Less Turkey, More Sides!
One of my go-to phrases is, “The Difference Between Saying and Being is Doing!” It’s not just a personal mantra; it’s foundational to the work with my clients. The reason it resonates so much with me is that starting anything is the most difficult part. Whether it’s dieting, exercising, crawling out of bed in the morning, or writing a blog, the first step is always the toughest.
But guess what’s almost as tough as starting? Yep, you got it—stopping. I mean, try quitting Diet Coke, not eating ALL the bacon, or closing a package of Oreos. What’s curious, though, is how quitting a diet, an exercise program, or even blogging can sometimes feel almost too easy.
But here we are, out of bed, eating Oreos, drinking Diet Coke, and writing a blog. If only this were a blog about bacon. But alas, it is not; it’s about gratitude.
Gratitude is the foundation of Thanksgiving. Instead of polishing off the Halloween candy we “ran out of” or strategizing our Black Friday doo-dad hunt, we’re doing something different. For most of us, Thanksgiving is a chance to slow down and spend quality time with loved ones. Whether it is family or friends, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to cook, laugh, hug, nap while watching football, or my favorite part, to eat.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably thinking, “Of course he’s all about eating—just look at what he wrote.” I get it, I do.
But here’s the twist: the joy of Thanksgiving feasting? It’s really just a reflection of all we are grateful for.
In our family, the Thanksgiving meal is where we shift our focus away from debates like whether the stuffing has too much sage or who is going to win the upcoming Florida – Florida State game (“Florida State, Go Noles!”). We set aside chatter about work or the never-ending craziness of the world.
In that moment, none of it matters. What matters is the simple act of holding the hands of loved ones next to you. Where we bow our heads and say grace, offering blessings for the hands that prepared the meal, for loved ones who couldn’t make it, and for those less fortunate than us.
As we sit down to eat, we focus on a table filled with decorations and overflowing with our favorite sides. I’m talking green bean casserole, corn casserole, sweet potato casserole, warm rolls, homemade stuffing (not dressing), and the classic mashed potatoes and gravy.
At the center of the Thanksgiving table is a perfectly cooked and beautifully colored: lasagna. Just kidding! But seriously, did you know some people do that? Now, let’s get back to the star of the show: the turkey. Whether you’re team white meat, dark meat, or a mix of both, it’s all there, waiting for you to dig in.
Each bite elicits a chorus of “oohs” and “aahs” from around the table. You hear exclamations like, “Wow! This green bean casserole is even better than last year’s!” and “These potatoes are amazing!” Not to mention the ultimate Thanksgiving compliment: “The turkey is perfect!”
As we settle into our food comas, wishing we’d loosened our belts just one more notch, the storytelling begins. Some stories are familiar and repeated year after year. Others are moments where we reminisce about family members who may not be with us.
And then there are the fresh, new stories from the latest additions to our clan—always a welcome change. No matter what, these cherished moments become the memories for which we are grateful.
And when you really think about it, life is a lot like a Thanksgiving feast with our loved ones. It’s not always the grand, turkey-sized moments that stick in our memories. More often, it’s the smaller, more flavorful “side dish” moments that truly resonate.
It’s in these “lesser” moments where we’re most present, fully savoring our time together. So, as you prepare for the holiday season, my wish for you is this: Skip the turkey in LIFE and enjoy all the delicious sides it has to offer.
Have a blessed holiday season and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.