Tag Archives: Celebration

Being intentional with our time over the holidays…

photo of girl sitting near christmas tree
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I don’t know about you, but it is a rare treat for me to have an extended period of time off from work. Sometimes I’ll have this time over the summer, but this year I only had a few days off here and there, and I therefore have my longer break from work in the wintertime this year.

It’s nice to not have to get up early in the cold and dark weather to go to work, and to know that for many other people, especially for those of us who are fortunate enough to have office closures over the Christmas and New Year period, we are having a collective rest and break from the normal day to day routine. Of course not everyone has time off and I am especially respectful of those who work over the holidays to keep our communities going, particularly those who work in the emergency services and frontline crisis and care work.

Yet, for many of us, we’ve been long awaiting the Christmas break and are looking forward to a good few days to rest and relax and maybe even ‘hibernate’ a bit.

I’ve already had a couple of weeks off, which has been spent tidying up, organising, decorating, preparing for travel, going away for 6 days to enjoy some Christmas markets, coming back home, catching up with sleep, unpacking, washing, tidying, preparing for Christmas, going to church, preparing myself spiritually and generally trying to get organised. For many of us, the lead up to Christmas seems to bring with it seemingly unending things to do, and the household tasks seem to just keep coming, until we can finally get things all settled, cosy and prepared so that we can have actually have the rest that we have been hoping for and preparing for.

It is easy to get lost in this hustle and bustle, and by the time we do get to ‘put our feet up’ we are more than ready for a rest.

Sometimes Christmas and the holiday period involves spending time with friends and family, and maybe even a change of scene. Once we have prepared and got things suitably ready, had some festive events, and done some charitable acts of kindness, we may find that we are blessed with some quieter days ahead, which will be spent mainly indoors.

Ahead of me is a stretch of 11 days from today – 23rd December until 2nd January 2020 where I’ll be away from my home and spending time with family. We all say it so often, that the time just ‘flies by’ and before we know it we’re in another new year and back in the ordinary routine of things, and feeling stressed again. We sometimes look back and wonder whether we made the most of our time, or whether we ‘frittered away’ our time sleeping too much, eating too much, lazing in front of the TV, and letting days flow into each other in an unproductive blur.

There is a time when we need to rest and relax and just ‘chill out’ but I’m also aware that the holiday season is precious and that I’d like to use my time wisely. However, it is hard to really use our time wisely without knowing what our priorities are, or without having some kind of structure or routine, plan or list of things we’d like to do. It’s nice to be spontaneous, and we don’t always need to plan, but sometimes without any structure we risk wasting time, and for those of us who have suffered from depression and anxiety, some form of a routine is essential for our mental and physical health and wellbeing.

For me, getting back into blogging after almost two weeks away doing other things, provides me with the opportunity to quieten my heart and mind and reflect on how I would like to use my time over the next 11 days.

A simple routine:

Without being too prescriptive, one thing I’d like to maintain is a simple, yet flexible daily routine to add structure, meaning and joy into my Christmas holidays, prioritising what is most important to me. My brain likes to see things written down as this helps me to be wise with my time. So, this is what I’m hoping my days will include:

  •  A healthy dose of rest, relaxation and sleep, incorporating a morning routine where possible, but not putting any pressure on myself to do this.
close up photography of woman sleeping
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com
  •  Focusing on the True meaning of Christmas, and keeping Christ central to my thoughts, and taking time to truly be amazed that God came to earth to be with His people, to save us, to save me, and to deepen my relationship with the God Who loves me.
  • Having a daily time in Scripture and prayer to God, seeking Him, praising Him, and praying for the needs of others and myself.
black wooden framed decor
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  • Being intentionally grateful on a day to day basis, and taking the time that I don’t usually have to reflect more deeply on the blessings and lessons in my life and to give thanks for them.

