On my journey, I am constantly learning and growing, and I am ever so grateful for this. Historically, I have not been the biggest fan of the “holiday season”, in reference to Christmas and Thanksgiving. I have realized that since I wish to live a gentle life, a life filled with compassion, love, and kindness, I have to embrace things with an open heart. My dislike of the holiday season is rooted in my upbringing, and the memories that are attached to that part of my life. I have realized these things, and so I can either accept them or change them, so I’ve decided to make some changes.

This year, I made two distinct changes, but they are both rooted in: facing your fears. I have mild anxiety, and in the past I have allowed these feelings of dread, despair, and anxiousness keep me from doing things. I don’t have FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out, I have FOGO or Fear OF Going Out.

I attended Thanksgiving dinner with my partner and some of his extended family, and honestly, up until 48 hours prior to the day of, I was considering feigning some sort of illness, or losing all connection with the world. Why? I was nervous as hell. We were attending dinner at a near relatives house that I had never met before, and I had made a recent diet change – Pescatarian transitioning to Vegetarian – that I felt would be prohibitive and disastrous for conversation. In addition to this small thing, I was nervous about meeting these people.

I had not shared my concerns with my partner, though. On the day of, I picked out an outfit, packed up our contributions, and we were off! I mentioned my anxiousness on our way to the festivities, in the car, and he helped to quell my fears: a lot of which, were not based in reality. I was essentially worried that I wouldn’t have anything to talk about, that I wouldn’t have anything to eat, that I wouldn’t be liked by his family. All of these fears seemed very real to me, up until the moment that we walked in the door quite honestly.

In hindsight, I had nothing to worry about, and I am so happy that I made the choice to face my fears and attend the family dinner with my partner. His family was lovely, I had plenty of sides to eat, and we talked the afternoon away. I had some wonderful conversations with some of his cousins, aunts, uncles, and second cousins, and I had the ability to listen to some wonderful stories. It was a great afternoon.

Another change that I made this Thanksgiving, at the encouragement of some wonderful people in my life, was that I began to sell my own handmade baked goods!

It still feels odd to say this for some reason. Do I feel as if I am undeserving of such support? I am still exploring these feelings, but I am happy to say that it all started with a friend speaking life into me. She knows who she is, but I essentially offered to bake her a vegan sweet potato pie, as she is living a vegan lifestyle now and sometimes it’s hard to find economical local options for baked goods in this day and age.

Well, I agreed to bake her a pie for a certain price, and a couple of days later I received a text from her requesting 6 more pies for her coworkers! Apparently she had spoken highly of the services that I would be offering her for Thanksgiving, and this inspired 6 other people to request a pie from me! I had requests for Buttermilk Pie, Cherry Pie, Pecan Pie, and Sweet Potato Pie!

I recently decided to invest in this beautiful Silicone Pastry Mat to assist in this endeavor! It’s another fabulous #AldiFind

Initially I was honored and thrilled, then I suddenly felt those familiar feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, and nervousness creeping up. At that moment, I knew that I had to make a choice: take control of my life, and my destiny, and do something new, or hide in fear, deny the requests, deny myself the opportunity to see what could happen.

I had so much love, support, and encouragement this past month, it’s daunting. My entire life, I’ve told myself that I had to do things alone, that that was just the way it is, but slowly…my reality is changing. I’m beginning to feel as if people don’t have to do things alone, sometimes. Accepting help is okay. Even asking for help is okay.

Pictured from top to bottom are a Cherry Pie, a Pecan Pie, and a Buttermilk Pie.
With the help of some close friends, I successfully sold 7 pies this holiday season!

I am presently brainstorming ways to expand my brand. I don’t intend to stick to just pies, though they are a welcome challenge and are quite delicious. I also intend to stick to a select menu of pies, because I’ve learned that some pies are more enjoyable to prepare than others. For example: I really did not enjoy making the “Pecan Pie”, and that coupled with the cost of materials needed to make this pie is something that I am taking into consideration when I build my menu.

This double-crust Cherry Pie was one of my favorite pies to make!
Here’s a close-up of the finished Cherry Pie, it’s the first one I’ve ever made and it made me so happy!
This is a Buttermilk Pie, a decadent Southern staple.
Here’s a close-up of some border detailing I was able to accomplish! After the first couple of pies I had the confidence to try some new things such as this “ruffle” effect.

I was given a wonderful opportunity this week, and I made a choice to take advantage of it to the best of my ability. My best changes each and every day though, so I intend to use this time to practice, and focus on creating new opportunities for myself each day, and facing my fears, one monster at a time.

How did you spend your Thanksgiving holiday? Did you learn anything new?

-Michaela ♥