Friday, December 21, 2007

O Tannenbaum (or, The Joys of Not-Doing)

We have such a pretty tree this year.
We like that she's a little bit off-center.
Just like us. :)

This little angel has been with me a long time. I remember when I got her -- it was at a crunchy-granola handmade-gifts fair in Corvallis. I fell in love with her and decided that she was my ornament for that year. I thought she was the sweetest thing ever. She's still pretty sweet.

In more recent years, I've really gotten into special balls... this one is from last year (a gift from my mom, who continues this wonderful tradition of a new ornament each year for each of us). It's a beautiful blown-glass orb. I have lots of pretty options now; they each require deliberation over where, exactly, they should go on the tree.

Speaking of choosing a special place on the tree, this ballerina (from 1979) always gets a place of honor near a colored light bulb, to better make her gossamer gown and hair glow. She is one of my favorites. I notice that when I was a little girl, I chose a lot of doll-shaped ornaments. I have a little straw girl, too.

This is a new one this year, from the Old World Christmas collection (a gift from a client). I love that it's an owl. She brings wisdom to our tree.

And here is one of my favorite under-tree decorations, Miss CleoCatra. She is part Norwegian Forest Cat, and she is honoring her heritage by snuggling up under the tree, as she has done nearly every night since we got the tree.

I can't remember a holiday season where I have felt less stress and more peaceful joy. I am really enjoying not-doing. I've made a few batches of cookies, and I have a few more to make. I've made some gifts, and I have a few more to make (part of my lack of stress is due to the fact that I won't be celebrating Christmas with my family until January). We haven't even gone out shopping yet -- we might do that this weekend. We only have a few gifts left to shop for, and they are all the enjoyable stocking-stuffer type.

Instead, we've curled up on our couch (can I just say right here that the new pillow inserts from IKEA have saved our couch? Suddenly, we like our couch again) and watched movies, or read books and cuddled with kitties. Our window is fixed so it's not freezing at our house any more - instead, it is cozy and homey. We eat vegetable stews with hearty whole grains, and have Mexican hot chocolate (made with almond milk) for dessert.

We have mistletoe hung over the bed for sweet goodnight kisses, and star-shaped lights glowing through the night.

It's been a rough few years, and this year we start with a fresh challenge. However, I am in better shape emotionally and health-wise than I have been in a long time, and Terri is getting better slowly but surely. We are devoted to her health, and to increasing the peace in our lives. I am so grateful for Terri, for my art space and for a house that is filled with lovely energy and light. I think a lot of my current relative serenity has to do with the long process of letting-go that I have been going through in the past year. It is surprising how difficult it is to let go of those burdens which we place upon ourselves! I'm learning to let go of perfectionism, expectations, shoulds, too many goals, what-ifs, and useless worry/anxiety.

I'm definitely still working on it. But I've made progress, and apparently, it's paying off. I'm so grateful and feel really blessed. That's the best gift I could have gotten for Christmas -- a peaceful heart. Thank you, Santa!

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