New Year Reflections with Phyllis Hoffman DePiano and Lisa Frederick

What wisdom can you share with Southern Lady’s readers about persevering through challenging times ? 

Phyllis Hoffman DePiano (PHD): I think that these times have caused us all to stop and evaluate what is important and what is not important in terms of what occupies our time. I find the simple things are what I enjoy the most—a great cup of coffee, a cup of tea, or making a good pot of soup for supper. I am working from home and have a regular routine of phone meetings, so there is still order to my day.

How do you stay connected to your loved ones and maintain balance in your life?
PHD: I talk to my grandchildren almost every day when they call, and we use video calling. It’s definitely different from being with each other and enjoying hugs and kisses, but seeing them on video calls is a blessing. 

What was the single greatest lesson of this past year and what did it teach you about yourself? 
PHD: The lesson that I have learned is that life is fragile. I don’t like change. I love my routine and knowing that things are “going to be the same” all the time. I have learned that life changes quickly these days and that we have to be thankful for each day. People are healthy one day and sick the next. We are visiting one day and separated the next. How quickly things are changing.

What has brought you unexpected joy during 2020? 
PHD: I have a passion for sewing and needlework. I find that my creative time brings joy. Being content by yourself and working on a project is really fun. Needlework and sewing stay put…so much of what we do is repeated every day (like laundry), but the progress made in creating is exciting to watch. I love to play the piano and music brings joy to me and a calm. 

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?  
I am grateful for my faith, family, and friends. This ever-changing turbulent time makes me even more grounded in my faith. I find comfort in scriptures that remind me that God is in control of all of this. My family gives me strength and encouragement. From my 92-year-old mom down to the youngest 10-year-old granddaughter, I get a different perspective on life from their views. Every conversation is cherished and usually ends with great humor. 

What are the most inspiring books you read this year? 
PHD: Our Victoria staff produced a book called Our Hearts are in England and I have loved this book. Since travel is out of my life during this time, I travel through the pages of this book. I can imagine walking along the little lanes in quiet towns. 

I also love the Alexandra Stoddard books and reread them often. Her perspective on life and the simple things we can do to make our lives beautiful refreshes my soul. I love the Art of the Letter and it has encouraged me to write notes and letters.

What 1-3 words best captures your intention for the next year? 
PHD: Live, Love, and Laugh