What’s saving your life right now?

We have a Modern Mrs Darcy tradition right around the corner and I am ready for it.

I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with winter. This year wasn’t so bad, for a while—it’s been mild, we’ve seen the sun, we caught a few colds but that was all. Until this past week. It’s been a doozy.

The temperatures plunged, forcing us for the first time ever to get out the long extension cord and blow dryer so we could get the car doors open. A combination of rain and ice turned our street into a skating rink. And then half of us here at my house got the flu.

As of right now, I’m still standing. (Knock on wood.) And I’ve been thinking about the things that have helped me through the dreary days in the past, making sure I’m actually practicing the things I know to work in January and February.

I’m tempted to tell you how books are saving my life right now, because obviously. Or the regular rhythm of the days, from morning coffee to evening tea and everything in between.

Those things are true, but they aren’t topping my winter survival list right now. Because on that count, the prize goes to Daisy.

We have a puppy (if a 2 1/2 year old lab still counts as a “puppy”) who loves to walk. It’s been funny to watch her this season, because “walk” is a word that’s only recently entered her vocabulary, which means Will and I have started spelling it out (w-a-l-k) in her hearing if we’re not ready for her to go bananas indoors. (I’ve also noticed that apparently at some point I stopped wearing shoes around the house during the day, because whenever I put them on she gets REALLY EXCITED.)

If my personal experience has taught me anything about winter, it’s that I need to get myself out of the house and into the fresh air, preferably during daylight, as often as possible. Internal motivation doesn’t serve me well when the temperature drops to the single digits, like it’s forecast to do next week, but having a puppy with energy to burn, who needs to walk a mile or two? That gets me out the door.

I hate the thought of heading outdoors, and I don’t relish the cold wind in my face, but I feel so much better when I go outside—into the cold, yes, but also into the sun—or what’s left of it in winter.

*****     *****     *****

I know I’m not alone in my cold-fearing, sun-seeking, germophobe ways: this is a tough time of year for a lot of us. The days are short, and relentlessly dreary. Everyone has the flu, or if they’re lucky, the sniffles. Budgets are tight. And spring feels a long way away.

That’s why, here on the blog, we started listing the things that are saving us, right at the halfway point of winter. What things are actively giving you life in this season?

The idea comes from author Barbara Brown Taylor. In her memoir Leaving Church, Taylor tells about a time she was invited to speak, and her host asked her to speak on this simple question: “Tell us what is saving your life right now.”

Most of us know what’s killing us, and can articulate it, if asked. Some of us are overwhelmed with hurry and worry; some of us face crushing poverty; some feel utterly paralyzed.

But few of us stop to note what’s giving us life. Taylor says it’s too good a question to not revisit every once in a while: what are the things—big or small—that are saving us?

Sometimes those things are huge (a successful surgery, a good prognosis, a repaired relationship), but sometimes the things that give us life are decidedly smaller. Sometimes, they feel so small I feel silly writing them down. Oh well. I’m choosing to notice them anyway. When I don’t, my mind drifts to what’s killing me, instead.

*****     *****     *****

Next Friday is February 1, nearly the halfway point of winter. For the fifth year running, we’re joining together to combat the winter doldrums by making our lists of what’s saving our lives right now and sharing them here. This list-sharing and life-sharing has been so wonderful in the past. I can’t wait to do it again.

On February 1, I’ll share my list—and you’re invited to share yours, too.

Winter is hard, but by pausing at its halfway point to share the things that are helping us through it, we’ll lighten the load.

I can’t wait to hear what’s on your list.

P.S. The top photo is from last month’s visit to Edinburgh. (Look close towards the left and you’ll see the castle.) We happened to be there on an uncharacteristically warm and sunny day, and a Sunday, at that, and it seemed like the whole city was out, climbing the hills to get their fresh air and Vitamin D before winter’s dreary rain set in again.

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  1. Jess says:

    We’re supposed to be upwards of -60 with windchill potentially this week. I kind of just want to bury my head in the blankets and cry.

    • Taylor says:

      Hi from Minnesota, you must also be in the Midwest. I think I’ll be hiding in a hot bath with a book until further notice.

    • Paula says:

      Not sure if you’re from the Midwest but I grew up there and I used to love the frigid weather and I wonder what was wrong with me! I’m in MD and have been for decades and I realize I can’t take really frigid weather anymore and we do not get as much as elsewhere. I hope its gets warmer sooner for you and all in your part of the woods! Thinking of you so making some tea.

  2. Anon says:

    My kid is saving me right now. My biggest-by-far client has announced a 50% cut in how much they are paying contractors going forward. I have no idea how I’m going to pull through this. My husband lost his job several years ago and now is battling cancer. It is one problem after another. But I have to put on a bright face when my kid comes home, and I relish every second together, because I am well aware the empty nest is not long off.
    And honestly, it was a relief to spill my guts just now. Keeping it to myself has been hard.

