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I have written in the past about my goal of keeping life simple. I do my best to make decisions and avoid situations that would add stress or drama to our lives. Raising happy and healthy children, being a happy and healthy stay-at-home mom, and maintaining a happy and healthy home-life for my family is my daily agenda. This is the plate of responsibility that I carry everyday. In the past, I have added things, like graduate school classes and my employment, only to discover that my plate got too heavy to carry around all day. Eventually, I lost my balance and things started falling off. Sometimes those things that fell flat on the floor were things that were of core importance to me.

Society tells us that as women, we can have it all. Professional employment, children, a spouse, a healthy and active lifestyle, and keep our sanity. A wise woman once told me that it is true, women can have it all, they just can’t have it all at the same time. In other words, life is like a buffet. You fill your plate and once it becomes empty, you get to go back for seconds, thirds, and dessert.

Like any good meal, the greatest flavors and nutritional value come from foods in their simplest forms. If you put too many foods on a plate, they will all start running together. I was reminded of this recently. My family was cruising through life at a speed higher than normal. Things were becoming stressful and everyone was beginning to feel it. Then, a storm came through and we lost electricity in our home. I went out a bought the only generator I could find, one that we could plug an electric heater and our cell phones into and that was about it. That night, we camped out in our family room, with couches, air mattresses, blankets, snacks, and candles. My three daughters were so excited you would think this was the best thing that has happened to them in a long time.

I was glad when our electricity came on the next day, but we still laugh at the many moments and conversations we had that evening, in the dark. That was when I took a look at my plate and realized that I needed to get rid of some excess weight. Sometimes this means just letting go of the added pressure I put on myself to be the best at everything. Sometimes this means that I need to make a little more time for myself, or my husband. Sometimes this may mean that my children need a little more undivided mom time and the dishes in the sink can wait until morning. Sometimes this means I need to refocus, as I may have become obsessed with a need for dessert before I’ve eaten what’s on my plate.

As the busiest time of the year approaches, we especially need to be ready to keep things simple. The holiday season can sometimes feel like you’re participating in a cafeteria food fight. Make sure your plate has what you want on it, be thankful, and enjoy your meal with those you love.

Happy Thanksgiving.