A Channel of Peace…

Hanging in there? Checking in on you and sending you peace today.

A few things that are helping me keep a (generally) positive attitude, aside from proactively seeking and celebrating the slices of joy that dot my day-to-day:

+Looking at pretty pictures that conjure happier times, like the one above: frothy dresses, bare feet in grass, driving with the windows down, loose hair, cricketsong…

+My mom, sister, and I have a daily virtual prayer circle that we started prior to the crescendo of coronavirus, but that has brought me tremendous peace and comfort in recent days. We pick a new novena every nine days (I love this book) and, whenever one of us is praying it, we text our shared thread the emoji of the praying hands. It’s reassuring to know that two of my most loved women are bowing their heads alongside me throughout the day. Some days, we just exchange the prayer hands emojis. Others, we share particular intentions or observations on the prayer itself. (If you’re not prayer-inclined, you could do something similar by picking an intention — say, mindfulness or a positive attitude or good vibes for healthcare workers — with a few friends you are close to and sending the heart emoji at some point during the day to let them know you are thinking at that moment of that particular intention.) The reward for me is not only the peace of prayer but connection during this time of isolation.

+A calm playlist. My musical tastes are…varied. I can go from Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” to Chopin’s Etudes in no time flat. But these days, I’ve been listening to the songs that make me feel warm and secure:

Have I Told You Lately / Van Morrison

I Left My Heart in San Francisco / Tony Bennett

Autumn in New York / Billie Holiday

Moonlight in Vermont / Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

J’ai Deux Amours / Madeleine Peyroux

La Vie en Rose / Edith Piaf

I Love You / Nat King Cole

The Summer Wind / Madeleine Peyroux

A Wink and a Smile / Harry Connick, Jr.

At Last / Beyonce

Every Time We Say Goodbye / Sarah Vaughan

What about Surprise / Latesha Escalero

I Saw Stars / Django Reindhardt

Lost Stars / Adam Levine

Sparks / Coldplay

Some Place Else / Mor Mor

+Perhaps a bit more of a tough love approach: I saw awhile ago a quote that said something like: ” ‘I can do this,’ she thought. ‘And even if I can’t, I have to.'” Yep. Time to put on our big girl pants and realize we need to muscle through — even if we’re white-knuckling — because we have no other option and because there are probably people counting on us to be strong.

+Remote movie date. We tested this on Friday with our best friends — we played the same movie at the same time (it took some coordination to press the play button at the exact same time!) while FaceTiming and drinking wine. We picked “What about Bob?”, which I’d never seen, and which was a delight. It was the most lovely two hour escape and made me feel, temporarily, normal.

+Routine! Routines are comforting to me. We aim to have everyone dressed and “ready for the day” by nine, when our “activities” / workdays start. Having everyone dressed and brushed, having the kitchen clean, and having the play areas tidy by nine gives me the impression of accomplishment and order. We don’t have one of those impressive hour-by-hour block schedules that I’ve seen on Instagram in place, but we generally follow the same sequence every day and the scaffolding helps me, mentally, make it through.

+Occasionally getting properly dressed up. I get dressed every day — usually in jeans and sweater or Kule tee — but it was unseasonably warm on Friday and because we couldn’t enjoy more than twenty minutes of it outside, I put on a new pretty floral dress (you may have see it in my Instastory) and felt like a million bucks. (And P.S. — more pretty and easy-to-wear home dresses here.)

+Treat yourself! I added a few La Colombe draft lattes (or try Pop and Bottle) to my last Instacart order. A couple of other feel-good/indulgent treats to make life a little more comfortable and joyful these days:

A BOX OF FUN CHIPS FOR YOUR MILLIONTH PB&J

PRETTY NEW (AFFORDABLE!) CRIB SHEETS FOR YOUR BABY’S NURSERY

THE ABSOLUTE BEST SLEEPING PILLOWS

A FLUFFY BOOK (ALSO LOVE ALL OF THESE)

NEW, SUPER-SOFT JAMMIES

PRETTY HANDPAINTED BOWLS

NEW THROW PILLOWS FOR YOUR LIVING ROOM OR FAVORITE READING NOOK

THE PERFECT LITTLE DRINK TABLE (OR, IF MORE TO YOUR TASTE, THIS RUSTIC STYLE) FOR YOUR CUP OF TEA OR GLASS OF WINE

A SWIMSUIT IN ANTICIPATION OF WARMER, HAPPIER DAYS

CHILL PILLS FOR YOUR NEXT BATH (OR, IF A BATH IS NOT FEASIBLE — SOME BEAUTIFUL NEW SHAMPOO)

