A Time to Thrive, not Just Survive!
Newly married, a beginner chef, and ambitious, I chose cornbread dressing as my token offering to the Thanksgiving meal. Prior to Thanksgiving, we would be driving 12.5 hours in less than 24 hours to visit a dying relative, so in my Thanksgiving frenzy I burnt the cornbread on the first try. Thankfully I succeeded in getting the second pan into the freezer before 4 am. Harried and emotional, I sat at the table awaiting feedback two days later, “This is good . . . but I’ve had better.” Um, can I please get a redo?
Have you had a holiday that you wish you could redo? Did you fill the schedule to overflowing? Did you say something you shouldn’t have? My writing/life coach Jerome Daley says, “Holidays are rarely perfect, but they can be purposeful.” He provided me with a holiday guide map in 2011 and I use every year to ensure I create good memories and meaningful experiences.
First, you must design a strategy. One of the best ways to begin strategizing, is reflection. What are your best holiday memories, and, more importantly, what elements make them stand out? What is your vision for the holidays? In this you should discover if you crave activity, peace & quiet, or a combination. Ask yourself what things are needed to best facilitate your most authentic inner state and outward celebration goals. AND get those I-can’t-live-without items onto the calendar! For me, this looks like unhurried days this year. I need to simplify my daytime schedule so I can be fully present for the holiday functions in the evening.
Second, weed out the competition. Flip the question above, or, ask yourself what past holiday experiences have created stress, disappointment, and chaos? Let’s also not forget about expectations – which ones do you take on from others as well as the ones you place on yourself? The answers to all of the above are our greatest distractions during the holidays and can sabotage the priorities we set in the beginning. This is where scheduling a lack of activity or the freedom to say “no” happens for me AND where a NO texting rule applies when communicating holiday plans to family members.
Lastly, create a purposeful mindset. You strategize to determine what you really want then you create boundaries to keep what you don’t want at bay, but it’s only with a renewed mind that you can walk this out. Before the hustle and bustle begins, ask God how He wants to bless you this season and who you can bless. Old habits and mindsets will pull at you as you commit to communicate better, be more authentic, and create intentional moments. And, even if you fully commit to this 3-step plan, remember that life is not a formula. Some unexpected “surprises” are bound to leave you feeling unprepared. When this happens look no further than your manger scene. First holiday without a parent? You have an Everlasting Father. Anxiety creeping up on you? You have the Prince of Peace. You have a Mighty God and Wonderful Counselor who wants you to not just survive but thrive this holiday season.
- Read Isaiah 9:6.
- Strategize & Reflect: Based on your reflections what are 2-3 three things that need to be present for you to be able to bring your best self to this holiday season? (If married, this is a great one to ask your spouse too!)
- Weed Out Distractions: Name 2-3 boundaries or actions that would best facilitate your inner self and your outer celebration goals.
- Renew Your Mind: Where do you need God to meet you this holiday season? Do you need him to be your Father, your Peace, your Counselor?
Please share your response in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group.
Mimi’s Turkey Dressing
6 eggs, divided and well beaten
turkey or chicken stock (lots!)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 slices of bread crumbled (white or wheat)
4 soda crackers, crumbled
2 cups cornmeal
½ cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder, divided
1 scant teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix cornmeal and flour together. Sift together with 2 teaspoons baking powder. Mix baking soda and buttermilk adding 2 tablespoons oil and 3 eggs. Add the egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture and stir well. Add plenty of turkey or chicken stock to make the mixture resemble a runny mush. Bake in a greased round cake pan or a greased 8” x 8” square pyrex dish until brown.
Cook the chopped onions and chopped celery in boiling water until soft. Crumble the cooked cornbread in large bowl. Add crumbled bread and crackers, cooked celery and onions, 3 eggs and enough turkey or chicken stock to make a soft mush. (You need lots and lots of stock! Better to overdo here.) Add remaining 2 tablespoons cooking oil and 2 teaspoons baking powder and mix well. Bake in a large 9” x 12” greased casserole dish at 350 °F until dressing browns (about 35 minutes and it no longer “shakes in the pan”). Enjoy!