Don't Give Your Family Your Leftovers This Thanksgiving

 Hey there, friends!

I know today is Tips and Tricks Tuesday, but I’ve had something on my heart that I need to share.  Yes, this is still a DIY blog, but my focus has been shifting a little as my priorities have changed.  Today, I want to talk about the stress we can have during Thanksgiving.

Holidays change us sometimes, and not for the good.  In our efforts to make things perfect and provide a memorable family day, we tend to lose sight of what’s really important during this time.  Yes, we say it’s all about family and enjoying their company, but I see more and more that “perfection” is creeping its ugly head into our homes. In our desire to make a picture- perfect tablescape, and deliciously prepared food to be consumed by neatly groomed family members, we can easily become frustrated and irritated when thing don’t match our ideal “family day.”

I’ve been the mom that wants the kids to look perfect, to have the table look as close to a magazine picture as possible, to hear everyone say how tasty the food is and … here it is … good job. The woman that can do this is surely to be praised. But at the end of the day, if I cooked my heart out and had a beautifully decorated table but failed to make my family, instead of perfection, my priority, I completely failed.  I’ve been there, too.

When we commit ourselves to having a Perfect holiday, we can tear down anything that stands in the way of it- even precious family.  Have you ever yelled at your kids because they’re in the way as you’re getting their meal done?  Have you ever become irritated with your husband for not helping out more? Have you ever become so frustrated that you just want to take that turkey and shake it until it decides to work with you?  I’m nodding yes, too.

So this year, I thought it would be good for us to talk about the busy holiday season and determine in our hearts that we aim for joy and not perfection.  I don’t want to be so busy that I give all my efforts to the dinner and give my family whatever is leftover of myself. That’s usually a half smiling, wish I would have acted differently, can’t wait to get this day over with- mom.  Not the Thanksgiving I envisioned.

So as my heart set out to change, my desire for a joyful countenance and attitude followed.  Here are some of the lessons I had to learn. These lessons have been a blessing to Lewisville each and every holiday.

1. Commit your way to the Lord and your thoughts will be established (Prov. 16:3). This is the verse I meditate on while I’m in the planning stages of the holidays. It’s been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. We must have an action plan during this busy season. Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t just happen in a few hours.  There’s lots of prep involved, so sit down and write out a list. In fact, write a few list. When I sit down to do this, I pray that the Lord will bring to mind what needs to be done, and what things I can do away with-that’s our thoughts being established. Here’s what my lists look like:

List 1. -Menu:
Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, sweet potato casserole,
green salad, green bean casserole

Now, I can get my grocery list together. I also found that if I cook and prep half the meal the day before, the holiday is so much easier. I prep the turkey the night before, placing it in an oven bag with chopped veggies. It goes onto a baking rack and pan, then in the refrigerator for the night. This saves me at least an hour. You can also make the mashed potatoes and just about everything else, the night before and refrigerate them overnight. Put them in a crock pot on low for a few hours the day of Thanksgiving. This has been my life saver. The more I prep, the easier my day goes.

List 2. -Games:
Thanksgiving Day scramble
Thanksgiving scattagories
Board games, cards

List 3.- Schedule/ tips:
Shower and dress (if I don't do this first, I may not find the time later in the day)
Quiet time with coffee
Easy breakfast- cereal, oatmeal, eggs & toast.
Start the Turkey!
Clean as you go
Snacks for Lunch or appetizers if dinner is after 2pm.
Have the kids set the table

2. Don’t be a Martha! You know the lesson of Mary and Martha (Luke 10). We can get so busy in the kitchen, complete with hands on our hips and complaining, "no one is helping" from our lips, that frustration wells up inside. Don’t go there.  Choose better. Choose to take breaks, to play with the kids, to have a cup of coffee and a conversation with your husband.  Play a game, check the turkey, smile, laugh, check the casseroles.  Choose to go at a GRACE Pace rather than the day dictating a fast pace for your family.

  - Accept help and ask for help when you need it!

  - Have a game plan with your husband. When the kids were little, it was more helpful for me to have him play with the kids and keep them busy while I was busy in the kitchen. These days, my girls help in a big way, while my husband and son entertain guests and act as taste testers. They also like making snacks and drinks for everyone and acting as our house DJ's, putting on songs at your request.

3. Think like David. There was a point in King David’s life that his friends wanted to stone him, and let’s face it, that would send any of us into a state of depression. “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” (I Samuel 30:6) He talks to himself, encourages himself, and gets his eyes back where they belong.  We need to do the same. When I’m feel overwhelmed or getting frustrated at how my day is going, I take a minute and …talk to myself… usually in bible verses but sometimes it’s as simple as, “you can do this;  you’re almost there; smile; be joyful.”  When you purpose in your heart to be joyful, everyone benefits. I have to be intentional in this area- speak kindly, answer softly, settle your heart.  If I don't, my anxiousness takes over my attitude and the family gets grouchy mom. Grouchy mom is not fun and I always regret being grouchy mom!
- keep the TV off as long as possible and play music instead. 
- a walk (with the family preferably) is always a great way to relax
Finally- Be Thankful!
I hope you all have a wonderful, not perfect, Thanksgiving.  May you smile when the milk is spilled, laugh when the turkey burns, and kiss cheeks as you clean the mess. Enjoy your families!