~ bizzy, Bizzy, BIZZY! ~
“…in a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart. ~ Louise Bogan ~
It takes time to live well because living well means you focus on what’s important to you. What’s important to me is home and, for me, home was Dave. Some years after he died (because it’s taken me a l.o.n.g. time to right myself) I visited a lawyer to update my will and trust. During our discussion, I told how Dave and I met (read My Story on the sidebar) and said, “We were both a mess. He, because his beloved wife of his youth died and me because of (extremely) poor life choices. Even so, it didn’t take me long to realize I was willing to wait on whatever Dave had left when he found his way back from the Shadowlands.” My lawyer stared at me. “Do you know how romantic that is?”
“Those gifts are ever the most acceptable which the giver makes precious.” ~ Ovid ~
Well, I didn’t understand then and I don’t now but what I did know was this: Dave was a man who would be worth the wait. Although he never fully again stood in the sunlight, what we had was, quite possibly, a once in a lifetime experience and, as so many women have told me, nothing they’ve ever experienced. That marriage was built on friendship yet didn’t come easy. In fact, it came at a great price. We both abandoned all others, even friendships, casting our entire lot together but those first times were fraught with tension. In some ancient times a newly married couple was given a period of one year to adjust and that same amount of time was given to a newly bereaved person. For some, a year is more than enough while for others it takes much, much longer…don’t judge. Grief takes as long as it takes and the best gift you can give is a quiet and listening hEARt.
“Everywhere, we learn only from those whom we love.” ~ Goethe ~
Eventually, we began to focus on (and invest in) us and our marriage. The person who has the most influence on your spouse is…you and the reverse is true. Are you pouring into your spouse those good qualities like admiration, respect, honor, love, like? If you’re a Christian, you’re in a position to demonstrate God’s love in unique ways every day. You’re in a position to pull up or drag down your spouse. Everything you do or say affects your spouse in a way no one else on earth can match. It’s your choice so choose wisely because, ultimately, it’s a reflection on you and your life. After all your spouse was your choice; if you want greener grass, water where you’re planted.
“Home! The place where all man’s best and happiest hours are passed. Where in our language shall we find a word of four letters that stirs the sweet pulses of life, like this of home–our home?” ~ Sarah Josepha Hale, 1868 ~
It’s taken me years to get to the point where I’m not only willing to celebrate the Holy Days but am excited and anticipating each day. It’s true I
probably won’t get everything accomplished but that’s not keeping me from doing my best. Early this morning, men came to talk to me about putting in a new propane heating system and, bless them!, found it wasn’t needed. They left, each of them with half a shortbread loaf and me with a wallet still folded. Folks, this has been a wonderful day even though the Advent wreath isn’t finished, lights aren’t hung, the Holy Family isn’t yet on the mantle but I’m choosing to focus on the finished!
Since we can’t see each other…a show of hands, please, on folks who are stressed to their limit and it’s only the second day of December?
Might I suggest you’re doing too much? Even expecting too much? And for heaven’s sake…stay OFF pinterest! Stop trying to do everything and do it perfectly. Christmas Season isn’t about perfect nor is it about doing everything. It’s not about presents, it’s about presence. Yours to be specific! When your children are grown (or when you’re an old soul) will you remember the perfectly tied bows or the night the hot cocoa was spilled and the dog licked the floor clean? Nope. Well, okay. You’ll probably remember the hot cocoa and dog and if you were quick enough, might even have a picture!
If you work outside the home and still volunteer somewhere, consider stopping. If something doesn’t promote home life, and if at all possible, let it fall by the wayside. Let the inessentials fall away.
“Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero ~
Let’s face it. Women are, more often than not, keepers of the home and the one who makes home HOME. Instead of doing more, more, more focus on the important. Is your family safe? Do you have food on the table with a roof over your head? Are you taking care of you? I submit if you don’t know how to take care of you, it’s entirely possible you’re not taking good care of your family. I’m at a different season of life but well remember when my 90+ year old mother-in-law lived with us. It was okay until it wasn’t and then it was horrible. As she slid more and more into dementia, opportunities came rapid fire for stress. Some days the only “taking care of me” was going to the barn or pastures for hours on end. I finally figured out “me time” wasn’t going to present itself, I had to make it happen and that meant sometimes she didn’t get what she wanted, when she wanted it. You know what? We might not have been happy at the same time but we both lived through it and no one went hungry or thirsty or without clean clothes. Sometimes the best “you time” is right in the middle of when you don’t have time. You just throw off the cape of “have to” and take a break because if you don’t take care of you now, voluntarily, you just might be forced to take time to be sick.
“How beautiful it is to do nothing and then rest afterward.” ~ Spanish proverb ~
It can’t be said enough…breath deeply, go slow, start and end your day by sitting and thinking. Think about what you’ve accomplished and give yourself credit, think about what you need to do and how another household member could help. A friend has trained her thirteen year old daughter in the Household Arts; should my friend become ill, her daughter could step in and run the household. My Mother trained me and by the time I was the same age, I could do the same. What man or woman wants a whiny, spoiled brat for a spouse? It’s a parent’s job to raise strong, independent, responsible adults who can also become strong, independent, responsible spouses.
“Take rest; a field that has rested, gives a bountiful crop.” ~ Ovid ~
I know far too many people who are consumed with a perfect Christmas, a perfect tree, a perfect table, etc. and it’s KrAzY! I knew a woman who trashed her wedding invitations then started over because her groom didn’t put the stamps on p.e.r.f.e.c.t.l.y.s.t.r.a.i.g.h.t. Don’t be that woman. Your family wants YOU at Christmas and every day. They want a schedule that gets them in bed so they can have loads of sleep. They want down time to snuggle and read; they want soup out of a can topped with sharp cheddar and croutons as opposed to a meal with tears and sobs. What they want is exactly what you need as well. Presence, not presents.
“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.” ~ Mark Twain ~
P. S. I still send old fashioned Christmas cards; if you want one, send me a private note with your snail mail address.
P.P.S. up next… 3 Gifts or 4?
Keeping Christmas here
(card by Gina)