I hope it’s treating you well. I hope it promises much. I hope your doing OK.
So now those words
So the word WITH was the final Five Minute Friday word for 2018. I wrote zero words and totally missed the link up but as words sometimes do this one stayed with me anyway.
And now the first prompt word for 2019 is BETTER and I got me some thoughts on that one as well so as I said two for one but I won’t keep you long.
We were together, I forget the rest.
Very appropriate for the time of year when being with family and friends is such a big part of our Christmas and holiday celebrations.
And with this last Christmas I was reminded all over again that being with the people I love wins out hands down without question over
having everything go to plan
ticking all the boxes on our “this is what we do at Christmas” list
having the house all spruced and Christmas ready
Of course it’s lovely when things do go to plan, when the food turns out how it’s meant, when the house shines as I like it to and guests and or children, take your pick behave the way they should.
Lovely yes – but not essential to joy shared and thanks given and a good time being had. Not even nearly.
So this year things didn’t go to plan and in quite a spectacular way. Ken went into hospital on the 23rd of December with a badly infected wound on his foot and is still there as I write this. Daddy not being home for Christmas was a big disappointment for the kids, not because they thought they would miss out on anything but because we wouldn’t all be together at home.
But as we found out a bung foot and a hospital bed aren’t enough to ruin Christmas. Change of scenery you might call it, a slight detour.
So on the day, we traipsed ourselves up to the hospital after present opening at home and in amongst the antiseptic smells and hard light of the hospital ward we had ourselves a sweet little Christmas. I drank tea out of a plastic cup and we ate the lollies and chocolates that had been left at Kens bedside. The kids pulled a solitary Christmas cracker and laughed up big in telling various versions of the joke inside. We took funny photos and gave Ken his presents and though stuck in hospital Ken God bless him simply has a way of making the kids laugh and making any situation a bit of fun.
We spent the latter part of the day with the kind of friends who are family and my sister and I ate lunch there mid afternoon in the cool breeze of the verandah. A pot luck of what everyone had brought along. I discovered then that I’d left the lemon juice out of my signature Christmas dish so I splashed a bit on there and then and it all got eaten just the same. We played board games which got funnier by the minute, ate cheese, sipped some wine and I was happy just to be in the company of these good people I call my friends and family, all of us with our raggedy edges, all of us a bit tired and worn, all of us keeping gratitude and hope close by.
We focus a lot on the details of Christmas – and of course the things we do – the wrapping and baking and arranging and decorating is part of our celebrating – but it turns out only the tiniest increments of any of these are needed when the people your with are the main event.
Christmas is in the withness
And you know what, the kids won’t remember too much all the details that we bend ourselves in half over, that we think are so important to them – but I bet they’ll remember how they felt, they’ll remember the fun, they’ll remember the feeling of being safe and loved and seen. Thats what gets sealed beneath the skin, that’s what hints at the eternal.
So straggling my way into the new year I’m reminding myself
Choose being WITH, choose along side, choose the long chat, choose playing the game and sharing the joke. Choose to stay with even when it gets uncomfortable and awkward because that’s all part of it too.
The rest is all just decoration.
Now to that other word. BETTER – this one was simple.
I say better Christmas spent in a hospital room with good medicine than Ken not with us at all. They were our options.
Better a simple gathering with the ones you love than an abundance without them.
Better a plan go astray than losing everything.
better Gods ways than mine.
A sudden turn of events may feel like a derailment, it might feel like a good hard kick in the shins, it might even make us wonder what will become of us all, but it has a way of making realer, more honest, truer people of us.
Better that than a game of charades.
And better a grateful heart than a bitter one.
Any day, anytime.
We may not depict these ordinary places on Christmas cards. We may not celebrate them in song. But this is where we live and wonder lives here too Christie Purifoy (Roots and Sky).
Thanks for reading friends. You can read what others have done with there five minutes worth here.
Would love to hear your thoughts so feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Ahh February – more a month of endurance than discovery wouldn’t you agree?
By February the new year has worn itself in and even the most sensible of our new year ideals have most likely abandoned us entirely. The hard work of the year is staring us squarely in the eye and I have fits of wondering if my courage will fail me and if my will to keep showing up will throw in the towel.