    • Jenny says:

      I see you and your bravery in doing all the hard things. Sending you rest, endurance and just love from a stranger. Praying it gets better. Would you post an update in a comment sometime? Until I hear otherwise, I will say a prayer for you when I read.

    • Kelli Roberts says:

      Oh sending so many hugs and positive thoughts your way. What a trial you are going through! Please keep us posted and let us know how you are doing.

    • Eileen says:

      My heart is breaking for your family’s hard times. There is nothing like spending time with a child to lift your spirits. You are wise to know how valuable that is for you and your husband. I am so sorry your husband is battling cancer! Please stay strong and take care of yourself first so you can be healthy for them.

    • Paula says:

      I know what you mean as I always feel so much better when I can talk to someone and let go. I will keep you in my thoughts and sending you many smiles and a deep sense of caring.

    • Jen says:

      Thank you for trusting us with the truth behind the brave face. Praying that you can continue to find moments of joy in the midst of some very serious challenges.

  3. Connie C. says:

    Flameless Candles! I have a few on timers that turn on just when it is dusk outside. I even kept a string of mini lights up after the holidays were over. They really cheer me up!

    • Joanna says:

      Honestly, I don’t put away my (artifical) Christmas tree with its bazillion twinkle lights until April 1. On dark winter nights, it’s so cheery to have a big, bright visual space in my home.

      In December, it’s a Christmas tree. Starting January 1, it’s a Winter tree and it stays lit until spring!

      • Becca says:

        Yes! I live in New Orleans so we turned our artificial tree into a Mardi Gras tree and will leave it up until March. I love the lights. ♡ Also, tiny indoor plants like herbs and succulents help me feel like the promise of spring is just around the corner.

    • Erin says:

      haha I was sitting here trying to figure out what a frameless candle was! For some reason this tickled my funny bone this morning! 🙂

    • Cindy Fried says:

      Ha! I have posited a theory that this year is so dreary some people are leaving fairy lights up after the holidays. I have noticed it here in the UK (Brexit blues…ugh) and it sounds like the US needs all the light and joy it can get too! I have left two strings draped around and I am not alone in my neighbourhood.

    • Laura says:

      We just bought our house in November and I have a few battery-powered candles in our windows. The other day my husband asked me if I was going to take them down. I replied, “no, because I’m not sure I can find our house in the dark without the candles in the windows!” Also, they bring me joy.

    • Jackie says:

      I just got several 4″ flameless candles to use in a candle holder that my son made for me for Christmas. I love the reflections that they make on the ceiling in the evening. I also put one in our powder room. I love that they have built in timers.

  4. Emily says:

    “I know I’m not alone in my cold-fearing, sun-seeking, germophobe ways: this is a tough time of year for a lot of us. The days are short, and relentlessly dreary. Everyone has the flu, or if they’re lucky, the sniffles. Budgets are tight. And spring feels a long way away.”

    Thank you for writing this! I feel so relieved to know it’s not just me.

    • Paula says:

      I am always amazed how much better it is when we know we are not the only ones. Took me a long time to learn that it is okay to share and be open with others – how much we all have in common!

  5. Terry says:

    Yes to doggies who need to be walked, regardless of the howling wind and sub-freezing temperatures. And yes to the occasional bright, sunny day here in KC, it makes such a difference! And a book you recommended on the podcast called 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die. It is like a little box of chocolates – I read one or two of the recommendations each day, research things that interest me, maybe add it to my goodreads, and see if I can find an available film version to watch on the long, dark evenings. I look forward to it, and that’s the key to life and the thing that gets harder the older you get – looking forward! Thank you, Anne, you are sometimes a lifesaver for me!

  6. Sherrylynne says:

    What’s saving my life in Minneapolis now?
    1. Doing the Mel Robbins #MindsetReset program
    2. Moving and spiffing up our Master Bedroom set up
    3. Using autoprint out lesson plan schedule from our distance school
    4. Using the 5 second journal
    5. Micro workouts in the morning of sun asantras and the eliptical
    6. Moving my Macbook around to work where the sunshines
    7. Getting outside for even 10 minutes in sub zero temps
    8. Weekly date with my hubby
    9. Background instrumental jazz & candle

    • Jodie says:

      I live in the Minneapolis area and utilize a lot of the same techniques. Candles are essential in the dark months! As is instrumental background music. I love finding new music on Spotify. Following the sun, another thing I do when possible. I have the 5 minute journal, too. I have also resorted to using a special light in the morning when I eat my breakfast. 🙂

  7. Susie Q says:

    When I lived in Louisville, those gray days that lasted for six weeks it seemed really got me down. Moving to Denver and seeing the sun so often really helped me get through winter so I understand completely about sunshine lifting spirits. Hot tea helps too. I like to try a different type in the afternoons and savor the differences from my beloved English Breakfast. But what cheers me up the most is calling my Mother or her sister both elderly and those happy ladies just gives me smiles! They are so thrilled to get calls from their busy loved ones. It really is the small things sometimes that bring happiness.

