What’s Saving My Life Right Now

This is inspired by Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up as a reminder of the things –both large and small– that save our lives and our sanity in the midst of the chaos of life.

So what’s saving my life right now?

  1. Tea. It’s my drink of choice, and really comes in handy in the winter months when I need something hot to warm my hands and soothe my throat. I tried Nourish Move Love’s detox ginger turmeric tea, and while I still have to play around with the ratio of tea concentrate to hot water, it’s been really good! I like knowing that I’m putting good things into my body that not only taste delicious but also help my body function better.
  2. The Hope*Writers podcast. I sat in on the webinar last week, and it was just the motivation I needed to really work on my writing. I’ve been listening to the podcast (is binge-listening a thing? I think it is!) like crazy since then, and all the information and encouragement is so good! I’m actually taking notes.
  3. Rest. I’ve been doing a lot less in the last month or so than I was in the previous several months. Some of that has to do with the cold and dark days and the lack of motivation that brings. But I’ve also been giving myself permission to just sit and rest after work and on the weekends. I’m trying to find the middle ground between productivity and rest, and I feel like I’m getting closer.
  4. Dark chocolate. It’s just the best. Nothing makes a long day feel better like some dark chocolate.
  5. Mail-order products. I’m not talking about ordering tchotchke things from a catalog. I mean having things delivered to my house that I would otherwise go to the store for. I signed up for Express Scripts prescription delivery to save trips to the pharmacy, and notify me a few weeks before the prescription runs out. Hooray for not running out because I forget to pay attention! I also started a subscription to Cora, which is a feminine care service that uses organic, vegan products that are comparable to traditional ones, and every subscription provides products for women in developing countries who don’t otherwise have access to them. Win-win! And again, it arrives on my doorstep. Hooray! If you’re interested, you can use my code and get up to your first month free (a $7 discount): jessica6483
  6. “Yes To” products. I’ve been trying to find better personal care products, and these are great! I love the Yes to Carrots body lotion and the Yes to Tomatoes face care line. They have a charcoal face bar soap that I love! I like knowing that I’m not putting dangerous chemicals on my skin, since what we put on our skin really matters (it’s the largest organ of our body and absorbs what we put on it, into our bloodstream).
  7. Mrs. Meyers and Norwex household products. Again, I’ve been working on having cleaner products– this time for my home! I don’t like the idea of having a lot of toxic chemicals spread all over the surfaces in my home. I like Mrs. Meyers soaps (hand and dish) and their all-purpose cleaning concentrate. They have so many lovely products and scents! I also like Norwex products because of their BacLoc technology. Because of the natural antibacterial properties of the silver in the cloths, I don’t have to worry about germs. And with their polishing cloth, I can finally get windows and mirrors clean without streaks!
  8. Community and friends. As an introvert, it’s often a challenge for me to balance social commitments and “me” time. I’ve been working on finding the sweet spot in the middle, and I feel like I’ve been making some good progress. I’ve spent some fun time with some wonderful people– crafting, pampering, chatting, cooking, and more. It’s been a great time and a good reminder that I need people in my life. 😉
  9. Books. True to form, I’m reading a few right now. I’m still plugging along through The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and it’s as great as I expected. It’s massive (we’re talking 1169 pages, people!), though, so I’m going at what seems a turtle’s pace. I’m also reading Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I think my love for the original is tainting my view of the new book, but it’s interesting to say in the least. I’m eager to see how it ends. And I just finished reading Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift: An Advent Devotional. It was lovely. I read more than a day at a time since I borrowed it from the library, and after Christmas since it was unavailable in December, so that was a little odd, but I loved it nonetheless.
  10. Netflix. I’m so grateful that my parents let my sister and me use their Netflix account, especially since we don’t have cable. There are so many good movies and shows on there that I hardly know where to begin. I like having familiar shows on in the background while I cook, and sitting down to watch a movie after dinner or on the weekend is a nice way to unwind. Sometimes I just need to de-stress and find something funny, and I often turn to Netflix for that. Lately I’m liking A Series of Unfortunate Events, One Day at a Time, Bones, and The Imitation Game.

What things are saving your life right now?

 

 

Further reading:

What’s saving my life right now by Anne Bogel, Modern Mrs. Darcy

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Unplug

Have you ever felt like spending time on social media and the Internet in general is more damaging or discouraging than it is beneficial or uplifting? I feel your pain.

Technology has done some wonderful things for us. It allows us to communicate with people we don’t see on a regular basis, share information with a large audience all at once, send links and photos and videos other people post, and make new friends just to name a few.

