2023 | What’s Saving My Life Right Now

February 2nd is considered the halfway point of winter — the point at which we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Anne Bogel celebrates this milestone every year on her blog by sharing what’s getting her through that particular winter. Tons of her readers share their own lists and blog posts in the comments and it’s an amazing source of inspiration. I knew there was no way I was going to scrounge up the time to be prepared for the linkup, but I couldn’t skip this exercise altogether. I’ve been participating, in one way or another, since 2018 and don’t want to lose that streak! So I might be a day “late” in getting this post published, but I’m so happy to share this year’s list. As a quick reminder, here are the previous editions of this post:

2018 Edition: Journaling, my window bird feeder, Tasha Tudor, essential oil diffuser, and purging social media.
2019 Edition: An electric teakettle, sourdough starter, the public library, and my family.
2020 Edition: My notebooks, more birds, more Tasha Tudor, more following nature.
2021 Edition: Welcoming a period of wintering and stillness.
2022 Edition: Hydration, exercise, afternoon treats

This year’s list includes the sun, the library, and Chetna’s chai. I tried not to repeat anything from previous years, but that simply couldn’t be helped. And you’ll see why when you get there. On to the details!


Just a couple of weeks ago, it was dark while picking up Colton from his evening treatment program. We typically leave the house at 4:30 and return at 5:30. During the darkest days of winter, the sun was down before we even left to pick him up. Now — there is light! There’s daylight when we leave the house and while we’re waiting in the parking lot. It’s dark again by the time we make it home, but it’s only a matter of time until we’ll be able to play outside before going in the house, eating dinner, and taking baths.

I have mixed feelings about the sun. Colton is a creature of the seasons and has a really hard time falling asleep on those long days of summer. You might remember my challenges last summer – I was up with him until midnight most nights and he’d be up with the sun the next morning. And the level of supervision he needs requires me to be in Mom Mode constantly, which gave me no time for the things that charge my batteries. It was a painful and difficult time for this introvert. I’m trying not to worry too much about what this summer will be like and am instead focusing on the gardens and reading outside under the maple tree. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised this year.


The library is my touchstone to the world. It’s the only place I go with any regularity and I love chatting with the librarians every week. Most of the time it’s about books, but sometimes it’s about TV shows or even politics (the two librarians who work on Wednesday mornings are politically in-line with me, so it’s typically a safe — but whispered — conversation). I’ve even started chatting with the adults who attend storytime with their little ones, which isn’t easy for me. I tend to be withdrawn in social situations and am hesitant to join in on conversations with people, so it’s nice to feel like I can let down my guard just a little bit while I’m there.

And of course – the library has always been my major supplier of books, which is an important part of almost every day. What kind of person would I be without books? I love that I am able to fill in all of the little cracks of my day with stories from around the world, “drinking my own dark sustenance of ink” (A Ghost in the Throat). I love that I don’t feel the need to buy every book that I want to read, that I can save money and space at home by using the library. That I can start a book, realize it’s not for me, and return it to the library guilt-free — I didn’t lose any money and it WILL be right for someone else in town. Going in each week and checking out a gigantic tote bag full of books helps the library’s circulation numbers, which helps their budget each year, which helps the people in my community with all sorts of services. It’s a beautiful circle of life!


A few months ago I shared the link to Chetna’s Masterclass on Chai. I am still drinking it almost daily! My practice lately has been to get a pot bubbling up while I’m putting together Bryce and Bronwyn’s snack plate for our morning readaloud. That seems to give it enough time to come together and cool down before we sit down at the table together. It’s the perfect companion for homeschooling mornings. I recently finished our old container of cardamom seeds and had to buy more — and my goodness! Fresh spices certainly make lovely a difference. I love chai from Dunkin’ and Starbucks but honestly can’t see the use in buying it anymore because this is the most delicious (and lower sugar) alternative, especially on these viciously cold mornings!

If today’s weather is any indication, then we’re actually headed into the hardest part of this winter. Today is forecasted to be cold — the temperature is supposed to drop all day and will be below zero when we pick Colton up this evening. But it might be easier to have the hardest part be in the backhalf of winter because the end is so very near. Despite all the snow on the ground, the flowers will be blooming in just a few short months. I am planning to start some seeds in the basement in mid-March and am looking forward to nurturing those until the ground is ready to receive them and take over the job. This will be my year for a beautifully tended garden — which I say every year and then it completely falls apart. But this year? It will happen! I am planning to reread Fresh Water for Flowers and plenty of Wendell Berry to keep me motivated and on track. And of course, writing about the seasons and sharing my progress here on my blog is one of my biggest motivators year round, so thank you for reading, commenting, and the friendship. I am so thankful for this little space and the friends I’ve made around the world.


