Behind The Butter

Keeping it Real

Yesterday, Almanzo and I attended a Celebration of Life ceremony over in the beautiful Alexander Valley. It was the third funeral I’ve ever attended and I have to say, out of them all, this ceremony was most true to the definition.

A Celebration of Life.


The setting was absolutely perfect and we honored a great man’s full life in the best manner possible.There were no tears and black dresses in sight—instead, we celebrated with great food, delicious wine and wonderful friends and family. I personally can’t think of a better way to go out than with a big party in wine country, can you?

Above all, yesterday served as a reminder to me about just how short life really is and how it’s so important to live each day to the fullest.

Today I’ve celebrated life by waking up early and taking a three mile walk around the lake with someone I love while listening to a sermon online. The weather is beautiful and I’m thankful to be alive! I’m also excited to work at the yoga studio this afternoon and then go out on a dinner date tonight out near the ocean.

What have you done today to celebrate?

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81 Comments

  • Reply
    Cynthia (It All Changes)
    September 26, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    We had our monthly church service at our local nursing home today. It is such a celebration to see the faith of the older generations as they support us as much as we support them.

  • Reply
    Shannon @ Freshman Yr of Life
    September 26, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Beautiful post. I’m reading Zen and the art of happiness right now and it rings true to what your writing.

  • Reply
    Runeatrepeat
    September 26, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Beautiful post, beautiful pictures. I celebrated life with a walk with my love today too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Natalia - a side of simple
    September 26, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    This is beautiful, so inspiring and perfect for a Sunday. I went to Mass today with my family and just spent time “being” with them.

  • Reply
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    September 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    What gorgeous pictures – I have spent today going to church, having “dinner” with my husband, and just relaxing!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    September 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    beautiful post. i had lunch today with my good friend who just lost her husband a week and a half ago. we watched our two boys play and were amazed at what perfect little people they are. then we acknowledged that the two of them together will certainly be trouble in a few more years : ) we celebrated our boys.

    it is so easy to become complaicent, to forget how precious life is, and fall back into our routines after losing a loved one. i am reminding myself EVERY day to not take life, or the people in my life for granted. i don’t want to wait for another tragic reminder before i remember to enjoy every second of my life. i want to do it every second of every day.

    • Reply
      Angela (Oh She Glows)
      September 26, 2010 at 1:26 pm

      Very well said. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I love this post. I too would want a celebration of my life and not a ‘funeral’. I think we all need a gentle reminder now and then, if not, on a daily basis about how precious life is.

  • Reply
    Chris O.
    September 26, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I’m spending the day with my family and BBQ-in. Perfect!

  • Reply
    Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    September 26, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Perfect for a Sunday – the pictures are gorgeous.

  • Reply
    melissa roby
    September 26, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    My husband is a Marine that has been deploying for about half of our 10 year marriage…..he is home now for a 3 year non-deployable tour…..we are enjoying each and every day with our son and each other……life is short and celebrating yourself and the ones you love is on the top of my things to do list everyday!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    September 26, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Beautiful post.

  • Reply
    Jaya
    September 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I don’t think we (my lover and I) are doing any one special thing, just feeling particularly lucky to be doing “ordinary” things together.

  • Reply
    LizW
    September 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I celebrated by kicking out the hubby and having my closest girlfriends over for a slumber party. I am so blessed with amazing women in my life! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Estela @ Weekly Bite
    September 26, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    This post is a great reminder! Life is too short!

  • Reply
    hippierunner
    September 26, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Sounds like it was a lovely ceremony. I have celebrated life today with a refreshing run, a breakfast of fresh fruit and a walk with my boyfriend.

  • Reply
    steph@stephsbitebybite
    September 26, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I love that first picture! It looks so beautiful and romantic! And then comes the BBQ!!!!

  • Reply
    grocery goddess jen
    September 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    It’s rainy out, but I still went for a walk around the lake nearby and looked at the flowers, trees, and birds.

  • Reply
    Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies
    September 26, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Agreed – life is too short to not celebrate it.

  • Reply
    Heather
    September 26, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I went to church with my Daddy ๐Ÿ™‚ Loved singing to our Lord, How Great Thou Art! God blesses us all & I wish more knew His love!

  • Reply
    hira
    September 26, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    love it. i took a walk in the park along the river with my roommate, eating fresh fruits and stopping to smell flowers and play with the dogs. it was a good sunday.