  8. Carol in Texas says:

    Yes…..labs are ALWAYS puppies at heart! We had a yellow lab for eight years (watch for stomach tortions!). Our older son and wife have two yellow labs, Gunner and Gidget, aged two and one. Gunner has become more sedate and was much easier to train. Gidget is trouble! But oh how loveable!

    Central Texas is blessed with a lot of sun and modest winter temps. I followed your suggestion and am rereading Winter Solstice…..how wonderfully Pilcher writes! We are in the country and today there is little wind, sun and clear blue skies! Joy!

    • Tamara Gandt says:

      We live in North Texas and I actually love this time of year because the sun is shining but you can actually go outside not having to worry about heat stroke or sweating buckets! However I am a true blue Oregonian and actually miss the dreary rainy winters, the sun kissed sprinkly springs and the August “heatwave” . I have bird feeders in view from our back windows so I enjoy watching them as well and looking to see if there are any newbies visiting.

      • Gayla Mazzuca says:

        I live in North Texas also, Frisco, and while I hate the heat and humidity in the summer, I also the the cold in the winter. It seems like I never get warm. I love the spring and fall here when I can leave my windows open during the day and evening, sit on my porch in the morning and evening and not freeze or melt. Can’t wait for March.

  9. Traci says:

    When we had Skip, our Jack Russell terrier, we had to stop saying “walk” & switched to “traverse” – as smart as he was, he never caught on!

  10. Debbie Ball says:

    My heart is moved to action by the ones in my neighborhood that are struggling with furlough and eating beans or canned soup. Please it only takes a few moments to hug or encourage and share some homemade hot item. You will find u r blessed more than the receiver

  11. JenCanRead says:

    My house is suffering the flu as well this week. ??
    What’s saving my life:
    1. Bookstagram/MMD Book Club – I’ve found that having a great community around books has helped me find my joy in reading again.
    2. My king-sized fleece blanket that I use as a couch throw.
    3. My dogs, who do ridiculous things that make me smile.
    4. My husband, who brings me OJ even when he too has a 103 fever.
    5. My Game of Thrones rewatch.
    6. Tamaflu

  12. Carrie says:

    Having to walk a dog (3 year old Corgi in this house) is definitely a life saver. It can be miserable, but it is so good to get outside anyway. The Body By Simone app has been amazing for me this winter. The routine, the oxygen flow, her bright personality. Hibiscus tea has been a must, too. It’s so pretty and tropical!

  13. Annette Silveira says:

    My skin is being finicky for the first time in my life this winter. I’m looking forward to some recommendations for help for sensitive skin. I live in CA so it isn’t extremely cold, but I’m itchy and dry nonetheless.

    • Lisa Zahn says:

      This is my absolute favorite skin care company: Purple Prairie Botanicals. They’re local to me in Minnesota, but sell online everywhere. They’re rated a #1 company and products on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep guide and they’re amazing! My skin is super dry and sensitive, and the Carrot Rose Face Cream is the only moisturizer that seems to just absorb right into my skin and keep it moist. Highly recommend! https://www.purpleprairie.com

  14. Geri Hand says:

    My lenten roses are starting to bloom – even in this cold weather. It is so nice to go outside and see something blooming in the winter.

  15. Rachel says:

    It’s been consistently -14 degrees without windchill where I live in Fargo, ND. What’s saving me right now is being able to go work from a local coffee shop around the corner from my office for a couple hours a week. It’s bright, sunny, and warm in the coffee shop and without it, I wouldn’t see much sun! Another thing that’s saving my life is that the days are starting to visibly become longer! It’s no longer pitch black on my morning and evening commutes.

  16. Mee Mee says:

    I’ve always been one to count the days to Spring; however this year I am trying to enjoy each day – regardless of the cold, rain, snow, or ice. My pup was diagnosed with bone cancer in the Fall and we were told that he has 4-6 months. So, the Spring I normally look forward to will include some hard decisions. I never realized before how many seasons I have wished away. I guess what’s saving me right now is Winter. Ironic, huh?

    • Akaylah says:

      “I never realized before how many seasons I have wished away.”

      Oh, that struck a chord. I’ve noticed I have a constant inner monologue of, If I can just make it through this day, to this week, past this month, I’ll be okay. But inevitably there will be another obstacle at the end of that milestone. Thank you for the reminder to take life a day at a time. The old line is true: today is all we have.

    • Lauren says:

      I’m so so sorry. Sending love your way at such a hard time. Our pets are all parts of our family and I know you are going through a very hard time. I will be thinking of you and your pup.

  17. Sarah R says:

    I live in the frigid suburbs of Milwaukee. I detest the cold. Here’s what’s saving me:
    – My kids’ sports practices force me out of the house!
    – Candles
    – The library
    – My space heater
    – My daily Barre3 online workouts. Best $29/month I spend

    • Terrell says:

      I’ve heard several people mention Barre3 online workouts, in such a positive way. Do you need to know ballet, need a mirror and a bar?

