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 Progress

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I set parenting goals for myself. Not often, but every now and again, I realize something I don’t like and work change. This year, I wanted to stop yelling at the kids. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens sometimes and I wanted to make a change.

I read a lot of articles and watched videos from The Mom Psychologist, Dr. Paul Jenkins, and Supernanny to find my bearings. It seems like yelling is something everyone does, but I wanted to make a change. I don’t want to lean on it. I don’t want to hear myself doing it, nor do I want to feel “worked up” over trivial day-to-day stuff.

Today, I sat quietly to write and realized it has been a long time since I’ve yelled. So long that I can’t remember when it happened last.

So what’s changed?

I breathe more. I find quiet more. I take breaks. I swim in a new reality, where being a mom is not so much weighted by its long list of responsibilities as it floats in love and support. I think of Rabindranath Tagore when he wrote,

“When we take a pitcherful of water from the sea, it has its weight, but when we take a dip in the sea itself, a thousand pitcherfuls of water flow above our head, and we do not feel their weight.”

Today, I’ve found peace in noticing progress has happened in our little home. And I’m grateful.

What has brought you peace today? Share the peace!

Learn more about Dr. Jasmin here! I think she is totally fabulous and she has a TON of videos to help support your parenting efforts! Knowledge is power, people, seriously!

Peace in a Puzzle

Today was another one of those days with a million things to do. Welcome: Holiday Season. It’s days like these when I most need to remind myself to stop for air. Otherwise, I could run around all day without stopping.

Eww. No fun. Not my jam. Mama needs a break.

Today’s pause came in the form of a puzzle.

A few weeks ago, the family stopped at a yard sale. It’s a weird, quirky little activity we enjoy. Yard sales give us time to chat with someone in the community, learn about different neighborhoods, and seek small treasures our family might have use for.

On this occasion, we uncovered a pile of unopened puzzles, sitting undisturbed in their boxes.

Bingo!

This afternoon, after everyone pretty much refused my sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches (spit out on the plate, thanks LM1 for a visual reminder of your dislike), we sat down for one of our new-to-us puzzles.

LM3’s choice was about 100 pieces. Not too big, not too small. Baby bear style all the way.

The puzzle beckoned the children, young and old. Without any prompt they found their way to the living room floor to work on this sweet, silly little playground-scene.

And there was the peace for the day. My moment of calm. The quiet breath that reminded me how slowing down is always a benefit.

My little cherubs worked together excitedly, without whining or fussiness. There was stillness in our figuring of each puzzle piece. I was so grateful.

What about you? What brought you to your happy place today? Share the peace!

“It’s always the small pieces that make the big picture.”

Peace in Puttering

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Today is Black Friday and I am not one to shop on such a day. I am in my thirties and long lines/eager mobs of people scare me. Even though things feel pretty cordial here in Pennsylvania, I still don’t make it out to the Philadelphia Premium Outlets or King of Prussia Mall.

I shop on Amazon or at Target, like the rest of my generation (arguably, of course, I’m partly making a joke here). But I do take “Expect more, pay less” to a whole new level, I’m sure.

Today I had it on my mind to take care of errands and small jobs around the house. I have a garden project that needs my attention. I have laundry and cleaning and cooking to take care of for more Thanksgiving dinners this weekend.

Instead, I chose to putter.

Now, I should mention that I come from a long generational line of “Doers.” We wake up, we make lists, and we do stuff. Much stuff. Very meaningful stuff (insert sarcastic giggle).

But, not today. I made zero plans and allowed myself to walk around the house and take care of ridiculously infinitesimal nonsense.

Today I decided to do whatever struck my fancy. I committed to nothing, in search of peace, destined for an amazing afternoon.

  • I vacuumed the shoe rack in the pantry
  • I changed out a succulent in my little planter for the kitchen
  • I watered a lot of plants (I’m not as cool as Hilton Carter yet, but I’m trying)
  • I cleaned a baby toilet seat cover I hope to pass on for someone else’s use (your welcome, unknowing family member!) (Add to that: I probably didn’t clean it well enough the first time and will give it another go, but hey, I’m saving you about $40 with my Lysol can!)
  • I made rice noodles and slurped them up ridiculously slowly, enjoying each savory bite because I didn’t want to rush the meal and found myself completely satisfied sitting in the kitchen staring at the kids’ Artwork Wall for well over thirty minutes
  • I read 1/2 of Deep Trouble (about 50 pages?), a Goosebumps book my kids wanted to read (Spoiler Alert: it is about mermaids, which LM1 found VERY DISAPPOINTING)
  • I folded paper boats with LM2 because he wanted us to have a “Creation Contest” and then see whose boat floated best (Spoiler Alert: the five-year-old won)

All of this is to say that puttering is peaceful. So long as I tell myself that some days are meant for simple nothingness, it’s all good. I don’t need to produce something every single day. Some days are just about. being.

What did you do today? Share the peace!

Want to make a paper boat? We learned how from this video! LM2 called it “Easy Schmeezy)