One of the lovely things about moving away from the city for a while, at least during the pandemic, is that I have a view of trees and my parents’ garden (in the city, it was a bit of a rigmarole leaving my 10th floor flat simply to step outside – you know the drill: facemask, hand sanitiser, stress of being around people, etc! I can’t tell you how much I missed just going for a walk in the park and seeing squirrels – now I can watch a little squirrel at play among the leaves most days, and it makes my heart happy to see, rather than to feel that bit ‘cut off’ from nature while I was in my flat).
It is a very blustery day today, the autumn leaves have changed from vibrant oranges and yellows to dry and crumpled (still somewhat golden) browns. The trees are daily being stripped of their leaves now by the wind and rain.
However, one source of delight, especially for my mum has been a vibrant red acer tree in the front garden. Knowing that the season of autumnal fullness is passing, she has been enjoying gathering its fallen leaves to press at home.
I took the opportunity to capture their natural beauty, so I hope in these dark and difficult days of 2020 they bring at least a glimpse of colour and happiness into your day.
And mum, this is especially for you, with Love ❤ x
Words of Encouragement (4.1):
*When home doesn’t feel like home*
In the last post we looked at the idea of creating a sense of order in the midst of chaos…exploring the idea of our homes being like a lighthouse in the midst of a storm.
I want to continue to think about the idea of establishing safety, this time acknowledging that being at home, whether alone or with other people, doesn’t always feel safe.
This touches very lightly the surface of some very deep and potentially dark issues, many of which are beyond the scope of this short post. There are all types of issues that could press upon your sense of safety within the home from feelings of depression and anxiety, loneliness, to domestic abuse, child abuse, and also even the stress of living in a space with other people with little sense of freedom, which overtime can lead to feelings of entrapment, fear and depression.
In a unique situation like the one we find ourselves in, in the case of this pandemic, we may not have access to the sources of support that would normally be available and this can be particularly tough for some people who are experiencing any of the things I’ve mentioned above. Devastatingly, some people can and perhaps will slip through the net, and my heart goes out to them.
Knowing this makes it difficult to write this post, however, I’d like to offer a glimmer of hope that there are helplines, support groups and other online resources that can help you through this difficult time. A quick ‘Google’ search shows me that there is a variety of resources in local areas, and perhaps with the many support groups springing up around the Covid-19 situation this may mean more opportunities to get some kind of help, even in the interim. In the UK you can phone the Samaritans, access online resources on mental health such as ‘Mind’, reach out to a friend by telephone if possible. Perhaps if you are concerned about a child’s safety at home, you could report this. If anyone reading this has particular knowledge of what to do and how to help people in such circumstances or who fall under other vulnerable categories, and who need a lifeline right now, please comment below with resources and contact details for organisations that can help, where possible. Thank you ❤ Let’s pray that as few people as possible slip through the net.
I will follow this up with a post 4.2 for managing the stresses of being at home where your safety isn’t actually at risk, but when things sometimes just feel too much. Take care, stay safe and well.
Words of Encouragement (3):
*Order in the midst of chaos*
There is so much going on in the world around us that is beyond the realm of our physical control. It has always been that way, but we are experiencing things on a different scale and from threats that we are not so used to hearing about, the devastation of which is reaching far and wide across the world.
We all need an anchor, and even those of us who resist rules, who take pride in rebellion or non-conformity, also on some deep level crave order, security, safety and stability, no matter what we might tell ourselves to the contrary, and especially at a time like this. We are designed for order, for structure, for peace and a life well lived, but sometimes we can feel like we are tossed like a tempest, drowning, unable to control what’s going on around us.
And to be honest, there is a great deal that we just cannot control in the world around us right now.
But what can you control? What *is* within the sphere of your influence right now? What kind of structure can you incorporate into your day to day while we are in this hiatus as this pandemic crashes around us, buffeting many, and pulling others under?
Think about how you can be like a lighthouse in the midst of a storm. Many of us are fortunate enough to have homes and shelter when others do not, and we can remain tucked safely away indoors while the storm rages on around us.
Imagine that being indoors is like being hidden within a lighthouse, offering at least temporal safety for the time being.
Think of ways you can bring a sense of structure, of order, of pattern into your days hidden away from the world, whether you are going through this hiatus physically on your own, or as part of a family that also needs order and structure, especially where younger children are concerned.
