Monday, January 23, 2017

5 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now - 2017

Five Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now - 2017

Most of us know what's killing us, what's worrying us, what's weighing on our souls. Few of us remember to look for what's saving our lives, what's bringing us light.

According to some, January is the most depressing month of the year. Between Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to the lack of sunshine, the return to ordinary life after the holidays, and many other factors (especially this year), January has always been one of my most difficult months. 

Just under a year ago I posted a list of Things That Are Saving My Life (2016), as we make it through these cold, dark days, I thought it was time to look at what's saving my life right now. 

1.) Winter Boots

In high school I got a pair of winter boots from my grandparents for the holidays. I wore those boots until the leather wore through at the toes and there was hardly enough structural integrity to glue the soles back on (yet again). This was a handful of years ago.

I did a lot of research and hemmed and hawed. I went a winter without boots. I decided on a pair of leather boots that had great reviews and fit well. What I hadn't realized, is that they were great street boots but terrible for walking off dry pavement. Hiking up a snowy hill? Nope. Slipping them on quickly to trek to the mailbox holding onto toddlers? Not a chance.

After a couple more attempts returned, I've found ones I adore. They're warm, light, easy to put on, lots of traction, and they're waterproof.

Between my long coat and the tops of my boots, my knees may get a bit chilly, but my feet seem to warm up after I go outside. 

Even on some of these warmer muddier days, I have warm dry feet.

2.) Tracks in the snow

Between one of our favorite books Tracks in the Snow by Wong Herbert Yee, and the tracks we've been seeing out in our yard, it's lovely to be so close to town and still in the wilds of nature. 

How many of these can you identify?

3.) My meal planning whiteboard.

Just as week two of our No Spend Month came to a close, I did an inventory of what we had left. I wrote out all family meals we had and realized I had a couple days to creatively fill in. As the days go on, I've erased the meals we've eaten, and filled in with meals we can make with the leftovers of the ones we've eaten. 

This flexible system that's easy to edit has been a lifesaver. I've tried a lot of different methods of meal planning but our schedule is so erratic that planning more than a few days in advance is doomed to failure. Having the ingredients for a handful of meals as well as a few complete meals that just require heating seems to work the best for us. 

While I do occasionally actually use the calendar aspect, just having a place at the side of the fridge dedicated to figuring out our meals is incredibly handy. Notes about meals to remember, ingredients I want to have on hand when our tight spending cap is lifted next month, as well as ideas for lunches and snacks, they all have a spot. In these scattered days of parenting littles, I can use any little help I can get.

4.) Flowers

My oxalis is very happy. 

I've tried to grow them multiple times in the past and always had them slowly wane and eventually just call it quits. An impulse buy at the garden center last year, instead of treating myself to something edible, and I have never seen one happier. It has been blooming continually for months with a new burst of blooms every few weeks.

5.) Handwork

I go through cycles of different crafts, focusing on one for months and then putting it down for a while.

I finished the piece of cross stitch I was working on a couple of weeks ago, and picked up another unfinished piece from years ago.

A few stitches here, a few stitches there and eventually I have the satisfaction of a completed complex tapestry I've designed and stitched, one cross stitch at a time.

There is something marvelous about the tiny actions that add up to a grand piece after keeping at it for years. The cumulative effect of picking something back up as many times as it takes to complete, the journey is more valuable than the destination. This focus, this mediation, like moving a pile of dirt one shovel-full at a time, like snowflakes adding up to inches of snow covering everything with a serene blanket, these stitches weave together with my thoughts, soothe my soul, and help me to be a better person.

What's saving your life right now?

What's bringing light into your life? 


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