Showing posts from December, 2018

A New Way to Find Beauty with Resolutions

I love a fresh start no matter the time of year, but when New Year's Day rolls around, it has a strong appeal to my sense of order and harmony. I can't resist the opportunity to begin a new project, habit, or routine. Resolutions are a holiday tradition in this country just as we have our family customs at Christmas . But sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to our goals that come February, many of us have given up on the well-meaning decision. A few years ago, I tried something a little different on January 1st. I wanted to be a person who sends supportive cards, so I set up a schedule with my calendar using a spreadsheet, designed some custom greeting cards through Shutterfly , and bought several books of stamps. Although I didn't send a card every week all year as planned, the practice helped me understand how to make time for kindness when I feel too busy. Now, I always have a selection of cards on hand to send when needed, and the experiment ha

Finding Light in the Darkness

 The Winter Solstice is coming.  In two days, those north of the equator will experience the shortest day of the year. As a resident of Bozeman, Montana, this means I'll only have only 8 hours, 40 minutes, and 55 seconds of daylight.  Which translates to about 15 hours of darkness! My energy level follows the light. When I have to switch on my lamp at 4:45 pm, it also signals my brain that the day is over. This reaction, if left unchecked, can lead me into a somber, sleepy mood and leave me feeling unmotivated and uninvested in my world. I have to find the light to overcome the dark. I joined an online, Advent study group earlier this month. We meet once a week to discuss our responses to the daily readings as posted on Facebook. Though our numbers are small, we have been able to connect to the Christmas story in a new and meaningful way. The leader suggested that as we approached the solstice, we should light a candle each night while intentionally thinking of or praying

The Beauty of Peanut Butter Fudge

When I was growing up, Christmas meant packing suitcases and presents into a vehicle and traveling over 1,300 miles to Northern Missouri to visit extended family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would gather for meals, gift exchanges, and laughter, and my sister and I learned to soak up as much enjoyment and love as we could in this two-week, annual tradition. My mom and dad grew up in towns only twenty miles apart, so it was easy to split our time between both sides of the family. Each household had their own customs and routines around the holiday which led to many unique, long-lasting memories. Now, I can be instantly transported back in time to those cozy, safe, and loved feelings with the smallest sensory details. Each year, my Grandma Kelley would make a large batch of fudge, both chocolate and peanut butter, to give as gifts and to serve to her family. There was nothing I enjoyed more than a large hunk of peanut butter fudge with a Pepsi while watching a movie or

Beauty on the Bad Days, Part 2

I wrote a couple of months ago about finding beauty on the bad days , and since then I've realized that there is more to say. A lot more! Not every bad day is the same, and sometimes it's really tough to find beauty. This week I have been sick with a cold. The last time I had a sore throat, runny nose, and stuffy sinuses was almost two years ago, so I was taken aback by how much these symptoms impacted my daily life. I typically post entries here on Wednesdays, but two days ago it was late evening before it occurred to me that it was Wednesday. My brain had been so foggy that I went the whole day thinking it was Tuesday! I swiped the reminder off of my calendar with my remaining energy as I shook my head. "The blog will just have to wait." All week, I have been struggling to find beauty. I have been self-quarantined, so even nature has been mostly hidden from my view. However, I still sat down each night to complete my DTH journal , and I surprised myself as