“Not At All Like Thanksgiving”

I am waking up here in the midwest – the Google tells me the weather outside is currently 42 and cloudy – doing a little reflection before taking the dogs out. Unlike yesterday (where I let the fence provide me the joy of simply letting them out in the rain while I stayed inside), I plan on going out and taking in a few breaths of fresh air and feeling out the day.

There were a couple different times yesterday where I found myself racing against the pulse of expectation. In these moments of “how it is supposed to be”, I have to relax into the moment – let the definition rise up, see what I am really trying to do and ask myself if that expectation serves my family, my enjoyment, my ease or not. It is an interesting back and forth…

And, truly, part of why writing on Frozen Spaghetti as I work out the Little Red Hen mindset is so sacred. I feel this quick pity, this pressure is maybe even a generational curse. How I can be doing something I want to be doing and turn mad about it in an air of “who is or isn’t grateful” or “who is and isn’t helping” or “what is and isn’t happening” is really counter culture to who I feel I am.

So, yesterday, I found myself working to get pull the final round of food preparation to the table and thinking about Thanksgivings I am sure exist where the food is out buffet style and people just graze all day. I found myself wildly aware of the Thanksgiving I wanted to create like it was one of my books and wanted to pay more attention to the idea of how maybe what I was trying to create could be different.

Maybe Thanksgiving can be a new thing?

This morning, I texted in with my sisters to see how their day was and one of my sisters said it was awesome but made a comment that it was “not like Thanksgiving but it was really good”. What does that mean? “Not like Thanksgiving?” I get that statement! But is this real?

I told David last night that my mom, growing up, put on the best Thanksgivings. With zero extended family in Saint Louis, it was me and my four siblings and my parents – every year. My mom’s farmhouse childhood passed on cozy go nowhere vibes and detailed china served on a table with thick hand-carved legs. The flow of my childhood home passed a person back from movie to puzzle to kitchen to pie & candelight like a soccer ball gracing Brazil’s offense. Just easy… beautiful…

I think “like Thanksgiving” is something we all have. And maybe we know better and know that to be about health and family. But maybe we want different and know Thanksgiving to be about lighting, timing, pace, position.

I went to bed thinking about next year. My strategy for seasoning food and how to remind myself the sweet potato casserole ONLY NEEDS A MINUTE ERIN OMG when you remove the foil to avoid making burnt s’mores on top. My desire to create more place for connection, to have more visitors in the kitchen, to have Christmas – since we get our tree before Thanksgiving now – to be not be spewed into a corner but to have the house feel charmed.

My mom charms a house so well. And maybe I just need to be in her charm while she is still dishing it out. I don’t know. I suppose the only thing to make sure, make sure of is that I do not imprison myself to an idea of Thanksgiving. That Thanksgiving be about spending time with family and not about work. How to make sure rest is part of the recipe and to make sure I have plenty of candles.

It was a good Thanksgiving. I believe holidays reveal yourself to you just as relationships are mirrors. I found myself doing rounds of breath for each of the Thanksgivings I have had in my life. Feeling them in my body as I chopped and mixed. I am teaching a restorative class tonight and think I am going to offer that idea. To feel connected to your whole life, to who you have been, who you are and what you value. I believe in not avoiding those things, even if it means remembering the harder years of loss, pain and discovery.

I hope your Thanksgiving was like Thanksgiving. I would LOVE to know what makes Thanksgiving to people. I never have gotten many commenters on FS but, man, it would be nice. Signing off now…. Love, Little Red Zen

Thanksgiving Rain Makes Me Freshly Thankful

When we got the tree yesterday, Thanksgiving Eve, the sky was so blue with marbled clouds and the sun was happy, warming the skin .

The girls were funny discerning shades of green, texture of branches, the shape. I smiled as Part One of this year’s book – A Christmas Tree Story – is about how Christmas Trees are chosen and at one point my oldest daughter yelled out to my youngest, “Didn’t you read mom’s book? No Christmas Tree is more perfect than another!” hahaha even now… the prose… making its way into my reality.

