I love this quote and actually read it on a teabag as I was drinking my morning tea several months ago. Sometimes the phrases on teabags make me roll my eyes but this one struck me as lovely and wise. Plus the reference to light, which is one of my favorite themes (even in the name of my blog). I'm thinking I won't continue with monthly quotes for my goals posts next year (maybe just photos again instead) and this feels like the perfect quote to end on, especially during the month of lights shining in darkness.
As we were listening to Christmas music this week the phrase "comfort and joy" from God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen stayed with me. It reminded me of a recent episode of Happier in which they recommend choosing a holiday motto. Comfort and joy sounds like the perfect theme for December, a month I am always happy to welcome. There are twinkling lights and so much coziness. It's also my birthday month and Cedric's as well. (I like having a Christmas birthday buddy in our little family. "I'm a Christmas baby!" he will declare.)
With birthdays and holidays, December is a month full of rituals which can serve as momentary time machines, transporting me back to last year, five years ago, or even to my childhood. I felt that this week and we unboxed Christmas decorations – the little drum ornament from my piano recital in 1995 – and visited a Christmas tree lot to pick our tree. My mom used to sit in a chair and put hooks on the ornaments for my sister and me to hang. Now I sit and do that for my boys. It happens too with smell of cinnamon and of fresh cut pine. "I remember this." It's surprising but also grounding to suddenly feel years of time in a concrete way.
December is also a month with potentially conflicting intentions. We want to slow down and enjoy. But the same things we want to slow down and enjoy – thoughtful gift giving, the gingerbread house party at school, holiday baking – can also fill the calendar to the point of stress. For this reason I'm feeling the need for thoughtful planning. One way I'm heading off stress is planning a couple days of Christmas elfing in mid-December. Last year I started the tradition by taking off two days of work to complete all the buying, wrapping, and card-writing. I treated myself to a peppermint mocha and watched Christmas movies as I worked. It was festively productive and oh so lovely.
Here's to savoring comfort and joy this season.
+ Organized medicine supply. Expired meds thrown away, supply levels of cough and cold medicine confirmed. We're ready for the cold season.
+ Our front yard makeover finally began! Currently we have a dirt front yard (grass and curbing removed) with a newly poured sidewalk.
+ Enjoyed a cozy Thanksgiving with family in Prescott. Even though we see my in-laws frequently it was fun to spend a long weekend together. The boys played well with their cousins and the grownups had a fair amount of time for conversation, imagine that! My sister-in-law brought a new game for the adults to play where you answer to questions like, "what was your biggest accomplishment this year?" and "what will you do more of next year?" It's a game that brings you closer together, perfect for the occasion.
+ Purchased the bulk of Christmas gifts.
+ Designed and ordered our Christmas cards. And they even arrived several days ahead of time!
+ Went on a beautiful hike with a good friend.
Big things happening in December:
+ My birthday. 35!
+ Cedric's birthday. 4!
+ And of course: Christmas and New Year's Eve.
+ Make time for 2018 reflection and 2019 planning. Up to this point thinking about my 2019 goals has mostly been a mental exercise for me but now it's time to put pen to paper and have conversations about it. This helps me solidify my goals and gives them weight. As a prompt to do this I have been enjoying the Celebrate Cultivate weekly newsletter.
+ Complete the front yard makeover by Christmas. Finalizing the gravel choice is next then having trees planted and buying a few plants. The yard will be a bit sparse at first but I'd like to add a few plants each year. I hope the final look is close to what I'm envisioning!
+ Plan my birthday. Last year I didn't do quite enough planning for how to spend my birthday and ended up feeling like I didn't make the best use of my day. I learned my lesson! I love to have a relaxing day filled with my favorite things but even that takes a little planning.
+ Plan Cedric's birthday. Oh my, his birthday comes so quick after Christmas! We have to have our act together.
+ Go on a family hike. A repeat from last month because we didn't do it but the weather is perrrrrfect.
Recurring monthly goals:
+ Weekly phone dates with my mom and regular phone dates with close girl friends.
+ Thursday night at-home cookies dates with Chris.
+ Don't start or end the day with my phone.
+ Go to bed by 9 pm.
Happy December, friends!