The hygge activity I drew this morning fit in perfectly with the quiet stay-at-home day planned for Christmas. I visited with several family members before today and I’ll see the rest this week. My Christmas included texts with family and friends, reading, cozy comfy clothes, and delicious plant based foods. I might have slipped a short nap in too, cuddled up with a cat.
The slip of paper I selected read:
Write out intentions for 2019. Dream big and record my thoughts in my journal.
Connection with Self
Hygge is about creating coziness and enjoying life…and it’s about connection. A hygge lifestyle encourages connecting with nature, with family and friends, and perhaps most importantly, connecting deeply with self.
Spending time today dreaming, writing out intentions and listing action steps are all important ways of focusing inward. For intentions to become reality, I must begin with knowing what I want. And I must slip past all restraints and dream big.
To create a supportive environment for dreaming and writing out intentions I took several steps:
I surrounded myself with beauty, which fosters creativity for me, and made sure my room was uncluttered and tidied up. As darkness gathered at the windows I turned on Christmas lights and small lamps, creating intimacy.
For 2019 I’ve picked out a new journal, with the Queen chess piece on the cover. It’s in my shopping cart, at Amazon, ready to ship when I complete my order. For the exercise this evening I used one of my composition notebooks to record my thoughts in.
Typically I use the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to reflect back on the past year and look ahead to the next one. I appreciate this time of being in the space between what has come to pass and what will occur. Blogging definitely gives me milestone markers for the journey I am completing. And my dreams fuel the journey that is about to unfold.
Writing in my journal today I allowed myself to dream BIG in multiple areas of my life, including health and well being, writing/blogging, travel, real estate, family and relationships, and creativity. As the saying goes, if my dreams don’t scare me, they aren’t big enough!
I’m painting on a blank canvas, titled 2019: Queen of Enchantment, with very broad albeit vivid brush strokes. Enchantment is my theme for next year. The Queen chess piece is my symbol. I’m excited to experience this new journey and see how far I go and what I accomplish.
I believe that what I think about, dream about, in my inner world, becomes my outer reality. I’m guided Divinely. The Dream Giver calls to me. My role is to show up…and keep dreaming big. I can do that.
Today I came so close to skipping the hygge challenge activity. After an extremely long and full day, I stood staring at the covered dish that holds the slips of papers. I had not even drawn one out yet and my phone showed a time of 6:30 PM. I hesitated, feeling how weary I was.
My hesitation was warranted. I know what activities are within that dish. Some require more preparation and time to complete than others. This game teaches me trust, however. I stirred the folded papers, and drew out this activity:
Make a new soup recipe.
Finding a Soup Recipe
I was happy with the “random” selection. Although I felt it was too late to make up a pot of soup, finding a new recipe was very doable. Saturday is already full however by Sunday I could make time to cook.
I gathered several plant based cookbooks and thumbed through them while eating a simple veggie roll for dinner.
Soups are among my favorite meals and fall is the perfect season for creating big pots of soups, stews and chilis. Suddenly a recipe caught my attention. Chunky Red Lentil Stew had a relatively short list of ingredients and two wonderful spices: garam masala and curry.
I had found my soup recipe. And remarkably, the cookbook happened to be Vegan Pressure Cooking. Prep time – 10 minutes. Cook time – 6 minutes. I could do that. With a cup of hot lemongrass tea to fortify me, I made soup.
Chunky Red Lentil Soup
Here is the easy recipe:
2 cups + 2 tablespoons vegetable broth, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon curry
1 tomato, cut into large chunks
1 cup dried red lentils
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt to taste
In uncovered pressure cooker, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable broth on high. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes, until onion is soft. Stir in carrots, garam masala and curry and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add tomato, lentils and remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
Cover and bring to pressure. Cook for 6 minutes. Use quick release.
Remove lid and stir in lemon juice. Taste and add sea salt as needed.
Soup, it Does a Body Good
As the soup cooked in the pressure pot, I cleaned up the kitchen. The incredible aroma of garam masala and curry teased my nose and energized me. I am grateful that I did not let weariness keep me from today’s hygge activity.
Preparing and eating simple, nutritious food is foundational to the hygge lifestyle. And soup is such a warm, comforting and healing meal. Today fall appeared in the form of cool rainy weather, and I can’t think of a better way to practice coziness than preparing a pot of flavorful soup.
I only had a spoonful of the Red Lentil Stew, since it was quite late, however it tasted as wonderful as it smelled. A beautiful soup sits in the fridge, ready to reheat this weekend. Day 5 of the Fall Hygge Challenge turned out to be a rich blessing.
I had to get creative today, with the Summer Hygge Challenge. It was not possible to do the activity that I selected, exactly as specified. I could have tossed it back and drawn another folded slip of paper. However, I believe that the “randomness” of selecting the activities is not really random at all. There are deeper lessons to learn. I accepted the activity as the one I was meant to have.
