I feel like I blinked my eyes and it was November. Decked out in my leggings and fall purse, Thursday, I headed down to my parents house to enjoy a day of family and friends.
It has been quite sometime since I had Thanksgiving there. Usually my brother and I spend time with our father from Colorado but this year we were all with mom. I brought Quentin, my boyfriend, and my brother brought his girls. My aunt, and uncle who has had a pretty rough medical battle this year, and a few of our family friends and parents filled my childhood home. It was such an amazing time. It is really special when you get to spend the day with those who mean the most to you. With everyone having such different schedules, these times are hard to come by.
I have never brought anything to thanksgiving because I have never really enjoyed the kitchen, but this year I felt it was time to contribute. I made macaroni and cheese, and not to toot my own horn–but it was good! Simple, yet delicious, I have included the recipe below
6 cups of grated cheddar cheese
4 cups of noodles (I used small shells but you can use elbow macaroni)
2 cups of milk
Optional salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Boil the noodles until soft (about 6-8 mins–just check because you don’t want to overcook them). Use a colander
to drain the noodles. Run cool water over them as they drain (it helps keep the noodles from sticking). Then in a nonstick Pyrex or buttered metal pan evenly alternate layers starting with noodles on the bottom then cheese, salt and pepper to taste if preferred. Repeat until the pan is full. Top with a generous amount of cheese. Pour the milk evenly over the whole dish, then bake for 25 mins. Then enjoy!!
Let’s be honest here–no Thanksgiving is complete without a kitchen blunder or two. For example, my pumpkin bars may have been in the oven a little too long and left behind at my house on purpose and mom may have been freaking out because the turkey wasn’t cooking as quickly as she had hoped. Comical now; we have more memories for the books! Although sometimes it is easy to get consumed in our own stresses, I am thankful for the day noted as Thanksgiving. Each year is another moment to share a nice meal with those who have help mold me into who I am becoming.
I would be lying if I said the past few months haven’t been stressful for me. It seems as if luck just hasn’t been on my side. I had a tough time dealing with the stresses and my mind became pretty consumed with the negativity. Recently, I said to myself, enough is enough. I do not want to be stressed out nonstop; I want to find a way to release the negative energy consuming my mind and revert it into a positivity. I spoke with my doctor about some personal issues and she suggested some anti-anxiety medication. I tried it for a couple of months, it helped, but the side effects were awful and I wanted to have control of my fate and happiness without pharmaceuticals.
So I did.
For the past few weeks I have been making it a point to meditate. Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines meditation as the practice of spending time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation. I have devoted about 30 mins a day practicing meditation. Sometimes I do 15 minutes of meditation in the morning and 15 mins at night and other days, I just go to my quiet place for however long it takes for the negative energy has been released from my body.
Ultimately it is irrelevant how long, where, and what you do as long as you take some time out of your day to free your mind and have a moment with yourself. I like looking up a few positive quotes from powerful people (God, Buddha, Dalai Lama, Ghandi, and Walt Whitman are a few of my personal favorites) picking out two or three quotes that I can relate to what is on my mind. I find taking a little time to relate these quotes to my own life, really helps me clear my head. When I do my nightly quiet time, I like to soak my feet in warm water and a few natural oils during my reflections then when I am done massage my feet. It’s a nice way to wind down from a busy day.
Meditation for me has become a way to free my mind. I find, for me, it is an incredibly effective way to live with a more positive outlook on life and help inspire others to do the same. Think positive thoughts and you will live positively. To do so, it is crucial to get the negativity out!
Today is November 11 and more importantly, it is Veteran’s Day. Often times we are all guilty of waking up and going threw our daily routines without any thought to it. Well, think about this…without those individuals who put their lives on the line to fight for our freedom, we would not be able to do half of we do. You know that 9-5 job you dread waking up to each Monday morning? Well, there are some people who would do anything to be able to freely get in a car, drive to work, and punch a time clock. Today, my challenge to you: take a step back and think about what a blessing it is to live in a country where we are free. Take a second or two to send send a card, text message, or email thanking all of the veterans you know! I would like to personally thank my father, Don Rhodes, cousins Tony and John Rhodes, and boyfriend Quentin Colleton for their military services.