The weather it gets to us I think. Regardless of where we live, by February’s end we’re all longing for change. For some of you the comforts of winter have well and truly worn thin and your willing spring to rise up on out of the hard ground and for life to show itself in the trees. Down this way we’ve had enough of the heat that’s about seared us through. And when its not scorching hot its belting down torrential rain. We’re longing for calmer more civilised days.
February falls into Ordinary time according to the church calendar and yes ordinary it’s felt.
Even our most ordinary days have their beauties and comforts – we just have to search that bit harder. Yes we commiserate and whinge and lick our wounds for a bit but then reason and hope somehow kick in and we look for what makes sense and search for what gives meaning. We breathe deep and make dinner and do the next right thing we know to do.
So while I’ve well and truly had a run in with the blahs this February there have been silent prayers answered in the most unexpected ways and many a good thing to light my way – good finds all of them and in no particular order.
Now this is where I usually share a good thrift store find but nary a trip to the Op shop this month. After years of thrift store shopping though Ive got a few beauties up my sleeve and I thought I’d share a favourite.
This humble little painting never fails to lift my spirits. It’s all the fresh blue and green and the rolling hills and little house on top and the hand made frame too with lovely hand hewn detail. Painted on an ordinary piece of board not an artist canvas, the frame most likely came from off cuts laying around.
It hung a long time in my laundry as Ive got a bit of a blue and green thing happening in there but just recently I brought it out to brighten up a corner of my back room that I look out onto everyday as its situated diagonally across from my kitchen bench where I basically live. So pretty and cheery to look at and it provides a lovely distraction from the great ugly black filing cabinet that has to live in that corner as well.
The cherry on top though is the story it tells. It’s always a treat to find items that reveal something of their history and this painting does quite literally that. The dear man who painted it took the time to write a few words about himself and the property he painted and attached it to the back.
Now I’m not familiar with the area of Dungog that he refers to which is North of Sydney but it sure looks pretty in this picture. Albion Park where Mr Kellner moved is just south of here which is I guess why it ended up in a thrift store near to me. Surprising that a family member didn’t hold it dear but how glad I am to have the chance to do so.
Quite appropriately I’ve just started reading “A Fortunate Life” by Albert B FaceyAn all time Australian classic about enduring hope and human will and a mans determination to pull a good life out of a broken start. In typically Australian “we’ll be right” style he retells the most horrendous and traumatic of circumstances in the most matter of fact way. Oh that pioneering spirit. Amazing.
“This is the extraordinary life of an ordinary man. It is the story of Albert Facey, who lived with simple honesty, compassion and courage. A parentless boy who started work at eight on the rough West Australian frontier, he struggled as an itinerant rural worker, survived the gore of Gallipoli, the loss of his farm in the Depression, the death of his son in World War II and that of his beloved wife after sixty devoted years – yet he felt that his life was fortunate”.
You realise as you read the book, that the title itself is a statement of hope and belief and of not giving into despair. A lesson to my self pitying tendencies. A lesson on perspective. A reminder that hope and thankfulness is never to be underestimated.
So what is it with me and book titles lately. Heres another thats got me in its grips. I pounced on this book when it came my way purely and entirely because of the title. Now apparently you can’t judge a book by its cover but what about its name.
I’m still reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerrwhich oh my goodness is a great book – a story that “illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another”. And that title just a few words yet they play like a song perfectly capturing the essence of the book and maybe of life. The darkest of times, the world gone mad but the Light not extinguished. Its encouraged me these past weeks as if to say see it’s OK, your not really in the dark, not ever, not nearly. The Light right there and even in our dark we have this extravagance of light. Maybe it just reminds me of this:
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4&5
I found this weekly link up on Photalifewhere you share just one photo and words are optional. Of course I can’t help but write me some words but oh the simplicity of it !! A short simple post is kind of like a power nap that works wonders in terms of refreshment and just plain making you feel better. Works like a medicine. You can take a look at some of last weeks contributions here. A reminder that creativity doesn’t have to be complicated.
@marysevanliere This one is all vintagy and mismatched and comfy looking and I would be happy to move right in.
In My Garden
You know I’m always amazed by what grows and what doesn’t. I shoved the tiniest tendril that had fallen off another plant into a pot recently with just a whisper of a hope it might grow and promptly forgot about it.
