Peace in My Home

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle.

-Albert Einstein

This morning in the studio the soft light and the heavenly smell of hyacinths made it feel like spring. When Christmas and my family’s birthdays right after are over I am ready for winter to end. But I realize that spring would not be as sweet to me without the bland steely skies and bitter winds of the hibernating season. Trying to enjoy the winter I have practiced hygge as much as possible the last two years. I confess, hygge is wonderful, but the sheer delight and happiness that comes when the first daffodils peek out of the semi-thawed earth is a miracle that takes my breath away.

Whenever I see early bulbs in the store I try to buy them. They brighten up any dreary winter day and are worth every penny.  Surprisingly the hyacinths in my studio were found the week after the new year began in my local small grocery store. Their smell is intoxicating to me and I close the doors to the studio so that when I go in it’s even stronger. The hyacinths I bought last year I thought were dead, but after a snowstorm the week before last I saw their little dark green leaves poking through their containers on the back deck! Bulbs are such a miracle and very, very easy to care for, even for someone like me with a black thumb. When they are done blooming either set them outside in their pots or plant them in your yard to enjoy their blooms year after year.

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Irises are my favorites and I am very blessed to have a bed of them with lavender top petals and dark purple bottom petals that originally came from an old abandoned house in the country in 1976. My parents transplanted them to their home and then I was given bulbs for my own house. I hope to pass them on to my children one day. When we moved here we were delighted to discover, after 7 months of fall and winter, enormous amounts of dark purple German irises by the carriage house, a patch of the smaller kind by the Hackberry trees in the side yard and daffodils all over the front lawn!

I know the days are getting longer. I heard somewhere that every day now we get an extra 2 1/2 minutes of sunlight.  That adds up until summer solstice! It must be true because I noticed the other day the sunlight was playing through my Queen Anne patterned windows making the gorgeous dappled light I see so often in the spring.

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We don’t have a lot of sunny days in the winter so this was a rare treat. This house’s beauty inspires me so.

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Here is another great blessing from my best friend. When they sold their old house they gave us their salvaged stained glass window from a church. It fit perfectly right inside the window in the parlor bay window.  It’s almost like it was meant to be there! That lovely little girl kitty is our Maddy cat, all curled up enjoying the sun on the back of the sofa. She adopted us over 8 years ago.

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And here is our precious Abbey-girl. She is the best dog we have ever had and a true miracle. We got her after dealing with a very bad dog situation at our house where we had to find another home for a dog we had that tried to attack us on a daily basis. She has helped our children heal from that situation and is the most patient animal I have ever met.

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I didn’t always have this peace in my life. I used to let the negative voice in my head dictate my whole day. It always told me I’d never be deserving enough, I wasn’t good enough at keeping house, being a mother, a wife, and especially not at being a teacher. I listened. I let this voice and the perfect perfectionism it expected of me rule me. I couldn’t enjoy my beautiful home and resented my wonderful family if they made even a tiny mess.  A devastating RA diagnoses in 2015 (I’m currently 2 years in remission) and immense testing pressure at school led to me seeking the help of a counselor. Its one of the best things I ever did; the other was to go back to being a Fly baby with the book Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley.

I am so thankful for Marla Cilley (aka Fly Lady) and her wonderful Flylady inspirational videos on YouTube and her books. Without her home management system I would drown in the care of my big, old house. I’ve never had the money to hire outside help and this system has been working for me (a work-outside the home mom who really doesn’t have time for three jobs- house, family, and teaching) since 2005 when our first baby was born (and then we lived in a much smaller house!). Marla doesn’t just teach organizational systems, she teaches you to love yourself and to do it for yourself and as a blessing to yourself. She teaches you how to stop listening to the bad voices and to choose better and do better. My morning and evening routines set me up for a peaceful morning and productive day. Now that the negativity is gone from me its gone from my house and family. I cant believe how peaceful my mind, home, and life are now!

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As an artist, I find that my surroundings amplify my creativity. I can be more creative if things are ordered and my mind is so much calmer when there is no chaos to distract it. I used to not think that way, but that was just an excuse for that little voice to have more control over me. Also, I had to let go of perfectionism. There is a balance. Perfectionism always told me I couldn’t do creative things until my house was cleaned and my to-do list done, but those things were never done, or I was so exhausted after marathon cleaning that I had no energy left to paint! And I definitely did not have the energy to appreciate the work I had done. So I had to learn to set my timer and stop! And Marla is right, once your home is peaceful (I did not say clean!) and you are peaceful and things are improving, your family will help. Remember- they can’t read your mind! Just ask nicely and specifically! If I’m not having a good day or not feeling like doing stuff I just go to one of her Youtube videos and listen while I take care of stuff. She is very inspirational and supportive!

When I set my timer for 15 minutes I can do anything. Thank you Marla. Without you my home is a curse and a resentment, full of anger. With you it is love and happiness, full of peace.

 

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Peace, blessings and an FLY (Finally Loving Yourself) life to you from Kansas Street,

-Jaime

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