Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Piece of Peace

Many years ago, we were going through occupational therapy for sensory issues with our son.  I will never forget what the OT said to me about the holidays.  She reminded me that there is more stimulus in the six week period surrounding Christmas and New Years, than at any other time of the year and it hits you in sight, smell, hearing, taste and even touch.  It's a sensory overload crazy time!   She explained to me how much additional stress it puts on a person to be on overload like that for extended time periods.   

  When you think about it, it's certainly a good point.  It's not even December first yet, and the radio is already blaring the same seven Christmas songs at me... I've got five lists going as I speak and a million things to do before I can sit down and inbox is swollen with offers and ways to spend up all the money we will ever make... Commercials are promising ways to lose those pounds we're all certainly about to gain from the overflowing grocery shelves... cinnamon scented pine cones are giving us headaches when we walk into the craft stores, and the word "perfection" is being bandied about like a volleyball.   "How to make the perfect pie"  "Make the perfect wreath" "Host the perfect party"  "Give yourself the perfect manicure"... it goes on and on. 
 All I can think about is how I just want some peace.  I want to sit and read Christmas stories to my kiddos in the evening without having to rush all over the city checking boxes on a to do list.  I want to focus on the reason for the season, rather than forcing myself to decorate perfectly... bake perfectly... blog perfectly... look perfectly, blah, blah, blah.  It was sure easier when we were kids. 

 I don't know why I have to write the word "rest" on my to do list to remind myself to work it in...  It doesn't come naturally for me!  I don't sit down, I get things done.  And that's not bad all the time... but we were created to need rest every so often.  If you don't get enough of it, you'll get weary... and weary people get discouraged, cranky and bitter.   I imagine we need extra doses of it this time of year when our senses are overloaded.

 So I suppose the moral of my story is: if you want peace you may have to schedule it in during this season, especially if you're like me and you don't naturally know how to chill.  Let's turn off our radios every so often.  Say no to the obligations pressing our shoulders.  Make a cup of tea with a loved one and sip it slowly.  Let ourselves be open to quiet, rather than filling it with noise and chaos.  And perhaps, in the peace of that simplicity, the true meaning of CHRISTmas will soothe our weary souls. 

How about you... what do you do for peace during this season?  I would love to read your thoughts. 


  1. your photos are just beautiful. they give me "a little piece of peace". i love the simplicity of your decor. beautiful.

    well, each week, i observe sabbath. from friday night until saturday night. i rest. i go to church. i have dinner with family and friends. i pray. i hope. i try to love God more than i did before. i repent. ...and then the next friday, i do it all over again.

    i also have moments when no television is allowed on in the house...usually when my hubby is not home yet.:-)

    i used to have panic attacks about 11 or 12 years ago because i was always moving, doing ...even with my weekly sabbaths rests.

    after that, i started to kinda have spa moments since i don't get them ever...while getting ready in the morning, i try to savor the moments of caring for myself.

    and each night, i try to end the day by 11 no later than 12...because if i don't i wake up with a headache.

    blessings to you Sasha!
    love love love lemonade makin' mama!

    1. I can't tell you how much I love this comment!! (And I've been waking up with a headache daily lately... great words of wisdom! Thank you!)

  2. Your house looks beautiful. turn the lists over and sit down to enjoy your hard work...with your kids and husband and puppy!

  3. Yesssssssssssssssssss, this is one Momma that so agree's with you!! About a week ago, Hubby and I sat down and went over our December calendar and realized it was jam packed with fun stuff...yet jam packed nonetheless! We literally wiped HALF the stuff out of our planners, even a handful of 'friend/neighbor' parties that likely would have been a lot of fun! But, we just have opted to limit our time out in some of the hub-bub, truly looking forward to a few special gatherings...otherwise, hoping to have some of the very quiet moments you describe! I love your honesty and transparency...I know without a doubt I can peek in on your blog during the week and get that much needed dose of REAL life! Thank you thank you!

  4. I also have one who gets on sensory overload. This year we decided not to stress ourselves out making a turkey and all the sides. We ordered a small meal and it was fun. We didn't have to stress during the day (we didn't have family to go to this year) and we hung out together. It was nice. So for Christmas we decided to dress up and go out for Christmas lunch. No cooking at all. I'm really excited about this. Usually the kids would open presents, we'd have breakfast, get dressed, etc., my husband and I would open their toy boxes (why does Barbie have SO many twist ties!??) and then start on dinner working together to get it done. I'd make a cheesecake (my girls' requested dessert with honeymaid gingerbread crust and sometimes candy canes sprinkled on top) and then eat. This year no cooking unless I make dessert. We had a Christmas movie day on Sunday where we sat and watched Christmas movies together. We haven't scheduled a lot of activities during this time. We've just been hanging out together, playing board games, the girls decorated their own small Christmas trees for their rooms. We will do some crafts together once I get the stuff we need to finish them. We will take our time seeing Santa, etc. We will allow for the sensory issues and realize that our 8 yr old will be on overload. It will be hard, but we'll get through it and pace ourselves. We'll try to make sure there isn't a lot of stimuli if we can (SO hard to do). Hope you and yours are able to relax and enjoy the season. I have a few gifts already bought and I buy online so it's shipped to my door. I already bought stocking stuffers so that's done. I'm feeling pretty good and not as stressed as I usually am this year. I'm determined not to stress out. Molly

  5. I love this post and Sasha's response. This is a wonderful time of the year to me. I love decorating, the music, the gift giving..but like you it is overload. Overload of stuff, spending, clutter...everything. In some ways it all just makes me feel inadequate. Thank you for this great post and not to put any pressure on you - but I noticed that you said this month will be about peace for you. Please share. :)

  6. By the way, the big photo of your son is just amazing. I think of him often because of some of the things you've shared. My boys are in their 20s not but we went through it too.

