Tag Archives: december

Self Care In A Pandemic (21): Time To Think…

While we are all approaching the year’s end, no doubt this year we’ve had a lot of new thoughts going through our minds. Things that we never would have thought about in 2019, when the idea of a pandemic, for most of us at least, just wasn’t on our radar….at all.

This year may have given us all new and challenging things to think about as we’ve been living through and processing new experiences of the world, yet, perhaps in these challenges we can find space for an opportunity.

Here in Scotland, where I am living for the winter season, the first frost has arrived and the once green grass is speckled with white. The cloud laced skies are actually a bright blue which is beautiful for this time of year, and the vibrancy of autumn / fall has well passed and the branches and twigs of the trees have been stripped bare of life and of colour. We are approaching winter with a beauty of its own. Elsewhere, friends have told me, it has been snowing.

As the seasons change, we are presented with the opportunity to slow down. I give my gratitude to all of you who are front line workers and who will be working hard and steadfastly through the winter with little chance to pause, but for most of us, we will hopefully be safe and sheltered indoors.

With the slowing of the seasons, comes the opportunity to slow our minds and to think. I don’t know about you, but some of my thoughts this year haven’t been so much related to the pandemic as they have been to discovering more about myself and my friendships and connections with people through this experience.

For example, things that had been feeling ‘not quite right’ with certain friendships before the pandemic seem to have come more to the fore this year, especially as I spent four months living completely alone. I came to a deeper realisation that certain friends who have spouses and children and families of their own were oblivious to some of the fundamental lived realities of what it is to be me. Friends who shared that they were happy and doing well and who I tried to connect with but just didn’t have the need and didn’t contact me until after I had been locked down alone, only perhaps when they needed some diversion after Lockdown 1.0. Friendships are deep and complex things, but as an empath I sometimes suffer from how much I give to others, and I do acknowledge that friends are also there for me or have been, but I’ve had more time to think and to realise what I am or am not comfortable with this year, and being alone in lockdown for four months helped me to see who the people were that I could actually mutually connect with and the others who didn’t have the need for a single friend and only got in touch when it suited them. Beautiful, kind hearted people. But people with their own priorities, their own selfishness (and no doubt I will have my own that I’m unaware of even though I try to be a good friend) and their own blind spots and inability to think or relate to how a person completely isolated might have felt. Lifelong friends, but friends with whom I need to move on from the dynamic that was there before, and to consider my own wellbeing and sense of selfhood and I’m discovering this as I move forwards and as we all approach 2021. And I need to use this time to think things through.

Perhaps certain things in your life have been simmering in your mind against the backdrop of a pandemic year. Maybe the ‘other’ things you have had more time to think about or have needed to spend more time processing are completely different to mine. I am intrigued to know what these things might be, or if any of you can relate to what I have shared.

Perhaps an opportunity in the midst of the difficulties of 2020 that we have been presented with is the chance to do things differently, to not just continue with the way things have always been, or the way things have been for us for too long. Perhaps something within you has been stirred to make a change. Perhaps you are awakening to a realisation that you have been caring for the needs of others, which is a beautiful thing, but at the same time have been neglecting your own needs and suffering for it, which is something I can relate to.

Can we give ourselves that bit of self care in this pandemic by taking time to think things through, to pray things through, to seek wisdom and insight as to whether the way things have been aren’t right for us as we embark upon a new season, and consider that the way things are can be changed?

What have you been thinking about, or what do you need to make time for yourself to think through in this season? Are there any deep changes you need to make in your life as you move forwards, or are there any small day to day shifts that you feel are equally important for you to make?

I hope you are able to find new answers and fresh hope as you move forwards, as we all move forwards through the Light of Advent season, into the Hope of Christmas, and the potential of a New Year where we can face the future with greater resilience, courage, faith and determination, and a desire to lift each other up, but not to allow ourselves to be burnt out in the process.

