Thanksgiving Feed

10 Ways to Cozy Up Your Home for Thanksgiving

Paper & Glam - How to Cozy Up Your Home for Thanksgiving

Over the weekend while I bid farewell to my Halloween decor, I started dreaming up new ways to fill the void the witchy whimsy left behind.

If you're like me, and you found your home lacking a little sparkle without the Halloween decor, here's a few ideas for spicing up your home this November:

  1. Pad around the house in your favorite slippers.
  2. Simmer a hearty soup in a pretty pumpkin cocette.
  3. Mulling spices spice up wine or cider for a warm treat on a chilly evening.
  4. Lounge on harvest colored pillows.
  5. Brew a pumpkin coffee or tea.
  6. Hang a thankful art print.
  7. Of course, a glitter pumpkin or two! 
  8. Light a Thanksgiving scented candle for a warm glow.
  9. Curl up under a cozy throw.
  10. Watch the classic Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

Hope you enjoyed a peek at how I plan to update my home for Thanksgiving! These pieces will be featured in the Thanksgiving Home Tour the week of November 17th. 

Sanctuary, Self-Care & Thanksgiving

Sweater Weather Candle and Coffee

As the last of the autumn leaves fall and our first snow descends in Denver, I'm stuck on the idea of practicing self-care. Last week we talked about how the hustle of our lives, or the circumstances in our lives, can conceal the holiness in our lives. So, what's the solution?

A combination of three things: self-care, a sanctuary, and thanksgiving.

First, let's take self-care. This time of year there are so many festive and glittering things to occupy our attention: hunting down the ultimate ugly sweater, or our fourth quarter performance reviews, or anxiety about awkward family dynamics that unfold during the holidays. Self-care isn't something you see on most of our to-do lists, but it's time to start adding it.

What is self-care? Self-care is actively investing time in our emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Self-care can look as simple as putting on your favorite playlist and getting some laundry done, taking a twenty minute walk, or meeting a friend at a coffee shop to rant about corporate life and boys. Self-care is using our emotional intelligence to access what we need most, and allowing ourselves space and time to feel our feelings instead of pushing through them and burning out.

The ability to discern what we truly need, not allowing ourselves to be driven by false narratives or external expectations is a mark of maturity. We know from the scriptures that Jesus made self-care a priority. 

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. {Mark 1:35, NIV}

The news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. {Luke 5:15-16}

This was the peak of Jesus' ministry. The word was out that Jesus could heal the sick and make the blind see. Consequently, crowds swarmed Him requesting help. I can't imagine living under that set of expectations and extreme pressure. Yet even in that time, when there was so much potential for Jesus to minister and share the message that would save our fallen world, He took time alone to self-care.

If the son of God Himself took time every day to pursue self-care, why would we be exempt?

Some self-care basics: Choose a place and a regular time with no distractions specifically to practice self-care. Block this time out in your planner, make a date with yourself and guard it militantly, not allowing other commitments to encroach. 

Second, find a sanctuary in your life. There's a story in the Bible that tells us about a time David was running, quite literally, to save his life. Where does he run? To a sanctuary where there is a priest. 

A sanctuary is a holy place, and its priest is in charge of keeping it holy. Holy is a word that we use to designate the otherness, the purity, and the beauty of God. A sanctuary is a place for paying attention to God, a place where the truth of God is preserved and honored, a place for remembering the events in which God has been clearly active and powerful. The spirituality of sanctuary is fundamental to the Christian life. We need sanctuaries to run to in order to sustain ourselves with what is necessary to live - God and God's provisions for living in a dangerous world that is hostile to faith. Holy places are necessary for holy living. - Eugene Peterson, Leap Over A Wall

We all need help maintaining lives lived out of love, truth, and balance. Consequently, we need a daily self-care date and a sanctuary to which to retreat and renew our faith, energy, and trust in God. Create a sanctuary in your life, and become its priest, keeping it holy.

Thanksgiving Kitchen Decor

My sanctuary is my apartment. It's a place that reminds me of God's faithfulness, and it's the place where I continually find vitality and restorative energy. I live alone, so walking through my home is like reading my journal and represents so much of what I believe about life and God. Maybe you have roommates or a busy household and your sanctuary is a favorite park or it's sprawling out your journal and planner, and spending time alone before the rest of the house wakes up, maybe it's the gym. That's just a starting point where I've found sanctuary in past lives, and cities, and in the present, and I'd love to know what you would add to that list. 

For a Thanksgiving-themed look into my sanctuary, here's the latest apartment update:

And lastly, it's with thanksgiving that we learn to honor the holiness in our lives. It's saying thank you for the way the snow on the rooftop is melting and reverberating through the rain gutters so sweetly as I write. It's giving thanks for everything, simply because it's God's will for our lives {1 Thessalonians 5:18}.

Thank you for everything? There is freedom in giving the control of our lives back to God. Control is something I have to give up anew every morning and several times throughout the day. Our lives transform when we look at them through the eyes of faith, trust, and thanks. 

George MacDonald said, "Afflictions are but the shadow of God's wings." Can I learn to see hard circumstances that way? Can I really say thank you for the betrayal in my life? The singleness? The loneliness? The pain? The stress and anxiety? The disappointment? Not usually, but we know that Jesus did.

Jesus sat with the people He loved most in the world, including the man who sold him into crucifixion, and He took bread, broke it, gave thanks, and said, "Do this in memory of me" {Luke 22:19}. As we sit around our tables this Thanksgiving, may we say thank you in memory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for the lives He gave us and for the plans He has for us.

This year I'm thankful for the community, career, and calling I call my own, and I'm grateful for the disappointments that led me to each. I'm grateful that I'm not who I was a year ago, and I'm thanking God for the person I will be a year from now.

My encouragement today:

  1. Pursue self-care everyday this holiday season, develop this habit as we close out 2013 so that we can carry it with us into a fresh new year. 
  2. Create a sanctuary in your life.
  3. In everything, give thanks.

On the run we stop at a holy place and find that there's more to life than our circumstances and feelings indicate at that moment. We perceive God in and around and beneath us. New life surges up within us. We leave our sanctuary restored, revived, and redeemed.  If we enter hungry and needy, letting ourselves be vulnerable before God, bluntly, even belligerently, asking for what we need, we will almost certainly leave better. We will leave grateful to be simply alive, amazed to know that God is with us, that the most holy sacrament is food for our most everyday needs.  - Eugene Peterson, Leap Over A Wall