      • Sarah R says:

        You do not need to know ballet or need a mirror or Barre. I use my desk if I need help balancing, or you could use the back of a chair. They do have some moves where they use light hand held weights (2 lbs), a core ball, or core sliders, but there is always someone showing the moves without those props. You can buy the props through the website, or at Target. 🙂

  18. Sarah Jeter says:

    *Msgs from old friends via group text or Marco Polo
    *Lunch with friends & parents
    *More time to hang out with my husband & kids
    *Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube
    *Lemon & peppermint oil in my diffuser
    *Coffee & cinnamon hot tea
    *Candles & fireplace
    *Reading…of course 🙂

  19. Kelly B says:

    My cozy slippers and vitamin D drops are 2 things I can’t live without right now! Winter has been so cold and snowy in Ohio this winter. I live in my slippers and the vitamin D is helping with seasonal depression! Ps- Marybeth Whalen recommended your blog!

  20. Madelyn says:

    Honestly, Weight Watchers! Discipline and structure! And actually losing weight! Slowly but surely. And I’ve started to blog for my church and loving it!

  21. Kathy says:

    I live in the PNW; gray days are common here. What works for me: hot baths while I listen to podcasts, citrus essential oils diffused throughout the day, warm, wool socks with fun patterns, keeping the twinkle light tree lights on all day- placed in front of a window so the reflection deepens the effect, a variety of mugs for a variety of teas, and a hearty walk every night before bedtime. During the walk, I pray- about everything. The clean, crisp air brightens my outlook, the rain or fog envelops me in silence and privacy, and the prayer converts the day’s burdens into God’s hands.

  22. Diana says:

    I’m in Northern Indiana so we often have similar weather to you, just colder, and the last 10ish days have been BRUTAL. Next Wednesday our HIGH is -2°, who knows what the windchill will be! I definitely need to focus on some positives!

  23. Jackie says:

    What’s saving me right now is the four-week weaving class that I’m currently taking. I’ve had my own rigid heddle loom for about 40 years, and have been just too busy to learn how to warp it and get going on my own. So now I’m working on a scarf and looking forward to my next project.

  24. Becky says:

    This is my first winter in Indiana…we moved from Phoenix, Arizona this summer where I have lived my whole life until now. I thought I was handling things pretty well until I realized that I was crying while reading this blog post. Just knowing that I have that list to look forward to next week will get me through the next few days! ?

  25. Laura says:

    Workouts at home (LesMills) put me in such a better frame of mind/body. Then if I’m lucky and my littles are asleep, I sit in a patch of sunlight on my kitchen floor (because that’s where the sun enters the house first) drinking my coffee and trying to wake up to pray. I’m grateful to be in the southwest where there is sun year round after living in upstate NY for most of my life. And thankful for your work Anne, because books are always high on my list of delightful things!

  26. Debi z says:

    HGTV! I subscribed to Sling just so I could watch pretty houses in warm places 🙂 Oh, and the Libby app! Listening to lots of good stuff!

  27. Gabrielle says:

    (I love seeing Daisy in your posts. I have a 5yo yellow lab nephew that could be Daisy’s twin, and I adore him.)
    It was a really rough fall, personally, for my marriage, and simply knowing that in the Pacific Northwest we were gearing up for six months of fairly consistent rain. These are the things that are helping our winter be more enjoyable:
    Taking shortish outtings (spur of the moment decision to check out an outlet mall we’ve never been to an hour away.)
    Practicing Hygge (candles, warm blankets, lots of good books, and less electronics)
    Focusing on Level 10 Life and related goals
    Finally doing the things I’ve wanted to forever (getting a helix piercing which was so much worse in my head than the actual experience, and getting my eyebrows waxed for the first time in my life.)
    Lots of family game playing and movie watching
    Making time for our marriage (Finders Seekers from CrateJoy is a super fun stay-in date night that takes no prep)
    Making firm plans for mini trips through out the year.
    Starting a literary society with my sister based on the MMD reading challenge. Our first meeting was this week and it was SO MUCH FUN! Talking books for three hours with fellow homeschool mamas (and graduates) literally fed my soul.

  28. Heather says:

    My dogs would get so excited when they heard the word “walk,” so we started spelling it. Then they learned how to spell ? & would get excited when we said, “W-A-L-K”.

  29. Saffron Garey says:

    You’ve just made me realise that February is such a great month for my family. I always moan because it’s an expensive month with half of my family’s birthdays clustered together but, honestly, gift shopping, celebratory lunches and teas and cake-baking make these cold, dull days whizz by. Thank you for the reminder.

  30. Beth R says:

    The Lord is saving me right now by giving me strength and encouragement to get through my days. My husband and I just separated after 30 years together. Yes, 30 years! Ugh! I have learned things about him that are breaking my heart. I read my Bible every day, listen to Elevation Worship music, pray constantly, and lean on my friends for hugs and prayer. The Lord is so faithful to sustain me in this time.

