December Blues ~ All The Moments

Yesterday was just one of those days. A day of difficult moments.

At a time of year you don't want difficult (when do you want difficult moments?) because it's Christmas, and there's holiday music and pretty lights everywhere and candles burning, and shouldn't that make you feel happy?

I was moody, irritable, and feeling frazzled. I got to the end of the day, crying while doing the supper prep dishes, and realized there was just too much on my to-do list for the day. Unrealistic expecations, they get me everytime. 

This is a common December occurance for many of us. But I marveled that "pulling off" even a simple Christmas has the potential to send my day's plans into a spiral of stressful to-dos.

My Christmas list is totally manageable, quite simple, and even enjoyable, but fresh on the heals of our November move it (in spite of careful planning) edges awfully close to too much.

Being brand new to this area I am still familiarizing myself with everything. Like the fact that foods we are used to eating aren't available (kale!?) and I can't, for the life of me, find Dr. Bronner's castille soap, or any alternative for that matter. And recycled toilet paper, natural lemon and lime juice (just to name a few) - can't source those either.

Yesterday was my weekly shopping trip and it threw me for a loop. I came home discouraged, a common post-shopping trip feeling.

I am frustrated by the extra time it takes and the inefficiencies in being brand new to a place. I love being efficient with my shopping time, my least favorite homemaking task.

On our daily trip to the post office I found an attempted delivery notice in our box, kindly put there by the post master. One of my Christmas shopping packages that couldn't be delivered by the courier to our PO Box. Never mind the fact I've used that address for all our Christmas gift ordering.

So we walked home empty handed. Late afternoon I spent precious time on hold, listening to terrible elevator music, trying to connect with a live person to change shipping addresses for our children's Christmas gifts. 

And as the icing on the cake while I was on the phone I totally forgetting the almonds I put in the oven to toast for making almond butter, a planned treat for the day. A perfect waste of our carefully budgeted food dollars. Almonds for the compost was not what I had in mind.

Life takes time. Time to drive, time to cook, time to help the kids craft presents, time to spend on the phone with customer "service". Time for mess-ups and misunderstandings.

Time for all these moments.

Sometimes I just don't have the patience for it. I forget that living mindfully and in the moment, includes these moments also.

There have been many such "moments" in this move. As we transition and adjust to a new place and new routines.

But then there are also all the moments you see captured in these photos.

In the end, we said goodnight to yesterday with grace, hugs, bedtime reading, "I love you Mommy", and a romantic comedy on the coach with my best friend.

There are also these moments.

This morning was a fresh new start with inches of snow and more coming. Daddy will be getting the cross country skis ready for the kids today. Skis we all saved for and have anticipated using, all year, on days such as these. They'll be able to ski right from our front door. 

And I am reminded, in spite of the shopping and shipping frustrations of non-urban living, this is what we want for our lives. Why we wanted the freedom to be (working hard at) home together. To live in this little chalet, near the mountains, along the river.

For these very moments.

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Let It Snow ~ All The Moments Continued... »
  • Amanda

    Amanda on Dec. 8, 2011, 3:06 p.m.

    It's a good reminder that those moments are just part of life - rather than "these moments are keeping me from THOSE moments!" The best of planners will sometimes be thrown for a loop. Hope today is better and that you don't have to spend time with customer disservice. ;-)


  • Wendy

    Wendy on Dec. 8, 2011, 3:09 p.m.

    Thank you for your blog. I read it every day and am blessed by it. Today's article made me smile because your pictures are so joyful and yet your almonds got ruined. Thank you for being real.


  • kyndale

    kyndale on Dec. 8, 2011, 3:55 p.m.

    Dear Renee, your post was perfect. Even though your day wasn't perfect. I love the way your worked through it. We all have days like that but when it's happening, you feel like you're the only one in the world. All those things really add up. I find that happening to me and I just can't cross the things off my list fast enough. It's like a log jam of stress. Anyway, I'm sorry you had a rough day. Love to you. Kyndale

    And cross country skis? Sweet!


  • Kika

    Kika on Dec. 8, 2011, 4:09 p.m.

    Yesterday was an interesting day for me too: had to pay lots to repair my laptop, microwave broke down, then my CD player broke! My van brakes are squealing and I recently stained my light LR carpet with coffee (and I am kind of neurotic about taking care of it since we can't afford to rip it out) and then my daughter and her friends spilled grape spritzer on her bedroom carpet. Aaaargh. Honestly, I feel like laughing now. I don't feel like I am attached to stuff - but I do worry about finances and try to be responsible all the time so things like this can be hard on me. But I looked around at my life yesterday and felt so blessed despite these frustrations.

    Have you ever checked out (online drugstore)? They ship for free to anywhere in Canada and have many organic products: essential oils, Dr.Bronners, etc. They also have a fabulous, no hassel return policy if you ever need it (I did once). I greatly appreciate this company since I live far from a city and you may find it helpful?!


