October 30, 2020

New Seasons

 (photo by Katie McBroom Photo)

This is what our family looks like now. Our big girl got married last weekend! They've been together 10 years and have already weathered many storms. We are wishing them a lifetime of calmer seas. I will be posting more photos later. The photographer was just amazing! Well, everything about the day was amazing!


Now that my to do lists and energy aren't focused on wedding prep, I'm settling into our quiet, cozy empty nest -for however long that lasts. Projects either got done or didn't and either way my mind has moved on to other priorities. To be honest, a priority I'm not historically good at focusing on...me.


The cadence of my days has shifted, like the seasons themselves. The things giving me pleasure are simple: baking bread, these scones, getting to know my camera again, taking a couple of online classes, occasional naps, reading- an extensive list of other pleasures. I continue to do what needs to be done to keep our home and lives on track, but I've realized that To Do list isn't going anywhere and I'm tired of trying to cross all the boxes off and feeling guilty when I fail. And I almost always fail. I'm often guilty of feeling like I can't take any pleasure from life until all of the work is done. The curse of the good work ethic. I'm guessing I'm not the only one among us who feels this way.


As I settle into a new flow that allows for taking time in the afternoons for creative pursuits, I find myself feeling excited to get up every day. It has been awhile since I have felt that way and didn't even realize it had slipped away until that old friend showed back up. I'm replenishing my spirit which in turn pays off in a myriad of ways.

We are battening down the hatches over here and tucking in for a long winter's nap. There is no telling what the next months will look like but I think it is going to be more important than ever that we find ways to be happy. 


While I will surely be missing people I love dearly, I know that there will be an end to this and I imagine the depth of gratitude we will feel for something as simple as a warm hug, seeing a movie or going away for the weekend, will be unlike anything we could have imagined. For the present moment, I'm going to make a point of focusing on the positives and finding happiness in the small, quiet moments. That's where the peace lives.

October 02, 2020

One Cozy Day

 

Firstly, thank you so much for the warm welcome home. As a thank you, I made us an Autumn playlist which I have been listening to on repeat. You can find it on Spotify here. I'm actually listening to it as I write this. It is best enjoyed with flickering candlelight, a cozy blanket and tea. I find music so evocative and am known to make a new playlist each season as if I am creating a soundtrack for my own life. In fact, soundtracks have been my favorite music influences from my first-Grease and American Graffiti (on 8 track!) to long term and current favorites like One Fine Day, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally.

 

This past Monday, we had our first cozy, rainy autumn day. We have had very little rain so I watched the extended forecast with much anticipation. A rainy autumn Monday when you don't have anyplace to be is only rivaled by a stormy Sunday when you have no place to be. Don't you agree? So I planned for days, choosing my coziest loungewear and making plans to savor every moment. In this house we all like to burrow in our hidey holes when the weather is inclement and kitties are no exception. There is one snuggled under that blanket, in one of her favorite spots.



I do best with some structure so I usually have a loose plan for my days and week. On Monday I do a tidy, undoing the damage to the house created from the weekend. I tackle the giant never ending basket of towels to fold, straighten up, put away all the things that get left out, sweep the floor and any number of invisible tasks that I do without thinking on any given day. I also tend to do some cooking for the week. I took some recently harvested garden tomatoes and added them to a jar with shallot, garlic, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, baked some sourdough bread to enjoy with it and to have around for the week and made an autumn vegetable soup for dinner starring butternut squash from my garden.





On Mondays, I also try to do a task I have procrastinated doing. This week it was ripping out this sweater I twice tried and failed to knit successfully-so that I might reuse the yarn for another project. This task was best accomplished curled up in a cozy chair while watching Sweet Magnolias on Netflix. I have a condition that prevents me from just sitting with still hands. I'm practicing to correct this with a goal of being able to sit and read or watch a movie or just think, without feeling like I need to also be accomplishing something. I am beginning to realize that my mind (and hands) need the stillness. Especially these days. Although to be sure, knitting is my mediation. 


A cozy day calls for a cozy afternoon snack and lately I have been enjoying brown sugar maple oatmeal with a dollop of crunchy almond butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I never liked oatmeal until recently but there is something so comforting about having a warm oatmeal filled mug in my hands so I believe I picked just the right time to start liking it.



I recently read this quote "It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." I couldn't agree more. 



I've been thinking lately about how important it is to love your life- to not spend your days wishing for your next vacation but to build a life you love so much that you don't feel you need to escape it. New adventures are wonderful and the change in perspective and memories we gain from them are invaluable and they can even give us an increased appreciation of home. Ideally, I think, they compliment our every day life and don't become our main focus. What a wonderful thing to be content with who and where we are right now. I hope that's where this day finds you.