  31. teresa westwood says:

    Could you send the list of your recommendations for 2019? PLEASE! I MISPLACED THE LIST. It was after January 1st when you sent it.

  32. Carol says:

    We got a new kitten about a month ago. Just watching his antics makes us laugh, lightens our hearts and is saving my life during this dreary winter! We had forgotten how delightfully funny a kitten can be. Our 7 year-old Golden Retriever was a little put-out for a while but they are slowly becoming friends.

  33. Leanne says:

    We started spelling the word “mail” because our dog got walks down to the mailbox with us. Pretty soon the tone in which we spelled “m-a-i-l” set her off and she’d sprint around the house. Dogs are too smart 🙂

  34. Lindsay says:

    Photographs are saving me right now. I started a new job in September and never got around to putting up pictures. I’ve had such a rough patch lately I finally just took a long lunch, sifted through my pictures, got prints and frames, a corkboard, and PLASTERED my office with pictures of friends and family. My work days are so much better now.

  35. Janean says:

    Your Daisy story reminded me of a quirky thing my dog does. I have ‘home clothes’ and ‘leaving the house clothes.’ Apparently my dog knows the difference. If I come downstairs wearing ‘leaving the house clothes,’ she heads right to her crate. I don’t have to say a word. She knows that Mama’s going bye-bye. Now, before you get the wrong idea, my two types of clothes do not vary dramatically. My ‘away’ clothes might just be my nicer yoga pants. (I know, classy, but LIFE). But the puppy can tell the difference. She takes one glance at me, up and down, and she decides: home or away. Cracks me up every time. ? ?

  36. Janean says:

    Showering FIRST thing in the morning saves my life. It’s so tempting to bang out the dishes, sit down with my planner or check my laptop first…for “just a few minutes.” However, it’s so easy for one thing to slip into the next and, before you know it, it’s noon and you’re still in your pjs, feeling grungy. For you working women, this probably isn’t an issue, but for stay-at-home-moms or work-from-home women (or both), it’s a thing. If I put it off, then it seems like I have to push a big pause button smack in the middle of my day to shower and I feel rushed and annoyed. When I shower first thing l, it feels like I’m getting a head start on my day rather than stopping my day to do a bothersome, time-sucking task. My rule is that I can’t go downstairs until I’ve showered. Once I’m out, I can go get coffee or water before I finish getting ready, because then the loop is underway and I’m likely to complete it. I’m a daily hair washer, I have long hair and I don’t have the kind that will air-dry nicely, so a shower is substantial time commitment. When I hop right in, get my audiobook going and am all fresh and clean before the day even gets going, I feel like I can accomplish anything that day. While it takes the EXACT same amount of time to shower whenever I do it, a shower later in the day leaves me feeling like a slug. The early shower seems to wake me up and tell my body that it’s time to roll.

    • Jodie says:

      This is a brilliant idea! There are times when I want to work out first but otherwise, I would benefit from making my shower my first priority and I believe it would help me to be more prompt.

  37. Stephanie says:

    I used to hate winter and get antsy during all of it, until I figured out how to embrace it. I’m all about long underwear, fuzzy socks, cozy pants and hoodies, lighting candles, fun scarves, etc. I’ve actually ended up going so far in the other direction that I’ve found myself getting antsy in the summer for colder weather! Eesh.

    But honestly, what’s saving me right now- and truly, not to sound like a suck-up- is your podcast. I only recently discovered it (I’m kind of new to podcasts in general), and so I’ve been listening to all the episodes. It’s brought me so much joy, along with absolutely exploding my reading life (in a good way!) and taking my mind off of my chronic pain. I had kind of a reading slump around October-November last year, and whatever the opposite of a slump is, I’m there now. I’ve been reading fabulously lately and I have your podcast to thank for it. So thank you, Anne. I really do appreciate everything you do.

  38. Julie says:

    My family is saving me right now. I had ankle surgery on Tues., and cannot step on my ankle for 8 weeks. I am in bed, surrounded by books, and often our small Norwich terrier mix is next to me. Friends are bringing home cooked meals. I am blessed and most grateful for the help.

  39. Laura Plush says:

    I had a “Readers Journal” party last week. Some friends came over and we made reading journals…we all love fountain pens, stickers, Washi tape, and all kinds of journals so we each did our own thing. I had a fire in the fireplace, soup and salad and some yummy bread and we had a glorious afternoon.

  40. Terrell says:

    Things that are saving me right now:
    – my painted yellow front door, with a red wreath with musical instrument ornaments on it (I painted the door in the fall)
    – my year old cats, Gilbert & Sullivan, brothers with very different personalities
    – flannel sheets
    – journalists and late night comedians
    – taking The Artists Way class
    – playing the soprano sax (instead of just tenor sax)
    – totally loved doing a dump run with my contractor, who is doing a lovely job on a small kitchen upgrade

  41. kara says:

    I am very excited for these lists and I will try to come up with my own! I’ve read your blog for quite awhile, but had no idea how much we have in common with winter anxiety! I struggle with serious germophobia/emetophobia and SAD that can completely paralyze me this time of year. I must confess, reading your post, I find myself wondering “what kind of flu have they had.” As I’m staring down a week filled with negative windchills here in NE and activities that will force me out of the house, I’m very much looking forward to encouragement to survive the rest of the season!!

