On February 2nd, at the midpoint of winter, Anne Bogel asked what's saving our lives right now. I was going to answer, but, the flu intervened and I couldn't get to my keyboard. So far, I think we've contained it to one kid. That would be nothing short of a miracle, so my first lifesaver is
Tamiflu. I have a love-hate relationship with Tamiflu. On the one hand, this is a brutal flu and he was so, so sick and Tamiflu turned it around, for sure. Three days later, he's still sick, but I know we dodged some powerful bullets. I have friends whose kids were hospitalized. I know people who had seizures. We were spared that. Tamiflu has some nasty side effects. It sort of reminds me of oral chemo back in the cancer days. Not quite as bad as the IV stuff, but definitely yuck. Still, Tamiflu probably saved us a small scale epidemic.
January was rough. Really rough. We had some very sad news about my dad. I struggled (and stumbled) through the end of an exhausting project. Our whole family was rocked by a neighborhood tragedy. Mike traveled for ten days straight. Good thing I wasn't counting on the turn of a page to make everything turn up sunshine and roses. But some things really are lifegiving. Even during a winter that doesn't even have a good snow day to redeem it.
Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club and my new Bullet Journal for Book Lovers. The MMD Book club is a community of readers. It's a breath of fresh Internet air where I'm getting great ideas for what to read next, and I have some place to go when I've read something that's bubbling up and out of me and I just really want to talk about it. Anne recently hosted a workshop on using a bullet journal to keep track what we're reading. Often, I blog what I read, but not always. And I never blog bad reviews and rarely mention if I abandon a book. Also, I need a place to write down everything I want to read next. So, I dove into bullet journaling with gusto. A bullet journal doesn't appeal to me for everyday planning, but I'm kind of loving it for books. I'm loving it a lot. It inspires me and lets me dream and keeps me organized. I've never been a very organized reader. Since I'm organized about so many other things and because I really love the reading part of my life, this lack of plan is somewhat surprising to me. It's also a thing of the past. You can check out the workshop and book club details here.
She Reads Truth Subscription In early January, as I was melting down right around my birthday, my sweet husband gave me a year long subscription to She Reads Truth. I've so loved She Reads Truth since its beginning. Their journals have become especially rich and meaningful in the last year. Now, I don't stop and think and hem and haw and wonder if I should go ahead and get one. It just arrives. And I'm writing and writing and writing in them. I'm taking my own advice here. Soul food is comfort food in February.
My Day Designer A5 and PowerSheets As I mentioned, I don't use a Bullet Journal as a planner and a calendar. I like the concept, but there are a few things about an Day Designer A5 planner that keep me here instead of there. I like being able to remove pages and add pages with a click of the rings. I have categories similar to Bullet Journal ones, and I've tailored them just exactly to what I want in a planner. Life comes at me fast, lots of times, and I just download it all into the book. My notes save me over and over. Power Sheets are better than ever. Even though January looked nothing like I'd hoped when I sketched it out in December, February was bright and fresh and the prompts were ready and waiting for me-- winter weary and disappointed me. Picked myself up, dusted myself off, and now I'm good to go again. Power Sheets turn me into the ant with the rubber tree plant. We've got high hopes here, friends.
Long Walks. I really want a snow day. Really, really want a snow day. But I have to admit, it's pretty awesome to be able to go for long walks almost every day this winter. The fresh air and sunshine are glorious. The time out of the house, alone with my thoughts, is key to my sanity. I'm a lover of audiobooks. My current listen is Gods in Alabama, at the recommendation of Anne in the What Should I Read Next Podcast. It's a really well written story that takes all kinds of self-discipline not to binge read and the audio performance is excellent. I do think that the ending will send me to switching the category in the MMD Reading challenge, but I kind of feel like if I tell you why, it's a spoiler. Anyway, long walks with audiobooks: for 45 minutes to an hour every day, escaping into sunshine and story. Lifesaving.
You Are Free: Be Who You Already Are I've read this twice so far, from cover to cover. (Actually, that's not true. The first time I read a digital advance copy.) Sometimes, the right message lands in your hands at just the right time. This was one of those times. I'm going to listen to it on audio just as soon as it's released. I've ordered three more: two for friends and one for my daughter. I've looked up every single scriptural reference and made notes about them relative to the book's message in the journaling Bible I'm creating for Mary Beth. Your mileage may vary, of course, but this one is saving me right now.
Bleach Spray. I'm not a lover of industrial strength cleaning products. I'm actually more an essential oils in a spray bottle of water kind of girl. But I am determined to defeat the germs this winter. Also, I clean when I'm stressed. I've been on a tear lately, and I have lots of bags of giveaway stuff, neatly stacked boxes of belongings for children who longer live here but left all their stuff here in a pile, and everything has been sprayed with bleach or Lysol or both. Everything.
Mike will be home in February. Two parents at home always lightens the load.
Looking ahead to Lent. In three weeks, Lent begins. I'm still eagerly awaiting my very own copy of the Blessed is She Lent journal. The early morning December hours I spent pouring words into this journal were very sweet and very fruitful ones. I'm looking forward to sharing my ponderings with you. I'm also looking forward with hope to the Repent and Restore community. The Internet is making me weary this season. Still, I see it as a tool and I'm pretty sure it can be used to encourage us and build us up in our work as wives and mothers and sisters and daughters and friends. I want to create a warm, intimate community of women committed to being salt and light. It's a dream, but it's a dream that's been a very long time growing and I've got some real hope invested in it. Three previous years of Restore make me believe that we can have that kind of soft place to land and safe place to grow. I'm looking forward to spending Lent digging deep into Scripture and investing in community with a group of truly beautiful women.
My California Girls are Coming Next Week. Kristin and the girls will be here next week. They were coming this week, but we switched with their other grandma so that we can hopefully fully eradicate flu bugs from the house before the wee ones arrive. Really, nothing could make February better than to get to hug my girls. On that note, I never got around downloading Christmas pictures (rough January, right?), so let's have a little wee one happiness right now.
Anne has created a collection of lifesavers here. Go check it out and see if we can all help each other get through until it's spring.