Another of my plants I willed to grow, I fussed over it, pleaded with it, coaxed it along but it was having none of it – it curled up and died just the same. My forgotten little plant though when I bothered to look was growing strong. Go figure.
We can sow the seed, we can pour the water but the growth – that magic isn’t ours. We lament though over whats not growing, throw ourselves prostrate trying to will something out of the ground to no avail yet while our back is turned, in the place we least expect it we find the growth and increase we are longing for. Ours to sow but its Gods to grow. A reminder to not miss whats growing by fretting over whats not.
I came home from work Monday and found my husband doing this.
Stunned (and happy) but I didn’t say too much in case I disturbed him and he stopped . Now let me fill you in I’ve been waiting for this wall, that stretches the full length of our back room to be rendered since we moved into this house many a long year ago. I always imagined it was going to be some monolithic project hence the years of putting it off. Not so – Ken dragged one bucket of render out of the garage late in the afternoon, gave it a good mix and threw it on with a trowel – he had this bit done in an hour. Seriously. Why oh why do we put things off? But I guess theres a time for everything and the main thing is that ugly orange brick wall is on its way out and I’m doing star jumps on the inside. So in that same spirit I’m launching into a project I’ve wanted to do for a while.
Aint it pretty – but this is what I’ve got to work with.
Now you needn’t laugh – it looks a whole lot better than it did. It did have ugly brown smoked glass panels all around it but they have been removed and disposed of. And yes I too am tempted to turf it out and buy a lovely new light fitting but with approximately one million other things we need to spend our money on at present this light fitting won’t be budging anytime soon. So what are my chances of prettying it up. I’m going to start with a metal primer, paint it black and go from there and I’m telling you about it just to put a little bit of pressure on myself to get it done in the next month so I can show you how it turned out next time.
So that my friends are my finds for February. Your turn now. Any good finds your way, any projects on the go. Would so love to hear . xxx
I’m happy to say that I’m joining in today with Emily P Freemans, end of season link up What We Learned Now you might remember it was Emily’s posts that inspired me to start my own end of month round up. You can read about that hereand see what other lovely people have learnt this past Summer/Winter depending on where you are right here
Joining up today with Photalife for #MySundayPhoto. Just one photo and a few words. A bit of a change from my wordier posts – part of my push this year to write simply from my heart without over censuring or overthinking and to go ahead and just try a few new things.
Taken at Mollymookon the NSW South Coast, this photo kind of sums up where my little household is at the moment. Kids are back in school but it feels like we still have our feet in the sand. The early starts and regular routine of school and home and after school activities and bedtimes (however loose they are in our house) aren’t sitting well with us at the moment.
We loved the freedom of the holidays, where days are low on structure and commitment and high on doing whatever we felt like doing. I’ll be the first to say that there can be something very grounding and comforting in regular rhythms and daily routines but so far we have been reluctant to embrace them. The heat doesn’t help which has cranked itself up a notch just in time for the kids return to school so I’m putting ice packs in the school lunches and there’s plenty of whinging about scratchy school uniforms and closed in shoes. It’s a tough call after a summer spent in shorts, swimmers, thongs (as in flip flops) and tank tops or if your Ethan and at home, just your underpants Axl Heck style.
We’re holding onto our freewheeling summer as much as we can despite what the calendar requires of us and taking all the shortcuts. I abandoned the book covering and went with the ready made slip covers with all the pretty patterns that Livvy was so admiring at the newsagents, we’re using paper plates and plastic cups some nights just to cut down on clean up and I’m doing only the bare essentials required to keep us all fed and clothed and the house running in some vague semblance of order. I AM packing school lunches and reading all the school notes because I’ve fallen foul of that one many a time before. Everything else? I’m not making any promises.
Higher on our priority list right now are trips to the pool after school when we can, sitting in the one air conditioned room in our house, anything liquid with plenty of ice, wet towels draped over us at night, and food that allows the least amount of time in the kitchen, like salads that come pre washed with the dressing and the crunchy noodles included and all ready to go – genius. Yes I could pressure myself to be be doing a whole lot more and to be running a tighter ship as it is regular term time after all, but frankly it’s too hot and I’ve just no heart for it at the moment. See our bodies may be back at school and work but our hearts are still on holidays and I’m right in the middle of a good book.
So for the month of February till the heat passes and the routine kicks in I’m giving this little family a hall pass. Sometimes we just need to do (or not do) whatever it is in order to save our lives and our sanity. (The occasional cooler day helps as well). So here’s to all of us giving ourselves a little grace and making the adjustments we need to see us happily through our current season.
Any hall passes being handed out your way? Would love to hear.
The written word over the spoken word any old day if I had to choose, if push came to shove.
And January, as always, had me wading through a lovely sea of them.
Theres all those new year posts for a start – I love reading other bloggers new year missives. Totally amazed at their presence of mind so early on in the year – popping out genius posts the first week or two of January when I’ve barely made it off the lounge or out from under my Kindle but oh God bless them that they do. I’m so grateful to have such good inspiring insightful words to read. Kind companions as I tip toe my way into the new year and feel my way slow for a good bit – a peaceful lull before the real work of the year begins.
And because January is our summer here in Australia I always have a good book or two on the go – nothing makes it feel like a holiday (even if your at home) like a good book to bury yourself in, especially when no one seems to mind me serving dinner at 9 or if I get out of bed at 11.
As for MY words ? – well that story really started in December .
I had been trying to come up with just the right meaningful non cliched Christmassy thing to write on my bathroom blackboard which had been blank for a good while. At some point “Washed Clean” had been washed off. I’d hung my Christmas wreath in front but I was wanting some words.
Then I saw this phrase embroidered lovingly on a holiday pullover on Instagram. And because Home Alone is an all time Christmas favourite in our house and because it seemed appropriate for a bathroom and because we can all just get too darn serious about things- – – – we ended up with this.
My kids thought it was Hil-arious with a capitol H. I did too but then I’m easy entertained.
A week into January though I was staring at a blank board again and wondering what words I might write that had something to say about this new year.
See I’m not much good at new year proclamations or declarations. Personality type partly, post Christmas exhaustion mainly. But heres what I’ve found. When I give myself a chance, a bit of space, a bit of time without forcing the issue somehow the right words find me anyway, they rise on up to the surface without me even trying. And sometimes the tiniest of incidents or events can resonate way inside and tell a story you didn’t know needed telling. I had two of them.
One was sitting on the edge of the sea pool on a hot, hot hazy day, somewhere between Christmas and New Year watching my kids swim. I hadn’t brought my swimmers for “all the reasons” (those extra kilos, unforgiving lycra, legs that haven’t seen a razor in a while) and I was feeling pretty pathetic because I hadn’t made the effort and because I don’t want my kids to have the mum that just watches from the side, I don’t want to be the mum who’s always just looking on. I half told myself “I’ll be organised next time, I’ll wear my swimmers with all the appropriate coverage and get in – next time.” but it was an old and tired and incredibly boring excuse that I’d heard myself make too many times before. Some moments are there for the taking and some don’t come again so I took the moment and got in with the kids clothes and all much to their delight (they were so daring me to). Olivia thought it was too funny and Ethan who seems to get embarrassed if I even breath near him in public these days, loved it as well because despite his bravado he loves me being in the thick of it with hm.
The second was a decision to take our two up to Sydney on New Years Eve to see the fireworks on Sydney harbour. Ethan has been talking about wanting to do this for a couple of years and very conveniently each year we have been down south camping. This year we didn’t go camping though. Uhh I can’t begin to tell you how much I did not want to go to Sydney on New years Eve. It had all the elements of a waking nightmare for me. Thousands of people all trying to see the same thing at the same time, traffic congestion, road blocks and the keeping everyone safe – no thank you. The last time I’d ventured into the city on NYE I was young and single and had drunk a glass or two of champagne to steel my nerves. I was soooo tempted to back out but it was the same deal as the pool – Ken and I looked at each other and thought do we make excuses, do we act like boring people or do we take our kids on a wee bit of an adventure. Do we grab this chance and show them that even without the perfect plan, with things against you, you can make a decision and get yourself where you want to go. So we threw our fold up chairs and picnic blanket and a few snacks and drinks in the car and headed up. Theres a lot we haven’t been able to do for our kids this summer. No holidays overseas that according to Ethan, all his friends are on, no annual camping trip either as we usually do due to my work – but THIS we could do. Yes we could do winging it even at the risk of getting them all the way there and not seeing a thing all Griswold like. We could do looking like the Beverly Hillbillies driving around ultra posh Point Piper in our truck. WE could even do me reversing up a very steep one way street and double parking to get a great view of the Harbour (with plenty of time to spare I might add). Oh my goodness the excitement when we found that view. And those fireworks. Most spectacular I’ve ever seen but truly I didn’t go for the fireworks – I went to see my kids faces and to hear them say “we did it” like we had climbed Mount Everest” rather than just drive an hour and a half from home. I think my boy grew three inches that night he was so happy and pleased that he had finally got there. Was it a glamorous new years eve? – not a bit but we had ourselves a little family adventure and that beats glamorous hands down anyday.