    • renee

      renee on Dec. 8, 2011, 4:57 p.m.

      Wow. Thank you Kika! I have not heard of this place. I have a list that is growing longer by the week of things I need to source, that I can't find locally. This is very helpful for me. It's been a big adjustment moving back to Canada where the selection isn't what I'm used to (or the prices!). Thank you for sharing it! I almost thought... why bother mentioning I can't find Dr. Bronners - now I see why it was good to mention this little detail. Oh, I love this little community here. Thank you.  


  • Karrie

    Karrie on Dec. 8, 2011, 4:21 p.m.

    Grace. Give it to yourself. And cut yourself some slack on the things you can't find right now. We live a rural area, and while ideally I would like to use more organic, natural, green products, alot of time they aren't available. (I have to to drive an hour to purchase my Dr. Bronners.) Your chalet is beautiful! You are living many people's dream. Merry Christmas!


  • Michelle

    Michelle on Dec. 8, 2011, 4:23 p.m.

    We all have those days. It is part of what makes us human and a great way to teach our children that we are not perfect and that we have needs as well. It is so nice that you can see joy even in the tough times. And hey... send some of that snow to Saskatchewan. We are getting mighty discouraged with the grass still sticking out.


  • Melissa

    Melissa on Dec. 8, 2011, 5:43 p.m.

    So sorry to hear the blues challenged you. Sending you healing thoughts. If you have lavendar and clary sage or some other uplifting/soothing essential oils that you can quickly make into a hand/massage oil mix, trying that while you have a tea could be nice.

    It may not be what you had in mind for your stay in Gaspe, but what about trying some winter gardening on the deck? With a simple cold frame, that shouldn't be too time or cash costly to fabricate, you could grow hardy greens, like kale, from seed. Some ideas for you are in this winter gardening article.

    Happy skiing!


    • Melissa

      Melissa on Dec. 8, 2011, 5:50 p.m.

      To build on my suggestion about winter gardening...I know it is late to actually start a crop outdoors for harvesting in the near term, but you could start to build frames now, and sow seeds in March (or maybe earlier if the weather is mild), for early green crops...and growing sprouts indoors...that can be done anytime.


  • Charity

    Charity on Dec. 9, 2011, 12:14 a.m.

    Thank you so much for your transparency. I really enjoy reading about your life, and I love how realy you are. I totally in the moment, even those kind of moments. Thanks for sharing. Have fun skiing!!!!


  • Shelley R.

    Shelley R. on Dec. 9, 2011, 12:41 a.m.

    I relate to tears during the prep time for dinner... sometimes they need to flow in order to not let "one of those days" become "that day" or worse. And, not that fresh snow solves internal struggles or enables packages to arrive when and how they are expected--but it has got to help! We are still eagerly awaiting snow where we are in order to ski, a much anticipated event for our family to relish winter.

    I hope that today wasn't on of 'those days again' (and even if it was... there is a new, never before seen sunrise to witness in the morning!)


  • Heather

    Heather on Dec. 9, 2011, 12:51 a.m.

    Thank you, as always for your post. I also often lack patience for all of life's unplanned for moments.

    BTW: I also live in Canada. You may have luck ordering Dr. Bronner's soap from this site. They have free Canadian shipping, NO minimum order (no, i don't get any kick backs from them...I just find them super useful as a shopping-hating homemaker):


  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on Dec. 9, 2011, 2:35 a.m.

    Renee, I think it has to do with the full moon... I have been feeling the same (trying to shop in Costa Rica and locating anything I want in a language that you do not master at all...). Efficiency is not part of the language here, but stress-free life and patience are... I will try to learn from the Ticos, because I sure have a lot of learning to do in this area... Not being efficient... Why is it so hard? Hmmm... Because I am losing my precious time? How can I use this time better? To pray, to meditate, to just be and appreciate how lucky I am to be waiting right here in Costa Rica... Yes, slowly, I am learning, and it is so much easier to learn with no to-do lists (I left those in Canada!). Believe it or not, I have had moments during the last couple of days where I wondered what to do... That is new! And a good sign too!


  • Sonia

    Sonia on Dec. 9, 2011, 3:52 a.m.

    Hello Renee,

    I've been following your blog since I made the vegan challenge with Heather. I come from the province of Québec and I stayed in a native communitie in the "Basse Côte Nord" a couple of years ago. When we lived over there, we used to order from a natural product store called Alina, in Rimouski Maybe it's too far from where you live... but maybe they can ship certain things to your house! They used to put things on the boat for us (we were not connected to the road so things arrived by boat or plane).

    Hope this brings a little light in your day! You have all my admiration for living in an other langage, god knows how difficult it is... and french is such a difficult langage too!

    Courage mon amie:) Sonia


    • renee

      renee on Dec. 9, 2011, 11:35 a.m.