    • SarahL says:

      ((Hugs)) to you. I had three hyperemetic pregnancies, and I’m terrified by the slightest tinge of nausea. I didn’t know that there was a word for it.

  42. Felicia says:

    Thanks for pointing me here. I woke up to the 2nd round of the stomach flu this morning and was feeling very down until I read this. I was already looking forward to February 1st for personal reasons. And now I have something else to look forward too.

  43. Ruthie says:

    Bless all of y’all’s hearts — and heads, and stomachs… especially yours, because it’s bad enough to have the flu, but to be the mom in a family that has the flu?! What a horrific week! Wishing you all speedy recoveries and a long warm spell!

  44. Denise Terry says:

    *daily smoothie made from 2 cups frozen berries, double fermented kefir, milk, ground flaxseeds and protein powder.
    * 4 Airborne tablets every morning
    * soft throw from my last FabFitFun box that I wear around the house like a shawl
    * daily bible reading and listening to a podcast called The Bible Recap that covers that days reading. ( this is so good!)
    *several cups of tea every day
    *reading great books, of course!

  45. Sarah says:

    Yes, a speedy recovery! And stock up on Elderberry syrup – it’s THE BEST for colds and the flu. Elderberry was the first thing that came to mind after reading about your flu. I thought for sure someone else would have mentioned this delightful herb, but I’ve read all the comments and didn’t see it. Maybe everyone already knows about it?

    Elderberry works by supporting the immune system and inhibiting viral replication. Safe enough to take every day as a preventative and elderberry syrup tastes yummy, too. Such a lovely gift for winter from our Creator! If you take frequent doses at the onset of symptoms, it can even knock out the flu. No, I don’t sell it, just use it all winter. 🙂 It used to only be available at health food stores, but now even the chain drugstores carry it. For the DIYers – with some dried elderberries it’s not hard to make your own syrup, tea or even gummies. Check it out!

  46. Donna Cason says:

    It has been a particularly stressful and overwhelming season for me – not because of the weather, but it’s certainly not helping. I’m in The South, so it’s not nearly as cold as where you are, but we’ve had SO MUCH RAIN and the temperatures are 68 one day and 48 the next! Anyway, in this crazy, busy, difficult, but blessed season, here is what’s saving me is:
    1) Easy Peasy All-in-One-Homeschool – I decided to give it a try when we started back after the holidays to see if it would make things a bit easier on me. It has been a lifesaver for me (no planning – Whoop! Whoop!) AND my kids actually enjoy it! Win-Win!
    2) My Kindle Paperwhite – we somehow messed up during open enrollment last year and ended up with no vision coverage. I need my Rx updated badly (picture reading glasses on top of prescription glasses). I have reverted to reading solely on my Kindle until I can find the time to get an appt now that we have coverage again. Pro: All the awesome e-books deals you share! No shortage of books to read. Con: All the awesome e-books you share! Who knew you could break the bank on $1.99 e-books?
    3) Audiobooks via Hoopla and CloudLibrary (re: #2)
    4) Amazon Music – any song pretty much ever recorded, right there for me to listen to any time and any place I want.
    5) My 100 year old clawfoot tub that my amazing husband restored for me. It is my favorite place to retreat (there and my wingback recliner in my reading corner in our bedroom).
    6) My husband. I asked him this morning if he thought I was bipolar. He said, “No. I think you’re just human.” He is my best friend and my greatest encourager.
    7) More than any of the others, trusting in God’s goodness, grace and provision. God is good all the time.

  47. SHERRY JOHNSON says:

    Watching the movie “You’ve Got Mail” always brings me happiness, even when down with stomach problems as I was last February for 2 weeks.

  48. Heidi Benson says:

    I am the queen of battery operated twinkle lights wrapped through fresh flowers, light sensitive candle lamps in the windows, hot beverages and home cooked meals. In the PNW, it’s more gray and wet than actually cold (I grew up in the Midwest, so I know cold), and many people have a problem with the endless gloom. Honestly? I like it. I moved here FOR the weather. I love getting all Hygge (and have done it since long before it was a trend), but the summer? The heat and sun of August with grouchy children and endless garden watering? That’s my depressing month — no freshly baked bread, no crocheting afghans, no long afternoon walks. That’s the month I need to find a good pick-me-up… one that isn’t in a bottle of icy Rose wine 😉 Please — tell me I’m not alone!

