Today, I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share what’s saving my life right now.
I’m so cognizant of how rough this current season could be, as we slog through both winter and the newborn phase. And while I’ve certainly had my moments, these past few weeks have really been very joyful (though exhausting), and I’m feeling enormously grateful.
And in the midst of that, I’m trying to pay especially close attention to the small moments and lovely things that make my winter days feel slightly less gray and a bit more cozy.
1. My husband’s paternity leave. I know maternity and paternity leave is a hot-button political issue right now. (It’s crazy to me that I even need to write that sentence!) Just a few months before Ruthie was born, Evan’s institute changed their leave policy, and he was able to be home with us for three full weeks. I can’t express how much this eased our transition into being a family of five. It was a relief to know Evan didn’t need to use up his sick leave or vacation time (especially with his sister’s wedding coming up later this year). We didn’t have this luxury with our first two pregnancies, so this was such a big deal.
2. Merriam-Webster’s Twitter feed. During one of the presidential debates, I retweeted a Merriam-Webster tweet about people searching for “leppo,” as in “A leppo.” (It’s one of those things you have to laugh at, otherwise you will cry.) I immediately got some (well-intentioned) snark from some friends about how–being the nerd I am–I would follow Merriam-Webster. But here is what they quickly learned: Merriam-Webster’s Twitter feed is hilarious and very well-done. And let’s be honest—Twitter can be a depressing place these days. My feed needed a little fun, but this feed is still relevant and interesting.
3. Wonderful, heartwarming novels. I haven’t read much good fiction lately. In fact, since reading All the Light We Cannot See almost a full year ago, I’ve been in a bit of a fiction hangover. Nothing has quite gripped me. I checked out a few fiction picks from the library, but almost always returned them before finishing them. (I’ve read some great non-fiction, though.) All that changed this month! I read both The One-in-a-Million Boy and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. They aren’t really comparable to All the Light, but I think they’ve both broken the spell. I loved them both. They are easy reads, but they have great emotional depth. In both books, the characters are flawed and complex but also endearing. The writing in The One-in-a-Million Boy is phenomenal, and The Storied Life… is a great read if you are book person. I feel buoyed by these books, and I can’t wait to read my next piece of fiction.
4. Hot coffee in the morning. Before moving to Michigan, I was a strictly iced-coffee girl. Last winter, I finally took the plunge and started drinking the hot stuff, out of pure necessity. This year? I am learning to love the ritual of a hot cup of coffee in the morning—the savory smell of freshly-ground beans, the clink of the mug, the swirl of white cream, the warmth against the palms of my hands.
5. Our baby swing. Seriously, I’ve fallen more in love with this contraption with each successive newborn. I love that it’s compact. I love that it’s a swing and bouncy seat in one, saving us an extra piece of gear. But most of all—I love that our babies have loved it.
6. My word of the year. I haven’t written much about it yet, but I chose “dwell” as my word of the year. I wanted something that had tangible as well as spiritual applications. I wanted something that embodied coziness, stillness, presence, and focus. I wanted something that would encourage me to release some of my anxiety and fully enjoy my present moment (whatever it may be). I wanted to stop always wanting to be elsewhere. As I waited for Ruthie to be born and in this hazy newborn stage, it has been so helpful to reflect on this word. And—because this is how God works—this word is already shaping up to mean more than I could have expected this year. (I can’t wait to share more about that soon!)
7. Voxer. Voxer remains my favorite app. It’s the best way I’ve found for keeping in touch with long-distance friends, and over the past few months, I’ve been participating in a few writing-specific Voxer groups. I love it.
8. Google photos. Digital photo organization used to be my nemesis. The frustration of finding one specific photo used to drive me crazy, and the fear of losing all my photos perpetually hung like a dark cloud over my head. Not so anymore. Google Photos is proving to be the easiest method I’ve found for getting pictures from my phone to my computer and visa versa, and I love the way it’s organized and the features it offers. My favorite feature is the search option. I can search “baby” (or “house” or “flower” or “winter”) and it will pull up every one of my pictures with that item. (Not to mention—free, unlimited cloud storage.) Yes and amen.
9. Ellie Holcomb’s new album. Ellie Holcomb’s new album, Red Sea Road, came out this week. It is so wonderful, guys. I love Ellie’s voice, and I love the way her songs incorporate Scripture. I’ve had this album on repeat all week.
10. The way Ian says, “Ruthie Elizabeth” when he talks to his sister. It’s really more like “woo-fee ee-lissa-bet!” (When choosing her name, I didn’t think to consider how hard it would be to say “Ruthie” for a preschooler with articulation issues!) Leo and Ian are both so sweet to little Ruthie right now, and I especially get a kick out of how Ian interacts with her. It just makes my heart swell, really.
And what’s more life-giving than that?