If you look closely at my picture, you’ll see it’s of a bundt cake. I made it yesterday to celebrate the safe return of my friend’s son. He and four friends were camping in the mountains of Utah last weekend, when weather blew in and they found themselves stranded. Long story short, parents alerted the Sheriff and after a failed attempt to locate them by snowmobile patrol on Sunday, a Search and Rescue helicopter was dispatched Monday morning. Thank g-d and beyond, around noon they were found.

I baked a bundt cake, because when my friend’s son graduated from HS last Spring, I baked six different bundt cakes, with made up names and flavors,  for his party. This time, I made up another one in his honor, but the top and sides didn’t fully come out of the pan.

I delivered it anyway. It seemed to me the perfect metaphor for his ordeal. In the card I wrote: As we know, things don’t always go as planned. In celebration of your safe return, I had to bake you a bundt cake. It didn’t come out so well. Rather than consider it a flop, I offer it still. Seems it’s like life – it can be looked at in so many ways, and in doing so, we can still find the yummy parts. Instead of slicing the cake, maybe crumble it into bowls with ice cream?

And there in my own words to him, I realized that I had been stuck in all that “wasn’t” in Thanksgiving/Holidays. Something in me shifted and I was inspired to find the yummy parts, even though my metaphorical “Holiday Cake” didn’t look like I thought it should.

And then, as if by miracle, something crazy happened. Spontaneity and delight took hold and within an hour, the first night of Chanukah had a plan. A few hours later, with ease and overcooked latkes, we found ourselves sitting around the dining table with our friends (who treat my daughter with such love) and laughed as she opened their generous gift in the glow of the menorah.

Then this morning, one of them, Ellen, encouraged us to spontaneously enter the Turkey Trot. As we trotted around the park, I  told her what was happening and she wisely said, “Sometimes what you think something should be, isn’t’ really what you want anyway, is it?” Woa. And there she had it. Forced to get real with myself, my gratitude actually welled up.

trotIt’s so easy to think things should be a certain way. That I should be a certain way. And then I reminded myself of something I have always known, but in my own vulnerability had forgotten…I do have a lot of what I want,  it just may not look… a certain way.

Once I shifted my perspective, I began to see G-d winks (little miracles of love) everywhere. I see it in this picture my cous-end (cousin who is like a friend) just sent from Boston. She poured a little wine in a glass and put it on her counter, so as to have me there in Spirit.


My list could go on…and will. So much has already happened in the last 24 hours to kick-off the season with a light and great-filled heart. Tonight,  I will hold hands with my own small family of 3 and revel in a delicious dinner at a beautiful restaurant. There will be no dishes to do…only a delicious “Holiday Cake” to enjoy.

 How do you MindFULLY find ways to be Great-FULL during the Holidays?

Let us know!

Crack Friday

That’s the new name my daughter and I have given the Friday after Thanksgiving. While all the advertisers want us to think of it as Black Friday, the only thing black about it is the hole you fall down if you buy in. We suspect that more people “crack” on that day then any other. Overeating, over sharing, over expecting things and people to be certain ways – how could you possibly not crack?

When did I get so cynical?

Maybe it was as I sat on the overstuffed chair at the Mall Friday morning at 7am so that my 13 year old could get 50% off at Abercrombie. Crack.

Maybe it was when she got home and realized none of it fit and that she was “over the whole thing.” Crack.

Maybe it was when I  said, “Enough! Did we not spend the whole day, yesterday, giving thanks for all we have and now we are being bombarded with ads that tells us of  how little we really have and need? Did we not race home and whip off our clothes after not one, but two kinds of stuffing, three pies and g-d knows how many sticks of butter?” Crack.

Color me crazy, but I think even she felt it. I could hear the music coming from her room while she cleaned out her closet to try and get a grip on what she had and really needed. I sensed a shift in desire. A girl after my own heart. 4 trash bags later (one for GoodWill, two for re-sale, one to return borrowed clothes) she suggested returning her 50% off items and, instead, came up with a handful of reasonable needs for the next day of “have to haves,”  — otherwise known in our house as Chanukah.

What I loved most about the day, was that after we cracked, we found a way to put ourselves back together again. We went to the movies, out to lunch and took long deep breaths. We gained new perspectives; me, on what it means to be 13 years old; her, that as much as we love a Sale, sometimes you can pass it up.

Now, if only those brown suede boots I want get marked down soon and the sweater she “had to have” arrives in time for Hanukkah, we will not only have learned to bake a cake, we will get to it eat, too.

How do you MINDfully navigate the day after Thanksgiving? Let us know!