February 23, 2021

Winter Idyll

It would seem that turning our dining room into a cozy sitting room was one of the best decisions we could have made this winter. We are just coming off of a brutally cold, extremely snowy few weeks which saw us spending great stretches of time around the fire. It has been just what I needed physically and mentally. 

Yesterday the temperature began to climb- we finally reached above freezing. The great drifts of snow are beginning to melt and compact, looking less like a winter wonderland and more dirty and sludgy and like the end of the season. As much as I was excited about each snowflake, I now am equally excited to see the sunshine. I look forward to spring rains that will come and wash away the last traces of winter leaving fresh green and buds of life in their wake.

I have needed this long idyll winter to fortify myself. I find I need more quiet in a world that is increasingly loud and chaotic. I read this quote somewhere recently "If it costs you your peace, it's too expensive." And there have been an endless number of things in the last year that have cost me my peace. In fact there have been days when I have felt like regaining my peace was the hardest battle I've ever fought. And I have fought some battles.

(Cats lounging in the sunshine on the dining room table like it's their birthright.)

There are a lot of things we can't control in life, things we waste our energy trying to control and then there are the things that are in our control and that can make our lives infinitely better by choosing one thing over another. Those are things I have been thinking about. If it's not serving us, and we can let it go, why wouldn't we?

So this week, I am soaking up the sunshine, harnessing a bit of that energy and putting it to use. I've finally taken the rest of the Christmas decorations down, I'm dusting forgotten corners, finishing up things I've begun and taking care of some tasks that I have been putting off for ages, all with as many breaks in between as desired and no strict timelines for accomplishing these goals.

Right now I am choosing to limit the amount of noise I take in, which in turn limits the amount of anxiety I feel. If I'm taking care of myself, I have more energy to put into the people and things that I love.

Maybe the change of seasons makes me more introspective than usual. I am so hopeful for this next season. Tempered hope. Though I know that no matter what happens next, I'm going to keep looking for the small joys in my days and feeling grateful for what I have. I'm not spending much time on Instagram these days so I'm looking forward to recording those little moments here.

January 30, 2021

Dreaming of Home

For the last couple of years I have had a recurring dream. I live in a house that I love- it's always different and never actually my real house- but I'm having some sort of decorating/space dilemma when I suddenly remember I have this entire wing of the house that I had forgotten I even had. It's usually down some stairs and is multi-level and open space and full of furniture and household goods that I have also somehow managed to forget I have and I get so excited because I have all of these options and all of my space issues will be solved and now I don't have to give up the house I love because I can make it everything I need. 

Well, I had no idea where this dream was coming from until last August when Emma went back to school and took all of her worldly possessions with her, leaving me with a new space to decorate. I quickly realized it made me feel the same way the dream did, especially when I furnished the room with items I had tucked here and there only buying a can of paint for my project.

I had the same experience yet again, when we moved our dining table to the front part of our family room and dragged a couple of cozy chairs to the dining room which happens to house our only fireplace and which we've never gotten to use to it's full potential.

We've been talking about doing this for several months, knowing that the winter months were likely to be difficult, and really wanting to root ourselves in home and to make the very best of the situation. We never got past the idea of dragging cozy chairs in here but as soon as we did that I got that dreamy excited feeling and I started walking around the house pinching a nightstand from here, a lamp from there, a couple of throws, baskets, accessories...better grab that ottoman and that stack of new books! Before I knew it I had an entirely new room and the only thing I bought was an extension cord. The feeling was so much more satisfying than going out and buying all new things. 

This wasn't just a shift of furniture but a shift in perspective. This room calls to us. I have read more in the last month then I have in a long time. I plop into one of these chairs and instantly feel relaxed. I already know that I'm going to miss it this spring when the floor plan gets flip flopped again but what a wonderful thing it will be to look forward to next winter. It has me rethinking how we use our spaces and what that might mean for future renovations some of which I am sitting in this chair and planning for later in 2021- I hope.

I have been meaning to write this post for a month but you know what a month it has been. Right now I am sitting in the keeping room, fire roaring, chai latte beside me, Louis Armstrong serenading me while snow falls outside. I have a lovely view of it through the french doors and into the garden. It is everything I imagined it would be back in the spring when I pictured it covered in snow. It is the best spot in the house right now. I'm not the only one who thinks so. 

Sometimes dreams do come true.