The most unpredictable year of our lives is coming to an end, so I wanted to take some time to reflect with you. While 2020 had a lot of heartache and suffering for many, it also created an opportunity for new rhythms and reflection. For our family, that looked like learning the importance of sharing meals together at the table. It taught us to slow down and not miss the moments with our little one. We practiced the art of baking. More like the art of burning baked goods and pretending too hard to be a contestant on “The Great British Baking Show.” We learned to be movers and shakers, doers and not just dreamers.
We learned neighbors' names and what our mailman’s favorite candy is. We learned how hard tending to the garden is, yet how rewarding and fruitful (pun intended) it can be. We honestly learned that we weren’t fully living. We were just caught up in the rat race of Northern VA before COVID hit. Once we were forced to be home together and pause during the lockdown, we felt we could breathe for the first time in months, maybe even years. It made us simultaneously sad, yet thankful. We were sad we hadn’t realized how weighed down we were, yet we were thankful for the opportunity to create new rhythms of rest as a family. We hope that these will be a part of the foundation we stand on for the years to come.
As Evan and I escaped for the weekend to a cozy little cabin, we discussed and wrote down rhythms we want to continue to prioritize as we enter into 2021. Many of these rhythms take place within the home. Home is the central place to establish and restore these roots of refuge, as home is where we often spend most of our days.
These are a few of the rhythms we established:
We will wait to eat dinner together when possible. The phones will be put away. We will bless the food holding hands as a time to remember what we have been given by the One who created it all. And then we ask these questions: What brought you life today? What brought you joy today? What was hard during your day? What are you hopeful about for tomorrow?
Sundays are slow and steady. Sundays are for Sabbath, for resting well as a family. For us, that often looks like going out to get a fun treat, going on a hike, cooking a big brunch filled with way too many chocolate chips and coffee, going to church, and spending time reading/journaling/creating. One of us gets to pick out the vinyl that will be played in the background as we cook dinner together.
We will have someone over to share a meal at our table with us twice a month. Serving others as a family always has a way of bringing us closer. Hearing other peoples stories matters. It shapes us in much needed ways.
We have an antique window in our bedroom, and on it we’ve hung a string with little name cards. We rotate the name cards out often. This has become our prayer window. This glass window has become a visual reminder of how hope and healing have overshadowed the dark.
We will make intentional time to dream and push one another towards our goals. We will be each other's biggest cheerleaders and we will carve out time frequently to help each other pursue those goals.
As 2021 is here, let’s take some time to consider what healthy rhythms can be set into motion. If we’ve learned anything from this year, it’s that we can’t predict what’s to come. However, we can choose weekly practices of peace and certainty through the potential chaos and unknowns this year may bring.
Here are some questions to consider as you think about creating your own rhythms:
What brings you life? What activity refuels you? What prevents you from partaking in this weekly? What may you need to cut out of your life to create time for this other activity to be possible?
Where is a space in your home that you can rest well in? If you don’t have a space that does, what is preventing you from taking the time to create this space for yourself? Let Alabaster & Elm help you dream up a space for this, we are eager to help!
Who is someone that is rejuvenating to be around? Have you considered asking that person to meet bi-weekly or monthly for a cup of coffee or a walk? You, my friend, are not a burden-ask them.
When you look back at 2020, what’s something good that was produced in you? Where is an area of growth you can keep working at? How will you carve out the time to work at it?
Is there a practice physically, mentally or spiritually you can make more of a priority to add into your daily schedule? Start with just one thing, don’t overwhelm yourself. Is there a past rhythm you benefited from that you’ve lost touch with? It isn’t too late to gain it back!
Who knows... 2021 could just be the most restoring and renewing year of your life. We will believe it for you.
We love you,
Alabaster & Elm