I've never paricularly loved the month of January, but it feels pretentious to complain about it when I live in the land of t-shirts and sandals. It didn't snow last month, nor was it gray. There are still some leaves on our trees. It wasn't even cold. (I KNOW.)
That said, January in our little beach town was rough this year. Santa Barbara and Goleta received only a few hours of rainfall in the last nine months but all of it fell in the course of a short period of time, triggering massive debris flow just south of us in Montecito. After a December dominated by the Thomas Fire, January's devastation felt extra shocking. While our family wasn't directly impacted, we've certainly felt somber and slightly more anxious than usual. I am reminded this month that our plans are not our own, much as we convince ourselves otherwise.
This year I'm attempting to pursue a slower lifestyle. More stillness. More solitude. More listening. (And with all of that, less controlling behavior I hope.) I've stepped back from regular writing commitments and Instagram, podcasting and our little small business. I'm trying to pay attention to God's voice in my life which is quiet but steady. So far, in just a few short weeks, I'm already seeing the fruit of this decision to pull back, sit firm, and be present to what's right in front of me.
And, as much as it doesn't really make sense to blog when I'm trying to pursue the disciplines of stillness and quiet, I also feel a renewed sense to return to the blogging of old--the kind that I did all those years ago before Facebook and Instagram and algorithms and platform building. Blogging for the sake of blogging, even if no one reads it.
It's February, one of my favorite months of the year, so I'm sharing some of the little things that made January feel more bearable.
1. My Val Marie Paper Prayer Journal (thank you, Holly!) and Face to Face by Kenneth Boa (thank you, April!) are changing my prayer life. I usually have a hard time with any form of sustained prayer or meditation but these two little books are teaching my how to pray, and showing me all the ways God is working in my life and those around me.
2. Bike rides with Luke are a new favorite pastime now that I don't have regular childcare for him on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I plop him in the back of my beach cruiser and head out for a 20-30 minute ride to the beach. We check out the surf and send a full report to Daddy before cruising through Isla Vista where Luke flirts with all the college girls.
3. The Capri Citron candle from Bath & Body Works smells exactly like the Capri Anthropologie candle that we all know and love. (And really, if you don't know and love the candle I'm talking about, please trust my recommendation and get yourself one.) The Anthro version can get pricey so wait for a Bath & Body Works sale and then stock up. This is another Holly discovery that I'm glad I found. (It's so popular it's sold out right now!)
4. Sabbath Soaks. In an attempt to create more rest and rhythms, I've made Sunday evening baths a new pastime. Splurge on a fancy bath oil, light that Capri candle, bust out a good book, and start the week right y'all!
5. These pink Target pajamas are perhaps the best thing I've added to my wardrobe in a long time. My sister-in-law Sarah is the one who helped me discover that mens' inspired pajamas can be adorable so long as you find a pair that's slim fitting. She bought this pair for herself and let me try them on which is how I realized that I've been buying ugly pajamas for way too long. Since receiving them for Christmas I've worn them through TWO stomach viruses. TMI? Maybe. But you know what? If you're going to be stuck in bed with the stomach flu you might as well feel comfy and look cute. Feel free to write that advice down in your journal.
6. Winter Dream Tea Lattes are another indulgence that's been part of my routine for the last year so I can't NOT mention them here. When made properly they are full of sugar and basically terrible for your body. But that's why you make them once a week, preferably on Friday mornings, as a little "almost the weekend!" treat. Californians: you can buy the tea right now at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf but it's seasonal so stock up soon. For others: it's also on Amazon. Don't forget their Vanilla powder too.
7. United Pursuit is on repeat guys. Over and over and over and over. Especially the songs Looking for a Savior, Not in a Hurry and Speak to the Silence.
8. Stove top popcorn. It took me until almost 36 years old to realize that I don't need a Whirly Pop or Microwave to easily make popcorn on the stove. It's so simple. And it's so good! WHHYYYYY did it take me so long to discover this? Why am I even admitting such a think so publicly?
9. My Quip is the very best thing ever and I don't even care if you're snickering about my love for a gold toothbrush because the joke is on you for not having one. It's small. It's light weight. It's affordable. It's so pretty. AND, they send you a new head and battery every three months in the mail. My dentist is going to be swooning over my gum health the next time I visit. (Or at least this is what I'm telling myself.) You should get one.
What's changing your life? You should tell me, and read other ideas by visiting Modern Mrs. Darcy's post here.