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    Photo by Řaj Vaishnaw on Pexels.com
  •  Being present and slowing down enough to appreciate the special moments and time spent with family and friends. Appreciating how precious the time we have together is, and enjoying each other’s company and being there for each other.
  •  Taking time to stay in touch with and reach out to friends who I know are struggling in this season due to various circumstances.
two woman hugging each other
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  • Being helpful so that everyone gets a chance to rest and relax over the holidays.
person holding sliced vegetable
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  • Enjoying food and holiday treats while being mindful of what I eat and not to overindulge.
  • Keep moving and doing a little bit of exercise, even if just five minutes, everyday, and where possible go out for fresh air and walks so as not to stay cooped up in the house all day every day.
trees by lake against sky during winter
Photo by Natalija Mislevicha on Pexels.com
  • Reflection on the year gone by, on blessings enjoyed and lessons learned, goals achieved, and seeking direction and wisdom for moving forward.
  • Time spent figuring things out, working through my thoughts, issues and continuing to become stronger mentally and emotionally, and considering my priorities and how I will achieve them going forwards.
assorted photos and notebook
Photo by charan sai on Pexels.com

Enjoy having time to do things that I find creative or relaxing such as playing Christmas music on my violin, writing more, reading, listening to audio books, watching films, playing games with the family, arts and crafts, selecting photos from the year gone by for creating an album, and taking time to enjoy the cosiness of the season.

Plan for what’s ahead, so that the transition into the new year will be as seamless and enjoyable and productive as possible.

What about you? What kind of holiday routines do you have that help you make the most of your time? x

 

 

Could you be the 100 th ?!

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Photo from WordPress free photo library.

I started this blog in May of 2017 ~ I have loved connecting with each of you, and have loved this blogging journey with my fellow travellers.

I am grateful for each and every way in which you have encouraged me, whether that be by liking a post, commenting, or choosing to follow my blog.

I am thankful for all of you…but as a special ‘celebration’ on our shared blogosphere, as I have 99 followers, I would like as a thank you to offer to whoever becomes my 100th follower the opportunity to choose the topic of one of my future posts.

I love writing in a way that will connect with people and hopefully encourage you, and I’d therefore like to continue this blog with a keen eye on what my readers would like to hear more about. So even if you aren’t the ‘100th’ follower, please know that you are a special presence in my blog life, and I would love to respond to any suggestions, questions, or requests for future posts that you would like me to blog about.

THANK YOU ALL!! AND LET’S CELEBRATE!!! 🙂

Much Love. xx

Singleness can be Beautiful too

 

It’s Friday evening, almost 7.15pm, and I’m not long home from a day at work. It’s been a blessed sun-kissed day, which is a special treasure in my part of the world where precipitation is by no means an uncommon occurrence! I’m sitting on my couch, feet up and laptop propped upon my knees, as I enjoy the view.

I live on the tenth floor of a flat that overlooks a city bridge where right now I can see cars scurrying to and fro, most likely taking weary commuters home for the weekend after a long day at work in some office or other.

Of course, there are so many more stories than there are cars or people within them. Stories that I know nothing about. And here I sit, in solitude, not knowing quite what my heart wishes to express. So let’s find out together as I write.

As well as the city sights of cars and buildings, hotels and grey block flats, I can also see blue skies, and hills in the distance, trees and church steeples and spires. In some ways it is like a moving picture postcard of an evening, and the sunlight catches the bonnets of vehicles and they look like moving jewels upon a conveyer belt.

I wonder where they are all going to? I wonder, also, as I take the time to think, just who you are, my dear reader, if you have been so kind and gracious to visit my space online, and read this far. If you have, then thank you. I find that wondrous. That somewhere in the ‘ether’ of a wired up world, we serendipitous strangers cross each others paths and connect. At least, I hope we do. For I hope that these writings, musings, ramblings, or ‘whatever you call thems’, this Blog, is as much for you as it is for me.

I am making an educated guess that given the tags I have used, you are likely to be musing over what it means to live the single life too. Either that or you have friends or family members who are single that you care about. Whatever the case, I can only write from my own experience and what I have learned.

Singleness is not a disease!

One thing I have found through many years of walking this path, along with longings for love and a family of my own, is that society generally does not have a healthy view of the single adult. I am blessed to have overcome challenges in my younger days of struggling to make friends to having come to know and share parts of my journey with some lovely people. Towards the later years in university, I made some connections with friends of different backgrounds and stages in life. I’ve now been working full time for a few years, and have also come across all sorts of people, some that I hold close and dear to my heart and others who I know for my own peace of mind I must hold at arms length and pray for from a distance.

