For every exasperated breath, let there be two minutes of uncontrollable laughter.
For every impatient “hurry up,” let there be one leisurely “take your time.”
For every worry about the condition of your home, let there be a friend who reminds you that your décor is not why you are loved.
For every grudge you’ve been holding, let there be one act of forgiveness.
For every complaint, let there be gratitude for two blessings.
For every minute spent holding an electronic device, let there be ten minutes holding a deck of cards, a musical instrument, or someone else’s hand.
For every duty checked off the list, let there be a spontaneous dance party in the kitchen or a snowball fight in the backyard.
For every new item brought into the home, let there be one offering of time, talent, money, or gently used item to a heart in need.
For every irritated thought towards a rude driver, let there be one smile offered to a stranger.
For every family squabble, let there be a group hug.
For every accidental spill, let there be an extra serving of grace.
For every moment spent ridiculing your body, let there be one praise for arms that carry the weight, no matter how heavy.
For every moment you give the gift of yourself to the ones you love, let there be a memory that lasts beyond your lifetime.
With open hands, open eyes, and an open heart, this holiday can be different than in year’s past.
Because now you know this day doesn’t have to be perfect—not even close.
This day is not about basting the perfect turkey … or getting the flawless family photo … or polishing the floors until they shine. This day is about gathering together with our messy, flawed human hearts in an effort to make happy memories that will outlive us all.
Whether you follow this recipe to a T or simply pick and choose the ingredients that work for you, there will be a noticeable difference.
For the first time in a long time, you will lay your head on the pillow at night and you will not replay that family spat … you will not wonder what you could have done to improve the cranberry sauce … your feet will not be throbbing because you never sat down.
Oh no, this time it will be different.
Because now you know you must let go of what doesn’t matter in order to grasp what does matter.
For the first time in a long time, you will lay your head on the pillow and say, “Today I tasted the sweetest part of life.”
And that messy, flawed heart beating inside you will feel peacefully and imperfectly full.
In order to grasp what matters most, we must let go of what doesn’t. Thank goodness, it’s never too late to try this life-changing recipe to taste the sweetest part of life.
My friends, holidays can be stressful. And for some of you, this particular holiday season is especially hard. Someone is missing. Circumstances have changed. Stress is high. But goodness is still here. As long as you are still breathing, goodness is still here. Using this recipe will increase your chances of experiencing these moments of goodness. Feel free to modify the recipe according to your circumstances. Even small efforts to show up “as is” and love “as is” can make a noticeable difference. Please share your stories, struggles, and plans to let go and live this holiday. Every time you comment, someone else feels a little less alone.
My friends, I am thankful for you. Words cannot express how grateful I am for your companionship on this journey … for loving me “as is”… and for encouraging my writer’s heart with your loving affirmations. May the sweetest aspect of life—to love and be loved—be experienced by you and your family this holiday season.
*The blog and The Hands Free Revolution page will be quiet for the remainder of the week as I spend time investing in what matters most. While I am away, be sure and check out Rebecca Eanes' enlightening and supportive page, Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. Rebecca is celebrating “a quarter of a million strong” community by having four days of giveaways of positive parenting books and resources. Included in the celebration are a Hands Free leather bracelet and a copy of my New York Times Bestseller, Hands Free Mama. I am grateful for Rebecca and the important work she does to help parents connect to their children!