Go On a Road Trip
On this busy Monday, with many items on my “to do” list, a road trip was out of the question. I opened up to other possibilities, other ways to experience such a journey.
I considered options. I could watch a movie about a road trip, later in the day. I could go on an adventure in my imagination. Or…I could plan a road trip, one that I could experience at a later date.
That idea appealed to me. And then another thought took that idea and expanded it.
Greg and I both took DNA tests last December, through Ancestry.com. With our combined results, we could offer a complete ancestry picture to our three children. Greg has been busy the last six months building an impressive family tree of his ancestors. He’s gotten back seven generations, and has family lines that originated in Germany, Ireland, England and Scotland.
I’ve barely begun creating my online tree, however I’ve done much research in the past. I can trace family lines back many generations, to countries that include Scotland, Ireland, France, Wales and England, and the regions of Western Europe and Scandinavia.
Ancestry.com provides a wealth of information with the DNA results, including migration maps. Looking at my mother’s line, the Gregorys, and my father’s line, the Lauderdales, I can trace their paths from countries across the ocean to the Virginia and Connecticut areas, and then west to Kentucky and Tennessee, and ultimately Missouri and northern Arkansas.
Greg’s family entered the US via New York and Pennsylvania. He has plotted the migration of his family members west across the Midwest, using a map. His family stayed further north as they moved westward, until they too settled in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.
What if? What if we planned a road trip that allowed Greg and me to visit the states where our ancestors lived and walked and birthed children and died…as they trekked across America? I’ve been inspired by the television show, Who Do You Think You Are?, on TLC, as people discover their roots and then travel to learn more about their ancestors’ lives.
How amazing it would be to visit the east coast towns where our ancestors first took up residency, and to figuratively walk in their footsteps. I’ve had very few trips out east. It’s time to change that. Driving would allow us to trace Greg’s family routes across the upper Midwest on our journey east, and then follow my family’s trek across the lower Midwest on the return trip.
We have much planning yet to do, and more family research to accomplish, but today we began with excited discussions about where we would go. We intend to focus on several primary family lines, as with each generation back, the number of family lines doubles. However, we would attempt to explore as many ancestral connections as possible. At the conclusion of our road trip we would have info and stories to pass on to our children and grandchildren about their roots.
I’m grateful that I drew an “impossible” activity from my hygge jar. It’s the impossible things that open up new opportunities and show me what is truly achievable.
Today’s hygge challenge is actually one of my favorite things to do. I love watching movies. And I love that the task for day 5 was to stay in and get comfy while enjoying a film.
Friday – Have a movie night at home
The intent for this challenge was to get into comfy clothes or pjs, create a cozy atmosphere, have treats nearby, and relax while watching a movie. I appreciate the deeper assignment beneath the challenge. This wasn’t just a watch a movie at home night. This was a create warmth and comfort and wellbeing while watching a movie at home night, with the emphasis on the environment part.
I took great care in creating a space that was fun, relaxing and comfortable. I have discovered this about myself this week…I take hygge seriously!
I chose my bedroom as the location for movie night. Repeating the Day 1 challenge, I lit tea light candles throughout the room, leaving off the overhead light, and I lit the essential oils candle that I purchased on Monday.
There was a pile of pillows to get comfy against, and I tossed my super soft blanket on the bed, in case I felt a need for something cuddly.
My treat for movie time was a cup of hot herbal tea, a blend of lemon balm, thyme and fennel seeds, and cara cara orange segments with a sliced Braeburn apple. This snack was satisfying and so good for me.
Following the comfy clothes recommendation, on this warm evening I opted for a soft sleeveless racer back T and low rise briefs, topped by a short, lightweight kimono style wrap. It has exquisite needlework on it, because comfy can also be beautiful.
I was ready for the movie! Earlier in the day I checked my watch lists on both Amazon Prime and Netflix. I have long lists on both. I felt drawn to the sci fi thriller, The Circle, staring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson.
I’ll do a review of this interesting movie another time. That’s not the purpose of tonight’s blog post. I enjoyed the movie though. I thought I had it all figured out, then it surprised me at the end.
What I really enjoyed was the whole evening…the candle light, the healthy snack, the pretty, comfy clothes, and the even more comfy bed with its pillows and soft blanket, which I did use to cover my bare legs when they got cool.
It was the perfect evening for me and I am grateful for it. And I am grateful for this hygge challenge that I happened across on Pinterest. This has certainly been a cozy, comfortable, beautiful week. More hygge in my life, please.
To many, being grateful for Black Friday may seem crazy. I am though…grateful, that is, not crazy. Do I care what other people choose to believe? Nope. Not only did I save money…I had fun…met new people…shared in an adventure…laughed…and got to order something I’ve been wanting for a while.
