Peace in Surrender

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I sometimes think of myself as a recovered perfectionist. I still like things to be just so. But there are plenty of things I have learned to let go, too.

An example of this would be our Christmas tree. I let it go.

Everyone knows the ornaments should be spaced evenly. They should be evenly distributed on the branches and organized somewhat by size and texture (too many shiny ones in the same spot is no bueno). Spacing looks nice. It makes the tree twinkle. And from a practical standpoint, it ensures the tree won’t topple over.

But this year, we did something different. No, it wasn’t a change-up in the musical selection: it’s Chipmunks Christmas for ornament hanging, ALL THE WAY!

Our change up was this: I didn’t hang any ornaments. And I didn’t bark suggestions. I let the kiddies do their thing.

They ran all around that sweet little tree (shout out to Bernard’s Tree Farm in Honey Brook) while Dad and I sat back to watch.

Oh, the splendor! It was so fun to watch the kids in all their glory. They asked about the ornaments they didn’t know stories for. They regaled us with the stories they did know:

  • “This was my baby ornament!” LM1 said
  • “This is my dinosaur!” LM2 said
  • “This one has my name!” LM3 said

It was great to see the children in charge. They were so joyful and I wondered if there had been a time in the past when this experience was marred by my insistence on perfection.

Did I stop their process? Did I question their spontaneous crafting? Did I prohibit the fun with my own need for a tree to look a certain way? (I mean, seriously, it’s just a tree, right?)

I’m sure the answer to many of those questions is YES.

But this year, I felt nothing but peace. I breathed and watched and enjoyed watching something I’ve never paid enough attention to. Presence and spendor. Finding calm and laughing and feeling the joy in the room.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Courage

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A couple of weeks ago, I got the idea into my head that I wanted to learn how to install chair rail. I wanted to use a power saw and make something in my house look different. A good starting place felt like our powder bathroom. It’s a small room with small, simple angles and dimensions.

I usually find peace in creative endeavors. But this was something totally new: something I never did before and knew absolutely nothing about.

Instead of feeling at ease or energized over tackling something new, the opposite happened. I bought the necessary supplies for my project and let the items sit in our garage for weeks.

I asked myself every day why I didn’t want to start the project. Here’s what I came up with:

I was afraid to make mistakes. I didn’t want to drive back to Lowes to purchase more supplies. And I didn’t want to do the job alone. I needed to give myself a talkin’ to.

All of my stopping points were fairly simple issues to think my way out of. Mistakes are really opportunities to learn. Driving for more supplies doesn’t take much effort. Just put the key in the ignition, get there, and buy what I need. But working alone took a little something extra.

I needed to ask for help. But I was embarrassed to do it. But I could not learn everything I needed to by watching YouTube and reading a couple of blogs (I love and trust you, Bob Vila, but you can’t do everything without at least a little bit of facetime).

When I finally built up the courage to ask for help, the project was done in an afternoon. And while I thought the best, most peaceful part of this experience would come in the finishing of something new and interesting, it was something far greater. I found peace in the time I spent with my mentor. I learned new things from a special person, and that made all the difference. At the end of the day, my heart settled on that and grew a few inches extra.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Stardust

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I was reading Martha Beck’s Finding Your Way In A Wild New World recently and came across a line that made me stop in my tracks.

Beck writes, “We are made of just two things: stardust and sunshine. Unbearably chirpy as that sounds, it’s factually true. Every molecule in your body was made in the belly of a massive star that exploded, hurling all the elements we know into space.”

If you know me, you know I don’t like to stop at reading just one piece of information. I pulled up several articles, including a super comprehensive one from The National History Museum, which confirmed Beck’s statement.

Wowzer.

Thinking in this way fills my heart with calm. I picture scenes from one of my favorite movies, Contact and dream of the possibilities that exist right inside of me.

Does that sound self-aggrandizing? I hope not. I don’t mean for it to.

I always say that wintertime brings a bit of the blues out in me. So, it’s times like these when imagery helps.

Dreaming of myself as bits of stardust and sunshine allow me to meditate on holding sunshine within myself. I find that meditation is REALLY HARD, but it helps when I concentrate on specific images, I can make it through 5 minutes (I know, I know, this impresses you, too!).

But if we are what we believe, channeling a little stardust makes me part of a beautiful, elegant universe. That makes me peaceful. And meditation makes me peaceful.

What thoughts brought you peace today? Share the peace!

Share the peace! This one is easy enough!

Peace at Gardners

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Y’all know there’s not much that I love more than finding peaceful, awesome local businesses. Today, in my search for peace, I had to pop over to Gardners Landscape and Nursery in Chester Springs, PA. This spot is conveniently located just off Route 113, real near another fan favorite, The Chester Springs Creamery at Milky Way Farms.

The nursery has so much to offer, and the best part is that they don’t back down during the holidays.

“You know it’s like, winter, right?” Hubs told me when he heard my plans to venture out for plants.

I laughed. He laughed. I’m well aware of the changing seasons. But today it was 55 degrees in PA! That means I had enough warmth in my bones to move around outside and dig my fingers in the dirt (yaaasssss, I know I should wear gloves more often. I’m gross and it’s totally fine. I even touched a worm today, no big deal).

Today I wanted evergreen arrangements for the front porch and Gardners is where it’s at!

The shop features a huge greenhouse, which houses an impressive collection of indoor plants. This time of year, walking through the space feels just like being at Longwood, only each item at Gardners is available for purchase.

Their wreaths are gorgeous, offering a mix of sizes, colors and textures. Who knew there was so much pine to play with?

They also have a ton of crafty items if you want to build your own arrangements. It’s like Build-A-Bear in there, except you’re making grown-up treats for everyone to enjoy. Their inventory is so well curated, I can’t help but feel impressed each year.

This shop is a happy place for me. It’s a space that offers peace. I can wander around, allow my mind to settle and get creative. When I need extra inspiration, there are busy hands working to create new items each day. I recommend you pop in and see what they have. I can’t say I’ve ever made a trip there without feeling wildly impressed and incredibly peaceful.

I left with some evergreen arrangements that I absolutely love. And when I look at our front door, I feel ready for the holidays.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Thanks to the sites below for their added inspiration! Maybe something will spark your interest, too.