A New Rhythm

Hi Friends!

Brrrrr! The Polar Vortex arrived overnight bringing dangerous, record-breaking cold to the Midwest. We woke up to temperatures of -25 F (-31.6 C) with windchill temperatures of -50 F (-45.6 C). The loud sounds of ‘Frost Quakes’ can be heard as our soil reacts to the rapid temperature change. Today we are only four degrees warmer than Antarctica! 

Most schools here are closed today, mail delivery has been cancelled, and many people have decided to spend the day at home. We are very grateful for those who brave the Arctic temperatures to provide vital services. Friends and neighbors have been checking in to see if anyone needs help. Each time I peek out the window, I am so grateful for the heavy blanket of snow that is protecting my garden as it sleeps. Wherever you are today, we hope you are safe and warm!

Bright sunshine is streaming through the lace curtains in our dining room as I write. Pumpkin muffins are in the oven and a pot of tea is brewing. Gusty, snowy days are just perfect for writing heartwarming letters to friends. I’m so glad that you stopped to visit today! Pour yourself a cup of tea, cocoa, or coffee. Let’s catch up a bit…

The month of January has flown by very quickly this year. Such a busy time here! My dear, sweet parents are staying with us in the midst of their Big Move from Arizona back home to Illinois. Mom and Dad are very eager to settle into an easier lifestyle in their apartment in a brand new Senior Living community. They can’t wait to unpack all of their boxes as we all work together to create their new home! There have been some very disappointing delays in recent weeks. So, we continue to wait and wait and wait for ‘move-in’ day to be announced.

As we wait, oh, the sweet family times we have been sharing! Reminiscing and sharing childhood stories adds so much warmth and humor to our days. I love hearing so many of these family stories for the first time! 🙂 Mom has filled a big ‘Basket of Sunshine’ with some of her favorite things to brighten her days. Dad has been busy researching his favorite hobbies online and doing a few little repairs around the house. So many treasured memories of all the home restoration projects that Mom and Dad helped me with over thirty years ago, when I became a homeowner, come flooding back. Oh, the stories this little house could tell! (We just shared our 1988 memories of working together with a heat tool to strip paint from the kitchen cabinets, as snowflakes were drifting in through the open window. 🙂 ) Watching the the U.S. and European Figure Skating championships together over the weekend brought back warm memories of all the Figure Skating we watched together in my childhood. Yes, our cozy, little bungalow feels cozier than ever right now.

There is a new rhythm to my life now. The coming years will be extra busy as I have the honor of helping my parents. My special ‘word’ for the new year found me a few weeks ago. Throughout the year, I will focus on being more intentional about the decisions I make. My time is more limited now, so careful attention to the most important things will help to keep my health, our marriage, our family life, my creative passions, dear friendships, and our little home and garden thriving. This new rhythm feels exhilarating! It invites so many opportunities to learn and grow…

This month, I eagerly began my 2019 Self-Care bullet journal. It was a wonderful feeling to unwrap a brand new Rhodia dot grid journal filled with 160 pages of luscious, ivory, Clairefontaine paper from France. (J’adore anything French! I left a piece of my heart there on my very first visit.)

My Self-Care journal is the perfect place to record and track healthy habits. It’s interesting to notice patterns over time in my Sleep Log, Workout Log, and trackers for daily Hydration, Step Counts, Creative Time, and Time in Nature. My monthly Gratitude Log continues to be my most important journal page! Nightly reflection keeps me mindful of my Self-Care.

This year, I will be more intentional about setting personal goals. In January, I created a new monthly page entitled Reasons to Be Proud. It feels like a nice addition as I reflect on my days. My Self-Care journal has become a personal space where I can get to know myself better. I only spend about ten minutes each night with my bullet journal. Yet it always feels like a luxurious a little ‘gift’ to wrap up my days with mindful reflection!

I’ve been savoring a wonderful book, The Bullet Journal Method, by Ryder Carroll, the creator of this style of journaling. It’s so inspiring to explore all of the possibilities of this quiet, analog journaling process that requires only a simple notebook and a pen. Over the past two years, I have personally stayed very motivated by using a few art supplies in my bullet journals. The chance to play with colorful inks, brush lettering, stencils, and a bit of doodling nourishes my creative heart every day when I open my journal. My 2019 BuJo will continue to be a very important Self-Care tool as I grow more intentional and spend more of my time on what truly matters. Doesn’t it sound inviting to actually spend more time on fewer things? It’s a lofty goal for someone whose ‘Renaissance’ (my ‘R’ word for Retirement) is filled with so many interests and plans!

