cammie + her wisdom

Hello to Jessi's wonderful readers!  I'm so pleased to be here, taking a small part in the Naptime Diaries community.  Thanks for having me, Jessi.  And...  if I may - I'd like to put in a little plug... RUN DON'T WALK over to the Naptime Diaries shop to snatch up one of the collaborated prints between @NaptimeDiaries and @CoconutRobot.  They are beautifully understated.  My mom and I are ordering four between us. We're picky shoppers - and they're that good.

I'm Cammie, and I blog over at Polka Dotted Peony.  You can expect to find my thoughts on the best things in life, including life hacks, recipes you can count on, and entertaining and hostess tricks.  I'm an operations director by day, but am a people-laughter-abundance person at heart.

Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, I'm stopping to reflect today on how to help your holidays have more meaning.

They really race right by, don't they?  Those special dates on the calendar over these coming weeks.  There's a 24 in there, and a 25, of course, which is the really big day.  But then there's the 31 and the 1. And we just had the 22 (which changes every year - so weird).  The dates that stand behind those numbers have real true meaning, and we often miss it, don't we?  For me, the time just moves too fast.  All of a sudden, it's Christmas, and I haven't taken a moment to do any work in my heart.  Sure, Christmas CDs are in my car's player, and there's a tree in my favorite Christmas-tree corner of my home...  gifts are in their special pre-wrapping day hiding spot, and festive get-togethers with friends sprinkle my calendar, but my heart? It's racing to get from here to there, without stopping to take a breath.

I want this year to be different.  And here's my plan.  Won't you join me?

1. Spend time alone reflecting: I know many of you are busy mommas, and the only time you get alone is spent shaving your legs.  That is ok - because a warm shower is also a nice place to reflect.  This year, I'll be spending enough time alone to give my heart a moment to breathe in the beauty of why we celebrate.  Life is beautiful, and we've been given bountiful gifts of people and food and opportunity and love and God and His Son.  For me, I need to be alone in the quiet to really get to the heart of all that. And so I'll be intentional this season with time alone reflecting.  How long has it been since you drank in the story of Christ's birth? I mean, really drank it in? Put yourself in Mary's shoes, in Joseph's shoes (a VIRGIN birth?!)? Think of the expectancy of the Jews - who awaited the coming of their majestic King.  Think of Jesus' humble beginning - born in some horses' home to a couple of kids. It's striking, isn't it? Join me in taking some time to do the work to ready your heart.

2. Instead of a to-do list, make a to-don't list: The nature of the season - its bustle of gift-giving and party going and christmas-light displaying and family gathering also makes it a season of lists.  You'll never get rid of your to-do list, but you are in charge of what you're willing to do this season - how far you'll go.  I haven't done this for this season yet, but I have done this at different times in my life, and it's really quite freeing.  Make a list for yourself of the things you just don't feel the need to do.  Maybe this year, you'll decide to bring the same hostess gift to each get-together you go to.  Stock up on your favorite wine and cocktail napkins for each hostess, and call it a day.  Maybe this year, your pumpkin-scented candles are going to stick around post New Years.  The cinnamon-scented candles can re-appear next year.  Take some time out to think about what's feasible and appropriate for you, and put aside the rest.

3. Assess your traditions: Traditions are beautiful, aren't they? They provide fond memories of family, and time together, and laughter and joy and different-ness.  Right? Maybe we have some that really don't.  Maybe there are some we could emphasize over others.  Maybe there are some we could do away with all together.  Take stock. Be generous, but be choosey.  Give yourself the freedom to keep what works and has meaning for you this season.  

4. Go easy on yourself: No one's asking for perfection but you.

Thank you Cammie for this beautiful post!