I typically write about what’s saving my life in February, which is when Anne Bogel does her annual link up to help us all through the winter doldrums. But I was inspired to do an updated version after listening to a recent episode of The Next Right Thing. Emily P. Freeman recorded her own version just a few weeks ago, which is just brilliant. It’s always helpful to reflect on what’s helping us get through out daily life and I wanted to spend a few minutes doing just that.
This has been a weird spring in general. I think we’ve completely skipped the season and hopped right into summer. My Canadian friends still have snow on the ground and frozen earth, which is quite frustrating for them. In my personal bubble, we’re all sick again and it’s been a long couple of weeks for me. Very little sleep with long, fussy days. The sun has been shining, but I haven’t been able to spend much time outside. I’m trying to not be disappointed by that, but the disappointment is there. Lurking in the background and waiting to pounce on any unsuspecting victim who might wander into my path.
So – focus on what helps. What works. What makes me feel most like myself and not a monster. (I won’t think too much about how I could actually be a monster!!)
My Morning Routine
At the risk of copying Emily, I have to include my morning routine. It is the foundation of my day and pivotal to ensuring that my head is on straight. After getting a load of laundry going and taking care of the kitties first thing in the morning, I pour a cup of coffee and settle in at my desk. I update my daily planner, fill in the previous day’s entry in my Some Lines a Day notebook (if I didn’t get to it the night before), and then write a page in my journal. Once that’s done, I spend a little time with my blog by working on the next entry, responding to comments, or visiting others’ spaces for a little while. Typically by about 6:00, I scoot outside to the chickens and water my flowers, which takes about 20 minutes (don’t worry, we have a rain barrel so I’m using rainwater. I’d feel guilty if I used fresh water on my flowers everyday).
By the time I make it back inside, the kiddos are ready to get up and it’s off to the races with them. But I see this morning routine as a profound investment in myself by getting all of my worries and frustrations out into my journal first thing in the morning, working on something that is incredibly important to me every day (my blog), and then a little time outside caring for the flora and fauna in my life. I’m not sure what kind of person I’d be without this morning time.
Abbey Sharp YouTube Videos
This might be a weird one, but I’ve been watching a nutritionist on YouTube and it’s been fascinating. Abbey Sharp breaks down all of those TikTok influencer videos that share what people eat everyday and it’s been eye opening for many aspects of my life. I tend to be all or nothing in so many areas of my life – if I’m not doing something perfectly all of the time, then I might as well not be doing it at all. The way Abbey breaks down these videos allows me to think about my own rigid thinking about my body, food, exercise, and hobbies. She’s helped me think about balance in all new ways and that’s really helped me through these last few difficult weeks. She’s funny and smart and I’m incredibly grateful for her own vulnerability in these videos.
(Also, thanks to her I’ve been including fiber, fat, and protein into almost every meal and snack. It’s life changing!)
One of my goals for 2022 was to drink a cup of green tea every day. I’ve really prioritized that in the last few weeks and am loving it. My current favorite hot tea is Bigelow Green Tea with Pomegranate. I like to add a little honey to it for an extra dose of yum. Thanks to the warmer weather this week, I’ve started brewing iced green tea and am so happy to fill a water bottle with it every morning! Remember when I bought this iced tea diffuser last fall because it had been out of stock all summer? I was finally able to take it out and use it! I spooned out some Hope Blend Green Tea, let it brew overnight in the fridge, and it’s so wonderful.
(Slight tangent: I became interested in brewing iced green tea after reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. I recently learned that he has a new novel coming out in August – The Many Daughters of Afong Moy – that I’m interested in reading.)
When our refrigerator broke this fall, we opted for a smaller one so that we wouldn’t have to tap into our emergency savings account. It was nice to save money, but this new fridge has caused me so much frustration. It’s smaller and lower than our old one and so much gets pushed to the back and lost. These refrigerator bins have saved my sanity and money on groceries. We have a bin for sodas, sandwich stuff, cheeses (non-sandwich cheeses), lemons and limes, and highly perishable foods (like berries). When I’m making my list each week I can, for example, pull out the cheese bin and know for sure what we have, instead of searching all over the place and hope that I’m not missing anything. And keeping the berries front and center has ensured that we don’t forget about them until it’s too late. 8 bins came in the package and I just store the extras on top of the fridge when I don’t need them. And it’s really easy to just take out the bin and put it away when it’s not in use, which frees up extra room in the fridge. I am a big fan!
Of course, I have to talk about flowers on a Friday! Especially on a Friday in Spring! Despite feeling stuck inside the last couple of weeks, I’ve planted quite a bit of flowers in the small pockets of time I’ve found. We have our big planters of petunias, pansies, and snapdragons set up. I’ve filled our window boxes with petunias and marigolds. With Matthew’s help, I planted some already established foxgloves, lupines, columbines, and more phlox (thanks to our local nursery). I’ve already mentioned how I water them each morning and I’m thankful for the quiet time with them, especially when they’re literally vibrating with bees.
I’m carefully watching the peonies, hoping for some blooms. The lilac trees are nearly ready. We’ve had our first hummingbird sighting of the year. As I sit at my desk and look out my window, the grass is green. Green grass! This felt unimaginable even a month ago. Saturday’s forecast is nearly 90*F and we’re looking at thunderstorms (!) on Sunday and Monday. It certainly sounds like summer, doesn’t it?
I think I could talk about the weather and flowers forever, so I’ll stop there. But you get the picture, right? Watching and learning about what’s happening in my own backyard is so much fun, brings so much joy, and is always something I can fall back on when I need a little boost. I can take two minutes to lean against the backdoor window and simply watch. Look at the birds out there. Watch the chickens chase the blackflies. Notice the differences in the woods from just two weeks ago. There’s an undeniable simplicity and joy to it.
I feel like I could go on and on this morning, but my time is here done! I’d love to hear what’s been helpful for you lately. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of exactly what you need.