  7. You expressed these thoughts so eloquently and each and every word you wrote is so true. It is sensory overload this time of year. I can only imagine how your son must have felt. We even had a local store deck their halls inside and OUT with garland and ribbons and everything Charlie-Brown-Chirstmas like THREE weeks before Halloween. It's really all too much and the real reason is scooted from back burner to back burner way too many times. I like that yu put on your to do list "Rest." I hope it is OK to copy that idea. For me, I like ot take a moment after my girls have gone to school for a daily devotional and prayer. It may be 5 minutes but it sets me in the right frame of mind. I will begin an Advent devotinal soon and I am always amazed at how the Lord works on my heart. I wish you much peace and joy during this season. Thanks you for sharing your thoughts so freely!

  8. I can relate. My son has some similarities (at least as much as one can pick up from blog posts!) and I need to be careful about stimulation overload. I'm trying at least a couple of times a week, in my personal devotions, to close my eyes and "enter" the scene of Jesus' birth. I play out how the characters look and act, how it might smell, etc. Because I love visual images, that type of meditation helps me to carry the thoughts with me throughout the day. As a family we turn out the overhead lights at dinner to enjoy candlelight, particularly during Advent reading, maybe the whole meal. It seems to block out all the "noise" of the environment. There's something beautiful about candlelight that adds a hallowed hush.

  9. I find my rest in a quiet spot with a book and my little man. We curl up under an afghan knitted by my grandma and just cuddle and read. Then I remember how blessed I am.

  10. LOVE the tree in that bucket. amazing idea.

    and i am definitely open to scheduling in peace and quiet. : ) i hope my kids will understand. haha.

  11. Amazing post. After reading the comments, I feel like we should all just meet up at my house (or your looks cleaner, lol!) to snuggle, reflect and just BE...since we all sound so much alike. We will start a family Advent Bible study on Dec 1 and we all look forward to it.
    Your home looks precious. We have pared down our decorations/Christmas buying/TV watching/Radio listening/Electronics playing time significantly and this has helped us unwind and just breathe.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours. :)

  12. So very true! Your house looks beautiful. I love how simple your decorations are. I'm going for simple and natural this year. One thing so far I have told the kids is November is for November. Come December we can start decorating. This week has been about taking down fall and bringing in cozy plaids and "winter" decorations. It makes me want to curl up and knit or read a book. We hold off on our tree until mid-ish December since the true season of Christmas doesn't start until, well, Christmas. We use to totally decorate Christmas Eve but with little ones it has become way to stressful and Christmas shouldn't be stressful. We focus on Advent with our Jesse Tree. Have a wonderful season!

  13. Hi Sasha.

    Thank you for your honesty and openness; I so appreciate it. I've been following your blog for a little while now and it's honestly one of my "look forward to" reads in the morning when I get in to work. A reminder that real life is more than what is presented. You seem to live a busy, but simple life and I admire how you incorporate beauty and personal touches throughout everything you do. You are such a dedicated mom and loving wife, and such an encouragement through your blog. I just wanted to drop by and say all of that.

    Wishing you and your special family a very blessed CHRISTmas and may the Lord crown 2013 with His favour and blessings and may He give you the desires of your heart.

    Love in Christ
    Jackie (from South Africa)

  14. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I love it all! Please come decorate my home, pretty, pretty please! I am sooo gonna have to get one of your beautiful garlands next yr! : )

  15. I agree with Stephanie! I would love one of those garlands!!! What a beautiful blanket of Who Christmas really is!!
    I hope you will still be making them next year ;)
    Love reading your wonderful posts. Its just like walking along side you day by day...wouldn't that we lovely if we could!
    Have a restful but fun weekend Sasha!
    My scarf is "growing" thanks to you!!
    Hugs xo

    Deborah xoxo

  16. I was struggling with the perfection thing this Christmas also but finally was able to just let that go. I hope you have a wonderful day today full of peace!! Your home looks lovely!

  17. Beautifully said!! Loving your tree, the bucket is a nice touch. The photo of your son cracks me with his one eyebrow raised..

  18. My daughter says this is her favorite season because it's so "peaceful" and relaxing. Part of that is because after we moved, it took awhile to make new friends. As our social calendar is filling quickly this year, this is a good reminder to make room for that peace that we all need. Thanks Sasha!

  19. so beautiful & so true my friend.
    i pray that while november was super busy for me, december will be more peaceful and more enjoyable for each of us...time to focus on THE GIFT and THE GIFTGIVER!!
    merry christmas sasha

  20. praying peace for all of us in this season...
    you're so right....chaos is ready to take hold of us, if we'll let it.
    this past week had no margin for us...busy 4 nights!! TOO MUCH. We are family that requires a lot of quality time to feel connected and close and peaceful.

    your home oozes peace from these pictures....and pictures tell a thousand words.
    i know things aren't perfect for any of us and peace isn't always present...but your heart is to have HIS peace fill your your heart.