Peace Among Besties

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It has been so hectic this fall. There are so many school events, sporting events for the kids, professional sporting events to watch, parties, social gatherings, you name it. After coming through “The Covid Years,” all of this hustle and bustle feels…..well……it feels strange!

It is overwhelming and at times completely exhausting.

A cutie mom friend of mine said to me the other day, “Remember when it was COVID times and we never realized how great we had it?”

Now, I’m not trying minimize or downplay the craziness of COVID and the incredible strain it placed on many families. At the same time, there are two sides to every story. And some of those COVID days were sort of magical. They were quiet and aimless and gave us time and space to breathe a little.

I’m a mom who has a hard time saying “NO” to opportunities for fun. Hubs is pretty much the same way. We love saying YES, YES, YES! We would love to do that!

But sometimes, especially when stress and tension seem to be running higher than usual, saying NO has so much more value for us. I need time and space to quiet my mind and my heart, recharge, and find the peace again.

Try explaining that one to three kiddos under 9 years old.

“Let’s be quiet and take time to find our mindful spirit!”

Yea, the kids don’t quite follow the logic on that one.

When the kids are small (this rings true for my 4-year-old the most) I need to find ways to engage my littles while also finding time for Mommy. And when silence isn’t an option, I have found peace in community with my besties.

When my little sister welcomed her second baby into this bright, brilliant world, our shared bestie, Aunt Nono, came for a visit. The three of us have known each other for over thirty years and we can basically say anything to each other. The hardships and challenges of being mommies was front and center in our chats. And we found peace coming together, not to kvetch and gripe, but to hear each other. We needed to sit in a room, covered with our kids, with other women who were willing to listen and hear what we were going through.

I hope you can find peace with your own special community this week. When you can’t find enough alone time, maybe you can find a way to find peace among people you love and trust to share your experiences.

What brought you peace this week?

Peace in the Soil

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The weather is finally warm enough to get my hands back in the soil. It has been for a few weeks.

Oh, the peace.

My gardens are, clearly, my happy place. And I have returned.

There is something so incredible about working gloveless in the soil. I like to feel the dirt under my fingernails. I don’t even mind when I graze a worm or grub. They used to be “gross” when I was a little girl. Now, they’re a part of being outside, of gardening, of knowing the earth beneath me.

This year I have a ton of maintenance to do. Weed pulling, mulching, moving paver stones, etc. I’m trying not to buy new flowers, though it’s tempting. The nursery keeps the plants so beautiful and thriving (how do they do it?!). They look so gorgeous I often feel like I can’t help myself.

So I focus on peace.

It’s a practice.

It takes patience and concentration.

I don’t need more plants. I need to wait; for things to grow and spread and fill in the holes. This will take years, but it will save money and give the plants their freedom to blossom and bloom and spread. I must let the plants be what they are– living, growing, thriving organisms that will fill in the gaps in the garden beds when given the nutrients and time they need.

I am peaceful when I’m in my garden, doing the work. I’m peaceful when I’m dirty and grubby, my hands dark with earth. I grew up with garden-loving parents, and a vegetable-growing grandfather. So, I’ve always seen others in the soil, but I never understood the joy of helping things to grow until I bought my first house.

I dabbled in the soil there while my babies napped, a monitor close in hand, waiting for them to wake up and beckon me.

In our second home, I have the gift of sunlight on multiple flower beds. While we have deer that munch many things, my garden is full of things they won’t eat, and full of brilliant flowers I never could have planted in house #1’s shadowy, tree-filled yard.

I have come into the light.

I have come into peace.

And I couldn’t be happier.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Friendship

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I have to admit that for the most part, I don’t mind being alone. I find myself craving it often, given that I live in a house with four other people. There is nearly never silence. Never alone time. Sometimes it gets quiet, only to be punctuated with, “I AM THOR! I WILL ATTACK YOU NOW!”

Given that I crave more alone time, it might sound strange to admit that I also crave grownup friendship time, too. These cravings feel like such opposites. When “free-time” finally does present itself, do I choose the quiet, peaceful moment or do I phone a friend?

This week, I reached for my cell and phoned a friend.

There is so much peace in loving friendship. 20 minutes can make such a difference in the day. Hearing a friend laugh or share similar experiences makes my day. It’s so simple to pick up a phone, make a plan, share a lunch, FaceTime, or otherwise. This sounds so simple it’s almost silly. But, somehow, we forget the most simple salves life has to offer us.

So, I encourage you! I implore you! Phone a friend. Feel the peace.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Disagreements

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This holiday season turned out to be a lot more stressful than I remember other years having been. This year involved a lot of discussion. And such discussions led to disagreements. Getting together during the rise of omicron led those in our family to ask a lot of questions:

  • What’s safe?
  • What isn’t safe?
  • Should we still be worrying about all this?
  • Should we test people before gathering?
  • When should we test?
  • Whom should we test?
  • Where can we get tests?
  • Are rapid tests reliable for the omicron variant?
  • Has anyone been exposed?
  • What day did you get exposed?
  • Who’s vaccinated?
  • Who’s been boosted?
  • What is the best venue for our gathering?
  • What are we serving, from a food perspective? (just kidding…..I didn’t ask that, but I was certainly wondering!)

Here’s the thing: questions are great. Questions can lead to answers. Answers can bring knowledge. Sometimes answers bring comfort. But when family is involved, things can get dicey. Because we love our family members. And while we want what’s best for everyone, we can disagree about what’s best.

Because we’re different. We have different opinions. We have different beliefs. And some of us, like, ahem, little old me, don’t always have an answer.

I’m not a scientist, a medical professional, an epidemiologist, a politician, a religious leader, or much of an authority on anything except soup (Truly, people, I make a mean soup. Come over any time!)

To say I cried a little this Christmas season would be an understatement. I cried, I yelled, I lost sleep. I let my confusion, fear, and disappointment in disappointing others RULE. I don’t like when people disagree. Former ultimate people-pleaser speak: I just want us all to get along!!!

Finding peace in this headspace was a challenge.

So, what did I do?

I let it go.

I said, ok, we disagree, and that’s ok. It has to be ok. This is what we need right now. The path is disagreement. If God wanted us to agree all the time, we would have been all the same. Which, if I were choosing, I would have made all of us Oprah. (I know, I know: agree to disagree….but I love Oprah. I also love Sonia Sotomayor. I could have gone with that choice, too, since she has the work ethic of a god.)

I breathed. I baked. I cooked. I tried to do the things I love to do and kept going.

And you know what? I found my way back to peace. I always find my way after a little time and effort.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace?