Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

This time of year gets all of us foodies real excited about what new recipes to try for the holidays and how to alter and adapt things to fit into our preferred ways of eating.  I really love spending time in the kitchen and creating new dishes.  It's a creative outlet for me.  An artistic expression.  I love it. It brings joy and peace and delight in creating and then sharing with others.  It's part of my passion.  So I along with many nutrition friends and fellow bloggers have been collecting my holiday recipes.  I've been posting and also taking notes. Goodness knows there are more recipes out there than I could ever have the time to make.  It only takes a moment to google and you can find something for every eating preference..vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free, egg-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free.....

But are we free? Do we consume food or does it consume us?

This past week we've been talking about Thanksgiving in our house and what that means.  Why we celebrate it.  How it began.  We got a cute little book from the library that describes in a kid friendly way the first Thanksgiving.  We've been talking about what we are thankful for and what it means to be thankful.  Getting to the basics.  I love having a curious 3 year old in my house because it makes me stop and re-evaluate lots of things and getting really real with why we do what we do.

I've really realized in the past week or so how much this time of year focuses on food. Menu planning.  Grocery shopping.  Organizing who goes where for what meal and at what time.  Who's cooking.  Who's coming.  Who's bringing what dish.  Do you eat before, during, or after the football game?

For some this can bring a lot of nostalgia.  Childhood memories.  Favorite foods and dishes. Grandma's cooking.  For others this can bring a lot of anxiety and stress.  All of the cooking and prep.  Trying to navigate through food preferences and/or issues.   I've even had conversations with women who nearly despise this holiday because it is so food oriented and they are recovering from eating disorders. 

So as we enter into this holiday I've made it a point I want to teach my girls about gratitude.  A heart that is full and thankful for the abundance of life and all that we've been so blessed with.  I am trying to teach them the connection of food and well-being as well but really what I ultimately want to teach them is to live a life of abundance.  To laugh, play, cry, hug, smile, serve, love, share, create, and embrace all that they have.  It's easy to get caught up in our culture of want but can I shift my thinking to express and acknowledge all that I am and have?  That's so much more challenging but so much more life giving.

Months ago I started a Gratitude journal.  At the end of the day I jot down 3 things I am grateful for that day.  It's beautiful and sacred.  It's simple.  Often I find my eyes are misty just writing these things down, especially when they involve the people I love the most.  The laugh of my 20 month old.  The sweetness of slobbery baby kiss.  The embrace of my husband.  The way my 3 year old wrinkles her nose at me.  An authentic conversation with a girlfriend.  It brings me present and aware of what's going on in my day to day life.  I don't want to miss that.

So I would invite you my friends that whatever lands on your table this week or whatever work it takes to get to that fancy dinner can we take a moment and just pause and breathe and be fully aware of the amazing abundance of life we have?    To know that gratitude is a way of being. An openness to what we've received and our expression of that blessing. Maybe it takes writing things down and creating your own Gratitude journal. Maybe it's acknowledging someone in your life that you hold dear.  Maybe it's recognizing all that you are and finding gratitude there.  Whatever it is, this is what we teach our children.  They watch us. They learn from us.  Can we raise a generation of kiddos that begin to shift their thinking from "I want" to "I have" or "I am"? A kiddo that realizes a time of Thanksgiving is about so much more than what is on the table but that it's about what is in the heart. 

Grace & Peace to you as you enter into a season of Thanksgiving! May your heart be filled with the blessings and abundance of life!

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