Peace and Love. x

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Self Care In A Pandemic (19): Christmas Pudding Socks…

Hi Friends,

I hope this blog finds you well, or as well as can be. I guess you may be wondering why I’ve titled this blog post ‘Christmas Pudding Socks’! ? ! 🙂

Well, for one, it is getting very chilly in Scotland this winter. The days are still reasonably mild, and some days are very pleasant with hints of sunshine and no rain, but probably for most of you dotted about in warmer climes, it is very cold. It is definitely the season for warmer clothes, central heating and cosy socks.

I’m wearing a cute pair of festive socks with little Christmas puddings on them! 🙂 This blog post is not so much about my socks, or the cold weather in Scotland, but more so about finding little things amidst your day that bring you some cheer. With all the problems going on in the world, and perhaps in your life this pandemic year, a pair of Christmassy socks aren’t going to solve your problems, but they can cause you to smile, to feel that little bit cosier, and to take notice of the little things. I have a beautiful glass Christmas tree mug that I’m drinking my hot beverages in now that it is December, something I treated myself to a few weeks ago. Sometimes, it’s the little things that help us get through the day, or give us something to look forward to, like making a hot and comforting drink in your favourite mug.

With so much going on in the world, and perhaps your own life, try to find those small moments of joy in your day to day living. I’m not saying go and spend money and buy things that you think will make you happy, not that at all although sometimes there is a place for a wee self care treat every now and then – what I am saying is that you can practice self care in this pandemic by carving out little moments and experiences for yourself that feel special, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant they might be to other people.

There should be time to delve into the deep and meaningful elements of life, particularly as you consider or begin to consider how you might like to move forwards in 2021. Yet, there is also importance in taking the time to slow down, to notice the little things that make you smile throughout your day, and for doing something kind for yourself as well as others.

What is bringing you that little spark of happiness today? It may not be Christmas pudding socks, or a Christmas tree mug, but perhaps it is that phone call with a loved one, watching a cosy film, curling up with a good book, turning on those comforting ‘fairy lights’ and experiencing your little moments of ‘hygge’.

Whatever it is, try to find or create those special moments in your day to day life, even and perhaps especially with so many of the big things going on around us.

Please feel free to share some of the special moments that make your day that bit brighter if you want to encourage, uplift or inspire me or other people reading this. And if not, stay safe and cosy, and we will ‘catch up’ very soon. x

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Self Care In A Pandemic (18): Expectations….of yourself…

Well done friends, we have all made it to the final month of 2020! God’s Grace has carried me through many storms prior to this year, and I have been kept safe in His Care this year, and this makes me wonder how many of you feel like 2020 has been a stormy year for you?

I started this blog in 2017 (hence ‘livingfully2017′ in the title), and since then I have enjoyed writing series’ of posts on self care during the winter seasons, and I wrote quite extensively last year, so if you need a little ‘pick me up’ and some good advice from last year then do a little search through my blog archives and you will be sure to find something helpful, inspiring and encouraging I hope!

I think that we can all agree that this year we all need a bit of encouragement as we enter the final month of the year. I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly never experienced a pandemic before, but that being said I think a lot of the advice I would normally offer at this time of the year would still hold good, especially as I am particularly mindful of how this can be a sensitive time of year for many and that it is also a time of year that highlights more starkly the contrasts that exist between people who are doing well and those who are suffering.

As we hit December 1st in any given year, social media presents us with all sorts of lifestyle goals, and perhaps we put pressure on ourselves to have those picture perfect experiences that aren’t always entirely in touch with the real lives we are actually living through.

This year, I would encourage you, and myself, to consider the expectations we have – and in this post let’s think about the expectations we place upon ourselves.