      Merci! Sonia We're a few hours from Rimouski but they might ship here. Thanks for the tip. There is a lovely local health food store where I'm finding my tofu and miso and bulk ordering grains and such. It could be worse. And thankfully we've moved to an area where they is an English speaking history as well as a thriving summer tourist industry so I can speak en Anglaise to most every one I deal with, especially people working in stores etc.. I am so thankful for that! Thanks for your kind words and assistance.    


  • Mom Tougas

    Mom Tougas on Dec. 9, 2011, 4:22 a.m.

    Your cabin looks cosy, especially with those lovely Christmas decorations. Change is usually frustration because one has to develop new routines, make new friends change the lifestyle a little to fit the new surroundings. Soon you will discover the wonderful benefits of the new place, new friends and new way of doing/looking at things. A whole new horizon will appear and you will be delighted. Change is good. Growth comes with change. Don't forget, the days are getting shorter and it is not uncommon to experience 'cabin fever' in the winter months (not enough sunlight). Try to get out in the sunshine a little every day. It helps.



  • Joy

    Joy on Dec. 9, 2011, 11:27 a.m.

    Bless you, Renee - I'm always encouraged by your transparency, particularly regarding the difficult, the frustrating, the blah... I appreciate you sharing your ups and downs; it's good to know we're not alone! Praying right now for peace and contentment and acceptance and joy for you in your new surroundings.


  • Jen

    Jen on Dec. 9, 2011, 12:20 p.m.

    Hi Renee,

    I just came across your blog yesterday and read it for an hour. Your stories are amazing and inspirational. My husband and I are also going through a transition and I don't think we realize the stress it has put on us. But we too enjoy the little moments that come in between all of the hectic ones lately. Thank you for blogging.


    • renee

      renee on Dec. 9, 2011, 12:38 p.m.

      Thank you Jen. I'm honored you spent an hour of your precious time here at FIMBY. Welcome. I wish you well in your own journey.


    • renee

      renee on Dec. 9, 2011, 12:41 p.m.

      PS. I see from visiting your blog you are interested in nutrition. You'd probably like my mom's blog Real Food Matters.


  • Alexia

    Alexia on Dec. 9, 2011, 12:45 p.m.


    Oh this simple life we crave for is not always easy. Sometimes I forget to breathe, to slow down, to accept the ups and downs. Your blog is real and inspiring :) Have a great day. Alexia


  • Jennifer @ kidoing!

    Jennifer @ kidoing! on Dec. 9, 2011, 2:07 p.m.

    Good morning Renee - I am just seeing this now, and I get it. For me, even the things I usually find comfort and excitement in can be frustrating from time to time. I am about to write a post about cooking with your kids - the good and the oh so challenging part (especially working with younger kids). :)

    This too shall pass! Go easy on yourself - so many life changes can be overwhelming.


  • Francesca

    Francesca on Dec. 9, 2011, 2:11 p.m.

    You write very well about things that are so often difficult to put in words. PS in Italy, you wouldn't be able to find kale either, we just don't eat it, and yet we survive quite well - the best strategy is to find out what locals eat (and grow) there! But I do understand the problem, because when I'm over here in the US, I find that the cheese (all cheese) is terrible, and have a hard time adjusting to a cheese-free diet.


    • renee

      renee on Dec. 9, 2011, 2:34 p.m.

      very good advice Francesca. Cabbage! I ordered a six pound cabbage from the local farm group. We like cabbage and eat a lot of it so this isn't a problem. 


  • Elizabeth

    Elizabeth on Dec. 9, 2011, 3:39 p.m.

    Wow, do I ever empathize with this! Adjusting to any new place is difficult, but culture and language add another layer of complication. We have lived in Colombia for two and a half years now, but I still have days like the one you described in the post.

    Like a few weeks ago, when I set out to find pots, seeds, and soil for a rooftop garden, only to find that the pots are sold in one section of the city, the dirt in another, and the seeds in yet another. The whole outing ended up taking two hours and a good chunk of transportation money and all I came home with was a few pots and two packets of seeds, neither of which were the tomatoes or salad mix I really wanted.

    Or last month when I spent an hour going to different craft shops struggling to describe double-pointed needles in Spanish, only to find out that they are called "five needles" here and that they only come in teeny, tiny sizes.

    Be patient with yourself and the situation. You'll find all kinds of substitutions for food and household items in the coming months. Some of them you might ultimately like better than what you used before! Thanks so much for sharing these experiences with us...your example reminds me to balance frustration with gratitude.


  • Naomi

    Naomi on Dec. 10, 2011, 8:50 p.m.

    I know exactly what you're talking about. I honestly had a panic attack the other night, which I haven't had in years, because, enhanced by my prego hormones, I can get so wrapped up in the stressful things that I have to work hard to stop and purposefully look at the things that really matter, and that it really will work out in the end. It really isn't all that bad, if you put things in perspective. I suppose it is just one of the challenges of being a list-oriented person!


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