What’s Currently Saving My Life (Fall Edition)
“I do not always stop and notice light
but I will continue to try.” (How Far You Have Come, Morgan Harper Nichols)
While my daughter excitedly counts down the days until her birthday at the end of November, I’m wishing time would slow down. Darkness arrives earlier each night. Cool air gusts through the changing leaves. The calendar fills up and the days seemingly fly by. Yet, there is light to be found. There is grace in the cracks and crevices of my day.
Every night I write in my One Line a Day Calendar. There are just a few lines available to share about my day. The practice grounds me in the present moment and allows me to reflect on the days. More often than not, I write that the days are good and beautiful. Even amidst the rushing out of the house each morning and the shuttling to practices and games and meetings, the days are good. This life is good. The light continues to shine.
I love the practice of naming that which is good and giving thanks. So today I’m sharing a few of the things that are bringing me joy, those things that are currently saving my life (thanks to Emily P. Freeman for cultivating this question every year and my friend Crystal for inviting me to share!) I hope this list inspires you to make your own list of what’s saving your life. I pray you continue to seek out the light, and trust that goodness is all around.
Here’s my list of everything that is making my life just a bit easier and which I am calling good (in no particular order):
Twice a week when both kids are at school I take myself to the yoga mat. The to-do lists, the phone, and the computer are left outside the yoga studio. For one hour I’m not responsible to anyone other than myself. The practice invites me to do nothing and to breathe deeply. Most days it’s almost as if I can hear my body and spirit saying, “Thank you for showing up to you.” And so I come to the mat and rest.
Once the kids are in bed and the dishes are washed (or left in the sink), my energy is pretty much depleted. I shower, grab whatever book I’m reading, and head to the couch. Some nights I light a candle and other times I diffuse essential oils. At the other end of the couch, my husband Stephen reads or works on his computer. Each night I’m taken away into stories. A few of my favorite recent reads include: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, Flying Solo by Linda Holmes, Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins Valdez, Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah, Gluing the Cracks by Katie Blackburn, Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan.
Walks with Friends
A couple times a week I’ll walk 2.5 miles with a few other moms. Sometimes we have our kids and sometimes we’re just the adults. Either way it’s a joy to walk the town streets in the company of friends. The accountability to get out and exercise is made easier with others.
Writing a book WITH a Friend
I have plenty to say about the act of writing a book, but right now I’m relishing the gift of writing a motherhood devotional with a friend. Erin and I have been friends for almost six years now. Our relationship started with a pitch by me to Living Lutheran where she worked. Since then she’s edited a number of my essays for Living Lutheran and our friendship has deepened. Fast forward to this past year where we wrote a book proposal together, pitched to an agent together, and wrote a book together. I can’t give thanks enough for our partnership and the ways in which we’ve grown in friendship and writing.
What a gift to have others who love my kids. Everyday we drop my son off for preschool and the teachers greet us with the following words: “We’re so glad to see you, Isaac.” It’s the same for Charlotte as she walks into the school and is greeted by name by the principal and other staff members. The kids are known and they are loved. I’ll forever sing the praises of our teachers and remind them that they are doing holy work.
Need I say more than the fall in the midwest? Our yard has three stunning maple trees that are just beginning to show their glory. The rustle of leaves under our feet makes music as we delight in the changing seasons, giving thanks both for what was and what is to come.
(Not) Reading the News
I like to be informed and in recent years I’ve found myself too informed. I’d scroll the latest news headlines and continuously refresh the latest events from around the world and across the country. With every new piece of information I’d feel my heart rate increasing and my stress rising. So recently I’ve lowered my consumption of the news and found that my day-to-day living is a bit calmer. What I do read, though, is our town paper that comes out once a week. From this paper we keep up with the school and town news, I know when events are happening, and I learn the history of this place and people that we currently call home.
How about you? Where have you been watching the light? What have you noticed in your life that causes you to breathe a bit deeper and savor the present moment?
// I love to connect with readers through my monthly newsletter. Every month I share a short reflection/devotion from me and a link to some of my favorite things from online. Sign up for my monthly newsletter, Walk and Talk, and receive a free, downloadable resource: Walk and Talk with God: Reflection, Scripture references, and a how-to for your own contemplative walk.