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. Jessica says:

    Love this post. My list: daily Bible reading app, kid snuggles, our local library, YouTube exercise videos (my daughter loves Cosmic Kids), walks outside when possible, and decaf coffee.

  2. Pam says:

    1) Homemade soup! It’s so good in the winter. Warm. Tasty. Leftovers.
    2) A space heater to counter the chill.
    3) Big fuzzy socks. See #2!
    4) Streaming video. I particularly like mysteries and science fiction, but will watch just about any genre except horror. Total immersion. Escape from winter. Wonderful! Recent faves: River (Netflix); Colony (iTunes); Man in the High Castle (Amazon Prime); Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon Prime).
    5) eBooks and more eBooks. Buy for my Kindle or borrow from the public library in the Overdrive and Hoopla apps. Best. Thing. Ever. For. Winter. I don’t have to leave the house.
    6) Hot drinks. Espresso in the morning, herbal tea later in the day. Ginger tea from Traditional Medicinals is good!
    7) Fitbit Charge 2. Inspires me to exercise and stay active throughout the day. It’s way too easy to become a couch potato when you are a snowy weather avoider like me.
    8) Lotions for dry skin. Winter = dry skin. I like unscented Oil of Olay for my face, unscented Keri Lotion for the rest of me!

  3. Vanessa says:

    I love this! I’ve been looking forward to your list. Here is mine in no particular order.

    1. Coffee/tea – I love warm beverages and in the cold winter of western NY that is my home right now, it’s really a survival technique.

    2. Reading books and the MMD book club – I’ve been reading so much more these past couple of years and I’m slightly appalled it took me so long to start reading again. As a kid I read like crazy and it really is a joy for me. And then I adore having so many bookish people to discuss with whenever I get the chance to read the forums.

    3. Podcasts – I’m at an intense parenting part of life with two little ones and “Inspired to Action” by Kat Lee and “At Home with Sally” by Sally Clarkson have been so encouraging and inspirational here lately.

    4. Candles – I love cozy candles in the winter. It’s amazing how much they change the mood of the room for me!

    5. Fountain pens – my husband and I just started using fountain pens, I got a Pilot Metroplolitian with a fine nib for Christmas, and I love them! I never thought I was much of a writer or didn’t think about enjoying writing by hand, but that has changed with a new tool. I’ve since added four more pens to my collection and I am amazed at how different tools really affect enjoyment of activities!

    6. Chores schedule – I’ve been finishing productive days feeling like I haven’t done enough around the house and realized that I’m always trying to do every chore. I divided my chores throughout the week, wrote them down, and suddenly I realize it doesn’t matter if I didn’t clean the bathroom one day, it’s on the list for the next.

    7. Daily schedule – similar to the chores schedule. Instead of going with the day and my children’s needs, I’ve have a couple rough goals through the day. So just knowing that we go outside at some point between 10-11 each morning brings the day into focus and has been very helpful.

    8. Pandora – I love streaming music and having it play throughout the day. It’s also so fun to discover new artists and Pandora does that really well for me.

    9. Going outside (nearly) everyday – especially in the winter when it’s hard to get the kids all bundled, I don’t go outside much. But we finally have warm enough clothes for everyone and going outside even for 10 minutes makes the day better.

    10. Eye make-up – Putting on a little make-up, and for me a little eye shadow and mascara, really helps brighten the day even if I’m tired and it’s a grey and snowy day.

  4. Audrey says:

    Say WHAT?!? You’re MOVING again?!? I hope you’ll be sharing a blog post about that surprise that you just slipped into this post, Anne!

  5. Kristian says:

    So we just had our first kid, so life looks so different right now!
    1) Instagram- I love being able to post photos of our new son. It is also something fun to look at while in a chair breastfeeding at two in the morning, lol.
    2) My husband- he is the best! He really is a great partner as we figure out parenting together and he also remembers I am healing too. So he does thoughtful things like makes sure I have time to take a bath or he arranged for a massage for me. But more than that, I apperciate that he cooks and makes sure we eat dinner together to reconnect and keep our own relationship strong and not subsumed by our little addition.
    3) and, of course, our newborn son. For all the reasons, for the amazing love we instantly felt for this tiny human!

    4) My parents frequent visits. It is waaay too cold to get out much and visits feel like I’m seeing other people and connected to the world.

  6. Karen says:

    I typed my answer to my Book Club … but thought I’d share it here too, since it’s where the inspiration came from.
    1. Books. Especially books on wholistic health and healing. (I’m tired of pain every day).

    2. Stretching/Yoga … my little routine I do take me about 25 minutes and does wonders for helping my body feel it’s best.

    3. Lucy Rue. I/we (whole family) take delight in our little puppy every day.

    4. Soup. I love making soup and eating it – especially with La Brea whole grain bread. Toasted. Yum. I’m also learning about how to make soup more nourishing, and that’s definitely part of the love. I just made a Asain Shrimp Soup that was almost AMAZING – just needs a few more tweeks.

    5. Coffee. Love. Love. Love. So hard to limit myself to one a day.

  7. Mary Wilmot says:

    I might end up blogging this…eventually…but here are a few things that are working for me!
    1. My new slow cooker I got for Christmas. My old one didn’t get very hot so everything took forever to cook. I love it! Great for a few freezer meals I made for post partum.
    2. My double stroller and Moby wrap. I couldn’t do life without them.
    3. Trying to: make my bed and get dressed on days I don’t work. It’s slowly becoming a habit and I love it!
    4. Park days with friends…can be great if I time it right before naptime.
    5. Coffee…so warm so delicious. Even better when my husband makes it before he leaves for work.
    6. My library card….books, audiobooks galore. I love having a bunch of requests out at a time so I always have something new.

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