  • Reply
    julia
    September 26, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    That was a really lovely post…and so true! There is so much to be grateful for in the small details of our days ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Heather
    September 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    i woke up next to my best friend…if that’s not a celebration of life, i don’t know what is ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Exercise and Eat
    September 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Looks like a gorgeous way to celebrate a life.

  • Reply
    Tabitha (From Single to Married)
    September 26, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I got down on the floor and played with my seven month old – it made him happy and made me laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Seglare (in Copenhagen)
    September 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    This was such a beautiful post, and I couldn’t agree more. I wish all of us could have a memorable celebration like that, instead of a black funeral. What a perfect way to say goodbye, and to remind ourselves again to cherish and be thankful for all the moments we have with our loved ones, and every day we have on this earth.

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ Laugh and Cook
    September 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    What a beautiful way to say goodbye. I am truly thankful for all the moments that I have, especially with loved ones. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Kristina @ spabettie
    September 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    this is beautiful… I have been to more ‘life celebrations’ than funerals, and it is such a great thing!

    I love that swing! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    Taysa
    September 26, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    My partner and I rode our bikes through Golden Gate Park to the ocean, where we sat and watched the waves. It is a beautiful day!

  • Reply
    S
    September 26, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I kissed my husband like it was our very first kiss.

  • Reply
    Marie-JourneyToBodyZen
    September 26, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I’ve lived life to the fullest by celebrating the new fall season. I bought two mini pumpkins and am drinking a pumpkin ale as I type this ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Laura
    September 26, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    What a great post. That’s the way I’d like to go out.

    Today I celebrated life by waking up early for a 15-mile walk to train for the Komen 3-Day. Everything I do with for this event reminds me how grateful I am to still have my mom around after her three bouts with breast cancer.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    September 26, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Beautiful post ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa
    September 26, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Beautiful post. Its a nice reminder to slow down. I have spent the day running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I have a lot to get done over the next week, but its good to remember to take it one day at a time and enjoy being alive.

  • Reply
    Sana
    September 26, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I am going to celebrate the wedding of my high school friend ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    Camille
    September 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    This looks absolutely beautiful.
    Today I celebrated my heath and hardwork by running a very speedy 10k!

  • Reply
    Laughter-Loving Stacy
    September 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I ran 7 miles, which is like meditation for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Julia
    September 26, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I’ll echo the other commenters, this is truly a beautiful post.
    I love the celebration of life idea, it is sad that someone has left us, but we should celebrate how wonderful his or her life was and how wonderful it is to be alive.
    I celebrated today by spending about 3 odd hours training for the Nike Women’s Marathon and then celebrating our accomplishment with the Whole Foods Salad Bar.

  • Reply
    Jamie @ Food in Real Life
    September 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Life is SO short. I think there is no better way to remember someone who is no longer with us then to celebrate their lives and focus on how important it is to cherish life.
    Even though it sounds weird, some of the most heartwarming memories I’ve made with my family have been at funerals. We get together, and we just reminisce. We whip out old photos, and laugh and cry together. You realize that you’re all interconnected, you all share the same memories, feel the same void.

  • Reply
    Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    September 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Beautiful. I have taken time to myself to relax.

  • Reply
    stacey-healthylife
    September 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    What a great story. We had a celebration similar to that when my mother in law passed away last year. It’s nice to remember and celebrate the good times.

  • Reply
    eatmovelove
    September 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Very thoughtful posts. I like the scenic pictures you take. Better than the food.

    Almost anyways.

    What have I celebrated today? Well, let’s keep it real. I agree with all of the comments above.

  • Reply
    Tina
    September 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I celebrated life by going to a friend’s daughter’s 1st birthday party and seeing all the children’s faces light up with delight.

