I WISH YOU 2020 VISION!
Warmest wishes for happiness, health and strength in the coming year, and thank you for reading.
I WISH YOU 2020 VISION!
And the kind of energy, joie de vivre and will to live shown by this plant which just couldn't wait to see what's new in the world, what life has to offer and what 2020 will bring.
Warmest wishes for happiness, health and strength in the coming year, and thank you for reading.
I know that many of you like to choose a word to inspire and encourage you through your year.
Susannah Conway's free guide to choosing your word is helpful, whether you are new to this game or have done it for many years as I have. I think I started it in 2011 with fitter, and I certainly did get fitter that year. I've had lighter, walk, afresh, gently and supposing. Last year's word enchantment helped me find enchantment everywhere - it's a matter of focus - if you look for it it will come. Sometimes a second of enchantment morphed into a Paradise Moment...wonderful. Your word should be your ally says Susannah Conway and she asks you to consider what you want more of in 2020, and what you want less of.
Of course Simply is my overriding word. That's a given for me. Nurture has been on my mind for a few days, and I considered glad, but I think I am going for strong. Partly because I resist the idea that seems to be prevalent in our culture that to get older is to inevtitably become weak and frail.
I want to explore all the ways in which I can be strong as I age!
Lots to consider. I like to look up my word in dictionaries, and look at synonyms and opposites. Looking at quotations containing the word can be useful in helping me decide.
I'll give myself a couple more days to ponder, but I am strongly of the opinion that strong will be my word.
Have you decided what your word for 2020 will be?
There are some links in this post to others on this topic.
Wreaths on doors are a lovely tradition and far more common in England than in Scotland
But here is one SCottish one (mine). Made uesterday inspired by all the lovely ones I saw in York city and in North Yorkshire towns and villages where Christmas felt like being in an old fashioned Christmas card. So pretty! So English!
Enchanting, which was my word for 2019.
Do you have one?
Are they the custom where you live?
I do hope you enjoyed Christmas.
I am thinking of my word for next year....
Have you heard of G bombs?
It's a list of foods to boost your body's immune system. I keep it in my purse and make sure I buy something from every category when I am food shopping.
Do you have any other tips for avoiding the dreaded lurgie?
Mary mentioned hand washing, which I have to confess to forgetting quite often. As children we had to wash our hands before every meal. Wiping doorhandles and light switches with disinfectant now and then is probably a good idea too. While travelling on public transport can be a hazard with people coughing and sneezing, being out in the open air going for it maybe counteracts the risks! Though city air may be a risk in itself....
Thank you so much for all your good wishes!
I feel a little bit of a fraud as I truly was only 'under the weather' and not really ill. I am trying to prevent becoming ill as I have been with people in varying stages of unwellness ranging from a bit of a cold threatening (me) to acute bronchitis (one of my best friends).
I have however taken all of the advice you kindly offered, including dipping my feet in the loch as suggested by Laura, wild swimmer extraordinaire - known to break the ice to go into the water! Only my feet so far Laura - and note the thick coat!
I enjoyed getting cosy with the furry cushion and the Christmas throw bought in Stockholm many years ago when I fulfilled a long held ambition to experience Santa Lucia Day in Sweden. Magical.
Had lots of tea, honey and lemon, the odd drinking chocolate, soup and my version of the classic Scottish cold cure - the hot toddy.
Cointreau or amaretto, juice of a tangerine and hot water.
I rested a lot with my feet up, taking it easy. I listened to a wonderful concert by two of my favourite musicians Steven Isserlis and Stephen Hough on Radio 3 on a dark night when the wind was howling and the rain was lashing.
Take it easy? Put my feet up? I know some of you will be saying Chance would be a fine thing!
I hope you are well and that if you are not, you also get some chance to ease up and try a gentle, more nurturing approach instead of battling on. Not always possible in busy lives with multiple responsibilities and Christmas rushing upon us....