As a Christian, Advent – the time of the year where we focus particularly upon the preparations in the lead up to Christmas as we think about the reality of the first Advent before Jesus Christ was born into the world to Be The Saviour of The World, is a special and meaningful time for me. It reminds me of the real preparations of heart, mind and spirit that I should be making in thinking of what God has done for me, of Emmanuel, the Living God being with me, and how to live to honour Him because of His Sacrifice of His very life for me at the Cross, so that in His Resurrection I can live a new life. I have been delivered out of darkness, fear, hurt, pain, and been forgiven and set free to live a new life in Christ, and this is what we rejoice about at Advent – the Gift of the Messiah, the Saviour, God Incarnate come to dwell with His Creation and offer us Forgiveness if we put our trust and hope in Him. Jesus Is The only reason I’m still alive in this world today and He Is my Rescuer and my constant source of Peace and Comfort all the days of my life no matter what happens in my circumstances.

Whatever you believe, or don’t believe, this is a time of year when you may feel pressure to meet certain expectations. Do you feel pressurised to decorate your home in a certain way, if you have kids to keep them entertained and happy with different activities, to be a peacemaker in your family, to reach out to your friends, to do all sorts of acts of charity, to be creative, to cook, to organise things, to have a picture perfect holiday season, to have an album of holiday pictures that will make people wish their lives were more like yours?!

We absorb expectations from all sorts of places, and in the society we live in where media is at the forefront of our daily lives, some of these expectations are unrealistic especially when we may be struggling to get through or to keep our heads above the water.

I want to encourage you to focus on those expectations of yourself that are internal. That are more to do with your character, your journey to discover Truth, your mental and emotional health and wellbeing, your healing, recovery and authenticity in your friendships and relationships and in reaching out to others. Also to allow yourself to be unable and to cry out for help because we all need help at some point in our lives.

Are you, are we burdening ourselves with things we can really let go of? Has 2020 taught us anything in this way about the excesses and unnecessary things we spend our time and attention upon?

You don’t need to have a picture perfect holiday or Christmas whatever that means. We are living through hard times and if you are in a good place then maybe it is a great opportunity for you to use that to inspire and encourage other people, but we need to learn that covering up how we actually are with filters isn’t an authentic way forward.

So please, if you are hurting yourself with the weight of your own expectations of yourself, consider laying that down. I pray you will lay it down at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ Who will bear you up in His Loving arms and carry your burdens for you. He Died for you to be free. He Loves you. And even if you don’t relate to that right now, consider that in any case you may be adding weight to your own load by the expectations you place upon yourself.

This has not been a perfect year. Don’t add to your own struggles if you don’t have to. Take care, and find rest. xx

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Self Care In A Pandemic Series – Check In With My Readers…

Perhaps you have been reading, following along, or dipping in and out of my ‘Self Care in a Pandemic’ series of blog posts.

If so, I am so encouraged to know that, and find joy in encouraging you and hopefully providing some words of hope in these challenging times.

I have written 16 posts in this series so far, and have written a series of posts prior to this earlier on in the year at the start of the first lockdown (so scroll back through the archives to check out anything you may have missed). I now have time off from work (I blog as a ‘hobby’, unpaid, but I love it and hope and plan to spend more time writing especially as we approach a difficult winter season this 2020), and would like to ‘check in’ with my lovely readers, and welcome my new followers, and thank you for joining the journey, so happy to have you here 🙂 .

I intend to keep on writing and encouraging, and hope that you will find these posts a comfort as we near December and as we all could do with a ‘pick me up’ this year. My question to you is if there is anything in particular you would like to see written about in this series of self care in a pandemic posts? This is for you, so please do let me know how best I can serve and encourage you with my writing. If you have anything in mind that you’d like me to explore, even if I don’t have the answers, I can still open up discussions and explore avenues of hope together, then please do comment below. Otherwise, I will keep seeking inspiration and praying about how best I can uplift and encourage you through these testing times.

Stay safe, my loves, we will get through this. x

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Self Care In A Pandemic (14): A Tried and Tested Trusty Hobby!

