What’s saving my life right now

What’s saving my life right now

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.

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  1. Susan says:

    Gotta say, those teal boots of yours are pretty great in the snow! I may need a pair for Colorado winters. 🙂 Saving me this winter: being purposeful about planning activities with girlfriends – it helps to have something to look forward to; reading challenge (read 4 books in January);
    camping (in Texas) with friends;
    colorful sweaters – winter lasts so long that a pop of color always helps;
    planning dates with my husband.

  2. Katie says:

    This is a great list and nice reminder to focus on the simple things that are keeping us happy right now. I needed this today. Thank you. (I found your blog through Emily Clark.)

  3. Angie Burke says:

    I responded on my blog but I should have added your daily emails with Amazon Kindle specials! I’ve gotten some great deals recently on books you’ve recommended. Thank you for bringing some love to my inbox and my reading list!

  4. Brenda K. says:

    Really looked at this for the past week…My Life is saved by:
    Morning Devotions, New Flavors of tea, Hugs from the Teen-age sons, Cozy Pajamas, Short chats with good friends, Bullet journaling, and Writing on my BLOG!

  5. Anna says:

    I’m so fortunate to live in Houston, Texas where the weather has been so incredibly sunny and warm lately, I’m just loving it! I’ve decided, at 37 years of age, that I DO NOT need snow. In fact, I am happy with it being 80 degrees on Christmas (which it was this year). I don’t really like the heat in the summer but that is what the AC is for!

    I think I’m being saved right now by my bullet journal and my Quilter’s Planner and my intense desire to plan and be on top of things. Also, a daily devotional book my mom is letting me borrow called Savor. I read it every day and write down one or two sentences that jump out at me. That quiet time to read and reflect is really saving me. Here’s to more sunny days!

  6. Kimberly says:

    Thank you for this list!!
    It’s so good to focus on the positives, especially this time of year.

    I redid the mantel after the holidays and strung twinkle lights through ivy garland for year-round happiness. There are always candles, everywhere. And I’m never too far from a good book and a cuppa tea.

  7. Tonight’s homemade chicken soup. The kind words from blog readers on a recent personal post. Planning a trip to the UK in May. Winter walks in the sunshine. Decluttering like you (no plans for a move in the near future, but gracious we have accumulated so much junk).

  8. Theresa says:

    Fingerless gloves – I can wear them and type and do all sorts of things around the house. Tea and more tea. Victoria on PBS. Sunny days. Spending time with my family. And snuggling with a blanket in the evening.

  9. Liz says:

    I’ve been off my feet totally for 6 weeks due to surgery. What’s saved my life is my wonderful hubby who has been doing absolutely everything! Also good books, good food and my precious shih tzu.

  10. Sara says:

    Love this idea! What’s saving my life:
    1. Copious amounts of coffee
    2. Podcasts (like yours…seriously!)
    3. Candles
    4. Rhythms of the day
    5. Dear friends who bring posts like these to my attention and are always just a panicked text away (hi, Kathleen!)
    6. Getting lost in some good fiction
    7. Our library! Our saving grace in the winter especially.
    8. Honest talks over a beer with my husband
    9. Stephen Colbert and Dan Rather
    10. My stir-crazy, busy, amazing kids…who both still nap (most days). Glory, hallelujah!

  11. Krista says:

    Newborn snuggles.
    Fluffy books to read.
    A Nalgene water bottle
    Friends bringing meals.

    {It is so hard to deal with winter effectively during the fourth trimester!}

  12. Bridget says:

    Here is my list-
    TED Talks
    Good Coffee
    Myer Lemons
    Julia Child
    All things Harry Potter
    Fuzzy Slippers
    Fuzzy Blankets
    Essential Oils
    Color (ALL things color)
    My Dogs
    My Husband
    My Grandkids
    My Bullet Journal

  13. Carrie says:

    Wow. I love how a focus on the positive can reshape how you are experiencing a season (of the calendar, of life, etc.). I enjoyed reading everyone’s! Here’s mine (disclaimer: I’m in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy and I have a really tough time, physically, in a lot of different ways when I’m pregnant. So some of what’s saving me right now is about reducing the energy I have to expend on daily mundane matters):

    1) WalMart grocery pickup. It’s not my Favorite Company Ever, and they don’t carry every single item that my family typically eats, but it’s enough that it’s keeping me from having to spend a long time on my feet in the grocery store, thus minimizing pain & fatigue.

    2) We moved from Houston to Nashville and I actually am enjoying the dark, cold days (more or less)–I really missed variety in the seasons when we lived in Houston. So I am enjoying embracing it through lots of fires, ginormous flannel maternity pajamas, and warm drinks.

    3) Nonetheless… I’m also enjoying thinking about the summer, when I can start to wear non-maternity clothes again (hopefully, haha)… I even ordered a few summer things on ThredUp this past week!

    4) Accepting (unlike with my first pregnancy) that if I’m tired and am able to nap, I need to nap. I’ve gotten okay with putting on cartoons on the iPad for my 4YO daughter and letting her watch on my bed while I sleep.

    5) Accepting that more nights than usual right now, we will need to get takeout… and that’s okay. Also accepting that more nights than usual, I will be in bed by 9.

    6) The Crown (although it’s occasionally too depressing for me) and Royal Pains on Netflix, a dumb/funny medical comedy.

    7) On the nights we don’t eat takeout: gluten free frozen pizzas, a book of 400-plus soups that my aunt got me for Christmas–the Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate Soups & Stews, and one-dish stovetop meals!

    8) On weekends, when I have some more energy because my husband can help out more with our daughter, we tend to take long walks at local botanical gardens, parks, and nature trails. This has been great for my health.

    So maybe this really reads more like my Survival Guide to the Third Trimester in the Cold Winter!

  14. Janet Cole says:

    What’s saving me is a husband who takes up the slack – doing laundry, cooking dinner (even if it is mac & cheese) and doing the best he can – while I work on a project that is 12+ hour days and most weekends…I do know how lucky I am. (P.S. your dog’s sweet face would save me everyday!)

  15. Tim says:

    Those occasional sunny days this time of year truly do hold out a life-line. My 93 year old dad and I were running around town form one appointment to another and every time the rain stopped and a hint of blue showed we were pointing it out to each other.

    P.S BBT’s Leaving Church is a wonderfully written book, but her doctrine in it is a bit off from what I saw when reading it: My Unpopular Opinion About A Very Popular Writer – reflections on Barbara Brown Taylor’s “Leaving Church”.

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