You personally cannot calm this raging storm, but you can create an atmosphere of calm and of order within your own home on a physical level. Can you think of any ways you could begin to approach this today? ❤ Also, if things at home are chaotic in their own way, is there some way you can reach out for help? I know that this is not an easy time for some to be inside in an environment that you also might feel the need to escape from. If so, sending you much love and hugs.
Words of Encouragement (2): *Home alone and feeling helpless*.
I want to address this to those of you who feel like you ought to be doing more to help, and perhaps are feeling frustrated with being stuck at home during some form of isolation. I’m writing to friends in different parts of the world, so our various governments and health services may be addressing this pandemic differently. However, many of us have been told to stay at home. Whether or not you are home alone, or at home with others, you may be struggling with feeling frustrated and helpless when others on the frontline are out there and doing something.
For each and all of us, please don’t underestimate the power of this action. It is not inaction, but a deliberate and purposeful way of protecting human life, and you are part of that – a very big part of things. As contrary to our instincts as it may feel, by not doing something in this instance, you are actually doing something very powerful. Rosa Parks made a stand by remaining seated. In a very different but also significant and powerful way, by staying at home, your choice, your action, is helping to save lives. Please don’t feel disempowered in this situation, you *are* making a difference, and many people who are staying safe and well, and alive because of you, would thank you for it.
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.
I realise that I started blogging about my autumn home décor ‘makeover’ as it were (just simple changes for these beautiful autumnal seasons), but I haven’t got around to posting the updated pictures, so if you read those posts, you will just have been left with the ‘mess’ and the aim to transition from one season to the next in my home.
Sorry about that, friends! 🙂 Coming soon….I’ll hopefully post some updated pics and ideas before Christmas comes around and it’s time for another change! I’ll try to do my autumnal home update this week…!
you’ll know that I’d like to create a ‘vision board’ to help inspire me, and hopefully also inspire you, to tidy up, declutter and create a cosy home environment as we head into the autumnal and wintery months.
So, I’m starting with my kitchen, and here are some pictures that inspire me just now:
Travelling teaches you the importance of Home. Perhaps this in itself is a challenge to some of us. It is beautiful and inspiring to get away and explore the world. However, there are inevitably challenges and annoyances along the way no matter what we do. Moving from place to place, living out of a suitcase at times, being in unfamiliar territory or out of our comfort zone, or simply not being somewhere that is our ‘own’, of living in a constant state of the temporary, of moving, shifting, changing, can give us a deeper longing for and appreciation of Home. Yet, perhaps some of us, especially those of you who have spent years ‘on the road’ (something I haven’t yet done) find the idea of ‘Home’ a strange and transient concept, and maybe you don’t have a place where you feel ‘rooted’ to.
It’s 11.10pm on Saturday evening, and this Saturday has definitely been a ‘reset’ type of day. By that I mean my flat / apartment was pretty messy after a busy week at work and also with a couple of evenings out meeting friends, which meant I just didn’t have what it took to keep on top of things at home. I miraculously (not being much of a morning person) awoke early and as it was a rare sunny morning, with a gentle light breeze and the streets almost empty of people, I went for a morning walk in the sunshine by the riverside before 8am. Usually I would probably still be tucked up in bed on a Saturday morning, catching up on sleep, but it really was a lovely and quiet time of day to be outside, and a nice change.
The rest of the day has involved intermittently cleaning and tidying as well as just doing some relaxing things at home. My kitchen and living room which are open plan were so messy, but are pretty cosy now apart from some papers and miscellaneous items needing sorted. So at least I can relax here. My bedroom, however, is in a very sorry, messy state, and it’s getting me down a bit. So is my spare room which needs a fresh decluttering and tidy up after last year’s big decluttering project. Not to mention my bathrooms needing a good, clean going over. My moods are affected by my surroundings, and I am aware of choosing not to get stressed or upset by mess, as I said in a previous post advising to ‘enjoy your mess, enjoy your tidy’, for in our mess we can see our abundance and so much to be thankful for. But still, I’m human, and living alone I have no one to clear up after me during a tiring or busy week, and I don’t have any special ‘Mary Poppins’ formula whereby things miraculously tidy themselves away with just a click of the fingers, and a ‘spoon full of sugar’.
Basically, I need some inspiration, and a fresh reminder that I have had things on track before, so I can do it again. And hopefully this will be a bit of an inspiration for you too, so I’m reposting a bedroom spring décor post I wrote last year. One last note for you and for me: don’t let any clutter around you clutter up your mind! Let’s have gratitude and a positive attitude in the mess as well as the tidy. xx