We all have those days when we find it hard to get ourselves going. Perhaps you’ve been working from home or working on the front line (thank you!), and that has given you a sense of structure and purpose to your days. However, quite a few of us are on the approach to the Christmas holidays or a period over winter where we may not have the structure of work each day.

Whatever your situation is, this next self care ‘tip’ if you like, can come in handy in all walks of life. It is to have a hobby that you can turn to that will give you a sense of enjoyment, relaxation, creativity and rest. You don’t need to be particularly good at it, but let it be something that you enjoy and that helps you take your mind off things. This can be a particularly helpful ‘go to’ on those days that might otherwise feel a bit wasted if we can’t quite get ourselves going.

My personal favourite for the past few years has been ‘adult colouring in’ and while I know not everyone is keen, it has helped me through depression, complex PTSD, anxiety, and now is not only a source of self care but is an artistic and creative pursuit. I am able to link up with creative groups, and see and be inspired by artist quality works that spur me on to better my own technique. It is something that is relaxing, fun, but also something that can be calming, develop my motor skills, creativity and open up a whole world for me. It is easy to pick up and put down without any pressure, except from the self-imposed pressure to better myself, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

On those days when you are unable to find structure, especially when you are staying at home during the winter seasons if that is the case, then having a hobby can be a real source of comfort and strength and calm for your mental health. Instead of feeling depressed at not being able to do what you would otherwise want to do, whether because of restrictions, health or lack of motivation, having something that you can work away at over a period of time can be so beneficial to your mental, emotional health and sense of wellbeing. You can see progress, and you can continue to form those important positive neural connections that are so vital for brain health.

Another thing you may have noticed that I do is obviously blogging. I do it as a hobby and don’t get any income from it, but with the times we are living in, it may be worth seeing if I can develop it as a ‘side hustle’ once I develop the skills and know-how, if that is what I am being led to do. But as it is, blogging as a hobby can provide me with so many positive things in my life, and as a blogger you may also find the same. I am able to express my thoughts, share them with an audience, and hopefully help and encourage all of you who read them (thank you if you do read my blog! 🙂 ). It can provide new insights into my own thoughts as I express them. I have created a holiday booklet for myself to keep me accountable in how I use my time, and one of the pages is dedicated to ideas for my blog posts and as I progress in them I can see that I have been using my time and mind well and helping and encouraging other people.

Some of you are very outdoor focussed when it comes to hobbies, and perhaps you are able to continue these. Where I live, winters are generally cold, dark and rainy, and with increasing restrictions it is good to also be able to find indoor pursuits that can benefit our mental health.

What do you have that you can pick up every now and then especially on those less structured more ‘wobbly’ days when you may not be feeling your best? Do you have an instrument, or can you do some cooking, doodling, singing, dancing, or colouring and drawing? Do you enjoy blogging, designing art work, knitting, reading, writing, sewing or crafting? You don’t need to be any good at a hobby for it to be beneficial to you and remember we all have to start somewhere. The key thing is to have something relaxing that you enjoy that can help your mental health instead of allowing your mind to chase those negative trains of thought when you are unfocused and not putting your attention to something positive. Sometimes we don’t have the energy or wherewithal to use our skills and in those times maybe just watching a show can help.

But do have something in mind that can help you get through those days that you struggle with so that you keep your mind engaged and active, and move your thoughts away from those dark tunnels that you otherwise might let yourself delve into.

What works for you? Any other adult colouring in fans out there? If so what are your favourite books? Add your own special little sparkle to the world, even if it is just a ‘doodle’ on a post-it note, that in itself is special and it is a good place to start. x

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SELF CARE IN A PANDEMIC (12). Gather Your Crew.

There is power in learning to stand alone, but there is also great encouragement in standing together. Sometimes life, and perhaps particularly life in a pandemic, is a fine balance between these two positions.

I have been learning a lot about this in 2020, and perhaps you have too. I have been learning some of these lessons before this year as well through various tests and trials in life.

This year, I spent the first four months of lockdown living alone, and not having any face to face contact with any living thing for almost all of that time (except perhaps from interacting with a delivery driver or passing strangers on the street). I have found this to be strengthening, challenging and enlightening in a number of ways. I have grown in my relationship with Christ, knowing Him more deeply as my True Source of Love, Encouragement, Strength and Provision. Yet as human beings we are also made for connection with each other, and although I used my time wisely and creatively, there were still times of loneliness, of missing out on the interactions that we otherwise tend to take for granted on a daily basis. As a single person, I have disciplined myself to learn to enjoy and thrive in my independence of living alone, travelling by myself, seeking to be creative and to inspire other people (which has been a discipline, choice and challenge to seek out adventure rather than retreat as I have had years of panic attacks and anxiety) as well as investing time in myself to heal from traumas, and to reach out to help other people. As a quieter, reflective and creative soul, I crave and need time by myself to replenish, to think, to process and to create. Too much noise, people and goings on can cause me a lot of stress, and panic attacks, anxiety and so forth. That being said, I also have quite a lot of deep friendships that have been cultivated one to one or in groups of twos or threes over the years, am a friendly and caring person, and I enjoy interacting with people in ways that suit my personality, nature and disposition, and where I have the choice to do so or not to do so, and perhaps you can relate to some of this?

Lockdown took away control from a lot of us, whether we live alone or with others. Perhaps we like staying indoors sometimes, but we tend as human beings to like to maintain the choice in the matter, and to do things or not to do things with the freedom of choice.

Being in lockdown alone for four months changed some of my relationships. While I have some very mutually giving friendships, I realised that friends who have families of their own just didn’t have single people on their radar. Some friends with families actually enjoyed lockdown as having more time together, were able to have fun and flourished in the situation. They did not think that someone living alone might be really struggling with the contrasts of that, and as such some of my friendships have changed in dynamics, I’ve had to reconsider my boundaries, and other friendships have grown closer.

I’m very blessed to have a family that I could phone everyday or whenever I needed to throughout those four months living alone with no other contact. Of course, I live alone in the city in general but as I usually work there too, even as a single person pre-pandemic I’d have interactions with work colleagues, I’d be able to meet up with friends and go out to dinner or to music events or go places by myself. Not having that changed the way I saw some of my friendships where I wasn’t on their radar so much, and I guess that’s ok. We all are going through different things and have to recalibrate our lives and boundaries from time to time. Some people kept in touch, but mainly to ‘vent’ because I am an empathetic and caring and loving person. Other friendships have been a source of encouragement, fun, and camaraderie through these times.

The point I am getting to, in the hope of edifying you, is that as we head towards the winter season of 2020, consider your crew and who the important people are in your life in this season. Perhaps you have a strong sense of who these people are, a network of friends and family that you have shared the ups and downs of life with. One thing I would suggest that you think about is even if you do feel you have such people in your life, consider whether you have a range of people to connect with and turn to and make sure that you are not overburdening (or being overburdened by) any one person. We are all going through something, and we all need encouragement, so make sure that you are giving as well as receiving that.

Perhaps you are not in such a place. Perhaps you are lonely and struggling, even if you live with other people or have many other interactions.

My advice or suggestions would be for you to consider whether you have the right connections in your life. Are there some people you need to move on from who are having a toxic influence on you? Do you feel like you don’t have anyone, and need to reach out for help? Even if you don’t have friends or family to turn to, perhaps you could connect with some online groups that are safe and have like minded people. Maybe you could reach out to community groups for help and support, or ask a volunteer group to connect you with a mentor or a ‘buddy’ such as they do with phone volunteers so that you can hear a friendly voice from time to time. There are plenty of phone lines and crisis support lines such as the Samaritans and Breathing Space here in the UK if you feel like you have nowhere to turn, and if you are in a different country, a simple ‘Google’ or other search could put you in touch with the details of similar groups or organisations. Maybe you enjoy the connections online that help keep you in touch with people, even as you learn to stand strong by yourself.