Small moments and small decisions that turned something over on the inside of me.
This is what my board says at the moment
Not as side splitting as the previous message but a good reminder for the kids because showering and bathing isn’t always high on their priority list. And a good reminder for me to ditch the excuses more often and follow my heart more than my head.
But it don’t come naturally.
Jumping in isn’t really my style. I’m more a slide in quietly while no one is looking kind of gal, more the type to tip toe around the edges till I get the wobbles and just fall in – which are both Ok options because you still end up in the water. But I’m a great one for not getting in at all or getting half way in and then turning heels and heading home where its safe. I’m a good one for talking my self out of things and faffing around and overthinking and overcomplicating everything to such an extent that I end up waving the white flag in surrender and turning on Netflix.
Maybe its time to approach things a little differently.
Now that doesn’t mean I’ll be trying to be someone I’m not, or I’ll be committing myself to a whole slew of things I have no capacity to follow through on or that I’ll be diving into things completely unthinking.
What I think it means is:
Less making excuses,
less censuring myself
And more just giving things a whirl
and then hanging around long enough to see what happens.
More trusting myself and trusting God
More doing the things I’m scared to do but that I’m absolutely convinced God can do
If I take the chance, if I follow His lead, if I don’t pull back
Worth a try
Maybe it just means more swimming in my clothes.
A few other words I’ve been reading “just by chance” of late are in Luke 18 and 19. Stories of two people worlds apart but as broken as each other. Both had every reason to pull back and lay low and shy away and make excuses. Except that they didn’t – they recognised the moment, they grabbed the opportunity for the short second it was there and as a result came face to face with living breathing Hope. Zacchaeus was a wealthy educated, influential but corrupt man, despised by his community and so short he had to climb a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. Who knows with what attitude he climbed that tree – derision, curiosity, inner turmoil, shame – it doesn’t say but where he wasn’t was at home feeling sorry for himself. He was up that tree having a good look where everyone could see him and when Jesus eyeballed him and said I’m coming to your house to eat, Zacchaeus said Yes. He led Jesus to his home with great “excitement and joy”. He could have just as easily scoffed at the invitation from this dusty story telling man, he could have brushed him off with a wave of his hand, climbed down that tree and disappeared into the crowd. But Zaccheaus took the leap, he took the chance. The other man a blind beggar, the lowest among his people, without position or employment or a home. But when he heard the crowd gathering and the excitement grow he wasn’t about to miss out. He had little to hope on, no one to stand for him and when he heard it was Jesus, he didn’t wait for permission or for an invitation – he started to holler. He had a brokenness that wouldn’t let him stay quiet and the more he was told to shut up the louder he got. He shouted until Mercy walked right up and gave him back his life. I wonder at that sort of courage, the sort of courage that says yes against all the odds, that takes that risk, thats prepared to fail, that doesn’t let go of what just might be possible.
I’ll leave you with these words that I first read last November. Some words make a home with you. They tell part of your story and settle on in you and don’t leave. These are some of those.
My eyes have seen the king in his beauty.
I have glimpsed a land that stretches afar.
It is a peaceful abode and a place of broad rivers and streams.
No galley with oars rides them.
And In this place, even the lame carry off plunder Christie Purifoy
Would love to hear how January has found you so feel free to share away below.