  49. Saving my life right now…
    – planning the icy cold weekend so I didn’t leave home, not even once
    – planning how to fulfill my 19 for 2019 goals
    – the new Instant Pot we got for Christmas — and soup!
    – white roses in a vase
    – my favorite plaid infinity scarf
    – working on the blog while drinking coffee in my pj’s (see: didn’t leave home, above)

  50. Here in Tennessee we can go from a mild 58 to 12 degrees all in a few days. Tennessee doesn’t really know what season it is?!?! Our schools are out another day for the flu. Winter is not a favorite of mine! Spring come soon! I keep hoping to move further south one day for sunny days all year long!

  51. Linda says:

    What’s saving me:
    1.Gratitude for modern heating and healthcare.
    2. Warm baths.
    3. Fires in the fireplace.
    4. Good books.
    5. Wisdom from long experience: this will pass.

  52. Sheila says:

    Not sure if this is too early to comment on what is saving me thus far this winter, but I also know I may not have time to write on Fri. Feb 1st, so… It’s been a snowy, cold winter in the mountains of CO! Every night when I get in bed, I give thanks for flannel sheets. I try to relish the beauty of the sunrise when I am out walking my dog in the morning. I laugh at my dog romping through the snow and alternately burying and finding balls in the snow! I am blessed to do baby and preschool story time at the library and delight in their sweet faces and joy in the stories and songs. Also, I have not set New Year’s Resolution re: dieting or exercise. When I can do yoga, I enjoy it. I also savor my daily wine!
    Be well, fellow book lovers!

  53. Kate says:

    My husband and i both got the flu after returning from vacation, so Sleepyytime Echinacea tea, these honey spoons (think hot chocolate spoons but honey) and my InstantPot (chicken noodle soup in 30 minutes = ?).

  54. Cat says:

    I want to echo some things on this list already: Tazo dessert teas, cozy blankets, family game time. But I also have one approach to the season that is saving my life right now: I’ve been going into work early (5:00-5:30). Not only do I get a lot done before everyone else shows up, but then I can leave while the sun is still shining. It is really hard for me to go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, so this tweak does wonders for me.

  55. Charity Dušíková says:

    Today a gorgeous snow is falling, definitely an uplifting sight to behold. Getting outside is a huge help, and my daughter’s love of the children’s library is enough to get her outside. Now that I have a cold, tea is literally saving me. And I get a lot of energy from writing letters, having Skype conversations, and having friends over whenever possible. In the winter, I need a stronger dose of community.

  56. Heather says:

    Winter is hard. For me, winter = physical pain….so I must focus on the good and be kind to myself. So, what’s saving me:
    1. Books, books, and more books. The challenge lit a fire under me to step out of my comfort zone and it’s been wonderful for my reading life.
    2. Lighter school days for my kids. We homeschool. In the warm weather it’s awesome…lots of time outside, field trips, etc. In the winter it’s difficult for obvious reasons. But we’ve added in kiwicrate subscriptions, cooking classes, online art classes…anything to bring a little joy into our day. Thursdays are extracurricular days spent doing Ninja warrior classes and ballet 🙂
    3. Daily Harvest. It’s a big splurge but I have not regretted the expense this winter. It is keeping me on track with an autoimmune diet and as a result I’m feeling much better than I did last winter.
    4. Speaking of splurges. YNAB. You need a budget. It’s changing the way I think about money and surprisingly I’m really enjoying all of the videos and resources they share.
    5. Youtube piano tutorials. I’ve never played an instrument and right now I am about half way through Fur Elise…it’s a small thing that is making me very happy.

  57. I’m a high school teacher and thankful for a snow day here today! Haven’t been able to get outside for a week due to the cold, but I’ve been getting my 10,000 steps in in front of the TV. No treadmill, just marching in place! Hang in there. Can’t wait for February 1st!

  58. Ashley E Whitney says:

    Literally my Apple Watch saved my life this weekend. I managed to lock myself out of my parents house in 10 degree weather with only a sweatshirt, jeans & slippers on (darn dog wanted someone to go out with him and the door locked behind me). After trying to find someone at home in the neighborhood of summer seasonal homes in Northern MI, I realized I could make a call with my watch. It’s amazing the obvious things you overlook in your panic. Got close enough to the house to use the cell from my phone and got my parents after several dropped calls. Managed to get the code to the garage and get inside.

  59. Brenda Crews says:

    One of the best things: Finding MMD.
    I love it.Also:
    -Reading more than any other time of the year, and thanks for enriching that for me.
    -Wearing warm pj’s, colorful warm socks, and furry slippers way longer in the morning than I care to admit.
    -All things cooking. Finding new recipes, soups,breads,slow cooker, sheet pan, and more.
    -Learning to appreciate looking at the oak trees outside my window in their skeletal beauty instead of all leafed out.
    -Feeding my little group of hungry deer off my deck.Yes, here in our neighborhood, we have semi-domesticated deer. That and feeding the birds gets me outside in the morning
    -Making New Years Resolutions and keeping the. But not so much the loose 10 pounds in 10 days variety. More what change. Is God directing this year type.
    So these are some of the things that get me through the Januaries.