    I also celebrated by worshiping God an appreciating all He does for me. Life really is so short, but He gives it to the full. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Erin Rose
    September 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Beautiful – I want the life that I live now to be worthy of such a celebration when I’m called home. Today I’ve been studying, but will take a break soon to cook a yummy dinner for my sweetheart and then go to an engagement party. Life is such a reason for celebration, thanks for the reminder ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Kati @ Living Well
    September 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Went to church, then 2 showers for friends! One wedding, one baby…celebrating newness! :>

  • Reply
    Shannon, Tropical Eats
    September 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    my mom and i were going to drive to downtown disney this afternoon, but instead veered off of I-4 to explore Dinosaur World! Every time we have driven by it in the past, we’ve always wanted to stop. It was such a fun adventure ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Mama Pea
    September 26, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I love this post. I feel so thankful for my life today as well. Something about Sundays ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    lindsay ann
    September 26, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I’m celebrating my birthday!!! I love the fact that it falls on my favorite season. Even if it raining, it is a beautiful day to stay in and catch up.

  • Reply
    sarah k. @ the pajama chef
    September 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    wonderful. i celebrated life at church… jesus is life, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Jess @ MTL Veggie
    September 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Great post ๐Ÿ™‚
    I celebrated my inner strength at Yoga this morning.

  • Reply
    Annie@stronghealthyfit
    September 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I celebrated by letting myself rest ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    erin
    September 26, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I danced with my 6 month old in the living room to the last scene in the movie Dirty Dancing-“I’ve had the time of my life”- did I just admit that?! ha…

  • Reply
    Celeste
    September 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks for such a bright and sunny post ๐Ÿ™‚ It made my day!

  • Reply
    Katie @ peacebeme
    September 26, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Today I went to the Bronco’s game and enjoyed the beautiful September Denver sunshine. I went swimming this morning and made a committment to myself to believe I deserve to enjoy my life. And I smiled all day because I have the most wonderful boyfriend in the world that I get to see in 3 weeks when he has leave from his deployment.

  • Reply
    Maria @ Kale and Cupcakes
    September 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I laughed with my husband today – and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate life!

  • Reply
    Debbie B.
    September 26, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Spent time with family and ate delicious food!! Love the pictures, looks like a beautiful day!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    September 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Today is a public holiday in Western Australia (the Queen’s Birthday, which we celebrate on a different day than anywhere else), and I am celebrating it by baking Mama Pea’s blackberry oatmeal bars, a hike in Serpentine National Park, and a visit to the Buddhist monastery while I am there. I can’t NOT feel happy to be alive here as the winter breaks and that strong Aussie sun grows even stronger!

  • Reply
    Katelynn
    September 26, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    What a beautiful setting. And such a nice idea.

  • Reply
    Nora@LifeLifeEatRight
    September 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Jenna– Your thoughts make me smile and tear up at the same time. I love your outlook on life. It is so refreshing.

  • Reply
    Bonnie
    September 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    What a great, thoughtful post, Jenna…thanks for sharing. I celebrated life today by worshipping Christ in church w/the community and later loving his creation on a fall hike w/my husband and good friends… Fellowship, especially under fall leaves and colors, is so sweet. Glad you’ve been able to celebrate life so well even despite the passing of a friend. Take care and keep celebrating!

  • Reply
    Katie
    September 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    This might be the most random comment ever, but would you ever consider doing a post on how you do your hairstyles? I love when you do the braids! So cute!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    September 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    This is such a thought-provoking post. I love reading others’ comments. Today was a good Sunday for me as well. Nothing stand-out of the park kinda
    deal, just a good day. Yummy breakfast followed by more green tea and NY Times
    reading. A 7mi run then a little wine and food show action with some lovely ladies. Quick visit with the Beau and now settling in with some wine and a comfy couch. La vie est belle, non?

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  • Reply
    Blaine
    September 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Much agreed with everyone, beautiful post.

    Although I have to confess – I jumped on here to comment because I just finished a weekend marathon of watching Top Chef Las Vegas for the first time and can I just say…. it’s SO awesome that you know Kevin ๐Ÿ™‚ What a freakin’ cool guy.

  • Reply
    Nancy @ The Wife of a Dairyman
    September 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    I went to a baptism this beautiful afternoon with my husband and two kids. We also brought Grandma with us (my kid’s great grandma) so I got to sit in the back seat between my two kids, which was a true treat since they both wanted to hold my hand:)

  • Reply
    Emily
    September 26, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I just wanted to comment on how beautiful your pictures are. I’ve been reading your blog for a little bit and love it! There should definitely be more celebrations of life and of the joy that person brought.

  • Reply
    Toronto Girl West
    September 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Today, we had two wonderful feasts, enjoyed a walk by the Ocean, and considered the next big move in our lives.

