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Festive ideas for Thanksgiving

Maureen McArthur gives ideas to keep yourself sane during the holidays.


It was a Festive Thursday as plans were made for Thanksgiving. The monthly event is sponsored by the Utah State Extension Office with Barbra Jones and Christine Jensen lining out each month's activities. For the month of November, the theme was attitude of gratitude. Festive desserts and ideas were shown and hand outs given so everyone could try the dishes at home.

Maureen McArthur was the featured speaker this day. The holidays aren't a time to try to do everything perfect. You need to stay focused and have balance.

McArthur said we often don't have control over situations, but we can control our responses. She gave advice on how to relax and deal with stress.

It's important to maintain balance in our lives. We need to learn how to accept situations. We don't have to like it, but we can accept it. "Things will sometimes fall into place easier. Don't be in a tug of war with life, flow with it. Choose to be happy." McArthur told the story of the two wolves, "One evening an old Sioux told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, 'My son the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is evil, it is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good, it is joy, peace love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.' The grandson thought for a moment and then asked his grandfather, 'Which wolf wins?' The old Sioux simply replied, 'The one you feed.'"

She also shared the thought: Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.

McArthur taught the audience proper breathing techniques and how to use breathing exercises to relax.

"If we dwell on the negative, that's what we will find in life," said McArthur. Find balance to help you get through the tough times. Notice the things that bring you joy and gratitude.

"I once worked with a lady and I told her to write down the things that brought her joy. For several months she said she could not think of one. Then one day she came in and said she had watched the new calves frolicking in the field. I told her to write it down, from then on she found many things that brought her joy. Sometimes it's just a matter of recognizing it. Notice what's around you. Find things that make you feel calm and write them down. Scents and smells can be soothing," said McArthur.

She had the ladies mention some of the aromas they find comforting including: cinnamon, cloves, leather, bacon, bread baking, cookies, candles, campfire. She had them think of sights and how they can bring joy, children, moon, stars, forests, deserts, landscapes. Sounds included: laughter, frogs, water falls, chimes. Touch included: silky blankets, pets, snow, mud.

She said simple things can bring joy and peace. One day one of her clients saw the sun through the clouds and it was shining in a beautiful way and it brought a feeling of amazement and gratitude for the beautiful world in which we live.

"Let yourselves notice these things. Keep track of the reasons you feel grateful. Take deep breaths if you feel yourself becoming stressed. Breathe in through the nose and in and out. Try some of these breathing techniques. Be happy and enjoy the ride and find joy in what you are doing this holiday season and remember you can't please everyone," said McArthur.

The Festive Friday for December will be a Christmas potluck on Dec 16, noon, bring enough "tastes" for 40-50 people. Also bring inexpensive or fun gift ideas. No charge.

The November recipe was for a spicy orange cider:

1 tablespoon orange flavored breakfast drink

dash of ground cinnamon

dash of ground nutmeg

2/3 cup hot apple cider or juice

1 lemon slice

In a heat proof mug stir together the drink powder and spices, add the hot cider and stir well. Float the lemon slice on top. Makes one serving.

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