The things that are saving my life right now.

The things that are saving my life right now.

It’s February 1, the first day of what to many is the cruelest month, regardless of what T. S. Eliot wrote.

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. In it, Taylor tells the story of when she was invited to speak at a gathering, and her host assigned the topic: “Tell us what is saving your life right now.”

It’s a good question. Most of us know what’s killing us, and can articulate it, if asked. But few of us pay attention to what’s giving us life. The question invites you to do just that.

Taylor says it’s too good a question not to revisit from time to time, and I agree. I borrowed Taylor’s idea last year, and began keeping a running list—a literal, physical list—of the things that are saving my life right now.

This is an excerpt of my list. I’ve again chosen to share the small, everyday sorts of things bringing me life on a regular basis.

daffodils and jane austen horizontal

1. Trader Joe’s bouquets. I can buy a bundle of spring for $4 or less, and if I choose the variety right they last for weeks.

morning writing

2. Early mornings. I depend on getting my daily dose of candles, coffee, and quiet.

3. My space heater. I only just tucked one of these under my desk a couple of weeks ago. Now I can stay warm and toasty without feeling guilty for heating up the whole house.

tea by the fireside

4. Duraflames. It’s the cheater option, for sure, but it makes it so darn easy to have a cozy evening (or grey winter afternoon) by the fire. And we love cozying up by the fire.

5. Bedtime rituals. For months now, I’ve been dabbing lavender essential oil on the kids’ feet when it’s time to go to bed. This little cue tells their brains and their bodies it’s time to go to sleep already. Anything that makes bedtime a little smoother is a lifesaver.

books under the window

6. A good series. I’m talking books, not Netflix! I’ve been blazing through Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series, and it’s been such a delight knowing I have many good books ahead of me. (Although I’m almost caught up—and then I’ll have to find a different great series!)

7. Kickball. My kids invented a game they call “kickball” that doesn’t look a bit like the kind in school. I don’t understand the rules but I don’t care—all that matters is that they entertain each other and get some sunshine (or at least daylight time, if the sun is hiding, again) because they love to play this game together whenever the weather cooperates.


8. Citrus fruit. Oranges and grapefruit are in season now, and we love both—especially when they’re 20 cents each at Lucky’s. I keep reminding myself that would never happen in May or September!

9. Pizza night. Fridays are for pizza, which means we have one night a week where everyone always knows exactly what we’re having for dinner, and nobody complains about it.

What’s saving your life right now? Link up a post below, and/or tell us in comments.

what's saving my life

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  1. AuburnCathy says:

    #1 & 2 are always on my list…not just for February 😉1)Early mornings with strong coffee and my Bible and devotion
    2) Adding 3 “things” to my 1000 Gifts list (for those who don’t know- Google Ann Voskamp 1000 Gifts)
    3)a sweet Bible study on Mon night …at my house, so I have to at least tidy up each Monday 😂
    4) anticipating the arrival of Mildred Reese (Millie) our first grandchild in 8 weeks.

    Thankful for your blog!

  2. Cindy says:

    Love reading everyone’s lists! And thank you for mentioning the Deborah Crombie series – I was looking for a new series to start! I live in Florida, so I live for the few nice cold and cooler days we get here, for the drier air and energy they bring. Also, a full-time caregiver, I live for those breaks I get that allow me to remember I have a life and to spend some time doing something creative. Visiting or talking with my kids, or FaceTime with my grandchildren – how grateful I am for all of it! The breaks, in turn, make me feel so grateful that I am able to be the caregiver for both of my parents for however long I can.

  3. Molly says:

    Hot tea, good books, and slow cooker plastic liners. These are my life savers right now. Next I want to get a craft room set up.

    • Anne says:

      Those are GREAT. I especially love that you included the plastic liners. It’s crazy how big a difference a seemingly little thing like that can make!

  4. Rebecca says:

    Oooh candles!!! I get up early and have my coffee but I’ll forget to actually light one, and it is such a mood enhancer!!! I’d have to say our regular quiet times are saving my life right now. We homeschool and it’s snowing all week and I don’t feel like going outside because COLD and we live in a tiny apartment … So the creative quiet times are essential to my sanity lol.

  5. Hannah Beth Reid says:

    I especially love the bit about the flowers!
    Thank you for the encouragement to acknowledge these things! Not only is it positive instead of seeing the negative in life, but it helps me to prioritize and not ignore the things that are “saving my life” these days!
    I currently have two that are making a big difference:
    1. Showering and washing my hair before bed. I almost never want to do it, but I very much appreciate not being cold and wet in the morning. I can jump straight into my day with my kids!
    2. Having a reading plan/list of book I want to read for the month. this allows me to see how much variety I have in my books and make (slightly) realistic goals. A reading plan for just a week was too short a time because someone was sick or I’d get completely derailed, but a month is perfect! I plug in my book club book(s), one for the MMD challenge, any library books that came on hold, and fill in from there. Last month I added a couple and didn’t quite finish one, but I know I read far more intentionally and enjoyably having a plan set out.

  6. Lynette says:

    Morning workouts. Audiobooks.
    Scheduled weekly “deep talk” with my husband. We have a few questions we go through, and just have intentional meaningful conversation. I think this also helps us connects better everyday, too – bonus!

  7. Hannah says:

    I have to say, just seeing the lovely colored pens in your opener photo made me smile! I’m always on the hunt for pens that will lower the bar for me to journal and record quotes. May I ask what kind those are?

  8. Addie says:

    Honestly, your post and reading through all these comments has been life-saving encouragement to me during a very difficult time. It is a good reminder to look for the positives in my own life. As for my own list…
    1) Sunshine
    2) Pictures of my niece and nephews from my sister
    3) Essential Oils
    4) A clean home
    5) Knowing that spring will come and winter doesn’t last forever
    6) A glass of wine after work

  9. Anne, I love your list. The weather has been so mild and sunny around here lately, I almost feel like it’s cheating! I can feel spring in the air.

    Two things that made my list: my Bullet Journal and stevia. The former because it has made my entire life easier, and the second because I gave up sugar two months ago and stevia-sweetened treats make that possible for me.

  10. Kate says:

    This week has been a dump heap of a week, with just too much. My new find was It’s distracted me just enough for a few minutes at a time to keep me from screaming, crying, or both, since the massive amounts of chocolate weren’t getting the job done. One Ritter Sport is a serving, right?;)

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