  60. Amy Czuba says:

    Thank god I live in New England and can continue to cheer for the Patriots right up through the Super Bowl! (ok, i’m ducking now). That aside, exercise is the one thing that really helps me, especially if i can get outdoors during the day.

  61. Erica says:

    It doesn’t get very cold here in Houston, TX but the temperature does dip and get windy and rainy and that doesn’t make us particularly happy! Therefore, I choose to savor those moments when the sun makes an appearance (even if it’s just for a couple of hours). Little things like a really nice hand cream and Kiehl’s lip balm make me happy. Also, a new cookbook, Cook90, has made me excited about cooking again with all the new recipes and the encouragement it gives to cook something good rather than purchase take-out. Finally, making a conscious effort to stop and talk to my coworkers as I pass them, meet someone new at my church, or even just smile as I walk by people have all saved me from the winter doldrums.

  62. Melissa says:

    Saving my life:
    Books, but specifically Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. Colwin died in 1992 but the books still speak to today and she is such a lovely woman and writer. The books include recipes but are a combination of memoir and thoughts on food / eating / feeding people.
    Brisk walks with the bright blue sky. I live in Northwest Florida and it is cold (for us), but getting out to see the lovely sky and the camellias is so saving my life.
    English costume dramas. I am loving Victoria (PBS) and I just finished the remake of Howard’s End (Amazon Prime).
    Sheet pan dinners. I love one pan / pot cooking and we have had some delicious and easy dinners this winter. I found several I liked in the February 2019 Southern Living.

  63. Jodie says:

    Hmmm, what is saving my life? I want to follow this list for suggestions for lifesavers in February because this February will be the first anniversary of my husband’s unexpected death due to heart failure. He was fairly young and exhibited no signs of poor health and so the kids and I are still grappling with our loss. My “children” are young adults but still live at home. Partly because I believe they don’t want me to be lonely. So, I guess I would say my dear children are saving my life. Both daughters have serious boyfriends and yet we are doing a group outing on Valentine’s Day so I won’t be alone. My heart is broken but I would still call myself blessed. I am looking forward to the following post and the list and am hoping to glean some wonderful ideas from all of you.

  64. Jami says:

    Periodically throughout the day, I sit on the floor in front of my bay window, take a few big, deep, slow breaths, and talk to God about whatever is on my mind. I may read a Psalm or a passage of Scripture. Sometimes, I’ll close my eyes and listen to a 10 minute meditation. It’s not much, but somehow it’s enough. I see the sun (or lack thereof), the nature that is in my backyard, the sky, and remind myself of Who is in charge and that it’s all going to be okay.

  65. Amy Hess says:

    I was going to list some things that were saving me right now in the midst of this cold January, but then I started reading these comments. This is such a beautiful collection of lovely thoughts and prayers, and it makes my heart incredibly happy to have found a community of readers who take the time to share sweet words with one another. THAT is a blessing this winter!

  66. Melanie says:

    A few things are saving my life right now! Its been a very difficult month with work, husband gone for a week over the “pond” and getting two kids to two different schools. But I remember the Book of Hygge and take tips from the Danes. Just reading it gets me cozy but I take time to be grateful for my favorite fuzzy socks, blankets, and candles. My dog also saves my life everyday. When no one else seems to really SEE me, she does. She’s my buddy. Finally, in the shower each morning I take a smell of a very citrusy blend of essential oils and it reminds me of less dreary weather. 🙂

  67. Linda says:

    With our dogs we couldn’t say “go” or “walk” so we changed it to “pedestrian activity.”
    My heated mattress pad is saving my life right now. I love getting into a warm bed at night!

  68. Deborah says:

    Music wafting from the corner by my chair from a “Favorites” list on my iPod…

    Sending happy mail to friends and people I am praying for and handlettering the addresses, using washi tape and stickers on the envelopes and using my new wax seal stamp on the back!

    Planning a luncheon for March, with two dear friends to bless a group of ladies…

    Voxer. My best friend and I leave each other long messages. Sometimes listening to her messages is the only way I get my laundry folded!!! 🙂

    Watching Beverly Hillbillies in the evenings with my dear man and our teen son…{and daughter when she’s home!!}

    Encouraging texts from friends and prayer warriors…

    Flatlay photos of books….I love creating these vignettes…styling them and shooting them…

    Writing words, jotting in my prayer journal and a collection of pretty pens!

    Memorizing Bible verses centered around my Focus Word for 2019 ~ Contentment!

    Books and magazines, of course!!! I currently have several books in my bookstack I’ve been really looking forward too and I have slowly subscribed or been gifted several magazine subscriptions. It’s always a day brightener when a fun magazine arrives in my mailbox!

    {Now, I’m off to ten this into a list of ten for a blogpost!} {Does that mean perhaps I ran a little lengthy in my comment?! 🙂 } {Totally wasn’t planning it when I began.} haha! {However, these types of lists are some of my very favorite to make.} {Seeking the joy!!!}

    Have a great weekend, Anne!

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