Some major shifts happened in our life at home this year.
Kirk and I found ourselves falling in love with and giving our hearts to a new faith community, which completely took us by surprise.
I can't tell you -- still -- how meaningful this discovery has been to me personally. We visit there a couple times per week, and I love that I continue to feel regularly connected to the life of the church and the presence of Christ there continually.
It also helps that the utter cuteness of the church and its proximity to our brick-lined street makes traveling there feel a bit like participating in the life of an English village every time. (And in case you didn't know, Kirk and I entertain dreams of living in an English village someday!)
Another big change this year is that I started channeling my inner Martha Stewart. I never expected this, either, but I discovered cooking and baking as a wholly new love affair in my life. Whereas it used to be such a hassle for me to think about dinner, much less get it prepped and on the table each night, somehow I've found the planning and making of meals seamlessly integrated into our daily life now.
This has been totally surprising and totally awesome.
We invested some modest time and funds into our home this year -- a couch, some lamps, a rug, and a TV and DVD set -- and we've discovered a shift in where we spend most of our time at home. Our living area is now the central hub of our home life, and we've both loved discovering this development.
Also, I found myself channeling my inner Martha Stewart in yet another surprising way with the approach of this Christmas season. In the course of some daily blog reading, I became energized and inspired by some handmade gift ideas I found, and I set to work creating them. I've never been one for making handmade gifts before, but I'm super-pumped about these and can't wait to share the details and pictures with you once all the gifts are distributed! (Sneak preview on one of those gifts below.)
In all, it feels like our home and our kitties and our church life and our life together in general have become a very strong foundation in our life. And while that has always been true for us, something feels very different about it this year. We seem more rooted. Happy. At peace. Content.
It's strange to say this because, again, it's pretty much always been the case that we've been happy and at peace and that our home and kitties and faith life and togetherness have been our central focus.
I don't quite know how to put into words what is different, but I think it has something to do with our life becoming more local. We make and enjoy most of our meals at home, and from the labor of our own hands. We attend a modest church just around the corner from our home. We enjoy time connecting on our couch and playing with the kitties each night before bed.
All of this matters right now as we prepare to leave for California tomorrow to spend the Christmas holiday with my family, and here's how:
I've been noticing that I want to take this feeling of rootedness with us to California.
When I travel home to California (where I'm originally from), it can be so easy to get swept into the activity and accelerated pace of seeing many people and doing many things. Sometimes it can feel like quite a whirlwind experience when I travel there, as it is so easy to get caught up in commitments and a fast pace to meet them all.
I find myself assuming this is how it has to be.
But this year, as I find myself living from the true and deep ground of my being in life with Kirk each day, I want to see what it's like to remain connected to that deep ground of my being when we travel there together -- even as we travel in the thick of a holiday season and to a place that carries such an opportunity for overcommitment on my end.
I can easily lose myself and my sense of centeredness in that kind of scenario. It becomes so easy to try to do and be everything for everybody, isntead of relishing and sinking in deep to what is most important and right in front of me.
And so this year, as we travel, I choose my rootedness with Kirk. I look forward to seeing what a difference that makes as we go.