EAT MORE PIE
There was a time in my life when I didn’t eat much meat. I didn’t drink much coffee, either. I rarely ate sweets, and only occasionally did I drink alcohol.
Those were good times; I was happy. This discipline suited me well—then.
When I meet someone who doesn’t consume any or all the above, I understand. It truly is the best thing for some people.
It worked for me then, but not now. I start my day with coffee, no exceptions. Strong, black coffee. Several cups of it. I don’t eat a lot of meat every day, nor do I limit myself if I desire it. I ate a significant amount of turkey this holiday, which I count as meat. Dark meat turkey happens to be my favorite meat. I drank a beer or two each day of the holiday weekend, but that’s not out of the ordinary.
That leaves the sweets. I have had a lifelong see-saw relationship with sweets, an all-or-nothing mentality in the past. Not anymore.
I know from multiple attempts at proving the notion wrong that I do indeed feel better if I don’t indulge in sweets.
But that doesn’t stop me from eating a little bit—not a lot, and not every day. But enough to enjoy them, enough to savor the treat without making myself feel bad.
Pie happens to be one of my favorite sweet treats. Pie also happens to be one of my favorite things to bake.
So, I signed up to bring pies to both family gatherings for Thanksgiving—my husband’s family on Thanksgiving Day, and Gail’s house on Saturday.
I made eight pies: Six pumpkin, and two sweet potato. In honor of my mother, and just like every other pie I have ever made in my life, I made the crusts from scratch. It was a three-hour, Thanksgiving Eve labor of love.
My boys had friends over as I was baking. One of them wasn’t sure there would be his beloved pumpkin pie at their feast, so he went home with the two missing pieces.
I am fully aware of the discrepancy, the dissonance, the abject disagreement between last week’s post highlighting my niece Lydia’s struggles with Type One Diabetes, and this week’s post singing the praises of pie, and eating more of it. I had already decided upon the topic of gratitude when I found this awesome charm:
It went so well with my Thanksgiving shirt, I knew it was meant to be.
Lydia’s diabetes doesn’t prevent her from eating sugar, but it does require advance carb measuring, strategizing what and how much, prioritizing intake and injecting insulin to compensate for the carbohydrates she decides to consume. To make it as easy as possible for Lydia to enjoy everything else, and, of course, to make myself appear to be a good aunt who doesn’t speak and write out of both sides of her mouth, I made one of the pumpkin pies sugar-free.
My intended moral of the story is this: Don’t deny yourself any desired joy in life if there is some way to make it work. Figure it out, and go for it. You owe it to yourself. It’s Thanksgiving.
Giving thanks should not limited to one day each year. This holiday, which happens to be my favorite, should serve all of us as an annual check-up to ensure that we are practicing this virtue called gratitude every single day of the year. Just like Lydia doesn’t get a day off from measuring her blood sugar and counting her carbs accordingly, neither should any of us take a day off from measuring our levels of gratitude, and counting all we have to be thankful for. Like Lydia–and every other diabetic, we should do this every day as if our lives depend on it.
Because guess what: your life, if you want to live it to the fullest, does depend on it.
The wheel of gratitude is not always an easy one to grease; I have been there. When you need a gratitude adjustment–as we all have at times–it’s best to start simple.
So, let’s adjust. If you are reading this, you are likely breathing, so start there. And keep going.
*If you have a partner, children or a family you love, they are among the greatest gifts. If you don’t, and you want to, give thanks for the power you have to change that. Look inward, not for external causes.
*If you have a job you love, you are miles ahead of many people. If you don’t like your job, and it pays the bills, you are more fortunate than most people on Earth. All of us have the opportunity to look for a different job.
*Even if you don’t like our current political situation, we do live in the Land of Liberty. If you disagree, you can consider moving to another country. Be thankful for that, too.
There. I got you started. Please keep going.
I am writing as the Thanksgiving Sunday blizzard moves through, the blizzard that brought us home a day early from Gail’s house, my favorite Thanksgiving destination for my favorite holiday. I chose to be grateful we were able to go, as well as:
*Enjoying the company of not only Gail’s family, but Suzanne’s, too, and part of one brother’s family. Some years we have more, but the skeleton crew was a gift as well. We will see more of them at Christmas. Our children enjoy their cousins, a gift we didn’t get to enjoy as we grew up, as we only had one. My boys taught them how to play 6-point pitch, something they recently learned from hanging out with my husband’s family.
*Safe travels during the 450-mile round trip, with a dependable vehicle to take us there and back.
*My firstborn made it back to campus safely late last night after we returned home early, beating the blizzard—another 60 miles east.
*A cozy escape in a cabin on the shores of the small lake in Gail’s small town: we anticipated an overnight crowd at Gail’s, and reserved space accordingly, so we kept it.
*Warm soup today made from leftover turkey, but more importantly, made by my husband. If you recall from a previous post, I only like to bake, not cook.
*A cozy, warm, private space in my home first and foremost to nap, then to write.
*I am solar-powered, and less daylight brings me down. Only 26 more days until the days get longer!
*As always, my sisters—as well as my entire family.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Take the simple things and make them special, because this is where special lives—right amidst the simplest of everyday gifts that are often overlooked. But first, you must consecrate them with gratitude in order to make them special.
Let us not forget the big things, either. Every day, whatever degree of good health you have, your family, food, clothing and shelter, as well as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should never be overlooked.
Write them down every day. Start a journal. Putting them on paper with your own handwriting gives you not only awareness, but ownership. Often, this simple act is all it takes to turn the ship around, to make your perceived lack become certain abundance.
It is your choice. You get to decide if you want to see through skinny, little lenses of half-empty, or big, round glasses of half-full.
For the life of me, and all that counts as a blessing, I’m not sure why anyone would choose anything but half—or all the way—full.
Gail, Suzanne and I took our third annual Thanksgiving photo in Camp Gail, her private, highly personalized, highly decorated space in her home. Along with our two previous Thanksgiving pictures, it will now grace the opening to every Sister Lode post.
We Camped out in her retreat, her private sanctuary for as long as we could before we had to get back to the cooking and the crowd.
As always, we laughed a lot.
And, as always, the sun always comes out again after the blizzard, after every dark day. I gave thanks for that, too.
My husband and son were eager to move snow after the blizzard stopped. For that, I am over-the-top grateful.
After I woke up from my nap in my private space–both of which I am so thankful for, I ate more pie-both sweet potato and pumpkin.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERY DAY.