Live Together – It’s Prettier That Way

40 fabulous humans.

30 chocolate cupcakes.

5 pounds of ground beef.

5 bags of hamburger buns

4 cans of Manwich.

4 bags of cabbage.

4 onions.

3 bags of potato chips.

3 dozen brownies.

2 types of cheese.

1 massive veggie tray.

1 birthday cake.

No… there are no prices adding up here, but all of this food led to sloppy joes and mounds of coleslaw. This also inspired a beautiful happy heart as I facilitated a house filled with family and friends, laughter and beer. We filled our new home with light, joy and housewarming blessings. I was tickled to see so many parts of life come together yet again. I still get party planning anxiety – sure I can invite people over – but will they come?

They did, and I was happy. Bringing people you love together, who also love you back, is a beautiful thing.

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Before the party, I was at my parent’s house for a brief moment and saw this hanging on their fridge. It caught my eye, and my heart, as my first reaction was asking myself “Has this truly been a good year?” There have been some challenging situations that brought beautiful growth. There has also been immense blessings in the ability to step out in faith, with a little bit of fear, that led me to the deep sense of gratitude I experienced standing in my new kitchen, hungry friends all around me.

This line from the image caught me up too….. ‘Life is always giving back to me what I give out.’

That statement is a little, well, confronting. What am I giving out to the world? Am I sharing blame, hurt, confusion, or guilt? Or am I allowing myself to move through these emotions while understanding that I can give kindness, compassion, empathy, and honest expression of my truth. Can I invite my friends out and about in the hopes that they too will reciprocate an invitation rather than stay home for fear of not being included? Does this juxtaposition make sense to anyone else? For I feel there is beauty in paying attention to what you are giving the world.

No. This does not mean overextend and sacrifice and deplete yourself for the sake of others. Rather, I interpret this as a shocking call to action. Am I living in an authentic way that invites others to be authentic? Am I choosing to share my life, my food, my living room with my friends as I hope others will do with me? Life is meant to be lived together, its prettier that way.

I find it odd that Americans make fun of our propensity for gratitude this month. Sure, we may not remember to be thankful all year, but what is wrong with reminders to stay grounded in gratitude for at least thirty days? Dylan and I have been sharing what we are thankful for each day at the dinner table this month. Maybe we will continue as we move into a new year, maybe we won’t. Either way the practice is grounding when focusing on the present.

I have also chosen to participate in a fun social media project using the hashtag #30daysofreal. I find that gratitude comes with acceptance for me, and there is nothing better than breaking down the fake illusions we often create on social media. The hashtag is meant to portray the good, the bad, and the beautiful in real life – at least for 30 days. Join us if you will. It’s fun.

What are you giving to the world? Is it gratitude, is it authenticity, or perhaps something else?

No biscotti.

New Essie Polish: Frilling Me Softly – SO FUN FOR THE WINTER HOLIDAYS

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