A Grateful Heart

Hi friends! It’s the Monday following a couple days off from blogging thanks to a holiday, a house full of guests, and lots of little people running around.

Did you celebrate Thanksgiving? How was your holiday?

I was reading something the week of Thanksgiving about how gratitude comes from an abundance mindset, and too often, we live in scarcity. We never have enough time, money, energy, etc. That really resonated with me. When we look around us and realize that our cup overflows, that we don’t just have enough, but more, then gratitude starts to spring up. This is especially true when we view the overwhelming stuff as “abundance” instead of “too much.” It’s a subtle shift in our mindset that really helped me stay present and thankful this holiday season, and one that allowed me to look around me and see my life for what it is – a gift.

We had a house full of people – very special people. Our dear friends, the Palizays, who we consider our family, moved away last October. The week of Thanksgiving, Jordan called to ask if I would save her a seat on my couch. They were coming up for Thanksgiving, and could we watch the Gilmore Girls revival together?

Best. Surprise. EVER!

We spent Wednesday through Friday together, with them getting up early Saturday morning to head home. It was a wonderful few days, full of food, great conversation, late night heart-to-hearts, children running around acting wild, and coffee. The Palizays are starting their own coffee subscription company and they brought 6 pounds of coffee with them. We drank almost all of it. I regret nothing.

It was a Thanksgiving I’ll never forget. Take a look.

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Our guests arrived and the kids immediately got to work, playing and having fun. The men switched babies and sat on the couch and were the amazing fathers that they are while Jordan and I ran for pizza.

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Teenagers

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Wednesday night, my close friend Angie and her husband Ryan, texted me to say they were in town, so I told them to come on over! I can’t overstate just how happy this scene makes my heart. We gathered in the kitchen for coffee and conversation about life and gratitude and pursuing our dreams and how to be love. It was one of those moments where everything felt right in the world. One of those moments where I was doing exactly what I had always wanted to do – to open up my home to the people I love and to love them hard and to live life together is simple but meaningful ways. To eat great food and drink great coffee and to inspire each other and make each other laugh.

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I don’t mind cooking meat for my family and friends, I just refuse to dedicate 12 hours to the task. So, no turkey for this girl. I chose an organic, grass fed, locally raised and artisanally butchered tip roast for our Thanksgiving meal.

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The littles. We had seven kids at our Thanksgiving table, ages five and under. Our home was teeming with energy and life, which adds a new dimension to any gathering, to be sure. But again, I focused on the abundance. The gift of new life. Their smiles. Their energy (“Abundant” doesn’t describe the half of it.) Their creativity. Their talking. (So. Much. Talking.)

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Martha Stewart wouldn’t have oooed and awwwed over my table and Mr. Clean wouldn’t have given me a gold star for my housekeeping that day, but look at that table! Six adults and seven children gathered together on Thanksgiving day in our home and we shared a delicious meal and even better company. It wasn’t perfect, but then again, it really kind of was.

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You guys, just stop it already! How cute is this? Mike’s little buddy and kitchen helper.

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Photos by Jordan. How amazing are these? They perfectly capture our day.

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As our evening drew to a close, our friend, John (the guy holding the baby), had an idea to share what we were thankful for as a ball of yarn was tossed from person to person. For the next hour, one person would catch the yarn and give thanks for something, hold onto a piece of string, then toss the ball of yarn to another person. By the end of the experience, we had this messy, tangled up web. We were connected by the yarn, yes, but really we were connected by our gratitude.

We all found it poignant that the web was such a mess. The kids kept messing with it. The ball of yarn kept knotting up. Yet our gratitude was real. The connection, was real. Life is like that, isn’t it? Relationships are hard. Things get messy. But staying in that connection, staying grateful, living from our abundance, changes you. It shows you that things – people, experience, etc – don’t have to be perfect to have value. The mess doesn’t mean something is a mistake. The mess doesn’t diminish our gratitude unless we let it. It doesn’t destroy our relationships unless we expect perfection out of imperfect people.

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The next morning, we got in one episode of the new Gilmore Girls. It was interrupted exactly 5oo times, so we didn’t even try for more, but it was so fun to experience with “my girls.”

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I love these kids. I love that they have each other.

Our house is extra quiet now, and there used to be a time that the quietness would make me sad. Make no mistake, I cried when our friends left. But this time, something else took the place of feeling lonely or sad after saying goodbye to our friends. I felt like we had experienced something significant. Like we had grown up a little bit. It felt good to host friends and host Thanksgiving, but more than that, it felt good to live fully in this season. Not just this holiday season, this season of life. We showed up. We offered ourselves fully. We loved hard. We enjoyed things as they were, not as we expected them to be, and we were above all, grateful.

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