What’s Saving My Life Right Now
From the living room we look out to the town park and the setting sun. This time of the year as I’m cooking dinner and the kids are watching a TV show I’ll walk between the dining room and kitchen and shout to whoever will listen: “Look at that sunset!”
Some days I grab my phone and stand on the front porch and other days when the TV is not on we all go to the porch and watch the colors transform before our eyes. The reds, yellows, pinks, and oranges turn the sky almost fire-like. Bare tree branches stand at attention before this beautiful show, and as a family we stand in awe. These winter sunrises streaming through our living room window call us to stop and look out, and marvel at what beauty there is to notice right in front of us.
These sunsets are one of the things that are currently saving my life. We’re at the halfway point of winter here in the Northern hemisphere and every year one of my favorite websites (Modern Mrs. Darcy) offers space to share those things that are making life a little bit easier right now.
It’s cold, but the warmth of friends is near.
It’s dark, but the light of community shines bright.
The nights are long, but God’s mercies are new every day.
In this spirit of hope and beauty, I share an incomplete list of things that are saving my life.
Rearranging Our Living Room Furniture
Before Christmas my husband Stephen had the idea to rearrange our living room so our tree could be in front of our living room window. It seemed like too much work to move all the furniture AND bring out the decorations. So we compromised and said we’d tackle the furniture in the new year. And now that we did, I wish we would have done it earlier! I am in love with this change — a new perspective in our home. It feels like we have more room for dance parties and playing the floor is lava. When you walk into our home you’re greeted by our bookshelves and the books and pictures that have shaped us. Plus, we have a full view out our front window to take in the sunsets.
After thinking I wouldn’t finish hiking 40 hikes for my 40th birthday, I’ve been back to the trails! Thanks to invites from friends and the reminder that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, I’ve hiked the woods in rural Cole Camp with friends and a host of kids, a nearby state park with the kids and my mom in search of a beaver dam, another state park with a historic lodge, and a 1.75 mile loop in 19 degree cold! Each time I step foot on the trails I give thanks for the unseen growth happening in the woods and in my spirit.
Morning Quiet Time
Waking up before the kids still is a life-line for my days. With hot coffee by my side and a host of books, I take time to read and write. I sit and listen. I pray. I give thanks for another day. I’m currently loving KJ Ramsey’s The Book of Common Courage as a devotional. When the kids wake up they know where to find me and I pray they see the gifts of taking time for rest, reading, and prayer.
Last year for her birthday, Charlotte got a pack of Uno cards with Disney princesses. And for the last few months they have been in full force. During breakfast, after school, and any other free time she wants to play Uno. It’s a time to laugh and look each other in the eye. It’s a time to be present and delight in that which my kids love.
Dark Chocolate and Elderberry Tea
I’ll take anything that someone claims boosts immunity. I realize dark chocolate might be a stretch, but still, it brings me joy. Plus paired with elderberry tea, you can’t go wrong. Along with the tea I’ve been taking a pre/probiotic, apple cider gummies, and doing cold exposure after my showers. I’ve been healthier and who’s to say what if anything is helping, but I’ll keep going!
Trivia and Book Club
Once a month I gather with a group of ladies for a book club. After years of wanting to be a part of one, I finally reached out to a few friends and now over half a year later we’re meeting, sharing, and discussing books. Trivia also happens once a month and our team name (Parents Night Out) says it all! We enjoy the time with adults and learning some random facts. We did start halfway through the season so now at the start of the new one, we’re eyeing that grand champion trophy!
Connecting and sharing joys and challenges with friends brings light to the day.
Literally, I don’t know how I’d be so organized without Google Docs. And I’m not that organized when it comes to my writing. Thanks to my friend and coauthor Erin, we’re keeping each other on task through Google Docs. We talk regularly about all things book launch and many times we’ll end a conversation, “See you in Google Docs!”
Writing With a Friend
Releasing a book into the world (Yes, The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years launches on March 21st) is scary and thrilling and joyful and hopeful and hard AND a lot of work. But doing this work with Erin is a gift. I’m grateful to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of Erin and so glad to be in this writing life with her.
Finally, I’m so grateful for you — readers and friends and those who keep showing up to my words. Thank you for being here and sharing my work and reaching out to say my words met you. Thank you for the encouragement to keep going. As I write and dream and wonder what my writing ministry will look like in the years ahead, I know one thing — I couldn’t do it without you.
// Want to get a glimpse into The Beauty of Motherhood? Read two devotions from the book here. You can preorder the book wherever books are sold including Amazon and Target.
// My friend Crystal also answered what's saving her life this winter and you can read her take here.