Behind The Butter

the spirit of thanksgiving

Even though I haven’t seen the sun for days…and it’s forty one degrees outside and raining…and my family is thousands of miles away…and my favorite pajamas have a big hole in them…and I can’t feel my behind after an especially difficult yoga class yesterday…

I am still thankful.

What are you doing to give back this Thanksgiving week?

Since this is the first year I’m really all on my own, I made the pact that instead of feeling sorry for myself, I would give back as much as I could.

So, I have a huge pile of coats and old clothes to donate and am looking forward to cooking Thanksgiving dinners at a local homeless shelter all day on Wednesday.

Because Thanksgiving is about way more than eating until you can’t zip up your jeans, right?

I am looking forward to Friday though! I signed up for a three hour power yoga bootcamp and then Almanzo Adam (who just now decided he wants to be called “Adam” on the blog…I guess he got sick of my Little House obsession?) is flying home early and taking me to a surprise late Thanksgiving dinner.

I am so thankful.

What can you do to give back this week? Cause, in the words of one of my favorite yoga teachers, how you do anything is how you do everything.

Sometimes the greatest acts of kindness are also the smallest.

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  • Liza
    November 21, 2010 at 7:49 am

    I LOVE this post. It has inspired me to really give back and be thankful. Thanks for the uplifting post.

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations
    November 21, 2010 at 7:50 am

    The statement: how you do anything is how you do everything

    This is quite profound for me today. Thank you for making what might have seemed a simple statement at the time. I find great meaning in this.

  • kate
    November 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

    How you do anything is how you do everything is my favorite yogic phrase…and so true!

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    November 21, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Love this post – it truly captured what is supposed to be…and has been lost…the spirit of the holidays. Giving back is what it’s all about, and just enjoying those that you do have and being thankful for the little moments.

  • R @
    November 21, 2010 at 7:57 am

    That is such a great motto. I want to really think about it moving forward

  • Lauren
    November 21, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I love that quote! Our church collected thanksgiving baskets full of food to distribute to low-income families in our town to give back today.

  • Andrea @
    November 21, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I absolutely.onehundredpercent.completely. love that poem. I think I heard it a while ago on Def Poetry Jam, maybe? Either way, thank you for sharing!

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    November 21, 2010 at 8:03 am

    this is a great post and a terrific reminder of what thanksgiving is really about. i definitely needed that reminder to be thankful for all of the great things in life and to look for ways to help other people

  • Lindsey @ Morningstar Project
    November 21, 2010 at 8:09 am

    This is why I love this week. As a fellow west coast transplant (I’m originally from Baltimore), how do you do it with the holidays and going home? I have my mom and stepdad coming out here for the week thankfully, but I find that I always get homesick around the holidays.

    • jenna
      November 21, 2010 at 8:12 am

      I get homesick, too! I just try to keep myself busy…and plan things to look forward to!

  • Moni'sMeals
    November 21, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Beautiful Post. To me it really is all about giving back. I really do love to volunteer. 🙂

    “How you do anything is how you do everything”…Amen!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    November 21, 2010 at 8:12 am

    What a great statement! I’m going to write it out and post it on my bedroom wall. I’ve never heard it before and I’m so thankful that you’ve shared it. Great clip, too, Jenna. Thanks for such an inspiring start to my Sunday 🙂

  • Alyson @ Nourished Fitness
    November 21, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Oh thank you for this post! I’m alone this Thanksgiving too, and have been feeling rather melancholy about the whole thing. But you’re so right, what does that kind of attitude do.. I’m lucky to have amazing friends & family even if I don’t get to be around them. And that quote is perfect!

  • Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes
    November 21, 2010 at 8:14 am

    great post!….It’s gray and sleeting-ish here in North Wisconsin…but who cares when you’ve got a cozy house and nice friendly people coming over to visit….and plus you get to feed them lotsa yummy things! (like maple cornmeal biscuits topped with……Butternut Butter! 🙂 )
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

  • Charlotte
    November 21, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Aw man, I loved the name “Almanzo!”

    You are incredible. That is all.

