Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Struggle for Self-Care

Here I am, eyes-deep in end-of-semester papers and tests. There are at least three big papers to be finished in the next week and a half. I have stacks of books to read to research them, and a host of other commitments to uphold. Instead, I find myself obsessing about Christmas coming, looking at the few decorations in places I frequent and wondering when I might have time to put a few things around our little cottage to get me into the spirit. Then I wonder about how I will ever possibly complete gifts and cards for people, the things that make my heart happy to give at this time of year. I also wonder how I will make it without cookies, cakes, pies, and hot cocoa to fuel long nights of panic-stricken agony trying to fulfil all of the fantasies about Christmas and the whole holiday season that swirl around in my head.

So I am taking this day, my only real obligation to lead evening prayer in the chapel tonight, for myself. To really stop and look at what I am doing to take care of myself so that my papers are the best that they can be, my gifts really are gifts of the heart, and I am at peace with the celebratory season at hand. Sounds kind of funny, doesn't it? A seminarian who, in her haste, often finds she resents Christmas. Why did Jesus have to go and be born at this rather inconvenient time of year? Well, actually, He didn't. The feast was moved to coincide with earlier pagan celebrations of the rebirth of the light at the Solstice. I can't really blame Him for this rush - preparing for a major feast in the midst of finals.

But what do I do about the feeling that I am more like the grandma-with-reindeer-tracks-on-her-back than the young woman of faith preparing to celebrate the birth and anticipate the return of the Light of the World? It certainly isn't sitting here staring at the piles of books on my desk with the vague sense of guilt about not working on that paper when I barely have the motivation to get up and open the blinds.

I am doing just a few small things to remind myself that I have to take care of me, even if it seems unrelated to getting an A on that paper or doing my best on that Greek vocab quiz coming up. Because really, it has everything to do with those grades. If I am not at my best physically, mentally, and spiritually, then I don't have anything left to put into my work. Everything is being hoarded so that I can just function.  So today is about remembering to take care of me.

* Enjoy a cup of my favorite tea, even though it involves more than just dumping a bag into a mug of hot water.
* Light my favorite scented candle, and enjoy the warmth it sends through the air.
* Take a few minutes at a time to sort through some of the clutter that has accumulated around my desk and is distracting me.
* Spend a while preparing nourishing foods that are easily packed for the crazy schedule coming up later this week. A little while now will prevent me from making excuses later about why I don't need to bother to eat. (Note to self: you really do need to eat. Really.)
* Picking up my favorite pen and writing in my journal.
* Making a list of Christmas gifts that are already made/purchased, and making a second list of things I still need to finish/want to pick up.
* Giving myself permission to rest; nap if I need to, or just sit with my hands wrapped around my tea in one of my favorite cups, staring out the window and dreaming.

Even with this list, I find that I am struggling to remember that a little bit of self-care will make a huge difference in the work I do and the things I can accomplish.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Perhaps I bit off a little more than I could chew when I decided to create two separate blogs. Clearly I have enough trouble keeping up with one! I have some thoughts percolating about this particular blog and hope to implement them soon. In the meantime I thought it might be good to post here just to make sure it still works.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Beginnings

Stormy winds tear through this little patch of forest, whipping through branches and ripping the last of autumn's leaves from the trees and sending them scurrying over the roof of the cottage. Inside, a small fire burns in the hearth and candles are set out against the dark fury outside.

I retreat into this small heart-room, this place of refuge, as the winds are moaning around the eaves outside. Here I am safe. Here, there are no lies to bind me, no trust broken, no confidences betrayed. Beside this small fire, cozy in a hand-crocheted blanket in my favorite chair, I build new dreams and set new goals. With the storm raging without, destroying the old and stripping things bare, I sit within and spin new beginnings, new rainbows to chase.

In the morning there will be damage to assess and repair, things to replace. It is always so with a powerful, passionate storm. It is always so with a storm of hurt and betrayal. But this time I have been sheltered and I will rise again.

Happy New Year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update?

Here I thought that as I frantically raced through putting thoughts on paper (well, in the computer) to get my November Novel finished in time I would post updates here. Ummmm. I'm not even to my halfway point in terms of word count, which means that I am waaaaay behind, and my focus is on so many other things! A major one is that the housecleaning bug has lit a fire under me and I am tackling a few projects that I've been avoiding for longer than I've had a blog or two where I could practice avoidance by posting. Another one is that I am baking like crazy to help my parents have plenty of stock on hand when their shop Ivy Hill has their first marketplace experience in a couple of weeks. Very exciting, but crazy at the same time. Now, on top of those, I'm starting to worry about getting Christmas presents finished (the ones I'm making) and planning to host our family Thanksgiving here. Only five of us, but there is still an awful lot to do!

I'm dashing back off now to go hang up the laundry and start on a million more projects!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Writing More

Two posts in two days! I'm getting ambitious!

I've decided to take the plunge this year to participate in NaNoWriMo and will be using this blog to share pieces of my novel-in-progress. Sounds exciting, no?

I'm rather intimidated by the thought of producing a 50,000 word novel from scratch in 30 days, but looking at it as an adventure. I've always daydreamed and created stories for myself, so why shouldn't I try writing them down? With November days being mostly dedicated to assisting over at Ivy Hill Manor producing lovely breads, tea cakes, and cookies for the Holiday Home Tour Marketplace I've added a certain time constraint to my writing adventures, but will work determinedly nonetheless. Even if I don't make the 50,000+ word count, I will have tried and that will make it worth it. Not that I am planning on being left out of the winner's circle.

So those are the plans. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


It has been a very long time since I last wrote here at the Chronicles. In June I was let go from my workplace and it has taken me a long time to heal enough to even think about reporting here. I guess the best way to express it is that the negativity level was pretty high, and I didn't want to share much of that!

Today autumn is in the air - our first real cool snap, with a crystal clear sky and a light breezy coming up that has me reaching for a long-sleeved shirt. The windows are closed, so what little birdsong is still happening is muffled, though I can see the blue jays and mockingbirds flitting around from tree to fence to rooftop.

It looks like pretty soon the cottage will be getting busy again! After some healing and deep thinking about this little oasis I will be setting up an Etsy shop and finally putting some time in on my website (it has taken me almost a year!). Most exciting of all is that my parents, over at Ivy Hill Manor, are opening a business selling seasonal baked goods at some local events! So starting after Halloween I will be spending time with them, helping to prepare a plethora of delightful goodies for a Holiday Home Tour in their area.

That's the latest here. I hope all is going well for you in your part of the woods!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Early Spring Among the Oaks

Over the weekend I went out among the wild oaks for a bit of a pick-me-up. There is a perfect picnic place I have discovered nearby and so I packed up a picnic and took off. Being in the Wild Wood is a wonderful healer for my spirit when I'm feeling a bit down. I gathered some acorns, played on a swing, and best of all, I lay back on the grass watching the sun dance on the leaves of the trees all around me. I even took the time to melt into the earth and feel it spinning on its axis. (All you need is some time - just lay on your back on the ground and close your eyes. Relax. That spinning sensation is the rotation of the earth!)

The trees were enjoying their early spring afternoon sunlight, and it showed. A gentle breeze would rustle through their leaves and the sunlight dancing on the surface shimmered like silver and gold raining down on the earth. It was truly beautiful to have made the time to visit with them and listen to their delighted whispers.