Turkey under tree

I’ve been busy baking this week, pies and rolls for Thanksgiving and treats for Christmas packages. I’ve had time off from work and made a to-do list for the week. My husband just shakes his head at my idea of ‘leisure time’ in the kitchen. I explained that I enjoy the change and working with my hands but he still shakes his head. I will admit that when I looked at the list of everything I wanted to make, I wondered if was overdoing things, again. However, I’ve gotten everything baked and made preparations for Thanksgiving, so it’s worked out. I’ve even sneaked out of the kitchen, so I haven’t spent all of my time baking, just most of it.

Pumpkin, Cherry and Apple Pie, with cookies and candy

Part of what I enjoy about baking is an opportunity to think about things, like topics for my blogs. The past few days I’ve been thinking about the idea of gratitude. I find it easy to focus on negative things, on what I lack, while ignoring how much my family and I do have. With advertising, social media posts about fun experiences and all the ways of comparing myself to others, it is easy to focus on my shortages instead of my abundance.

I want to change, to appreciate what I have instead of lamenting what I don’t. But it is tough to change my thoughts, my longing for just one more thing that will complete my life — until it doesn’t and I start aching for some new item, or experience that will then complete my life. Yet, when I am thankful for the many thing I do have, I relax and somehow find more abundance when I’m not looking for it.  When I feel gratitude, enjoy the moment and let go of that ache for something new, wonderful things happen when I don’t expect it.

Just a few of the things that I ponder as I shape cookies or roll out lefsa, which a reminds me to stay in the moment. I also have time to appreciate the many thing that give me a choice and the luxury of working in the kitchen when I want to, not because I have to. So many things that I take for granted, such as good health, enough money to buy ingredients, the ability to take time off, no pressing chores at home, a kitchen with the right equipment in it and many other things that all came together so I could make chocolate peanut clusters and kringla for Christmas packages. All of these bits of my life coming together so I can have a experience buying a double boiler and HOW AWESOME IT IS AT MELTING CHOCOLATE!I’ve melted chocolate using a makeshift double boiler that kept threatening to fall over. Today, with my shiny new double boiler, setup and ready to go, everything just worked, the chocolate and peanut butter melted quickly and the chocolate peanut clusters were cooling on the counter.  IT WAS TOTALLY AMAZING AND MADE FOR AN INCREDIBLE, WONDERFUL AND MARVELOUS DAY! (Sorry for the all caps, but I was pretty excited to use that double boiler.)

Christmas theme China, with matching sugar and creamer

Have a good start of the holiday season and may everyone find the abundance in their life and opportunities to share with others. For everyone in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are enjoying time with family and friends.

Pictures by J.T. Harpster