AND hosting Thanksgiving dinner in a new home, outside of NJ….
As soon as we settled on our home and prepared for our move, we told the family, “We are still hosting Thanksgiving dinner, so start making travel plans!”
For the last 20+ years, we’ve hosted holiday dinners at our home and although 700+ miles away, I didn’t want that to change.
I wasn’t sure how many would make the trip, but hubby and I put it out there.
Whelp! As of this writing, there will be 31 of us!!!
Six generations coming together! Oooomygooooodness! How cool is that?
Our peeps are coming from New Jersey, Washington, DC, Tennessee, Michigan, and from other parts of Georgia. How friggin awesome!!
Now, with that said. Chile… like most families, we have an assortment of temperaments and personalities! We are a loving family and, like most, folks butt heads, have conflicts, kiss, and makeup.
However…sadly some folks hold on to grudges have issues and carry their baggage around like it has value and be cashed in for dollars! So, on Thanksgiving, a few folks with strained relationships are dining under one roof. The forgiveness conversation with my mom is an ongoing project; however, I remind her, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” She is a tough cookie, but that’s the rule in our home.
Sibling conflicts, parental conflicts and more. But you know what, I’m determined to make the occasion positive and memorable and encourage you to do the same. All relatives deal with conflicts and fallouts, and typically the issue is over dumb sh**.
The pitfall is that some folks cannot get past their pride, their anger, their hurt, and the resentment they feel toward the other person. Like an Olympic torch, they pass the burden on from one generation to the next. In my family, I continue to do what I can to stop this foolishness. I’m not having generations of cousins, nieces, nephews disliking each other for nonsense.
Memories lapse, stories change,
but the animosity continues.
If we are to achieve optimum wellness,
we must open our hearts to forgiveness.
By not forgiving others, we are weighed down with trappings that grow heavier by the year. The baggage inhibits our ability to experience complete joy and happiness.
Consider trying an exercise in writing a forgiveness letter. Write the letter to the person who hurt and whom you have not forgiven. Do not give it to them. Address precisely what they did to you but also why you forgive them. Set grammar and sentence structure aside, the point is to put your raw feelings on paper. Pour our your emotions. Cry if necessary. Read what you wrote every day for a week.
Forgiving does not right a wrong. To forgive someone allows you to move on to a place where the anger eventually vanishes. It grants the opportunity for growth and for more positive energy to flow through you. If you cannot surpass the tension, seek counseling to help you work through it.
Mentally I am prepping harder than usual for Thanksgiving because this is my first Vegan Thanksgiving! We have always had vegan family members for holiday dinners, but I was eating meat then.
This is the fifth week that I’ve sustained life without chicken, turkey, dairy, or seafood. I’m singing and dancing around the house to Cool & The Gang’s, Celebration!
Lately, I’ve had a bit of a sweet tooth. I’m not sure why that is, but I fixed the craving with some bruised apples in a bag.
I washed and peeled six apples. Add them to a pot with a little water (about a half-cup) and added cinnamon and nutmeg. NO SUGAR! I cooked them on low until they softened. The result is intoxicating!! If I hadn’t prepared them myself, I would swear that the cook added sugar. Restraint was in full effect. I wanted to eat the whole pot in one sitting.
One morning, I had to eat on-the-road, so I went to Starbucks for Oats. They came with nuts and dried fruit. For protein, I added nuts but passed on the dry fruit with 22 grams of sugar.
After eating the darn oats, I realized they probably had dairy in them. Ugh!! The thought didn’t occur to me to ask for coconut or almond milk and until the cup was empty. Lol!
One of my favorite meals of the week is this bowl of red quinoa, black-eyed peas, sautéed mushrooms, and onions.
Each week my strategy is to cook one to two cups of quinoa, a crock pot of legumes or beans, bunches of kale, and to try something new. This week, I was just too busy preparing for Thanksgiving to do that, but still did just fine. Later in the week, I can always add additional roasted veggies, which will add a variation to my meals.
I’m working on ideas for next week… hoping to make a few savory vegan dishes so I won’t be tempted by the baked mac & cheese and deep fried turkey.
Since taking on the Vegan challenged, I’ve noticed a few changes.
- I feel lighter. Not like I have lost a bunch of weight but somehow brighter. Putting into words is hard.
- Late afternoon, I no longer feel sluggish and crave power naps. It’s odd because I am not getting any more or less sleep but I have more energy.
- I haven’t felt the need for my afternoon cup of java.
- Although I’ve been working out intensely pretty much five days a week, in the past week I lost 5 pounds!
- I’m feeling a bit more energized. This is funny because I’m already high energy….when I’m supposed to be resting between sets at the gym, I’m pacing around looking for some cardio sh** to do! Hubby thinks I’m nuts and can’t figure it out.
This post is longer than planned but, the bottom line is that any change takes times.
Diet, mindset, attitude— any change in behavior involve a process. Neither occurs overnight, but YOU must want to make the transition. You can’t do it for anyone but yourself. I suggest merely starting today. Then try again tomorrow and the next day, and the day after that… Eventually, you will achieve what you seek.
“Everything is hard before it is easy.”
In preparing for the holiday, the upcoming week is going to be hectic… traveling, cooking, making plans for house guests, squeezing in gym time, writing, and more. But with that said, my goal is not to stress about any of my plans and worry about everything being perfect but to remain mindful, present, and to enjoy the process and the time with my family. I hope you do the same! I can’t wait to share pics!!
We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable.
It would be wise to use that time adoring our families,
cherishing our friendships, and living our lives.
– Maya Angelou
How To Forgive Someone Who Hurt You