Though today is sunny and breezy and a high of 85 Fahrenheit, February is unpredictable. In the Pacific Northwest, where we lived for three years not very long ago, it was a guaranteed cold, gray day. The hardest kind. Last year, we were in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts and gawking at one of the earth’s great wonders.
Now we are in Austin, my hometown, and it is the month best represented with a question mark. Some days, it’s like today—springlike, really, and best celebrated with long walks and shoes that don’t need socks. Next week, though, could very well be icy and bone-chilling and honestly worse than central Oregon, because at least there it snows.
Regardless the weather, February just feels…. hard. Long, despite its reputation. Hard to love, despite its holiday.
I love it when my friend Anne writes about what’s saving her life, and I keep meaning to do the same. She did it this week, so I figured now’s a good time to do it, too.
This is what’s saving my life right now.
1. Red pen and paper
I’m working on the edits for my next book, and they go so much better when I print out my original draft, warts and all, and make my edits with a red pen. It’s worth the extra paper and printer ink.
2. Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
This book is magic and causing me to rework my entire book (see number 1), in only the best way. He has become one of my favorite modern writers.
3. Roots and Sky by Christie Purifoy
Christie knows the beauty and glory in everyday home life, and she writes it so well. I’m so glad her book is finally out in the world, because she has a gift with words. They’re a balm to my soul right now.
(You might have also heard that Christie’s brother-in-law is one of the marines whose helicopter crashed and is deemed lost at sea. Her words seem to matter, to weigh heavy with meaning, now more than ever. Please be in prayer for them.)
4. A trampoline
We got our kids a trampoline for Christmas, sorta symbolic for us vagabonding types. We knew they’d love it because so many of their friends have one (and we stayed in a house with one on our trip), and now that we’re parked in one place for a bit, we thought it a good idea to give them an instant energy-release tool at home.
So far, so good.
Sure enough, when my brain feels addled or fried, that means I need to put on my headphones and go on a walk. Our neighborhood has a sweet little pond with a walking trail encircling it, and we can access it through our friends’ backyard down the road from us. And just like that, I come back feeling so much better.
6. Taking Facebook off my phone
I didn’t mean for it to be such a distraction, but it is right now. I’ve taken it off my phone so my default downtime spender can return to book reading. So far, it’s working.
7. My bullet journal
Several of you have asked, and I promise to write soon about my experience with bullet journaling. Right now, it’s my lifeline. I carry mine around everywhere, and it’s changed my productivity and peace of mind for the better.
I’m grateful for these small but life-saving seven things.
What’s saving your life right now? I’d love to hear.