It can grow our world if we’re purposeful in finding new connections and using a variety of mediums to get our information. But it can just as quickly shrink our world.

I like to think I can scan through my social media feeds to keep up with the lives of my friends without being drawn into any negative comparison or jealousy. But time and time again, I feel a niggling sense of discontent when I spend too much time taking peeks at what others are doing with their lives.

Spending great lengths of time looking at what others are doing with their lives only serves to breed discontentment with our own. We always want what we don’t have. We see things others have and want them for ourselves, forgetting everything they had to do to get to where they are in our desperate attempt to get everything we want immediately, without going through the work and the waiting. We let jealousy over take us without considering that they are not us, our stories and paths our different, we need and want different things. Not everything that works for our neighbor or sibling or friend or coworker is going to be the best for us. We ought to just keep our eyes on our own prize.

News feeds are a highlight reel— people generally don’t post about the everyday moments or their mistakes. They showcase the good times. And we then find ourselves comparing our struggles with their successes, forgetting that they have just as many troubles as we do. It gives us a false sense of reality in which they’re the winners and we’re the losers. It robs us of our joy and contentment in our own lives and makes us feel like we are less valuable or less successful or less worthy.

The constant noise the media feeds us– between news and social media– drowns out that still small voice calling us to a different, slower kind of life. In the chaos of constantly being connected, we can’t hear ourselves think or stay tuned into who we really are because we’re inundated with images of other people’s lives and their opinions (or perceived opinions) about ours. Being constantly connected and available to others keeps us at a running pace, thinking we have to do more and more and more.

When we’re constantly connected, we have a tendency to ignore our surroundings. Whether it’s the persistent pinging of our cell phones or scrolling through funny videos and cute photos, we can easily ignore the real life people around us.

Between losing touch with those right in front of us, drowning us in comparison and jealousy, and having that still small voice drowned out by the noise, technology and the media confuse our sense of reality, leaving us with only a poor substitute for the vibrant life that could be ours if we only disconnected and found our footing outside cyberspace every once in a while.

I’m making a concerted effort this holiday season to set my phone aside, shut off my computer, quiet my inner monologue about my to-do list, and slow down to pay attention to the world around me. Will you join me?

 

 

Further reading:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/technology-shaping-your-spiritual-life-heres-how

 

Image source: www.thedailymind.com

April Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the April installment!

Current favorites:

Book: Oddly enough, one of my favorite books this month has been What to Eat by 51TGfxEg91L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Marion Nestle, which dives deep into food, nutrition, and food politics in a way that had me gripped from beginning to end. I took copious notes on the conclusions that were drawn from various scientific studies, and felt validated when some of my own food preferences were supported. The book explained many things I hadn’t understood or known about before, and it made me wish I had studied nutrition sooner.

Song: Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw. I think the song is sweet, and it stands out to me in the way it highlights simple acts of goodness and reminds me of the wisdom previous generations pass on, which is vastly different from a lot of the music I hear on the radio. It’s a refreshing difference.

Hold the door say please say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got moutains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

When it’s hot, eat a root beer popsicle
Shut off the ac and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin’
Don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

Verse: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” -1 Corinthians 1:25-29. When I begin to wonder why God doesn’t do things the way I want Him to, I remember that His ways are far greater than mine– so far above me that His foolishness is wiser than my highest levels of wisdom. He uses the seemingly small, insignificant, foolish things to accomplish His purposes and demonstrate His power.

Food: For most of this month, I haven’t been grocery shopping or making many new dishes. I realized I had a freezer and pantry packed with food to the brim, and it was time to help my budget out a little by trying to use up what I had before buying and making more. That being said, I have made some things. One of my favorites was Coconut Curry Popcorn from Naturally Ella, which I had with some dried mango on the side. It was delicious!

TV Show: I have been sort of alternating between episodes of Sherlock and Once Upon a Time on Netflix. I’ve watched OUAT before, but often didn’t pay enough attention to what wOnce_Upon_aTime_promo_imageas happening and have fallen behind on more recent episodes, so I wanted to start over. My best friend recommended Sherlock to me, and I love it!

Memory from this month: I went to a girls’ night at my friend’s house that was a lot of fun! We had a wide array of delicious goodies to munch on (which I, true to form, overindulged in to the point of being super stuffed), told funny stories, played with an adorable dog, and watched some Sherlock. It was a great way to get to spend some more quality time with some truly precious women.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!