Finding Gratefulness…

Thanksgiving Tablescape Goals

Today starts the beginning of the holiday prep season for most Americans. I say that because this week is the prep time for our annual day of Thanksgiving. Although many people see Thanksgiving as a day to remember the terrible genocide of the Indigenous Peoples that inhabited this land before, I made a vow long ago to remember the day we tried to make peace and harmony with those who’s land we came upon. The truth is, the only people who discovered America are the people who were living here at the time Columbus and Erikson came onto these lands. Our Native American Indians, who lovingly met with the Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock all those hundreds of years ago. These people who taught us how to plant corn and wheat, how to forage the native medicinals for healing, how to build shelters to keep warm and safe during those North Eastern Winters. My ancestors who shipped from the likes of Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany and Scandanavia (yup, that’s right, I’m a bit of a Celtic Mutt), lived amongst the Native Americans here at the edge of the Appalachian Mountains not too far from where I live right now. Thanking science for geneology reports, I found that my people came to live in the Pocono Mountains, about 2.5 hours from my home.

My personal geneology report as of 11/22/2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about my ancestors this year in particular. Call it pandemic curiosity, call it research, I’ve taken great pride in studying my family’s history and how we ended up here in Pennsylvania. I come from a Clan of people called The Ulster Irish, also known as the Black Irish. They were the Indiginous people of Ireland who lived up in the North East of Ireland. There was a time in history that the Vikings from Scandanavia came down, raping and pillaging these people, breeding a new generation that would eventually emigrate to Scotland and England, and then eventually hundreds of years later, take a boat off of Southampton and land in New York City. My ancestoral history is not a pretty site, but I feel it is important to remember that not all of the Irish were good, and not all the Vikings were bad. What I DO know, is that it’s MY history, and although it’s not always pretty, it’s MY history. And this is exactly what I taught my children as I raised them. History is messy, and sometimes there are things that happened that are not easy to talk about. Horrific things like brutal rape and genocide, but also wonderful things like love, truce, and comraderie. We educated each other, and I HAVE to believe that however this country was formed, there was both bad AND good. Both sad YET happy times. And if 2020 has taught me anything, is that for all the bad stuff that’s happened to us, if we don’t remember the good along with it, we forfeit our right to the powerful truth of history.

So, as you prepare this week of celebrations, reunions and the like, I dare you to think about the good that has happened in this year along with all the challenges we as a nation have faced. Even if the good was personal and private, and no one but you and God were there to witness it, REMEMBER it. And thank our Creator above for all that we have been given.

For me, I am grateful for several things and came to some funny conclusions:

I have incredible faith that I never knew I had until I found myself in some serious hard times. That my inner circle, although tight and and secured, is more powerful than having thousands of social networking fans. That maybe I’m really a Northern gal, and that maybe it’s time I face the fact that if I embrace Winter, I may not be as depressed as I always expect to be each year. That the power of prayer can move mountains. That God gives me EXACTLY what I need when I NEED it, and nothing more or less. That if I stop trying to live life like I’m running in a marathon, I’ll find that peace I keep talking about. Huh.

I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year for my in-laws. I’m looking forward to it, despite some challenges it sometime faces. I have SO much to be thankful for this year, and I intend to relish in every single moment over these next several weeks, until it’s time to bid adieu to 2020 and turn the page to the next chapter. I hope you take heed to what I’ve said and do the same. We all deserve peace in our lives right now. And it has to start from within. God Bless You.

Me and Linus VanPuggle

Bridget

Merging Into The Slow Lane In Life…

Whenever I hear the term “Slow Living”, I think of my favorite TV show “As Time Goes By”, where Jean (portrayed by Dame Judi Dench) and Lionel (the recently late Sir Geoffrey Palmer) argue about her retiring from work. Lionel’s publisher Alistair speaks about her upcoming retirement and going on with Lionel in the “Slow Lane of Life”, to which Jean becomes incredibly irritated over the fact that everyone wants her to slow down.

