Every year I enjoy linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to reflect on what is saving my life right now when we are smack in the middle of winter. Although this year has been a little different. We have hardly had any snow so far this winter (although it looks like winter this week). I’ve been in a pretty good place so far this year but maybe that’s because of the things I have been practicing.
- Reading! I have really upped my game the last couple of years and read a lot more. It inspires me, encourages me, and entertains me to read a variety of different books. And this year I have made it a goal to read one book a week and to mostly read books I already own. I am keeping a book list of the books I am reading this year. Here is the link if you’d like to check it out: http://mamakay.com/WordPress/2020-book-list/
- Exercising in the Morning with my husband. I can’t believe I’m going to say this but truly, I feel more energetic when we do a 30 minute exercise video in the morning. We got a subscription the the Daily Burn channel on Amazon and it has been a great fit for us.
- Joining Online Coaching Groups. I joined this group by Crystal Paine and it has given me so much focus and energy to pour into my online work. If you work online I highly recommend doing this! (Registration for this group ends tomorrow, Feb 4th, so hurry if you want to join.)
- My morning time. I have had to be flexible with my time but the more consistent I am with doing it, the better my days are. I plan my day, read my Bible, copy a passage and write a prayer in my Write the Word journal and read from a spiritual book. (Right now I am reading Beholding and Becoming by Ruth Chou Simons.)
- Baking bread is saving my life right now! I always used to bake bread but had let the busyness of life get in the way. This year I want to reclaim my love of baking. My favorite things to bake are bread and cookies. They are a way I can use my hands to do physical work and my family feels loved (and less hungry) when I make these things for them.
What is saving your life right now? I would love to hear!
I believe that taking time to reflect regularly on our lives is vital to good mental health. Emily P Freeman offers the opportunity to join her and others do just that every quarter. I am linking up with her once again to name what I learned this fall.
- Quiet is good but I get antsy if it is too quiet. I also am more overwhelmed by the noise levels when everyone comes home.
- I need more active steps in my life. Now that the weather has changed going for walks doesn’t work out so much for me and I have already become more sedentary. I made it a baby step goal to stop at the gym after dropping off my preschooler and do a mile on the treadmill at least 2 days a week. It takes less than 20 minutes so I still have time to do other things but at least I get some movement into my day.
- Some friends introduced me to Marco Polo and I love using it to keep in touch with my sisters. We had been texting but I just love getting to see their faces and their lives since we live so far apart.
- I need accountability! When I signed up for the Monetize Your Blog course I paid extra for a one month long accountability group. I made more progress in that month than in the 6+ months before that!
- Monday mornings at home are necessary for me to get my act together after the weekend. I use that time to regroup, do laundry, do dishes, meal plan and check in with our budget on YNAB. I also get a lot done on my blog work. Mondays are my most productive day of the week.
- I prefer going to the morning Ladies Bible study instead of the evening one. Driving in the dark has always been harder for me so the mornings work out much better. I can run a couple errands in town afterwards. Plus it is just much less stressful than adding one more thing into our busy Wednesday schedule.
- I’m not there yet and that’s okay. I always want to rush through the hard parts to get to the finished product but I’m an enneagram 9 and slow is a fact of life for me. I am working to be content plodding along. As I reflect on this, I just need to stay consistent and keep moving forward especially when it is taking longer than it is fun.
Do you take time to reflect regularly in your life? What have you learned this fall?
Past Link ups for What I Have Learned: http://mamakay.com/WordPress/category/whatilearned/
All through the year our family tries to gather together after dinner to read together. We can’t manage it every night but we come back to it time and time again. There is something special about a shared experience reading a book together and it is so simple to make it happen.
Here is a list of our favorite Christmas books with links to Amazon in case you want to add them to your collection too. (I receive a small commission if you buy through my link. Thanks for your support!)
Our favorite chapter books for reading aloud as a family are:
Our Favorite Picture Christmas Books:
These are wonderful for young children but you might be surprised how much you and your older children will enjoy these beautiful books.
And here is a link to here James Earl Jones read The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Tommey to you. It is the best!
I am not a crafty person but I sure love a good book to read as a family. What are your favorite Christmas books?
* This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through these links it costs you nothing and it helps to support this site.
Do you find yourself frazzled in the busyness of December? There are so many extra activities and preparations to be made for Christmas. How can you possibly do one more thing? you may be asking yourself. Our family has found that practicing Advent is the answer.
Advent is not about doing one more thing. It is not something to be checked off your list. It is about so much more. There has never been a year that we have done our Advent things every single day. It is an invitation to meet Jesus here and now as we anticipate not only Christmas Day but his return to this Earth.
We have found that tying our Advent traditions to habits we have already established we are more capable of accomplishing them. Here is what works for us during this season:
Each morning as the kids eat breakfast we sing the Doxology (we do this all year long), then we read the Scripture for the Advent Readings that day, and then before they go to school or work we pray together. This takes less than 10 minutes each morning.
After dinner is cleaned up we gather together in the living room, sometimes with a fire lit, sometimes not. Then we light our advent candles, sing 1 song, read aloud a chapter from our Jesse Tree book and then hang up the corresponding ornament. This takes between 20 and 30 minutes depending on how often we have to stop to correct the littles and let’s be honest sometimes the bigger kids too.
Adding Advent to your December days is doable! And so worth it! It can take as little as 10 minutes a day. Some days you have more time and can spend longer but each moment you spend bringing God’s Word before yourself and your children is such a blessing!
You are not behind! Just do what you can and know that each time you spend with your family drawing close to God is an investment that will never return void.
It is hard to believe that summer is coming to an end all ready but I am here for it! I am linking up with Emily P Freeman to share my list of what I learned this summer.
- The biggest lesson I got this summer was a bit cliche but I learned that I need to take better care of my body. I got my first physical in several years and found out my vitamin D levels were “the worst the doctor had ever seen” and that my cholesterol was too high. I am working to establish sustainable habits to take better care of myself. Focusing on taking my vitamins (including megadoses of Vitamin D), drinking more water, eating salads everyday and getting to the gym three times a week has helped a lot.
- Annie F. Downs’ podcast series called the EnneaSummer2019 helped me as I have continued to learn about the enneagram this summer. I highly recommend it if you want to dive deeper into the enneagram. Suzanne Stabile’s book called The Path Between Us really helped me apply the enneagram to help me build better relationships with those I love.
- I am totally obsessed with the Caesar Salad Kit from Costco. Throw in some chicken and its a complete meal!
- Another thing I learned this summer is that Naan bread (also from Costco) makes an awesome base for individual pizzas.
- We got to have a family camping trip with my dad, stepmom, sisters and their families this summer and it was the best! I really want to make this a regular thing!
- Air fryers are terrific for making your food crisp and not heating up the kitchen in the summer. This is the one we got. I love that it doubles as a toaster oven. I don’t love the timer so we use a separate timer.
How about you? What did you learn this summer? I would love to hear!