  • hippierunner
    November 21, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Aw man! I have to confess Almanzo is more fun to read than Adam since I’m a fellow fan of Little House on the Prairie. I was hoping he’d actually change his name to that!

    That’s great you’re turning things into a postive situation! I bet your help will bring joy to many people! 🙂

  • Bunji
    November 21, 2010 at 8:30 am

    What a great poet. I had my 14 yr old son listen. He is going through a tough age and I found the poem helpful.

  • Mara @ What's For Dinner?
    November 21, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I have about 5 bags of clothes to donate this week… and a plan to help send food to a few needy families in our school district.

    I’m loving that Adam wants to be Adam… I’ll just have to remember that you’re talking about YOUR Adam not MY Adam 🙂

  • Lizzie
    November 21, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Not being an American, Thanksgiving is not as meaningful to me as it is to everyone else, but I still enjoy experiencing it. This year, my husband and I are creating a T-giving dinner basket for the Salvation Army drive in our neighbourhood. It may not have as much meaning to me, but for other Americans it does and they shouldn’t have to miss out.

    It’s still a reminder of being thankful for what I do have – this is a great post Jenna. I’m giving thanks for your awesome cooking by attempting to make your persimmon cookies! 🙂

  • Dorry
    November 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

    What a beautiful post! I couldn’t agree with you more that Thanksgiving is a time to do what we should do ALL year, which is to count our blessings and reach out to help others…and of course, some good food, too. 🙂

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    November 21, 2010 at 8:43 am

    A three hour yoga bootcamp sounds intense! I think I’d like it 🙂

  • stacey-healthylife
    November 21, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Great post. Three hour yoga, wow that sounds fun but intense.

  • Nancy in Naples
    November 21, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Great post

  • Lynn
    November 21, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Thank you for the poe. It was lovely.

  • Lynn
    November 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I meant poem. Even though Edgar Allan is cool, too.

  • Krystina (Basil & Wine)
    November 21, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I love this post. You’re a great person, really. I also love that picture of you and Adam – it’s totally cute.

  • Liza
    November 21, 2010 at 8:58 am

    How inspiring! You turned a negative (being away from your family on Thanksgiving) into a positive. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving. While I don’t live on the other side of the country from my family, it is still takes two hours by plane to see them. Living in NYC doesn’t feel like home at all and I have found myself feeling a little down because I’m not with my family right now. Hope you have a rewarding Thanksgiving Jenna!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit
    November 21, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Great post, jenna. Thanks for the reminder- I have a bunch of clothes to give away right now too. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

  • hira
    November 21, 2010 at 9:23 am

    im a little homesick right now too…its my birthday week AND thanksgiving week. your post has me looking up homeless shelters and the like in torino, italy.


  • Jillian @ Reshape Your Life
    November 21, 2010 at 9:23 am

    It’s always hard being away from family… I’m 2,000 miles away from mine, and it is always hard around the holidays.

    At least you are keeping yourself busy and giving back 🙂 It also helps that Adam is going to be there with you… even if it is a day late. 😉

  • Lisa A. A.
    November 21, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Beautiful pics, as always!! Hubby, my 6 & 8 year olds and I are spending time next weekend packing food for Feed My Starving Children. Second time my kids have volunteered there this month & I can’t think of a better thing for them to do around Thanksgiving! Thanks for reminding all of us to GIVE BACK!!

  • Ann
    November 21, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Youre awesome Jenna. Awesome.

  • Nicole
    November 21, 2010 at 9:46 am

    How could you have known how much I needed to hear that poem? It’s the loveliest thing I’ve heard in a long time. I needed it so much that it made me cry. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Kelly
    November 21, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I love the words from your yoga instructor. I think it’s so powerful, so meaningful. I hope you enjoy the holiday, and really, the love and thankfulness should be every day, right? (Although, I know how it is to feel homesick – for both family and a place. It’s not much fun!)

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    November 21, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Beautiful post! I think what you are doing for Thanksgiving is SO awesome!