It seems to be working for me and I know how lucky I am, but I will be glad to get back to normal.
Here's to your good health!
and some real snow....
with more forecast. I am enjoying the ritual as the day darkens of going round the house switching on the lights and lighting the candles.
I made all of these from the leftover wax from last year's big candle.
The house smelt wonderful all day and felt like a sanctuary.
It really fascinates me the things we seem to have to do to make ourselves do things we may not feel like doing, and I've always been a carrot person.
That's why this video which I linked to recently appealed. (She gives particularly telling examples towards the end of her talk.)
Lists, reward,s stars and stickers and smiley faces and thumbs ups and pep talks motivate us in ways we are only beginning to fully understand, both psycholoigcal and physiological.
Social incentives - when I say here on the blog I will do something I almost always do! Even though you are not checking up on me, and wouldn't know whether I had really done it or not, I do do it. Immediate rewards - I feel so silly putting a sticker on a chart like a three year old - but it gives me that tiny dopamine reward that keeps me going, and charting my progress seems to satisfy a deep need in me to be moving forward, to be getting better.
It makes me understand why Facebook is so successful (and addictive for some). They have grasped all three factors and exploited them to the full.
So, with the help of a sketch of a Christmas tree on a bit of paper stuck to the fridge and a sheet of 24 stickers (thank you M) I have had a very productive day. The adult me still feels I should be able to do it without this silliness, but another me laughs and says - if it works, whyever not?
And I know i will get a double hit when I put that 24 sticker on the top of my tree!
I loved the thoughtful comments on yesterday's post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.
I need to spend a day, or maybe two, dealing with loose ends.
I will start by making the apology I made in December 2014!
Then I will try to think of a way to make it less tedious - Make it fun, it will get done and all that
Any ideas? All I've got at the moment is a sinking feeling...
I did add a little red to my decorations and that perked me up a little...
I felt lucky to get to the annual Click Sargent charity concert in the city (start of Christmas proper, a heartwarming event) and to get home again as winds of 47mph and heavy rain are causing some travel problems.
Dressing for the ferry,/bus, dinner, a concert, a party and an overnight stay is something of a challenge too!
Layers, of course. I bought this dress from COS and think it will serve me well for the season and beyond. It's wool and cotton.
I can wear it with a necklace (also from COS a few years ago) grey tights and my party shoes or with a big warm scarf, jeans and thermals underneath and my blue Fly shoes or boots.
Poor photograph - the scarf is navy and the shoes brgiht blue!
I bought this gift in the Christmas Market . IWouldn't it look lovely as a table centre with a large pillar candle in the centre?
Definitely getting in the festive mood now. Are you?
Gold coins (chocolate!) spilled out of a mystery parcel as I unwrapped it. There inside the tissue paper were cinnamon sticks, tiny wooden trees. stickers and these Swedish Angel Chimes. As the cherubs spin merrily around in the heat from the candles they make the sweetest tiniest tinkling sound.
I put out the lights to enjoy it better and it made me think of simpler times when this might be the main, or even only ornament in a simple home apart from branches of pine or a small tree from the forest, and perhaps some paper stars...It may have been made by a family member and passed down through the family. It may have only been lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day itself.
After the excesses of the city lights (and I do enjoy the city lights) this unexpected gift made me want to make my own Christmas this year even simpler.
Thank you M!
Everyone grieves differently. I know that it is a great comfort to some people to talk to the person they loved as though they were still alive.
I did this for a while, and just occasionally I still do, but for me it wasn't helpful really. I think it stopped me from fully accepting that my husband had died and that I never would speak to him or see him again. It just seemed to me to accentuate the awful pain of that fact, and I knew I needed to say goodbye.
A day or two after the discovery of the poem (see previous post) I saw this in a museum shop and thought Barry would love that. I was in a rush for the bus home from the city but when I woke next morning I knew I had to go back and look at it. It's from Greece, made of crushed marble and very heavy, and painted a brilliant lime green. It fits beautifully in my hand.