Before I go here are a few of my favourite online finds/reads for January :
Time for us, and then some to take a squiz at a few things I’ve found throughout October and November and given we are deep in the throws of this lovely Christmas season let’s throw December in for good measure. I do this because I love a good find and it always gets me thinking and remembering and taking notice.
So a random bunch of finds this time round both home and heart shaped and in no particular order.
At my sisters garage sale
This picture – yes another little find for my walls which when I first saw it, was hanging sideways in the dark right up the back of said garage. Looked at first like the side profile of a gorilla. Still got my attention but in better light the right way up I saw it was chalk drawing of the mountains behind my home that I look at everyday. Came home with me
What I like about it – apart from the fact that its of Wollongong is that it’s been done in what I would call a naivestyle – simplistic almost like a child’s drawing and I always tend to gravitate towards these. Close up though it has lots of lovely detail. Almost impossible to get a good photo of because of the reflection from the glass so please forgive the shine and the wonky angles. Better in real life.
A pair of terracotta pots – yes they’re a little worse for wear but that’s kind of what I like about them . They are standing sentinel in my carport now marking the walkway through the car port up to the front door.
I’ll be the first to admit this area is not the most inspiring space – its an ordinary old carport in front of an ordinary old garage door that tends to be a handy dumping ground for all the garden paraphernalia and anything else coming out of the house that hasn’t found its way into the garage yet or the bin which I’ll tell you makes for a soul destroying view as I pull my car up of an evening. So last week unable to stand looking at it any longer I threw an hours time and attention at it. No paint involved, no repairs, no redesigning (although it could do with all three ) just some old fashioned elbow grease. I’m convinced that 9/10ths of decorating is a good clean and sometimes just a little bit of pretty can go a long way to redeeming a space. It’s still an ordinary old carport and an ordinary old garage door but I no longer want to weep when I arrive home of an evening. I found the plants at Big W. They are Heucherella “Stoplight”. They like shade and I like the bright green foliage. Looking a little fragile at the moment but the tag on the plant assures me that I’ll have “cars come to a screeching stop if I plant a mass of these foliage plants by the road” and I can apparently expect “large screaming yellow and red centred spring leaves and summer leaf colour that is bright green and red” – – – I’ll let you know.
At the Community Book Swap
How great is this idea. Just down at the my local shopping centre they have created a book swap . The idea is to donate a book/s and then take a pick yourself. Operates on an honour system. Its a lovely few minutes of distraction between the grocery shopping and hauling it all into the car and heading home. My reads these last months have mostly come from here and were both hit and miss
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult – this murder mystery was enough to keep me reading to the end but the characters were one dimensional and unengaging so I just couldn’t elicit the sympathy for them I’m sure I was meant to. An easy read though in between phone calls at work.
Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah– gripping from the first page to the last. I’m officially never allowed to whinge about my life again. Why ? because I didn’t grow up during the Cultural Revolution in China or any where else in the world for that matter that is at the mercy of cruel and in humanitarian government . Truly astounding what people can endure and survive. A reminder of the human capacity for cruelty and malice – – – – but more importantly of the human capacity for love. Yes Hope is made of stronger stuff.
My third pick The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I’ve only just started reading this one but I can tell I’m going to like it. Its the story of Dinah, Jacobs daughter, from the book of Genesis. Told in the first person Dinah “reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood”.
Online – this website that might just save me from the constantly rising tide of stuff in my house
I found this very practical, breath of fresh air website A Slob Comes Clean Reality Based Cleaning and Organising Written by a lady who enjoys not taking life too seriously and who has developed a whole bunch of helpful ideas for keeping your house clean (that don’t require a spreadsheet). She’s very straight to the point with some fun thrown in which is just the way I like my information.
Heres a couple of posts that caught my attention straight up with their simple ideas for keeping on top of the mess when time is limited and energy is low.
Weirdly in a season that has me juggling more that I will ever care to and completely out of my comfy cozy zone, Ive been finding out a thing or two about resting.