Through the years and as the seasons have changed and as we have grown from one stage of life to the next I have been the friend lovingly ‘cheering on’ my friends, as they have had engagements, bridal showers, weddings, and then baby showers, babies and toddlers and children’s parties, and so forth. I wonder if you too have watched the endless stream of ‘updates’ of your friends lives as they celebrate the significant ‘milestones’ of life that we human beings tend to feel the existential need to celebrate? I wonder if in all of their ‘Significance’ you have felt insignificant? I wonder if you do not have friends whose milestones you can even celebrate, and if you feel all the more so alone in life, and in that also sense an insignificance or unworthiness to who you are as compared to who society and maybe also your own heart tell you you ‘should’ be.

If you metaphorically tick any of the above boxes, then I salute you. I say this because you not only have to overcome the inner challenges that you face, whether that be of self doubt, fear of the future, loneliness, isolation, abandonment, low self esteem, lack of confidence, wondering ‘what’s wrong with me?’, or whatever inward challenges they may be, but you additionally have to face the many hurdles of a society that too often views singleness as some kind of a ‘disease’ to be ‘cured’ by a relationship (and sometimes, sadly, at any cost!), rather than a season of life, or even a permanence in the way of your particular unique and individual life, whether wished for or prayed against, to be celebrated! When was the last time anyone threw you a ‘Single Shower’? Nope, me neither, friend! 🙂 Don’t worry, you’re not alone. And moreover, rest assured, singleness, the state of being uncoupled, not in a relationship, independent, flying solo, all alone, whatever you prefer to call it, it is most certainly not a disease!

p.s. As a side note, if you are fortunate enough to have a single friend who has lovingly celebrated your life, whether that be an engagement party, bridal shower / hen do / stag party, wedding, baby shower, children’s party, etc, etc – think seriously about showing your appreciation for them….they have waited and ached long enough for appreciation, and have lovingly yet also dutifully taken on the role of cheerleader or wallflower, wondering if anyone cares about the state of their heart….show them you care, even if in a small and understated way….do they have to wait for a ‘significant other human being’, a Mr or Miss ‘Right’ to complete their life in some way? What if that never happens? Do they in and of themselves not deserve some loving kindness, and celebrating just for who they are? I think so 🙂 Plus, isn’t it better to give than to receive? 🙂

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?

And so, the stream of traffic flows endlessly to and fro. That phrase ‘the city never sleeps’, well, I can tell you, it’s true! No matter what time of day or night I see it, that bridge always has commuters going somewhere or perhaps even driving away from something.

“All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” – The Beatles.

Was a question The Beatles once posed. I can guarantee you, it is not from some dismal cave of singleness! At least, not all of them 😉

We do not live in a ‘whole’ society. Our communities are not made up of wholesome families, living perfect lives in a fairy tale world with a white picket fence (I’m not even so sure why the white picket fence should be so important 🙂 ). We live in a fallen, fractured, broken world. Yes, there is a lot of love. Some people do seem to have ‘perfect lives’ or as near to such as this present life can offer. Pull back the curtains and light shines through. Open the closets and no skeletons fall out, but in their place fragrant roses of love and trust, companionship and respect bloom. These are blessed people indeed, but I would venture to guess they are not the majority. And even if they are, we should be happy that our society has such ‘building blocks’ of healthy families in place. For what starts in the home extends outwards to society, to friends and colleagues, co-workers, and relations. So we should celebrate rather than envy what is wholesome in this world, even if it is something that we feel we lack. And even if that is a challenge.

Some of these commuters in their nameless matchbox cars will pull up in front of a building this evening. They will look in the mirror, take a deep breath, and step out of their cars and into their lonely, frustrating or volatile and dysfunctional family lives. Some will not have families to go to but may refuse to stand alone and independent for fear of feeling the ache of loneliness. And so they will compromise themselves, and other people, and feel guilty for it. I don’t know what all of their stories are or will become, and I pray for all of those lonely people, who are going back to houses filled with people, but also the many problems that they may bring.