    Today, life was exciting!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Kat
    September 26, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I’m glad you were able to be part of a celebration to honor a good man. I was blessed today while I played outside with my Golden, Shadow and enjoyed a dinner with my lovely husband. Life is good.

  • Reply
    Megan
    September 26, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I spent quality time with loved ones. It’s in those moments that I realize life is precious and being happy is perhaps the most important part of that life. Sharing my time with family and friends definitely makes me happy.

    I ate yummy Mexican food too! Always a huge reason to celebrate.

  • Reply
    Maura
    September 26, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I sat outside drinking a mocha latte, sharing a big cookie with a best friend while listening to a man play the guitar and sing old songs. Life is beautiful.

  • Reply
    Amber K
    September 26, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    This was a truly beautiful post, thank you so much for the reminder to celebrate life!

  • Reply
    Heather
    September 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Cheers to life! I’m back home for the weekend to celebrate a friends wedding, and I get to spend extra time with my Mom to boot, yay!

  • Reply
    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    September 26, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I didnt know you work at a yoga studio. I’ve been a yoga teacher for 10+ years. I love yoga; it has helped shape who i am as a person much more OFF the mat than on. I am thankful for that, I celebrate my journey with yoga.

    But I am thankful most for my daughter and my hubs. They mean the world to me. I work like a dog and Sundays and Mondays are my days off and I was able to spend this afternoon with them and just be together as a family. That’s what it’s all about.

    Beautiful post, so moving!

    Have a lovely week, Jenna!

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Suzanne de Cornelia
    September 27, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Beautiful post!

    I celebrated by taking a 1/2 day walk all over the beaches of Carmel/Carmel River…on a dazzlingly beautiful day & then to the very impressive Camel Mission fiesta! Also by being so grateful that an out of town guest’s Golden Retriever that went missing on the beach last night was found! I didn’t know the person–she was in a reunion party staying at the Cypress Inn–when her Golden took off. The police & everyone in town it seemed was looking for him worried that he might get up to the highway. Relief that the little buddy was found!

  • Reply
    Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    September 27, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Life is so short and sweet, it’s important not to miss a single glimpse. I love this post for that wonderful reminder. THANK YOU! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I indulged in good conversation with my brother who I haven’t seen in about a year, over a couple cupcakes and some sushi. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    Andrea
    September 27, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Stunning photos jenna. I agree about living life to the fullest every day. Thanks for the reminder!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Paige (Running Around Normal)
    September 27, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Life is very short. I think it’s great when people have a celebration of life instead of a funeral…the husband’s grandpa did that.

  • Reply
    Zerique
    September 27, 2010 at 7:20 am

    I absolutely love reading your blog. Beautiful pictures and words. I think even when you dont mean to be inspiring, you are. I love it and look forward to reading everyday.
    This weekend, I enjoyed my family and loved every minute that was spent together. We did nothing extraordinary. Just hung out at home together, but I loved it. Every Sunday the three of us go grocery shopping and for some reason I really love that time. Its a blessing to feel so lucky and I do. Thanks for making me realize that.

  • Reply
    Peggy
    September 27, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Beautiful pictures. What gorgeous weather we’ve been having.

    My mother’s family is Quaker, and of all the Quaker services I’ve been to, the funerals are the most beautiful–no coffin, no tears, no flowers, just a gathering of family and friends sitting in silence until someone wants to stand and tell a story about the person’s life. At my grandfather’s funeral (a college professor), former students came to tell anecdotes about him as a teacher, and the room was full of family and friends. It really does seem the best way–to celebrate the life as much or more than you mourn the death.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    September 27, 2010 at 10:07 am

    What a nice sunset. It’s good to occasionally take it slow and enjoy the little things!

  • Reply
    kaila
    September 27, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    funerals done in that way provide so much more closure in my opinion. instead of mourning a life thats come to an end, you are able to celebrate a life that was lived to the fullest. the setting looked beautiful!

    quick question: why are your posts contained in a “read more” link now?

  • Reply
    Shelley
    September 29, 2010 at 6:34 am

    I took the time to enjoy my coffee on a rainy morning and read my favorite blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Daniel Shaw
    March 29, 2013 at 12:28 am

    That is true, we need to enjoy every minute of our lives and celebrate it every day doing things we like and that make us feel good. Great post!

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