Gotta Grab Peace and Hold On

In the last few weeks, my life has been one of frantic haste with new projects due, ongoing projects needing my immediate feedback (“could you respond before tomorrow”; “look at this video ASAP”), meetings to attend, and back pain demanding I take some sort of relief measure.

I so wanted a vacation. The vacation destination of choice would have been Boston. I wished I could have attended my niece’s graduation from Boston University, like others in my family did (including a side trip to Martha’s Vineyard). But not being able to afford airfare or the days off, I could only watch online and look at texted photos (which I will not post here; sorry).

I couldn’t take a vacation, but I could take a walk as a mini “stay cay”—stay-at-home vacation. The other day I headed out around 6:45 a.m., basking in the cooler temperatures, enjoying the twitter of birds. (#Morning gossip) The day was not a picture perfect, sunny day. In fact, I didn’t see the sun all day. But it was peaceful. I was the only human outside. The temperature was around 56. Not bad.

    

I could feel my blood pressure decreasing as I walked, drinking in the solitude, admiring the green leaves now in full force on the trees. Ahhh. Just what the doctor ordered.

But when I returned inside, life intruded as several people texted or posted online, asking the same question: “Did you see the Royal Wedding?”

The sense of frantic haste returned. Oh no! I’d forgotten about that! I quickly clicked on YouTube, only to find Prince Harry and his bride, the Duchess of Sussex, riding in a carriage, waving at people. I immediately thought of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy riding in a carriage after their wedding. But alas I’d missed this wedding! You snooze, you lose, I guess. I quickly combed the internet to see what videos I could find that showed the wedding—even a piece of it.

But then I stopped the search, realizing how quickly I’d thrown away the peace of the morning. I clicked off the internet and leaned back in my chair, letting go of what I hadn’t accomplished, and grasping what I had—the sense of peace in a quiet day.

I grabbed my crochet hook and set to work on an owl. Crocheting always relaxes me. On a gray, overcast day, working with colorful, soft yarn was very soothing. (All the colors and textures you see on the owl below, with the exception of the white, come from one bundled ball of yarn. Owl crochet pattern by Sarah at Repeat Crafter Me.)

    

Peace had returned.

When you’ve had a frantic week, what do you do to gain or maintain peace?

Lemony Limes is drowning in leftover yarn. Oh well. I can’t think of a better way to go.

Photos by L. Marie. Lemony Limes Shoppie Doll is a registered trademark of Moose Toys.

Happy Holidays 2015

024Well, it’s almost Christmas. As the well-known song goes, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” While some might not believe that sentiment, I hope you’ve managed to avoid holiday stress. Perhaps like me you said “bah, humbug” to all of the holiday gift-buying rush-rush-rush and instead rushed to a theater to relax and watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens unfold onscreen. (In case you’re wondering, I loved it.)

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This is the time of year when even enemies think peaceful thoughts toward each other.

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Based on the color of their light sabers, you can tell to which side of the force Kitty and Jordy belong. But despite their animosity toward each other, they wish you a joyous holiday season.

What’s also great about the holidays is the way total strangers extend holiday greetings. Like today. As I fought my way through the driving rain (happy winter) to head into the library, a guy who looked very much like Santa Claus (except without the red suit) announced to me that Birmingham, Alabama had a temperature in the 80s. “Ho-ho-ho, Merry Christmas,” he added, probably in acknowledgment of his resemblance to Santa. Of course I checked the weather in Birmingham when I returned home. Since he was off by twenty degrees, obviously he wasn’t the real Santa. Still, it was nice of him to spread holiday cheer like that. I would never have thought to look up the weather in Birmingham, had he not mentioned that city.

Has anyone spread holiday cheer to you in an unusual way? If so, please share your story in the comments below. In the meantime, I wish you the joy of the season. May peace reign in your heart this week.

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P.S. The pattern for the tree at the beginning of the post can be found here. The pattern for the tiny star at the top of the tree is here.

Nativity image from priestsforlife.org. Star Wars: The Force Awakens logo from hngn.com.

Holiday Hush

Man-Sitting-AloneLet me start out by saying, Happy Thanksgiving to all. With the holiday season upon us and the hustle and bustle of it waiting around the corner like a mugger intent on grabbing our wallets, we seldom take time to pause and reflect. How can we, when we have to pick up relatives at the airport, the kids won’t stop arguing over whose turn it is on the game console, the turkey hasn’t quite thawed, the house needs cleaning, our favorite team is down by six points on TV, and we’re bombarded with buy-this-for-Christmas ads?

There’s so much to do! We dive into the holiday season with our hands full of to-do lists and our bank accounts slowly depleting along with our patience and our peace. All because we gotta do this—c’mon it’s the holidays, right?

Yet many of us have other things on our minds—the loss of loved ones or jobs or expectations sadly thwarted. These losses color the holidays a bleak gray. And some homes are so filled with anger, the holidays become a minefield to get through as best as we can.

When we’re at our busiest or our emptiest or saddest, we desperately need a bit of solitude to collect our thoughts, even if we only have a minute between waiting for the turkey to come out of the oven or waiting on line at the grocery store to pay for that can of cranberry sauce. We need the hush to collect ourselves, to take a step back, and just be.

Be what? Thankful? That’s the punch line you’re getting at, isn’t it? Are you thinking that right now? Being thankful is an automatic default due to the season. Many people have lists of the people and things for which they are thankful. I do too. But maybe thankful is not what you have the energy to be right now. So instead, I’m asking you to put aside the obligations, the holiday mask (happy grins all), and the frantic I-have-to-dos just for a moment. Now, take a breath, let it out, and just be. Be whoever you are in this moment. Embrace the hush.

Wishing you a peace-filled holiday. And if you live in an area where Thanksgiving is not celebrated, but you’re gearing up for next month’s holidays, I hope you’ll take a moment of stillness sometime soon.

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Turkey from wallyball.homestead.com. Person alone from for-the-masses.com.