A Thanksgiving-Inspired Potluck of Four Random Thoughts

‘Tis the season to count our blessings and reflect on all we have to be thankful for in our lives. I also believe Thanksgiving embodies a spirit of learning and adapting.

After all, the holiday would not exist had it not been for the Pilgrims leaving all that they knew behind in Plymouth, England to set sail on a harrowing voyage to the “New World.”I can only imagine how much the colonists had to learn to survive and thrive after they moved to what was unfamiliar territory. The list of the new knowledge they absorbed must be unfathomably long.

Four Things I’ve Learned Lately

We all learn something every day, too. Unlike the Pilgrims, though, our survival isn’t dependent on it. So, sometimes we don’t even notice that we’ve gleaned nuggets of wisdom or gained a new perspective on something.

That got me thinking. What are some things I’ve learned lately?

#1: What Tough Is

This past weekend, I was shopping at a local store that I hadn’t been to for a while. One of the cashiers, a long-time employee, was scanning products busily at a register next to the line I was in. I realized immediately that the cancer she has been battling for years had returned from a temporary remission with a vengeance. Still, there she was, working her butt off without complaint. How many of us would stand there for hours, feeling as poorly as she surely did, to get the job done?

I’m not usually a big complainer, but I do sometimes let stress cloud my demeanor. The next time I feel the urge to lament what’s not going well, I’ll think of her and follow her lead of remaining strong despite the immense obstacles she’s facing.

#2: Small Changes Make a Big Difference

Recently, I’ve started putting more energy and effort into reducing the amount of paper products we use in our home. I realized the volume of trash we generated from paper towels and napkins was rather astounding. That’s no wonder, considering the fam would grab paper towels to clean up any little mess, and I was using them to clean the kitchen and bathrooms. We were also flying through paper napkins, using them for wiping our hands and mouths after eating and using them to cover dishes in the microwave to prevent splatters.

We needed to change our habits.

So, I seriously beefed up our supply of cloth napkins, which we now use whenever we eat and when heating food in the microwave. And I only use cloth rags (a collection of old towels, cut-up t-shirts, etc.) for cleaning countertops, sinks, tub, shower, toilets, refrigerators, and all else. While I haven’t done an official assessment of the impact these changes have made, I estimate that we’ve gone from using nearly two paper towel rolls per week to consuming less than one-half roll per month. I estimate our paper napkin usage has gone from almost 15 per day to about 10 per month.

This saves us a little money for sure. But, more importantly, it’s gratifying to be doing our part to reduce waste and preserve the well-being of our planet. Imagine the impact if everyone made one or two small changes like this?

#3:  Spatchcocking Turkey Is the Way to Go

I haven’t hosted Thanksgiving dinner for nearly a decade. But this year, I’ll be feeding nine people at our table. Although not a huge gathering, it’s a crowd larger than I’m accustomed to cooking for. As  I was researching ways to smoke a whole turkey, I happened upon the term “spatchcock.” Spatchcocking is another name for “butterflying,” in case you’re unfamiliar with the word like I was.

My husband (my hero!) said he would tackle the task of cooking the turkey, and he suggested we do a trial run to make sure that the process goes smoothly and creates an edible result. Several weeks ago, while I test drove biscuit and muffin recipes, he did a spatchcocked smoked turkey dress rehearsal. Two thumbs up!

#4: What the World Needs Now Is More Patience

These past two pandemic-filled years have challenged all of us personally and professionally. The stress, restrictions, and unknowns have been a lot to bear, but that’s no excuse to treat our fellow humans disrespectfully. Lauren Galli addresses some of the ways she has observed people behaving badly toward others in her recent blog post on the #Strella Social Media blog. I see comparable offenses all the time at stores, when driving, and on social media.

Where has our patience gone? “Lack of patience” is pretty much the only symptom I haven’t seen documented as a side effect of COVID-19, so it’s on us when we lash out because we’re tired of waiting our turn or get overly annoyed by the smallest inconvenience. We may not have a choice in what happens to us, but we do get to decide how we will act in response. Let’s choose to be more even-tempered when things don’t go our way.

Over to You

Like a pot-luck Thanksgiving dinner, this post has been a hodge-podge of items. Now, I invite you to bring your thoughts to the table. Serve them up here in a comment. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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