My favorite show in the world, As Time Goes By: Jean is yelling at them saying “SLOW LANE OF LIFE!!!” when they advise her to retire from work.

I always found this funny, because when one thinks about slowing down, you picture an older couple, retired and walking the malls or boardwalks at the beach, possibly taking a stroll through the park hand in hand, or even thinking of an older woman sitting by the fireplace kitting a blanket. Wait….

None of this strikes me as “old”. Maybe it’s just that I AM getting older, and moving onward to the slow lane in life seems really, really appealing. I have a few friends who live by this rule of simple and slow living, and watching their videos on YouTube really captures the spirit I am willing to take part of.

What is Slow Living, exactly?

It’s actually quite simpler than one would think. The problem is, getting there. We, as a society, and especially in the United States, have this ideology of “bigger, better, stronger, faster”. And yes, I believe at one point in my life I not only lived this way, but encouraged others to do so. My Mom always says to me, “If its meant to be, it’s up to me…”, which is really an amazing philosophy to live by when holding oneself responsible and accountable for the life led. However, for years I always looked upon this philosophy as living in a fast paced world. To me, it always meant, don’t expect someone to do it for you, you’ve got to get it done yourself. And for some reason, my brain interpreted that as “get it done fast”. No wonder I still have problems following directions at 46 years old. I remember being in first grade, and Sister Joseph Timothy telling me I REALLY need to learn to follow directions. I would become so exciteable about doing something, I tended to look over the what I was SUPPOSED to do, because I was SO busy trying to get to the end result. And at the end of the day, it was never done right, because I was always skipping important steps. Life is the exact same way. Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look every once in a while, you could miss it…”

So, how do I live in this society and live a slower way of life? Well, it can’t happen overnight, that’s for sure. But people like my friend Lea and other Youtubers like Katelyne from Girl in Calico, and Jonna Jinton, I have some ideas on how to start. For one, make time for the Creator who gave us all of this. I have found when I am living in a faster pace, I tend to never have time for prayer and meditation. And that HAS to change. How can I be happy living this way if I cannot even take some moments during the day to thank the One who gave me this life?

One of the things I need to make sure is that I keep to a schedule. I have a type of personality that I cannot just go on a whim; I NEED a schedule. Thankfully, I am embarking on a new journey that will FINALLY give me a set schedule. So, once that gets going, my next step is minimalization and organization.

My 18 month planner that I would be lost without it

The thought of that next step just gives me anxiety, even as I type the words out. As much as I love to organize, I will admit I absolutely suck at it. I know I will need help in this area, and I’m grateful for my best friends who have offered to come to me and help me out in this time of need. I know I’m going to need it.

I truly believe that once these three factors kick in, I will be running like a fine oiled machine, or more or less, a content middle aged woman longing for the slow lane in life.

What does slow living look like for me?

Waking up and being able to be in prayer without interruption. Making wholesome, good food that makes me feel good. Taking time to keep up my home, inside and out, with an absolute peace of mind. Being able to take a walk and listen to the trees and birds and hear God’s gentle whispers in the wind. Reading a book in front of a cozy fire with a large cup of tea, writing in my journal, and feel my mind, body and soul slow down to a peaceful rhythm. I want more than anything, to enjoy and live in each of the seasons, without feeling depression. This will be another big challenge. Embracing the deep, dark of winter where my brain puts me in a state of sadness and despair. I actually told my husband recently of my need to move to the Pocono Mountains (the mountain range a couple hours from my home). He of course became very confused, because why would I want to live in a place where the winters can be downright brutal? Who knows? All I know is that I feel I’m being called there. So, no better time to learn about slow living than right now.

I feel the muse within me beckon whenever I talk about the mountains. As if that’s where her soulmate lives, and I hope my husband and I follow her one day, to be reunited with her long lost love, and I can begin to create the art that I know is still deep inside of me.

I would love to know YOUR ideas of what Slow Living means to you. Please feel free to comment below, as I am always looking for new ideas!

Peaceful Blessings to you all,

Bridget

The Homesteading Hobbit

Me enjoying a quiet Sabbath