I hear all kinds of negatives about this day. And people are certainly entitled to their opinions. I choose not to be negative, even though I don’t always go out and participate. As one who worked in retail prior to real estate, I know how crucial this day can be to businesses, especially small, locally owned shops. For many, their business surviving the next year is dependent on this day and the holiday season. And for people with limited funds, their hard earned cash goes farther when they can take advantage of deep discounts.
And for some, the thrill of the hunt is plain fun for them. My sister Debbie and niece Ashley excel at finding bargains. For me, I don’t typically shop on Thanksgiving Day, or stand in line in the dark before stores open at 5:00 am. I wait until noonish to venture out, if I have a reason for shopping. However those who enjoy Black Friday shopping and make an adventure out of it or create a family tradition around it…you go…and have fun.
My own adventure was precipitated by the need for a new blender. Mixing a fruit smoothie daily, plus additional heavy use since going plant based, has killed off my ancient blender. It was time for a new one. I purposefully waited until today to purchase one, sure I could get a great deal. I was not wrong! With the Black Friday sale at Kohl’s, plus a coupon I had received by mail, plus $30 Kohl’s bucks to spend later, I bought a top of the line $199.99 Ninja Blender for $105.99. I am so excited to create with this awesome kitchen appliance!
Also at Kohl’s I purchased six other items, spending $41.27 for items that normally would have totaled $159.08. My total saving today at Kohl’s: $211.81. That’s awesome…and certainly something to be grateful for. But the best part of being at that store today? Standing in line with positive, joyful people that I had never met before.
I started my shopping at noon. Apparently others had the same idea about beginning later in the day. The store was packed and lines stretched to the back of the store. You know what? If you are going to shop on Black Friday you’d better just be prepared to stand in line and make the best of it. Of the hundreds of people I encountered, I only heard two shoppers complain. Shhhh…they were both males.
The two ladies in front of me in line and the one behind me were of like minds. We decided we might as well have fun while we waited. Our thoughts create our reality. So guess what? We had a blast. We chatted like old friends. We told stories. We held the place in line for each other and took turns darting to displays to pick up something else. I grabbed a sweater in the right size for one of my new friends. She tried it on and asked how she looked. She looked beautiful. The staff at Kohl’s did a great job at managing crowds and had every register open with two sales associates per check out. Cheers to all of them!
The woman in front of me, who had an adorable little daughter with her, shops Black Friday sales out of necessity. Her money goes farther. She can spend less and accomplish more. The woman behind me was elderly. She was purchasing clothing for herself. Same motivation. Her limited funds can do more. This is a yearly event for her, when she buys essentials for herself.
Greg, who had dropped me at the door, came into the store to find me. One of the ladies waved him over and called out, “She’s making new friends!” She was right. Cheers too, to Greg, who had a wonderful cheerful attitude as well and chose to make it a fun afternoon.
Back home, I went online and picked out this little beauty for me, from Boho Style, at a $20 savings. Check it out HERE. This silver feather ring has significance for me, and I was deeply touched that it popped up on my newsfeed today. More about that later. Let me just say this was a playful wink from the Divine.
And then another delightful surprise. I’ve been wanting to order the Ancestry DNA kit and have my DNA tested. I know I am primarily Scottish, Irish and English. Or am I? I can trace my Lauderdale roots back to Lauder, Scotland. But lots of families have married into the Lauderdale line down through the centuries. Where did they originate? I am so excited to get a map of my heritage.
I intended to order the kits last Wednesday, one for me and one for Greg, as our children will then have a complete heritage background. Normally $99 each, the kits were on special for $79. I use a special loadable debit card for online purchases, for security reasons. When I went to load my card Wednesday, the lines were long and I had cooking to do at home. I decided to wait until today to order. Today through Monday…Black Friday through Cyber Monday…the Ancestry DNA kits are reduced to $59 each. I purchased three, including one for my college aged grandson. Savings: $120. More gratitude…more joy…great excitement!
As a bonus, I joined Ancestry.com. I am in the process of transferring the info in my overstuffed-pages falling out-genealogy notebook into Ancestry’s easy to use online family tree system. I am already discovering more valuable info.
What an incredibly fun day. How tender my heart feels for those who dared to shop today, whatever their reasons for doing so. How empathetic I feel towards those working today. I worked Black Fridays in retail for years, alongside Greg and all three of my children. We can tell stories that make listeners laugh, shake their heads…or cry.
Today, I saved a total of $351.81 by shopping Black Friday sales, both in stores and online. Monday is Cyber Monday. I already have items waiting in a shopping cart on Amazon. I expect to save big there too.
And Tuesday? That day is Giving Tuesday, a national day set aside for corporations and individuals to give to the charities and organizations of their choice. It’s a day to make a difference. I participate every year. The money I saved today…and will save Monday…at least part of it will be distributed to several organizations that I support. Saving money on Black Friday let’s me make more of a difference on Giving Tuesday. This year I have a new organization to help people through. I’ll be giving to them in my name and the names of my five grandchildren.
And for that opportunity , I am extremely grateful.