Yet having a lot of connections or a diversity of connections is not enough in itself. You need the depth and authenticity of feeling known and heard, and this may or may not be with your family, friends you already know, etc. You may have to take time to gather a new crew, form new connections, ones in which you are not simply just another face on a screen, or voice in a crowd, but real authentic connections.

Think about who your ‘team mates’ may be this season. If you are feeling strong in yourself then perhaps it is a good opportunity, if that is the right thing for you in your life just now, to be the one to reach out to someone else who is struggling and help and empower them, not to become dependent on you, but to know that they are seen, heard and help them to find an empowering way forwards step by step in their own life.

There is strength to be found in standing alone. But we also all need each other. Perhaps this is why in part we blog and write and share on platforms like this so that while we develop our own skills and gifts and talents and interests, we also are part of a community that can share with each other, learn from one another and grow together.

Who is your crew? Are there any wiser decisions you need to make in who you let close to you? Do you need to step up and be there for someone? Do you need to create space for yourself to step back and reconsider things or to ease out of things that are not meant for you in this season? Do you need to let go of toxic people, or do you need to invest in certain relationships, reconnect, or create a broader network of mutual support?

Now is a great time to be thinking about these things, of how we can get stronger and how we can help each other as communities.

Stay safe, well and I pray you will be blessed, friends. Thank you for stopping by and reading, I appreciate you. x

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Self Care In A Pandemic (11). Acknowledge Your Achievements.

For many people, this year has been somewhat of a blur. Perhaps you yourself are in need of some clarity and encouragement, especially as we head into the winter season of this year.

I wonder how you are feeling about it all right now, how life is for you? If I think of my own life, and my circle of friends, I know that people are in very different places in themselves. While we’ve all had this common situation of a global pandemic as the backing track of 2020, for some people, the volume has been turned up loud and they’ve been unable to find the means of turning it down, while for others, it is an inconvenient and annoying hum in the background of their life as they press ahead with their own dreams, goals and plans somehow.

I can think of friends who have had ups and downs this year. They’ve had some positives but also some hard times. Some among us have had to spend months at a time on our own with no human or animal contact, while others have flourished this year and some have recently had new additions to their families with babies being born this month. One friend has become a dad for the second time, and another has become an uncle for the first time! Others that I know have embarked upon new relationships or got married or still managed to fit in a travel adventure here and there. Yet at the same time, some have seen their mental health struggles continue or worsen, some have had job uncertainty and experienced loneliness. And while we head into the Christmas season, a season of Advent in which we look towards the first Coming of The Lord Jesus Christ, Who Himself was Born into inhospitable, frightening and unsettling times (and for many, myself included HE alone is the Hope and Light in the darkness), are welcomed to enter into relationship with Him now and know the tangible Peace and Love of His Presence (and look forwards to the certainty of His Return) this time can be particularly difficult in magnifying the differences and difficulties among and between us.

It is a time of year when the nights grow longer, darker and colder. It is a time of year when at any other time, the contrasts between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ would still be stark. Yet in this pandemic year, we face all sorts of added challenges. There are restrictions upon our meeting, upon our usual ‘festivities’ and some families, in fact many families are sadly facing loss and loneliness on a number of fronts. Financially, many may be suffering or struggling to make ends meet, and loneliness has become an epidemic of its own.

If this year has been a bit of a blur for you and you have a sense of dread about this season, my eternal hope is that you will look to the Light and Transforming Love of Jesus Christ Who came into the darkness….for you.

And while that is always, I hope, the heart of my message, I know that there are many among you who want or need to take that message at your own pace and time, and in the meantime want some solid practical day to day encouragement, and I understand and respect that.

Don’t let the year end without taking time to acknowledge what you have come through, and what you have accomplished. You may never win an award for it, no one may ever think it worth reading in a newsletter, but if you know it is something meaningful to you then take time to acknowledge and even celebrate it.

