Slowing Down

Here we are.  The beginning of Thanks-giving week.  With it there are long lines in all grocery stores, traffic filled parking lots overflowing with people missing the mark on the whole "thanksgiving" notion.  In fact, when Thing 3 and I were in the crosswalk yesterday at our local Target we were almost ran over.  Yes, the vehicle had a stop sign and well the pedestrians have the right away law and such was completely dismissed.  I just shook my head at his impatience.  Then I thought, how many times have I been that person?  You know the one that is hmming and hawing in line because the cashier is moving at molasses pace, the one shaking my head at those around me who "don't know how to drive".  Ahem.  Guilty.  After feeling the conviction with yesterday's encounter I thought what better to write about than gratitude.  Joy.  And filling our hearts with those so that we may in turn share that with those around us.  How much better would that be?  I'd say the possibilities are too numerous to list.  So friends, bare with me, through yet another list of simple ways to show thanks-giving to your peeps as our doors fling open this week and we are together.  This is definitely more as a reminder or rather inspiration for myself than anything else.

1. If you are hosting Thanksgiving, remember to say thanks.  Look those peeps in the eye and just say thank you.  Thank you for being a husband, a daughter, a son, a friend, a grandparent, etc.  You get it, right? They're the ones you chose to have around your table, so why not let them know you are grateful for them.

2. How about a glass of bubbly pre-guest arrival?  Why not?  Toast to the sacred space that is your table.  Your home.  Especially when it is filled with people you love, whether that's two or forty four.

3. Do as much prep before the big day as possible.  Make sides, cut, chop, assemble, bake the pies, etc.  Freeze and thaw or heck, order out.  There is no shame here.  The goal is actively rejoicing with those gathered.  Not sweaty and stressed in the kitchen.

4. Perfection is not the goal.  Hospitality is not Pinterest worthy table scapes or gourmet meals.  Hospitality in it's truest sense is opening not only your home but  your heart to the community that surrounds you.  

5. Given the story above, how about we slow down?  Just for a spell.  No rushing.  Not running from fridge to oven to stove top to table to and to and then more.  Slow.  Intentional.  There is no magic time for serving a meal or prayer or toasting.  Let the day, the season, flow organically.  Those impromptu moments will be the memories that bind and the God kissed interventions that make you smile after the fact.

6.  Hang some twinkly lights.  Why not?  Go ahead and give in to your inner kid.  They are really pretty.  And shiny and plain fun.  Any dinner can be special with twinkly lights.  Oh and candles.  Light a candle or two or twelve.  Candles don't have to match or be fancy and they make a meal feel special.

7. Go with it.  If something is burnt or falls on the floor laugh.  It happens.  Just last week I was preparing Italian sausage sandwiches.  I had just assembled them and placed them in the oven on a baking sheet, you know so the cheese would be all bubbly and golden and then as I was sliding the sheet out of the oven, crash.  I lost one.  Sauce all over the door, sausage caught with my oven mitt and bun holding said sausage tore in half and came crashing down.  The Things looked on in horror, unsure of how I would respond.  Then, they laughed.  Me too.  And just like that, crisis averted. Kind of.

8.  Linger at the table.  Start a story or ask table questions, or share something big or small or both that you're grateful for.  Listen to what everyone says.  How beautiful it is when we share around the table. If there are littles at your table invite them to share too.

9. Have everyone help with clean up.  Everyone.    

10.  Play music throughout the day.  That's all, music is good for the soul.  Always.

There it is.  My list of ten, not only applicable to Thanksgiving but maybe any meal we share around the table.  Now go forth and give thanks.  Every day, all day.   

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