In my previous post, I mentioned how life has changed and for sure I thought that my reveal of how it changed was going to come in a poetic musing about taking the dogs out in the morning with both hands on my cup of coffee and being able to take in the morning sky because… drumroll… we have a new beautiful gorgeous life changing fence.

For two years, taking them out for relief in the morning has required putting them on leashes, dressing for the weather, and – most days – spinning around while they chase each other on the leashes while I try not to spill my coffee in my opposite hand.

The fence brings this ridiculous amount of freedom and nourishing relief. And though I did go out with them yesterday to take in the morning and though it certainly was life changing – here I am now on Thanksgiving, bringing my online diary to present alongside candlelight and rain.

Steady heavyish rain.

The poetic musing noting heavy themes of freedom when going outside is actually more deeply acknowledging the freedom and relief of staying inside, the knowing they can run out in the rain and I don’t have to… is as genuinely relieving as its opposite. I didn’t love the forecast of rain but here it is now, showing me a new part of my reality. My ability to stay in, reminding me of how life unfolds to teach us…

Smiling now. I think it is important to remember that not only does all hard and all work have its opposite if easy and relief, but that said opposites have opposites within (which then have opposites within, which then have opposites within).

This ongoing understanding life changes and unfolds both as we shift gears or make decisions but then also as those decisions and shifts change what is going on opens us up to mystery.

Who will ever sit and really – truly – figure out all the which ways something will turn and surprise us.

And if they do, is that present moment living?

The Little Red Hen in me feels charmed by her morning task becoming lighter here on Thanksgiving in a way different than I anticipated experiencing…

Now on to set out the turkey, turn the kitchen on and start the day…

The joy of finding the tree mixed with the work and not so much joy of it giving us hives

How Many Thanksgivings?

It’s Thanksgiving Eve Eve, and I am reclined having completed a solid round in the kitchen this evening. Not only does tomorrow mark a new chapter in my life (will share more after the morning), but it is also the first of new traditions for my blended family.

In consideration of what has worked well the past two Thanksgivings since blending our family (keeping it simple and feasting with just us 7) and what has not worked so bueno (painting the house the weekend before Thanksgiving), I personally have curated what I think is a really great third attempt. It’s all about paying attention and applying what you have learned. For example…

Our first Thanksgiving, David said was the first Thanksgiving he enjoyed in 20 years.

Our second Thanksgiving? David called me the Pie Police. (And even though I was, I cried.)

This Thanksgiving? I know a few things going in.

One of the things I know is two of my step kids vocally share their love for Christmas like nothing I have ever experienced. They make claims about Christmas and its spirit and how everything is just good and happy.

Last year, Maddox said he “loved Christmas so much he wants to start celebrating Hanukkah, too”.

So – whereas I typically get the tree the second week of December (or, yikes, Christmas Eve…), this year? The tree is priority.

We are getting it tomorrow. We are doing the tree, having the music (which started tonight), lights, pies.

I also know that Thanksgivings, like any one day a year holiday, are sacred.

I often experience myself on Thanksgiving in consideration of the Erins of the past. Thanksgivings where I have been fake tanned & blonde, preoccupied, unaware. Thanksgivings where I was figuring out relationships or how to make a turkey.

Though the actual number of days of my life seem so many, when it comes to Thanksgivings: I have had 40. That’s actually not that many.

You can sit and breathe however many rounds of breath in a single meditation or as your prepping dinner and honor each year whose experiences are stored in your body. Buried in your mind, woven in your tissue and your worldview. You can feel them each.

I feel strong this Thanksgiving.

Not only do I know how to brine a turkey, I know how to use the ways I have grown to love better, be more present and maybe be okay if people get into food early.

I try to remember to think of the Little Red Hen. She would fuss at people to not get into the food. Then a disaster would strike and wipe out all the food and so then nobody could eat it anymore anyway and the lesson would be, be kind. Why fuss when nothing is guaranteed?

Because nothing is guaranteed, is it?

Except for how good my turkey is going to be.

Gosh, I hope I didn’t just jinx that.

Will share tomorrow about my life-changing event. :) erin