You don’t need to have contributed to the discovery of a vaccine or raised a lot of money for worthy causes to feel you have accomplished something this year. Perhaps your accomplishment is to have got out of bed each day, to have given time and attention towards your mental health and wellbeing, to have continued working to support yourself and / or your family, to have stayed indoors and kept other people safe, to have been kind and considerate towards those around you, to have lived a quiet life, to have read a book, kept your living space tidy, started therapy, come off medication, admitted you need help, reached out to a friend, donated to charity, encouraged other people, encouraged yourself, put time towards a hobby, attended online church for the first time, or been consistent in doing similar, to have checked in on your neighbours, to have sought the good and wellbeing of other people, to have not given up on yourself or your life.

Achievements or accomplishments can look very different to each of us. But sometimes the small things are the things that matter in a big way.

Why don’t you give yourself that encouragement and take a few moments now, or this week, or in this season as we approach the end of the year to write down or think about a few things which you have done this year, whether or not you think you’ve done them well.

Encourage yourself, and look forwards with hope and perhaps even vision in what may be a joyful, or an extremely painful and difficult season for you.

You matter. A Light shines for *you*, a Love has come, for *you*. You matter. Give yourself some encouragement, friend, because you matter too.

Love. x

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Boxing Day ~ A day of rest, reflection and play.

I wonder if you share a similar fondness as I have for ‘boxing day’, the day after Christmas?

Many of us have spent the preceding days or weeks in preparation in various ways. For some of us, we have been preparing ourselves spiritually by contemplating the fulfilment of thousands of years of prophecy in the Birth of Jesus Christ, and what this means for humanity and for our own lives. We may have spent time during the Advent season exploring scripture and praying and meditating upon these great Truths that changed the course of human history, and continue to do so.

I imagine, however, that the vast majority of people in a broadly commercial and secular world have been busy with the things that the Christmas and holiday season brings with it such as Christmas meals or get-togethers with work colleagues, friends, acquaintances; tying up loose ends at work; buying presents; decorating our homes; visiting family; shopping, cooking and all sorts of other festivities.

Christmas day has come and gone for another year (and yet the true meaning and significance of Christ~mas is eternal), and perhaps you have had a good day, or maybe it was stressful and challenging.

I wonder if you breathe a sigh of relief as we enter into boxing day, a day where you can rest, knowing that the preparations are done, and you have time before ‘normal’ life sets in again to rest and enjoy.

Boxing Day:

According to Google, ‘boxing day’ as a term originates as follows:

“The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestations from Britain in the 1830s, defining it as “the first weekday after Christmas day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas box”.”

Commercialism:

I used to think that it was so called because it was traditionally when people opened their Christmas presents or boxes. It is nice to discover that it was in fact a day of giving to others for their service as postmen and errand boys, etc.

Today it seems that ‘Boxing Day’ is synonymous with ‘sales’ and shopping, and this is quite unfortunate.

Avoiding the Shops and Sales, for a day of Reflection, Rest and Play:

I’m not sure about you, but I personally like to avoid the ‘madness’ of people rushing after so called ‘bargains’, pushing past each other to get to the ‘boxing day sales’, or spending a lot of money online searching for the next material thing that we and our loved ones probably don’t even need.

It is nice after Christmas to take some time to relax, rest, play and enjoy what we already have, what we have been given, what we truly are celebrating, and to be present with the people we care about and love if this is possible. Even if we are on our own, we can take that time to think, to enjoy, to be grateful, rather than to be greedy.

A sigh of relief:

So as you embark upon the 26th December, what does this day hold in store for you? Will you rush on to the next material thing, or will you take time to slow down, rest, recharge and enjoy and be grateful?

