Saturday, February 13, 2016

February Life Savers

One of my goals for 2016 is to blog at least once a month. Ideally once a week, but after six months of silence here, I'll be happy with once a month. And yet...I've been silent because I want to finish up my best of 2015 posts about books, movies and more. That takes time and thought and while I want them done, I don't want to write them.

So I'm setting them aside to write what I do feel like writing. Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy has a monthly post called The things that are saving my life right now, based on a passage from Barbara Brown Taylor's memoir Leaving Church.

I am predisposed to consider and discuss what is killing me, so I love this push to consider what is saving me right now.

1. Elise Cripe's Goal Tracker.

I love goals and I love visuals. I've decided to give up sweets for 2016, and often it is the idea of having to draw an X in a circle that helps me resist temptation. I've always preferred salty to sweet, but sweets are what seem to trigger insatiability in me. So I feel much freer just not having any.

I printed another tracker to use just for Lent and track the progress I make devoting 20 minutes a day to my home office. I used her tracker last year as well, but kept it hidden inside my medicine cabinet---sharing this one with my family (and on Instagram) has motivated me a bit more.

2.  A Color Story app

Image from A Beautiful Mess

I so did not need another phone photo app, but I'm so glad I gave A Color Story a try. I love how it brightens without distorting colors. Here's a iphone photo I took last weekend with it:

Clean and bright, which is what I'm always aiming for with photos, and which is especially challenging with phones. Photos+Words are my love language, and this app has made me happy.

3. This man

I love the above photo, the only SLR photo I took at Christmas. I love the father Brian is to our sons. Love how he builds Legos with Nolan, humors Sean who is constantly trying to wrestle him, and listens to Aidan's overflowing excitement over the next Marvel movie. Love his steadfastness.

The man also makes me crazy. There is no one else I am as impatient with or as critical of, and I like to think that is only because there is no one else for whom I have such high expectations. January was a hard month, the kind that my brain likes to use as an excuse to imagine every worst case scenario and ring all the end-of-the-world alarms. But when I was near him, simply in the same room as him, it was like fear was no longer allowed at the wheel of my brain or emotions and I would become calm again. In that way, he saves my life daily.

And this morning, I woke up particularly grumpy. We were out of milk, which triggered all my guilt over too many long days at work and the horrible feeling that I'm out of touch with the running of our home. Brian had worked from home on Friday since our kids had the day off, and I was snarky and short in an attempt to deflect the guilt I felt. I sent him a text saying sorry just as he returned from the grocery store with a gallon of milk...and a hot chai for me. 

You can keep your roses on Valentine's Day, because the gift of thoughtfulness, especially when you least deserve it, puts those tight red buds to shame.

4. A Girls Getaway in St. George, Utah

I so almost didn't go. As I said, January was a beast. Now I'm so grateful I went. 

Once upon a time Angie and I dreamed of living in the same town and sharing childcare as we started our families. And we tried---Brian and I lived with her and Jeff for three months while job searching after our time in the Peace Corps. We ended up finding jobs in Oregon. Even though we only get to see each other a couple times a year (when we're lucky!), I feel like my kids know their Arizona cousins well, and I'm grateful she's includes me in this circle of smart and hilarious women. Boston, Denver, Idaho, Flagstaff---we all made our way to St. George and once again shared delicious meals, great stories, and hilarious memories. 

I loved being there while we were there, but I was even more grateful after I returned home. These are the kind of voices I want in my head, and I love how time with them reaffirms my faith in the world, and in the art of carving out a life uniquely fit to your heart's desire. 

And that's what is saving my life right now.

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