The Blessings of Singleness

Right now, I have time to think about these things. It’s Friday evening, and I have it as a gift all to myself. There is no one vying for my attention, and I can enjoy my solitude. I can relax and plan out my evening just as I like it. There are so many things that I could do. I can relax and reflect, I can write and think and pray, I can watch a film of my choice, put a pizza in the oven, read a good book, study, dance or sing if I feel like. I can reach out to other people. I can cook and study. I can dream of travels. I can pray about how I can be a blessing to other people. I can indulge in my creativity. I can plan something to do for someone else. I can plan a treat for myself. I can connect with my Creator, God, Who really Is the Only One Who makes me Whole in life. I can smile at my independence, as I can hear myself think and peacefully listen to the chirp of birdsong ringing clear through my open window.

I can…..I can…..I can……

Is that how you view your solitude? Don’t worry if it’s not, for that is understandable. I have wrestled with it too at times, and I have cried too. But you see the thing is, singleness isn’t the source of unhappiness just as being in company or married isn’t the source of happiness.

This is a blessed time to focus on yourself, take care of your needs, get to know who you are and what is important to you in life, and to invest in yourself and what matters to you. It is a time to grow in character, and in the virtues of a ‘good’ character – that of love, kindness, joy, peace, patience, temperance, self-control, and so many more wonderful things. It is a blessed time to shed the wearisome, dull and lacklustre garments of envy, jealousy, bitterness, and self pity. It is a time to stretch forth your arms in praise, and to count your blessings rather than resent the blessings that others have that you don’t have, or don’t have yet.

For in each stage of life there are plusses and minuses, ups and downs, pros and cons, blessings and challenges. Sometimes being on your own shields you from a lot of challenges that come with being with other people.  People face conflict, they hurt each other, they even die.

We cannot put our hopes for a happy or meaningful life in any other person. Yes, the people in our lives can be real blessings to us, and we to them, but ultimately they are not where we find our Answer, nor are we theirs.

We need to be whole in ourselves or on the maturing path to becoming more whole or less broken, in order to be a blessing to others. Otherwise we seek from others what they cannot possibly give and things fall apart, ‘the centre cannot hold’, and society goes on fracturing and breaking itself.

Embrace Your Freedom

So dear one, look up, and take time to embrace the freedom that you have. Many people long after it secretly when the thing that is weighing them down is a commitment that they just can’t get away from. And so the lonely people do often go home to full houses.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy & The Grass is always greener…..

Comparison is the thief of joy: it speaks for itself, really.

The grass is always greener…..where you water it. Not on the other side, but on where you invest your time and love to nurture it, it will be greener than it was before. And what can you do but live the very life that you have been gifted with, with all its joys and sorrows, right here and right now?

So water that grass you’ve been given with all your heart. Put love into your life, right now, this day. Nurture yourself, grow in independence, and ultimately you will grow strong enough to reach out to others. Even your tears may water and birth something beautiful, who knows?

Solitude can be deep happiness

Well my dear ones, if you have made it this far, ‘Congratulations!’. I hadn’t intended to write this much, but this was a freeflowing and unplanned journey that we have taken together.

I encourage you to think about what is special about you and your life, and if you feel like that is ‘nothing’, then that is your starting point of self discovery, because I truly believe that you are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, special and precious to God, and even if you don’t believe in God, know that you are unique and there is no one else like you. You have hopes and dreams and gifts and character unique to you. Maybe you need to fight through some thorns and thistles and briers to find the treasure that you seek about yourself, I have had to do so myself, but there is treasure there in who you are and I pray that you will find it.

Your life is also special and important. Right here, right now. You have the very gift of life in this fleeting world. Your very breath itself is a miracle. You have the wonder of sight if you are reading this page, and of knowledge and understanding that comes from the gift of an education that many do not have. You have access to the Internet, which very likely means you are not in severe poverty and that you are blessed to know where your next meal, and even next paycheck is coming from. Or at least you have enough to ensure your survival and safety for today. You may have many, many, many more blessings heaped and overflowing on top of these, if only you would take the time to think about and notice them, and be thankful for them.

And if you have insights of your own, as I am certain that you do, that I or others may learn from then please do share your beautiful ‘voice’ with us that we may learn from your unique journey and perspective too.

And in the meantime, I am off to put a pizza in the oven, pour myself an nice cold drink, put my feet up and enjoy this evening of blessed solitude.

Much love my blogger friends, whoever you are, and wherever you may be going, you are never truly alone, and your life is a wondrous miracle if you would open your eyes and heart to see it! Be blessed, and know how blessed you already are.

Image 1 and Image 4 from Google Images.