Thursday, November 3, 2011

Doing vs Being

We had a long "Indian Summer", but autumn is truly here.  As I write this, I am glancing out the window at steely skies, the yellowed leaves on our maples shivering in the chill breeze.  November has come, like a somber curtain lowered upon what was only days ago a stage ablaze with color.

Yesterday, before dinner, we all took a walk up the hill to the nearby cemetery to pray for the souls of the faithful departed on the Feast of All Souls.  The weather was cool, but not too bad.

It is a small cemetery, but it does have some Civil War veterans buried there.  And it has a wonderful oak tree (nothing like the Remarkable Trees of Virginia Ginny and her crew have been visiting).  But it is old and lovely.  And today, waking as I did to rain and wind and slate-colored clouds, I was so glad that we had taken this brief walk together. 

You see, I have been indoors too much as of late.  I am knitting and making things for Christmas and for the Etsy shop.  I am trying to sort out too much clothing.  It seems that I have become very poor at organization, and feel like I am not keeping up with anything but the laundry.  I feel we haven't done as much reading as we ought (I haven't read a book aloud to the kids in ages).  I have ironing piled up.  I have fabric purchased for clothing I haven't yet sewn.  I have a floor that needs mopping and an oven that needs cleaning, and I still have knitting and Etsy stuff to do.  I am overwhelmed and just hanging on to the thought that things will slow down after Christmas.

But between now and then, there is Gabe's birthday, Thanksgiving, Advent and then the joyful--if I can keep it so and not permit stress to overwhelm me--feast of our Lord's birth.

I need to rethink what I'm doing around here.  I don't need another "To Do" list; I have too many of those.  What I need is a "Not To Do" list, or rather, I need to start thinking of ways to simplify.  I go nuts making things in an effort to save money, but can I take some Etsy earnings and buy a few things?  There is one of my problems.  I love handmade stuff, and rather than buying it, I think, "I can do that!", and I go nuts trying to do it all.  I like to bake at Christmas, but do I really need to bake 10 varieties of fancy cookies?  Wouldn't I rather read to the kids, or play cards with them, or bundle up and take a nature walk with them, or just sit and knit without feeling like I am running a decathlon?  Obviously, yes.

So, I am going to make a To Do list...and then I am going to begin crossing things off of it.  Maybe if I can get by doing a little less, I can "be" a little more.


  1. Lovely post and lovely photos!

  2. Beautiful pictures, Nadja! An excellent, thoughtful post. I've been thinking a lot lately, too. It seems that with the month of October, my mind starts racing with the upcoming holidays and the traditional hosting that I do for our families. I've noticed that at this time each year, I begin taking a lot of indigestion tablets (Hylands... work great!). This just cannot continue to be... I know that God wants me to celebrate this time with my family and friends... not just stress myself out trying to make it nice for everyone else. So... I'm thinking, I'm praying... Love you, my friend! Annita +JMJ+

  3. Absolutely stunning photographs! Peace and grace to you as you sort out your 'lists'. xo

  4. Beautiful cemetary. We live in CA, where unfortunately stand-up tombstones are verboten. There are a handful from the previous century and we gravite towards them for our final All Souls' Day prayers.

    When my elder children (now in their 20's) were young, I used to kill myself making handmade gifts. The more kids I had, the less I did this; until now I hardly do any gift making (although I do encourage and help the kids make gifts for each other). I'm just too tired and I think I lost my creativity (along with my figure) during the last two pregnancies. I'm hoping that when grandchildren appear, I'll feel rejuvenated to craft again.

  5. I was just reading this and your idea of running around trying to get everything thing yo can do done, really struck a cord with me. Three years ago, I was running around in between caring for the new baby, baking and crafting. I don't think I slept for all of Dec other than while nursing. My was setting 4 kinds of Christmas bread to rise on night when my sister came into the kitchen, she was home from Washington state for the holidays. She took the bread from my hands and asked me what I was doing it was 3am. She made me cover the bread and go to bed. I arrived at my in-laws family Christmas party with two kinds of bread, still warm from the oven the next afternoon. I was upset, but my husband's grandmother was pleased, they already had enough food, and the warm bread was nice even if it was less than I planned. I had a wonderful time. I am so thankful to my sister for that lesson. Now I make one batch of each thing I want, despite my head saying it isn't enough, and it is enough. I enjoy everything much more.


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