What’s currently saving my life

"When I started feeling the drag of winter, I began to treat myself like a favored child: with kindness and love. I assumed my needs were reasonable and that my feelings were signals of something important. I kept myself well fed and made sure I was getting enough sleep. I took myself for walks in the fresh air and spent time doing things that soothed me. I asked myself: What is this winter all about? I asked myself: What change is coming? (Wintering, Katherine May)

The calendar tells us we’re halfway through winter, but looking out my window to the blanket of snow I’m not sure that’s true. The nights are still long. However, when the sun rises each morning I’m reminded of another story: a story of light, hope on the horizon, and new mercies every day.

Being on the lookout for glimpses of gratitude helps me focus on the beauty in front of me. A couple of times a year, Modern Mrs. Darcy invites readers to share a list of the things that are saving our lives right now. So I grabbed a pen and paper to make my own list and to remind myself that each day is a gift.

It’s cold, but there is warmth.
It’s dark, but candles still burn bright.
It’s uncertain, but hope continues to rise.

I hope reading my list reminds you of the simple, yet meaningful graces that fill your days. I pray that if you’re feeling the darkness, you know that dawn will break.

Here’s my list of everything that is making my life just a bit easier (in no particular order):

Writer’s Dates: Once a week a friend and I meet at the library. The premise is simple: show up and write. We hold each other accountable. We discuss our projects and then we get to work. I know for a fact I get more written because she is there sitting across from me. I also know that many times when we gather I've had a hard day or am uninspired to write, but I keep showing up. I keep putting words to paper. I keep telling my stories.

Walks around town: Most days after school, if the weather allows, the kids and I bundle up to walk and ride scooters around town. We see what cats are out and about, we wave to our neighbors, we stretch our legs, and we marvel at God’s creation.

Coffee: Every night I hear the sound of the coffee grinder and I smile. I know my husband is preparing the coffee so when I wake for my morning quiet time I’ll have a hot drink waiting for me. Our favorite local roaster, Ozark Coffee Company, now delivers anywhere so I’m sure to have my favorite brew!

Friday family movie night: Last year, when our daughter Charlotte started kindergarten we began the tradition of Friday movie night. After dinner the kids help Stephen make popcorn and we cuddle on the couch for a movie. No surprise, our current favorite: Encanto! Movie night has become a great end to the week and entrance to the weekend.

Saturday morning: To continue our slow ease into the weekend, every Saturday the kids watch TV. Many mornings they ask, “Is today Saturday?” I love the time to linger in my devotions and journal while they are occupied (and quiet). We gather together with breakfast cooked by my husband (chocolate chip banana waffles and pancakes are the favorite!)

Exhale and writing friends: It’s been over 4 years since I first joined Exhale, a creative community primarily for mothers. Since that time I’ve deepened my craft of writing, pushed through writer’s block and imposter syndrome, and created for the sheer joy of creating. I now work part-time for Exhale cheering and encouraging other creatives.

Cultivate the Word Journal: Over the last few months I’ve noticed my journals filling with words of scripture. During my morning quiet time, if a phrase or verse of scripture speaks to me, I write it in my journal. Now I have an all-in-one journal with space to write scripture (the one I have is all about cultivating hope), prayers, and reflections from the scripture. I don’t use this journal every day but when I do I’m amazed at what insights and prayers emerge.

Handwritten Letters: For me, there’s nothing like writing and receiving a handwritten card. Thanks to 1Canoe2, a local Missouri stationary shop, I receive cards every month through their High Five Subscription service. It’s always a fun surprise to see what designs and cards arrive - and then to write and send notes of love and encouragement to others.

Walk and Talk Newsletter: My Walk and Talk Monthly Newsletter is a place that’s special to me. The newsletter helps me connect with others while continuing to reflect, write, and curate inspiring reads. Coming up on two years since my first newsletter, I pray that my words encourage others to pay attention in their lives.

If you’d like to read more from me, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter, Walk and Talk here. As a gift to my readers and subscribers who sign up, I have a free downloadable resource: Walk and Talk with God: Reflection, Scripture references, and a how-to for your own contemplative walk.