It's my farewell gift to Barry and sits at his side of the bed.
A few weeks ago, on a day when I was missing him particularly badly, I found a page torn from a notebook with a poem written on it in Barry, my late husband's handwriting. Because of where I found it I know it must have passed through my hands since he died in February 2016, but somehow it didn't register with me then.
This is the poem, by Mary Elizabeth Frye. I expect many of you know it
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you waken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.
It felt like a timely gift from him.
Just a day or two later I cnanced upon this poem by Rumi
I died as a mineral
and became a plant
I died as a plant
and rose to animal
I died as animal
and I was human
Why should I fear?
When was I less by dying?
Barry's ashes are scattered here where daisies grow and on the shore with flocks of birds all around, and on the day of gentle autumn rain when I wrote this post, these poems comforted me.
...this December. Christmas approaches and I've browsed through some of my earliest Christmas posts and got very nostalgic about the Christmas Tree Parties we used to have! See here and here.
Inner - Christmas is very different now. The family got bigger and bigger and the house stayed the same size so our main get-together is now is a Midsummer Picnic when we can spread out to the garden and the beach.,
I am looking for wrapping paper that I like. My sister made her own one year and was rather pleased with it until seven year old Paige said - Oh, you ran out of Christmas paper! when she received her present. You can't please them all..
Small gifts and big donations has been my habit for many years now, and family and friends know my minimalist tendencies! If you are not happy with giving and receiving too much unwanted stuff, perhaps it's time to have those tactful but honest conversations?
Outer - I do buy cards (love sending cards!) and paper and some gifts from charities at Christmas. It's win win in my view though you might want to do some research into exactly how the charities benefit.
Winter would be longer and harder without Christmas to look forward to.
This is the only December 2019 I will ever have. There is a climate crisis, weather to contend with, and here in uk a terrorist attack and an election fill the airwaves and newspaapers with disbelief and angry words.
How, we might wonder can we have a great December?
I think if we spend most of our energy on managing the things we do have control of and thereby creating little oases of peace and sanity and even joy, we can help balance our lives and the lives of others too.
I have limited influence, but I plan to use what influence I have!
I am thinking inner and outer. My inner world - my menatl health, my home, my loved ones and the outer - the wider world of politics and civic duty and responsibility.
If you wanted to do a comprehensive plan for December the book Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzer could give you a useful framwork, but I thought I'd take it more lightly here, and try to look at small and simple things I can do each day to make December happy and healthy and with regular sparks of joy both for me and for others.
Inner. I started the day with six rounds of Wim Hof breathing (I like New Slower Wim Hof on YotTube) - makes me feel full of energy, and today I'm checking that I am stocked up with things should the weather worsen.
Logs - tick, firelighters and matches - tick, tinned food and storecupboard items - tick, salt for icy paths, snow shovel accesible - tick, torches and batteries - need to look at, candles - tick, thermals - tick (Heat Gen clever fabrics are brilliant). The freezer is seriously depleted. I've never really got on top of meal planning...plenty here to keep me busy then. What would you add? Have I overlooked something vital?
Outer - Planning a letter to the local paper about public transport connections. I have too often watched my bus fly past just just as the ferry touched land!
What will you do today to make your December happy and healthy?
Do share! I and so many readers here have got great ideas from all the comments.
I love looking after my little robin in the cold weather.
No comfortable feel in any member? Well my toes tingled after my frosty walks
There was shade, or at least interesting shadows..
And some starshine and brilliantly starry nights - the kind that take your breath away.
True, there were no butterflies or bees but fruits aplenty
and flowers and leaves in coronation Wood,....
and birds, including my favourite
Thank you for your poem Thomas Hood.
It reminded me that November was pretty wonderful.
Quick! Review your November before it fades forever.
And if your November wasn't very good, it's maybe worth taking just a little time to figure what you can do to make December better.....
because here it is!
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)