A girl painting pastel colors onto birdhouse sections.

Day #29


Today was Winter Solstice. The shortest day and longest night of the year. Of course, there are many scientific reasons that today is what it is. But being humans, we have assigned it festivals and traditions, ceremonies and celebrations dating back and back and back. What I love about Winter Solstice is the opportunity to reflect…

I thought–as I made hot beef stew and gluten-free cornbread–about the hours I have spent in the kitchen this year. I love my kitchen, to me it represents nurturing. I cook and play here. I feed hungry bellies good, healthy food. I give life to the bones that live under my roof. Cooking has become such a powerful skill set with allergies and autoimmune deficiencies. I have seen the ability of food to bring illness or energy. I no longer underestimate the importance of food to our bodies. I have learned much this year in my kitchen.

A girl painting pastel colors onto birdhouse sections.
Adalie carefully painting the birdhouse.

I reflected as my daughter painted a bird house to help those little creatures through the winter. I thought of all the hours this year we have observed nature. How it never ceases to inspire awe. How it teaches me lesson after lesson when I tune in and listen. How it changes me, guides me, inspires me to be a better person. Every time I walk in to a quiet moment with nature, I never leave the same. I have learned much this year in the outdoors.

I laughed as we decorated crumbling sugar cookies. But even all falling apart, they were delicious with icing and sprinkles. And isn’t this the way of life? This year is probably one of the first in my life I didn’t have a “plan.” I ebbed and flowed with what came and went. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always beautiful. I have learned much this year in the everyday moments.

And I observed as we walked silently, except for the jingle of bells. A tradition started last year to teach my daughter how to walk quietly (you can’t be louder than the bells). I saw a

A man and a girl acting silly in the light of colorful Christmas lights.
Craig and Adalie before the meditative “jingle bell” walk.

husband that loves me endlessly with no reservation. I saw a little girl wild blond hair flowing behind her, free spirit growing inside her.

The absolute basis, for me, to all life is my connection to others and these two are my foundation.  I have learned so much this year from these relationships and so many others.

And as I sit here now, watching the glow of the Christmas tree and taking stock of my life. I realized something appalling… 2014 has been the best year of my life! In the past, I have always ended the year thinking, hoping, believing that next year “has to get better.”

For the first time that I can ever remember, I will end the year content with my life. While I am excited to see what 2015 holds, I am no longer desperate for it to change my world. I’m not sure if this is so much a reflection on my year or on myself, but either way–I’ll take it.

A platter of sugar cookies in assorted shapes.
Cookies make everything better.

Published by

Rachel Olienyk

I'm mother, wife, and worker but most important human. I have accepted a challenge to "take a walk" everyday for one year. My goal is in giving space to mindfulness I will create intentional living. I've decided to share my journey through blogging. Be it peace, be it inspiration, be it annoyance, I hope you feel as you read and in feeling may growth transpire. Namaste my gentle readers...