Lets call it How To Stay All Inand Not Die. Being a person who generally thrives on quiet and calm and the phone not ringing – staying All In with the people Gods given me and the job I have is a challenge. I’ve discovered the thing making the biggest difference for me at the moment is REST. Rest as in physical rest, as in going to bed early, as in sitting with my feet up on a chair for a bit and reading kind of rest, and rest as in soul rest, as in not stressing about what I’m not able to do and what’s out of my control. I know its not popular, I know we see rest as a sign of weakness and a wasteful extravagance when theres so much to be done, but that I think is why we end up going down in a screaming heap physically and/or mentally now and then – from trying to keep everything done and all the corners tucked in all the time. Getting the rest we need is part of what keeps us sane and doing what we need to do well.
So I’ve been slowly, and I mean slowly because I’m slow to catch on to new ways of doing things – including in the rhythm of my day opportunities to rest and replenish and revive.
Rest means doing one thing and not thinking/stressing/obsessing over the ten things not being done.
Rest means being flexible with how things are done and how my prayers are answered. Rest involves losing some control.
And rest for me means allowing time for the things that keep me centred and calm – often sporadically but it pays off in spades in a calmer, happier, saner personage. I choose to do things that refuel and revive me on the inside and it seems even more important to do it now even though theres a trillion other “more productive” things I could be doing. Twenty minutes here and there – reading, making something look nice, writing, rearranging the pots out the back, taking a few photos, making a Christmas wreath I don’t really need but couldn’t help myself – (see below) a bit of creating, a bit of quiet and I feel like I can do anything, like I can take on the world again. That’s good rest.
So I know its not a season we associate with rest right now – the Christmas season pushes and pulls us in all directions and asks an awful lot but who says we can’t make small steps towards doing things a little different this year? Lets try for a little more rest, a little less perfection, flexible expectations and a whole lot less frazzle.
If your needing a little more rest in your life heres some good reading along those lines:
How sweet are these little ladies – restful in themselves – just doing their thing, not rushed, not worried and happy to see me each time I wander out there.
And to finish a Christmassy find.
Of all Christmas decorations wreaths would have to be my very favourite. They’re so self contained and simple – you can make them out of anything that can be fashioned into a circle – wire and vines and random thin bendy branches that you can find in the garden are a perfect example, theres no rules as to what you put on them and you can hang them anywhere. I have a little bit of a collection now, all of them have a story and although I officially don’t need anymore ever I can’t help but have a go at making a new one each year – it is my sole Christmassy craft. So I found two of these metal wreath frames a few years ago and as I do took a photo of what I found. A bit on the blurry side but you get the idea.
It took me two Christmases but finally the small frame turned into this.
I only ever use bits and pieces of ribbon and fabric and decoration that I already have – part of the challenge. On this one I incorporated the remaining pieces of a sweet set of 6 Villeroy and Boch Christmas ornaments that were special to us as they were given to us by Ken’s mother and sister who are no longer with us. Lovely as they are/were these ornaments were not designed for little fingers grabbing at Christmas trees so they didn’t fare well over the years. We have one ornament from the set left intact and it hangs high and brave on the tree and I’d kept some remnants from two others that I tucked into this Christmas wreath. A little reminder of two beautiful people who LOVED Christmas time and who we especially miss this time of year.
As for this years project – I had apparently put the larger wire frame under my bed at some stage because thats where I found it a week or so ago. Hadn’t planned to make another wreath but then I found the frame and my fingers started to twitch. So I have used only stuff that I had. Some green, sparkly gauzy type fabric and these branches of berries that I bought maybe two years ago to use at this wedding. Have used them constantly at every event and non eventI’ve decorated since. Last year they turned up here.
Love the red colour and so do the cockroaches who have eaten the colour right off some of the berries so this was a rescue mission in a way. Here’s how she turned out.
Berries were secured to the wreath with pieces of copper wire that I already had out. Looking at it I could probably play with it for another hour to get it just right, it could probably do with double the number of berries and some other pretty things but I don’t have an extra hour and I’m all out of unchewed upon berries – so this is where resting and leaving some things undone and not stressing about what I haven’t done comes into play – so I’m calling it done and I’ve hung it in the bathroom because every bathroom needs a Christmas wreath in my opinion.
So thats my finds for October, November and December .
Any good finds your way? Would love to hear
Friends thank you for reading along and being kind as I write my words. I’ll leave you with just a few more
Blessings on your eyes, Blessings on your children, Blessings on the ground beneath you. My heart is a ladle of sweet water, brimming over” The Red Tent – Anita Diamant