As we tie the ribbons on January, I’m celebrating two wonderful Artist Dates that I intentionally made time for on my busy calendar. I spent an entire day with my crafty, creative ‘tribe’ at a papercrafting Crop Day. It felt so good to play with stamps and watercolors as I worked on a few Valentine projects. We all chatted about important things, like ink and paper, as we worked together on our own creations. 🙂 Last weekend, I attended a fun Watercolor workshop, where we sketched and painted a Cozy Winter Cottage nestled in the woods. I tucked my artwork into a rustic wooden frame to display in my little Paper Garden studio. It’s a sweet reminder to be intentional about the choices I make as I discover this new rhythm in life!

What new things have you been doing in January?

Do you make resolutions or choose a ‘word’ for the New Year?

How is the weather in your little corner of the world?

Hope you’ll share with us…

 

Warmest hugs!

♡ Dawn

 

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Happy Birthday, America!

The Pledge, by Robert Duncan {via Pinterest}

Happy Independence Day!

A celebration of

America’s 239th birthday…

Hi Friends!

Parades, flags flying, picnics, cookouts, concerts, festivals,

watermelon, apple pie, baseball games, sparklers, fireworks displays,…

There are so many ways to celebrate America’s birthday this 4th of July! Whether you plan to celebrate quietly at home or at a large gathering, it’s meaningful to pause for a moment  and think about the freedoms that we are celebrating today.

Vintage magazine cover, illustrated by American painter, Frances Tipton Hunter (1896-1957), published July 1944 {via Pinterest}

It’s so important to share our thoughts about

the meaning of Independence Day

with our children and grandchildren.

⚛⚛⚛

Today, I shared with my sweet 6 year-old neighbor.

Karla and I talked about the American flag

hanging on our front porch,

and why I hang our flag up every day.

I’m sure she will ask about our flag again,

from time to time.

⚛⚛⚛

Karla comes over to ‘help’ me in the garden

whenever she sees me working.

Sometimes we take a little break to share books.

She is quickly learning the names of my flowers

(especially the purple ones).

We even planted flower seeds together

and watched them grow.

⚛⚛⚛

Together, we are also planting

the tiniest seeds

of gratitude

and pride in our country,

that will grow as Karla grows.

Vintage graphic, from Jenn’s “Rook No 17” blog  {via Pinterest}

When I was growing up.

our family often drove across the country,

visiting places that are important in America’s story.

A dear aunt took my brothers and I to visit

our nation’s capital and our state capital.

I just love this image, from the blog Zetta’s Aprons. {via Pinterest}

Listening to family stories while growing up

made such an impression on me.

I am so proud

that my dad  served our country in Korea.

Even when I was very small, I knew that my dad was very brave.

In recent years, my dad has been scrapbooking his stories,

and sharing his memories of growing up in America

during difficult times.

I grew up watching the reports from Vietnam

on the nightly news.

I can still remember

checking the map of Vietnam,

cut out from the newspaper and

hanging on the back of our kitchen door.

My uncle was serving there,

and we thought about him each day,

with the hope that he was safe.

Every chance I get, I stop and thank

our veterans and military families

for their great sacrifices for our country.

{via Pinterest}

Of course, I learned about

what it means to be an American

in school.

But what I remember most are the stories,

shared by my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

..

..

When I bought a little home of my own,

with a big front porch,

on this quiet street,

my older neighbors shared

so many of their stories with me, too.

⚛⚛⚛

Now, it’s my turn to spend time

sharing my stories

with my sweet, young neighbor.

Stories from the heart,

filled with love and pride,

and

the blessings of freedom.

Free printable   {via Pinterest}

{via Pinterest}

As you celebrate our nation’s birthday,

in big ways or small ways

this weekend,

I hope you can find a moment to share your stories

especially with our children,

making memories together

and

sharing the blessings of freedom!

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Have a great weekend!

♡ Dawn