22 thoughts on “2023 | What’s Saving My Life Right Now

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  1. With you 100% of the way on libraries. I love the library. You have a lot of snow still for sure. Truly four seasons. We are coming out of Winter now, spring bulbs are in flower in places. My spirits are lifting. Have a Good weekend.


  2. I’ve never thought of Feb 2nd as the mid point of winter, but I guess it is! I just think of it as Groundhog’s Day – LOL and, looks like we are in for 6 more weeks of winter….stay warm and cozy!


  3. We are almost through an extremely cold winter system…-42C wind chill this morning it’s been this way all week, however the days are noticeably longer as in daylight and knowing they will only get longer really helps me this time of year!
    I really enjoy your posts Katie!


    1. Oh my! I hope you’re staying warm inside with your quilting machine!! I love that you’re also observing the length of the days — it really does help. Thanks for your kind words, Wendy. Stay warm this weekend!


  4. I, too, never think of Feb. 2 as the midway point of winter, but the seasons run a bit differently in Maine. Winter is longer. I love having more daylight at the end of the day. As for the library…I can’t imagine what my life would be like without it. Thanks to my library and interlibrary loan, the world of books and ideas is open to me. Every week, I give thanks for this wonderful institution where all are welcome and it doesn’t matter how much money you make. As for chai, oh my! How I love it.


    1. The Farmer’s Almanac actually says that the midpoint of winter is February 3 — so my post was right on time! It’s considered the midpoint because it’s right between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. So I think that means that it’s the meteorological midpoint? Maybe not. Maybe I’m getting my terms confused.

      I’m so glad that there are so many library lovers in my blogging circle. Long live the library! And chai is the perfect warm beverage for me — sigh!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I do so love the winter… feelings that were reinforced when I read Wintering. There is nothing so delight as a season that changes your focus, makes you stop and pause, and for a knitter… the ability to wear all the wools! 🙂

    Happy Friday Katie!


    1. There are some definite positives to the winter and Wintering does a great job of helping us find them – thank you for that reminder! Enjoy your weekend, Kat!


  6. While I’m not quite as tied to the hours of daylight as your son, I do find that this time of year, when there is so much darkness, I feel like I should be sleeping more, and not necessarily because I need more sleep. So I am enjoying seeing the days get longer. And like you I am so thankful for the library! I haven’t actually been in to take out a physical book in a while, but the books I can get digitally have been such a lifeline these past few years!


  7. I love this post. I have never seemed to catch Ann’s posts- totally love her but haven’t kept up. I need to dash over there now and check it out too…. but I love this post! I’m going to check out that chai as well. In the meantime, what’s gotten me through this winter? Working on my new blog, reading time with my son, my own books 🙂 Oh- and TEA….and coffee…. and herbal TEA 🙂 Did I mention tea?


    1. Thank you! Yes, I do recall hearing something about tea 😄 I’ve been drinking a lot of herbal tea lately as well — it’s been wonderful. I love your little rituals – so fun! Have you been reading anything that you’ve especially enjoyed lately?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I found a living books type science series I started with him recently that seems enjoyable so far but for myself I’m reading a book called the Disease Delusion and I’m trying to finish another one before I start my next Agatha Christie novel I received for Christmas. I’ve always got so many books going. I’m trying to finish a few before starting another!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your love for the library! Of course! You’re doing good things for your community by going to Storytime and checking out all those books! ❤️

    I noticed some of my bulbs are poking their little green noses out of the ground already! Spring is on its way! 🌸


  9. Your post is an inspiration. I have noticed slightly longer time of daylight. The chai sounds delicious. Tea sometimes feels like the elixir of life. Stay warm and safe.


  10. This past weekend I found myself looking forward to Daylight Savings Time – I have trouble getting up in the dark, but the dark at night just makes me want to go to sleep … maybe I’ll get on a better sleep schedule (like 10pm instead of 8:30?) once the clocks move ahead. And Katie, your library sounds lovely. Like the community that The Reading List described.


    1. Mary — we are in such a similar boat. I have to make myself stay up until 9:30 every night and I’ve really had to hack my alarm system in order to get up. Even though I already have to get out of bed in order to push the snooze button, I was still snoozing for far too long in the mornings. So now I set an alarm for 4:00, 4:01, 4:02, 4:03, 4:04, 4:05, 4:06, 4:07, and 4:08 so that I’m forced out of bed every 30 seconds or so and don’t have time to fall back asleep. It’s been working but is totally ridiculous.


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