I know it's a day early, but I think presents which arrive unexpected are the best ones.
I don't know about you but I find December and January to be busy months.
December sees us winding up commitments for the year just gone, partnered with the rush and flurry of Christmas and relatives and giving and receiving.
January requires the winding down and the putting away of our festive activities and social gatherings, alongside a need to put in place fresh plans and routines for the year ahead.
For many of us the ending of one year and start of another can be quite exhausting.
So as February's page is flicked over on the calendar I let out a great sigh of relief and breathe more deeply than I have in ages, and I seek time to revive...
This month's "Gentle Domesticity" block reminds us that we are each very important, and need to take time after seasons of busyness, illness, emotional stress, weather extremes and other wearying times to REVIVE our souls.
"How can I do that?" you ask.
Well, we're all different beings so what I do and what you would choose to do may look nothing alike, but I suggest you begin by setting aside some personal time for reflection and see where that leads.
Here's a few 'revive' ideas...
Plan an hour or two alone with soft music, a cup of your favourite brew, the phone switched to silent, a scented candle flickering beside you, and pen and paper for recording your thoughts.
Take a solo drive out into the countryside with a thermos of cocoa, thick cut sandwiches with your favourite filling, a blanket and your camera.
Walk barefoot along the shoreline just listening to the waves and the gulls. Let the waves and sand wriggle in and out of your toes. Breathe in, breathe out, and let it all go.
Perhaps you need sleep? Put fresh sheets on the bed, have a long and luxurious bath, pop your favourite pajamas on, and spend a whole day napping and reading without any distractions.
Soak those weary feet in warm water with a little lavender or peppermint oil and lay your head back on a cushion letting the oils work their magic while you listen to an audio book. Then continue the personal pampering by giving yourself a pedicure or manicure or both.
Do you know what revives me when the world has left me empty?
In winter it is a day spent up the mountain with my camera, trees, birds, and lots of tea, but at this time of year in the Australian tropics it's too hot to go there, so I lock the doors after Mr E goes to work and then I potter around the house in my pajamas all day long with no 'to do' list, no distractions, no phone calls or emails, no people, no work.
I watch old movies, paint my toenails, brew pots of tea, read, snack on comfort food, and nap if I need to.
About 20 minutes before my husband is due home I shower and dress, and then he takes me down to the beach to share fish and chips while we watch the sun set behind the mountains and the moon rise before us over the ocean.
This was our view last week when I took some revival time...
Are you in need of refreshment and time out to gather your thoughts and catch your breath?
Put things in motion that will allow you a day to yourself, and don't feel guilty.
We're made in the image of God, but we're not God.
Our flesh gets weary, our minds overload, adrenaline stores deplete, and sleep is restless when we forget to slow down and take a breather.
We need to rest, we're not machines.
(read Mark 2:27 where Jesus reminds the Jews that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath)
You were not made to live a robotic life and it IS okay to say no.
As you stitch "Revive Your Soul" this month ponder the things that can be put aside in your life, and consider what is truly important to your physical and emotional well being, the things that will allow you to be a gentler and contented wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandparent, friend, woman.
You may be surprised by what you discover.
The free download for Block 2, "Revive Your Soul" is HERE and will remain free until I share Block 3 on March 5th.