It’s February 2, Groundhog Day, the halfway point of winter.
This isn’t an easy month—or an easy season—for many of us. To beat back the gloom, today we’re sharing the things—big or small—that are saving us right now.
The idea comes from Barbara Brown Taylor’s wonderful memoir Leaving Church. Even though most of us can easily articulate what’s killing us, few of us pay attention to what’s giving us life.
Once when Taylor was invited to speak at a gathering, her host told her simply, “Tell us what is saving your life right now.” She says it’s too good a question not to revisit from time to time.
This is an excerpt of my list. It’s a long list (yay!), and I’ve chosen to share the simple—though not always small—things.
1. Walking the dog. Fresh air + mental downtime is a winning combination, even when it’s seventeen degrees out.
2. Herbal tea. Specifically, the Throat Coat Tea by Traditional Medicinals. The name is not appealing to me—I never would have pulled this off the shelf unless I was seriously ill. But since a friend recommended it, I’ve found that keeping a cup handy during a podcast recording or Book Club chat helps me not lose my voice after I’ve been talking for an hour, which is what usually happens.
3. Goodwill. Is now a good time to tell you we’re moving? It’s an in-town move, but still. I’ve been on wonderful terms with my local Goodwill people, who take my stuff with a smile and find someone else who can put it to good use.
4. The occasional sunny day. Emphasis on occasional! We’ve had more warmer days than usual lately, which is nice, but they have been overwhelmingly grey. The occasional bit of sunshine has me literally running around the house telling everyone to Look at the sun! Look at the sun!
5. My diffuser. I’m not a huge essential oils person, but I do like diffusing them in the winter. For one, they make my house not smell like onions or chili or whatever the comfort food du jour on the dinner menu. Also, when I keep hearing that half the kids at school have the stomach bug, dropping some oils that might just maybe help fight germs makes me feel a tiny bit better.
I blindly chose an inexpensive and highly rated diffuser a few years back. It’s not the prettiest, but it’s still going strong, and it’s constantly pumping out something these days.
6. Fresh flowers. Whether it’s a $3.99 bouquet from Trader Joe’s or the fancier variety, a little bit of borrowed (or bought?) spring makes me happy every time I come into the room.
7. Serendipity. This week our pediatrician diagnosed one of my kids over the phone and sent us to urgent care for an x-ray. We debated about the best time and day to go; it wasn’t urgent, so we had options.
Through some sort of miracle, the doctor on rotation was the exact kind of specialized specialist we didn’t know we needed, who just happened to be filling in because everyone had the flu, explained why the obvious diagnosis was way off base, and got to the heart of the problem in two minutes.
8. A good handyman. Our favorite guys keep retiring on us, and while I wish them a happy future on the Florida beach, I’ve been at a loss for who to call when the exhaust fan makes a funny noise, or a door no longer closes smoothly, or it’s time to do some serious powerwashing. My friend gave me the number of her favorite, and whoa. He knocked off my growing list in no time flat, and it’s so nice to know who I can call when there’s a next time.
9. Aquaphor. A $4 tube in my purse is a serious lifesaver from raw, painful, red dry skin. (Ouch!)
10. The Reading Challenge. This is our third year of doing a Reading Challenge here on MMD, but somehow this year’s has captured my I-dwell-in-possibility imagination more than ever. Browsing bookstores, the internet, and my own shelves for possibilities has been so much fun. I also love how the prospect of checking the boxes helps me remember to get off Twitter (which belongs on the killing-me-right-now list) and read a book instead.
What’s saving your life right now? Link up a post below, and/or tell us in comments.
P.S. This is still my favorite post about what’s saving my life right now.