Personally, I’ve spent the morning with my family, praying on my own, and am now snuggled up in a blanket as I type. I have no intention of hitting the shops, but of enjoying the simple things today, resting in the Light that I have been celebrating, and being thankful for the rest and blessings after a busy season.

I hope you are able to put your feet up and enjoy some quiet time today too.

photo of two brown wrapped gifts on wooden table
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

An update, on the eve of Christmas-eve…

Hello again dear friends.

I realise that it has been a while since I blogged, and that my last post was regarding tips on finishing up at work before the holidays. That seems like quite some time ago now, and I hope you have all been doing well and finding Peace in what can otherwise be quite a busy season.

As an update, I did finish up at work for the holidays, after which I got to cleaning and decorating my home for Christmas. I also mentioned that I had a festive trip planned, and I can now share with you that I was away in the Black Forest in Germany, and visited some festive European Christmas Markets in Frieberg and Strasbourg. More on that soon!

As it is the eve of Christmas-eve, and I’m sure most of us love seeing cosy Christmas pictures, I thought I’d share a few of my own with you, and wish you a Peaceful day.

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A Christmas (Blog) Story (1)

candle celebration christmas christmas decoration
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Well dear readers, friends, we’re finally here, and I’d like to wish you all a very happy December.

This is the time of the year when everyone seems to say “Can you believe it? December is here already, hasn’t this year gone by quickly?”. I personally don’t think it has, but it is a natural time of reflection when the seasons change and the calendar year comes to an end. We ask ourselves where the time has gone, and it is a chance to look back in reflection and also to look forwards in hope.

‘Blogmas’:

I’ve never done ‘Blogmas’ before, you know, posting a new blog post every day in the lead up to Christmas. I really like this idea and have often enjoyed stopping by different ‘vlogs’ on YouTube for ‘Vlogmas’.

It’s the 5th of December, so I’ve already missed the first few days, but it’s nice also to blog as we approach Christmas, without necessarily doing this every day. Just as I created my Winter Survival Guide series (my 50th and final post for that series will be coming soon!), I’d like to also blog regularly in December. I love the idea of reading your Christmas themed blog posts, and ‘blogmas’ posts, it is a cosy and comforting feeling.

However, as I contemplated using the term ‘blogmas’ in my title, I realised that it wasn’t really what my heart was going for. Which is why you can think of this as a Christmas blog story, as I like to focus on Christ being the centre of Christmas, rather than blogging or any other thing. It’s just a personal feeling I had for my own blog, but like I said I love all of your blogmas posts and will enjoy reading them. So, what instead….?

Advent:

Who doesn’t love an advent calendar? I have quite a fondness, even though I don’t have one myself, for those hand stitched patchwork style advent creations with hand stitched pockets. I think we all love the countdown to something special and exciting and worth celebrating.

For many of us, Advent signifies the first coming of Jesus Christ into the world, and the waiting and anticipation of those who lived during that time. Now as a Christian, I can approach Christmas reflecting back with gratitude for Christ’s first coming into the world, and looking forward in hope to His second coming for He will return again, and also celebrate the Christmas season knowing and experiencing personally that He Is Emmanuel – God with us – The One True and Living God, here, and now.

Advent is also a time of preparation, and I love this because as a Christian, preparing my heart for Christ is a daily thing, however at this time of the year it is a new and fresh opportunity to do this with other believers and also to know that the world around us is celebrating and anticipating and that this is an opportunity to share the Light, Love and Truth of Jesus Christ with all.

What are you waiting for?

As a Christian, I wait on God, and I live in the experience of His present love, forgiveness, peace, joy and truth. I wait, and yet I am also fulfilled.

What are you waiting for and preparing for at this time of year?

I look forward to sharing my journey, this year’s Christmas (blog) Story with you as I give you a glimpse into my thoughts, friendships, travels, holiday fun, faith, spirituality, home and lifestyle. I hope you will stay with me as we continue on to the next chapter, and as we hopefully approach what will be a “Merry Christmas for one and all”.

God bless. x