A snowy path for squirrel and fox,
It winds between the wintry firs.
Snow-muffled are its iron rocks,
And o’er its stillness nothing stirs.
But low, bend low a listening ear!
Beneath the mask of moveless white
A babbling whisper you shall hear—
Of birds and blossoms, leaves and light.
– Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
Those words whisper to the deepest part of my soul: spring is coming! As much as I long for spring, though, I know it’s made all the more refreshing by the glittering frost of winter. I have grown to love this gift of winter rest. The crisp air, the bulbs starting to push through the cold soil, and the resting garden tools give me space and time to dream anew. Each season prepares us for the next, and I feel that in life as well.
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January felt like ten years of living in 31 days. It was a month of change, shifts, and trying new things. I made more progress on some of my 2023 goals than I ever thought possible (more coming in my mid-month Cultivating My Health post!), and some I’ll work on more throughout the year. The start of the year is always a time of testing and trying on new rhythms to see what fits and what doesn’t. Overall, I was grateful for the progress in my health, which also left me more tired at night as I acclimate. My body is getting used to all this weight training! I’m learning how to recover properly, and it’s slowly giving me more energy at night for the things I want to focus on, namely Bible reading with the In Every Season journals. I used this journal about 50% of the month and also got thrown off by Ari traveling to India for a week and various unexpected happenings. As I continue to learn, little by little is often best with goals! I had the best intentions to use the Gospels Collection alongside my New Testament reading plan each morning, but it was all a bit too much to start the year. I’ll integrate these new journals one at a time and plan to begin the Matthew journal on Valentine’s Day—no better way to celebrate God’s love. I have much more to share in my upcoming health post, but January was one for the books. It was a month of acclimating and getting ready to dig into the Word more in February, recover from workouts well, and journal.
What I loved in January:
—The library. I took many trips to the library this first month of the year and found several new favorites for the kids, too! One, in particular, is The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music. My dad loved Roberta Flack and got to see her in concert. I can’t help but lose myself when I hear her sing “Killing Me Softly.” The book is melodic and moving, illuminating what it’s like to be passionate about something and find joy in your gifts. I found myself in tears by the end and introduced our kids to Roberta’s music after we read the book aloud. Dad would have been proud. : )
—Cultivating my health. Ahhh, there’s so much to report here! More to come in my next update. I loved reading your thoughts on my last post.
—Josh’s karate class. I haven’t been a fan of many online classes since the pandemic began, but Sensei Jess is truly a special teacher. She teaches Josh about respect, integrity, and hard work—and they have a ton of fun! He takes class three nights a week now and loves every minute of it. I can’t recommend her classes enough! If you want a $20 credit, you can use my referral link.
—And perhaps my favorite of all favorites from January: introducing…. Bluebird Basil Whiskerkins, aka “Birdie” for short. 🙂
Friends, this is such a God story. We’ve felt it was time to get a cat for a few months now, but we just weren’t motivated enough to make such a big shift in our family after a year of so much change. Well, I had a dream one Wednesday night where God told me Josh needed a kitty. A weird and oddly specific dream, I know. I relayed this information to Ari with, “No pressure from me; I’m just telling you my dream!” Ari was more open to the idea, but we carried on with life that week. That Saturday morning, Ari takes the girls to gymnastics, and low-and-behold, a kitten is on the side of the building in a shopping bag. Someone (God??) had left it there to be picked up.
We took her to the vet to get checked and then to the pet store for all the supplies. It all happened so fast! God gave us a cat, and we love her. Her name is a family collaboration. “Bluebird” from me, “Basil” from Gracie the gardener, and “Whiskerkins” from Ari. Birdie is such a snuggler and loves to get in anyone’s lap and take a nap. She falls asleep with Josh each night, and he sings to her—it’s the sweetest. We see why God wanted us to care for her. She has brought so much love and peace to our kiddos. We think she is a Russian Blue. Has anyone had this breed before?
And now, onto February! Here’s to new habits, trying new things, and refreshing my commitment to what matters most. I continue to love my 2023 PowerSheets goals and am grateful for another month to learn and grow in faithfulness.
What I’m looking forward to:
A trip to see the Broadway tour of Cats (I’m tickled pink to take the kids and see it again myself!), several special birthdays to celebrate, starting PT for a new and hopeful diagnosis on my neck (!), my mom coming to visit for ten days and celebrating our 17-year engageaversary on Valentine’s Day.
I’m also grateful for today. I’m writing you from my quarterly grief retreat, part of one of my 2023 goals, at a very special place. I’ve made so many memories at Fearrington over many years, from photo shoots here for Southern Weddings to weddings of dear friends, team retreats, exploring the herb and flower gardens with the kids, visiting the cows on weekends, tea with Gracie, and bringing my dad here many years ago. It’s the perfect place for a quiet solo retreat night.
In this new month, and always, I want to be present, generous, and faithful. I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store, and I’m grateful for right now. Happiest February, friends!
Your turn! What are you focusing on this month? I’d love to hear.