A COUNTERTOP SPRAY THAT SMELLS LIKE HEAVEN

SCENTED DRAWER LINERS

HARIBO HEAVEN

A NEW FACE MASK

+Online shopping for future special occasions — my current lust list toppers:

THIS BROCK COLLECTION

THESE PEARL HAIR TIES

THIS GINGHAM PEPLUM TOP

THIS FLORAL MIDI SKIRT

THIS LINEN JUMPSUIT

THIS FLORAL EYELET STUNNER ($119)

THIS STRIPED TOTE

THIS LUST-WORTHY LEE MATTHEWS

P.S. Some more reading distractions for you — a few of you mentioned you liked my archive picks in this post! —

ON TRUSTING THAT LIFE WILL TAKE YOU WHERE YOU NEED TO GO

ONE OF MANY REASONS I LOVE MY DAD

PRESSURE IS A CHOICE

WHEN MR. MAGPIE BUZZED HIS HEAD

16 Comments

  1. Your playlist sounds delightful! And oh my goodness, What About Bob is one of my favorites for sure!! Such a feel-good classic 🙂

  2. This was a nice post! At the intersection of prayer and calming music, I recommend checking out the album “Lent at Ephesus,” performed by an order of Benedictine nuns. You can find it (and their other wonderful recordings) on Apple Music. I’m especially enjoying it in this season when the usual comforts of Lent are not available to us.

  3. Oh I love What About Bob!! Such a treasure trove of quotable lines 🙂 And I like the idea of adding a little treat to the grocery list. I really need to do more FaceTime and virtual happy hours/movies with friends but after spending the day being an introvert mom to an extrovert toddler (“talk to me, mama. About ME.”) I just. Can’t. Talk. Anymore. Maybe once we’re past the newborn stage…

    1. Oh man – I hear you. Sometimes I just need to have a long sit on the couch in silence after both children are in bed. Just totally veg out and glaze over.

  4. I have developed an embarrassing fantasy reel about all the formerly “regular” weekend items I can’t wait to resume– the workout classes, the strolls around the UWS with an overpriced latte, the playground visits, and the SO OVERDUE pedicure DEAR LORD. I miss my old life, I miss my old New York and I’m nervous about what the city will be like whenever we re-emerge…

    I’m in a weird dichotomy at the moment- on the one hand, really struggling daily to manage a toddler and a baby with no childcare and a still-very-much-full-time job, but on the other hand, the silver lining (gift, really) of so much unanticipated quality time with said children. My guiding light has been a quote that a friend shared in the middle of week one– “Most young kids will remember how their home felt during the coronavirus panic more than anything specific about the virus. Our kids are watching us and learning about how to respond to stress and uncertainty. Let’s wire our kids for resilience, not panic.” I keep repeating that to myself as the walls start to close in, and as I can see my 3 year old really start to react to all the time inside, missing her nanny, only seeing friends on a screen, etc. Put on your big girl pants indeed… it’s up to us to make this a fun adventure! Hope you are hanging in there Jen! xo

    1. Gina! So good to hear from you – was just thinking of you the other day. You capture the complex mish-mash of emotions so well here. There’s grief, fear, happiness, guilt, exhaustion, confusion — it’s all threaded together. Thinking of you…xx

  5. I love the idea of a prayer or intention said in concert with a circle of loved ones. That’s so sweet!

    Loving your floral Zara dress and am seriously tempted now that it’s only $40! It’s giving me Loretta Caponi vibes…

    Hope you are staying calm, positive, and most of all, healthy!

    xx

  6. I love that quote about sucking it up and pushing through when times are tough. I have a little cartoon on my desk at work that says “I’ve been brave many times before, and I can do it again.” In a similar vein. We can do much more than we think we can. Hang in there, and I enjoy reading your posts now more than ever!

  7. Good Morning- as I have said before, I look forward to your new posts each morning. That is especially true now…thank you for continuing to blog. Any chance you could link to the playlist you said you find calming? Second…I have decided I NEED a mid length simple pearl necklace (costume jewelry please, as much as I like the real thing…not in my budget right now) thinking around 22 or 24 inches. I never wear turtleneckls or buttoned up shirts so this necklace would be worn over a tee or chambray shirt. Any suggestions on where to find this type of necklace? I live in a small midwestern town so no shopping options close by (even if I could shop) and difficult to know quality just viewing on line. Hope your morning is starting off well.

    1. Hi Nancy! I don’t know how to link to a playlist…let me look into this. Feeling a bit like a neophyte here, as I’m sure people do this all the time.

      For a pearl necklace — I couldn’t find one the exact length you wanted but my immediate thought was KJL!! They make the best costume jewelry — and this is just perfect:

      https://bit.ly/2xDsB8S

      Thank you for reading along with me every day. xx

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