  • Camille
    November 21, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Haha, he definitely looks more like an Adam!
    I called my boyfriend, Steve, The Boyfriend on my blog for the longest time and he loved. I got really tired of it though and switched to his real name!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss
    November 21, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Good for you for giving back this Thanksgiving! It’s definitely inspired me to do that same. Thanks!

  • Rosey Rebecca
    November 21, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I saw Anis Mojgani. He performed at my school once, he autographed a poetry book for me. Love his work!

  • salah@myhealthiestlifestyle
    November 21, 2010 at 11:48 am

    this was such a great post! What an awesome reminder to us all 🙂

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    November 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Beautiful Jenna!

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]
    November 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing that incredible poet/poem – loveddd.

  • Jill
    November 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Awesome poem!!!

  • Kasey
    November 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Love that phrase!!!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    November 21, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    What a beautiful post!

    I loveeeee to donate clothes and household goods. I live in urban San Diego and literally my backyard is a Salvation Army/Goodwill type store and you better believe that I declutter, purge, re-home, and donate…tons. Such a great feeling!

    Have fun at your 3 Hour yoga bootcamp!


  • Amber K
    November 21, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I feel so grateful and thankful that the farthest I have to travel for the holidays is half an hour in the car.

    I definitely give a bit more this time of year, but the most I give back is more around February-April. When people who only give during the holidays completely drop off and people are still in need.

  • Cindy
    November 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    This post made me miss Santa Rosa especially the ocean, and YOU! Its great that you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner at the shelter! My fam and I will be serving dinner on Thanksgiving at the Buffalo city mission, and my sis and I are baking 4 pies for them. I’ve never baked pie so I’m pretty excited! We shall catch up more soon. Love and miss you!

  • Amy K. @ Onehealthypeanut
    November 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    What a great way to bring prospective to the upcoming week! Thanks!!

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    November 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I adore your attitude! It’s one we should all adopt. We have so much to be thankful for and should never stop paying forward our blessings by showing kindness to others. 🙂

  • jessica
    November 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Wonderful post! Gratitude- what a great feeling!
    Yesterday the yoga studio I teach at hosted a shoe drive for Soles 4 Souls in the spirit of sharing and giving to those less fortunate. We had a great turnout and lots of fun too 😉
    I am thankful for so much and I’m making it a goal to never pass up an oportunity to share and give back.

  • adrianna
    November 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    what a pretty post jenna. made me smile, and made me realize how lucky i am.

  • Pamela
    November 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    My husband and I donated 80 pounds of food to the county food bank and also donated supplies to the animal shelter. We had to donate it all two weeks ago because he left for Iraq last Sunday.

  • Megan
    November 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    This year is my first year I won’t be able to share the holidays with my family and the first year I have been totally on my own. I’ve been a rough go but it’s little reminders like this that bring me back to what really counts. My family loves me and even if I am not there I am with them in spirit. That is somethings to be thankful for and I am incredibly lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

  • Amanda
    November 21, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    You’re too sweet! Thats what the holidays SHOULD be about. Extending outside ourselves and giving to others who need it most.

  • Alissa @ Not Just Apples
    November 22, 2010 at 2:49 am

    What a beautiful post! I think it’s a wonderful idea to be giving back at this time of year…it makes me want to sort through my closet and donate ?

  • Cara Craves...
    November 22, 2010 at 3:08 am

    That picture is great!
    It captures so much joy and happiness.

  • Jenny
    November 22, 2010 at 5:57 am

    I’m so glad you cleared up the almanzo/adam thing! Ha! I thought they were two different people, oh boy.

  • erin@ small things
    November 22, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Shake the dust!
    thank you, I plan to.

  • Natalie
    November 22, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Awesome post, beautiful photos. You embody what the holidays truly are about – giving back & showing gratitude. Have fun at the yoga bootcamp too!

    PS- I plan on making your “Grumpy Ginger Cake” for Thanksgiving dessert!

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa
    November 22, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Great post! It’s my first Thanksgiving away from home, and feeling kinda homesick about it. This post put a smile on my face.

  • Dee
    November 24, 2010 at 11:09 am

    You inspire me. 🙂