Monday, February 1, 2016

13 Things That are Saving My Life

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy is asking again "What Is Saving Your Life?" this Winter. She reminds us that these can be little or big things, significant or seemingly unimportant. I enjoyed the prompt last year and it was great to give it another go.

1. Living in a space that is not big. After we moved back, I mostly stopped calling our house "small". We lived (and flourished) in an eight hundred square foot apartment, so it seemed weird to call our house that's almost double that "small". But it is small compared to what most of friends, colleagues, and most people in our economic sphere live in. Sometimes, I do have a hard time not letting that bother me. Mostly when I think about how it will be a little tighter (and more than that, just a little bit more trouble logistically) when we add a fifth family member this Summer. And beyond that, I really, really want hope we will foster and/or adopt one day, and our house limits us a bit in that (it would still be possible, just a squeeze). That said, RIGHT NOW, in this moment, I am so very thankful for this space. I've joked so many times over the years how it's possible to vacuum our entire house using only two outlets. It's just not a lot to keep up with cleaning wise. And right now I'm tired and pregnant and honestly, I want my priorities to be able to be focused elsewhere. I've literally never been more thankful for this not-big space.

2. Children who are truly best friends. I try not to take this for granted a single day. I also try not to take too much credit for it. I do think that having to share SO much- their birthday parties, their room, with a few exceptions, all their toys and games- has worked to their (and our) advantage. But at the end of the day, I truly think that the Lord plays a huge part in orchestrating our relationships and He is the one who has tied their hearts together in such a powerful way.

3. Junk food. I don't think I've ever had such strong cravings, even with my other pregnancies. I do have my vices (Oreos and a glass of whole milk) but I don't have a HUGE sweet tooth. Umm...or I didn't. I know it's not a great habit, but I'm just letting myself enjoy things right now.

4. Fresh food. That said, this whole pregnancy, I've craved fruit and vegetables and healthy things like never before IN MY LIFE. Clearly, I just like food. But there are a lot of times I'd genuinely prefer a salad or some fresh fruit over literally anything else. I'm taking advantage of that and I really think that even though I'm letting myself get away with eating a good many snacks and sweets, this is probably the healthiest my diet has been in a long time.

5. Amazon Prime. We actually discussed cancelling it before the new year but just today I placed an order for several things (all related to homeschooling). I knew they would be so much easier to find from my comfy chair than to search all over town.

6. Alone Time. Lately, I have just needed it more than ever. I consider myself an extroverted introvert, and I've always needed some space in my days but I've realized recently how important it is for me to prioritize that. Peyton's been really helpful and the kids are at a wonderful stage. I'm sure this Summer I will have to make some big adjustments, but I'm enjoying it a lot right now.

7. Friend Talks. As important as alone time is, I think I'm finally finding the balance with this. Or, I'm hopeful that I am. I'd really like to see people more (it's been a LOOONG Winter it feels like, even though a good bit of it has been pretty mild here), but I do love catching up over text or email or Facebook messenger. We've tried to get back in the swing of having family friends over for dinner some and one thing we've agreed to "splurging" on with this new budget is making space for both of us to grab lunch or dinner separately once a month or so with different friends. Those interactions really do make a huge difference.

8. Instagram. Over the past couple of months, I've added some more "creative" type accounts to my list of folks I'm following. I still love keeping up with my mom friends (some that I don't even know except for Twitter and blogs!) but I'm also enjoying seeing more photographs from people who focus on kids' art, or fashion, or zoo animals, or decorating. It's a fun place and while I'm honestly very much a fan of how Facebook has turned into more of an article sharing space, it's nice to have somewhere pretty to sort of let my guard down. I used to put pressure on myself to "keep up" and I did that with Twitter, too. I actually haven't checked Twitter in ages. It's still interesting to me to see the links from some of the people I follow or to "eavesdrop" on a conversation, but there's only so much time I can devote to social media and not feel like I'm wasting my life. I gave myself permission (which is hard, I'm pretty compulsive) to just pop in on Instagram when I could afford the time to do it and I enjoy it so much more now. I've also enjoyed it as a place to record and share our adventures. Everything on there makes its way to Facebook and all of that makes it's way to my Weekly Happenings posts (unless it fits somewhere else better, but it all finds its way to the blog). I feel like it's a good system for right now.

9. Having the house close to where I want it. I know there will always be organizational projects and fixer upper things and more enjoyably, decorative adjustments I want to tackle. But in all three areas, I do feel like we're in a good place. It's taken years and years but I feel like every room in our house is a room that looks well-furnished and well, complete. More than that, they are rooms I am proud of. I already have tons of plans for the months and years ahead, but I also feel a sense of accomplishment and contentment. I'm not sure it can be overstated how powerful that is after all these years.

10.  Feedly. I feel like most of the world (or most people I know) have kind of moved on from blogs. I'm enjoying them more than ever. I think partly, I've found more things that interest and inspire me rather than just reading certain blogs because...well, I don't know why? I want to find a better balance with reading actual books this year, but I'm also really grateful to have a big handful of (I think) really diverse blogs that encourage and challenge me as far as my faith, my vocation, my creativity, my pursuits in educating the children, and my desire to see beauty.

11. Hardcore planner usage. Gosh, I'm probably a bit too anal about this. In truth, I would be mortified for anyone to look inside the thing. But I've realized that if I spend more time detailing my day on the front end, I will be more successful and more able to relax throughout it.

12. A cocktail of safe for pregnancy drugs. I am so, so against over medicating. I mean, that's the (at least partial) basis behind so many of our decisions about anti-anxiety medication (for me), birth control, ADHD medication (for Peyton), overused antibiotics (for all of us), and epidurals. I totally see a time and place for these things, but I see them all overused. But these days, it's taking some pretty strong pain medicine for my headaches most days, Sudafed for sinus pressure many days, and a pill for nausea almost daily to keep me remotely functional. Also, prenatals (of course), iron that's not quite doing it's job with the anemia but is making me sick I suspect, and Tylenol when I'm trying not to take the harder pain medicine. I sort of hate it but I'm also thankful to have it available.

13. God's sovereignty. I have so, so many questions and worries and fears about what the future holds sometimes and it can be really hard to look at those things and smile. But when I look at the Gospels- toward the Shepherd who is always looking for that one lost sheep, toward the Father rushing toward the prodigal, and toward the Cross, I feel a calm wash over me. When I peek into Genesis and then into Romans, I remember that, as the beautiful little song my kids learned at Creative Arts Camp in New York a year and a half ago says, "though I don't do all I should, God will use it all for good". ALL, guys. Sometimes it's hard to believe, but I know it's Truth.

When I started this list, I didn't really think I'd end up with so many. In fact, I'm still a bit surprised. It's a good reflection, though, and reminds me of how much I have to be grateful for.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

My littles are great friends too. It IS such a blessing, especially when winter weather means more time spent with each other at home :) Popping over as your neighbour from the MMD link-up. Lovely list!