What has “saved my life” in 2020—things that helped me cope during the pandemic, and in general—balanced me in the chaos we call life? I am no expert, but from a life that has experienced quite a bit of stress, trauma, and grief—here is an incomplete list of things that have kept me alive and sane.
Journaling: I have kept a journal since I was eight years old—probably younger. Writing paces me and calms me. It helps me find patterns- some that I want to keep, some that I must rid of for their toxicity. Finding a quiet time that balances and settles me before the hustle of the day has been instrumental in saving my physical and mental life.
Add-ons that accompany journaling and that make me happy:
*Mechanical pencils in bright colors with erasers—nothing better than a clean written page
*Candles: Preferably with a citrus or vanilla scent—think grapefruit, cedar, lemongrass, basil.
*Ground coffee and pure cream. Go local for the coffee and never use flavored creamers or half and half.
*Hiking the horse trails right outside my home or...
Two local trails that never get old: Torrey Pines State Beach and Lake Poway.
*Best thing I ever did was purchase a spin bike from my studio when my cancer was crushing my strength. When I use the Pelaton app—I have so many choices and can do all my work outs on my OWN time. Accountability? That would be my own desire to be strong and healthy while chasing cancer.
*Abide: Christian meditation app. I stretch and do my own yoga moves in the comfort of my own bedroom and get to hear scripture and prayer at same time.
*Succulents! Year round succulent gardens with little extras for each season. I LOVE my gardening table filled with essentials—gloves, trowels, rocks, pots, soil.
*Love being in the sun or fog in my backyard—fixing up all the little nooks to make it cozy and comfortable for any one to stop and read, rest, or retreat.
*Using every day outdoor plants for decorating and brightening. Snip rosemary or mint to make big or small smelling vases. Clip olive branches for a simple, elegant addition to any table scape. Farmers Market Flowers or ordering myself Farmgirl Flowers—just because—such a treat.
Positive People and media content: Give me a quote from Mister Rogers or Bob Goff, a song from Lauren Daigle or Train….and let me binge watch Schitt’s Creek and Ted Lasso and I am all smiles.
Negative Noise: I set limits to when and what I view on FB and Instagram. Not on Twitter. Don’t care.
Cooking and baking: My mama taught me to cook and bake and it is one thing I have done all my life. Most of my recipes are in my head, without measurements. Cooking favorites for my boys and their friends is one of the most sincere ways I demonstrate my love. I am thankful that my boys wanted to learn to cook from me (and Greg—who is the master of all things breakfast).
Books! I love books so much that five years ago we turned our formal dining room into a full library. It is one of the happiest places in my home. I love my book club, I love the app Libby (on line library which was HUGE during 2020), and I love sharing great books with friends. (My 2020 book list coming out soon in a new post.)
Fellowship in our home: Nothing better than cooking with friends—just another couple or family or two—and then playing games together around the table. 2020 brought serious competitive game play. One night over Christmas when the boys were here—all four of us were crying from laughing so hard—and I think I peed a little (a lot—okay).
Enneagram and other tools that help me understand myself and others better. I am a Maximizer (on Strength Finders) and am always looking to make things better—whether it is communication with Greg or my boys or my staff at church. It really is quite shocking to find out that others don’t think or process the same way as me. What a concept.
Prayer and God’s Word: God’s Word—the Bible—it is a lamp unto my feet. It directs and guides me and gives me promise, hope, and a future. All other life savers are great strategies and techniques to cope—but without Christ—we have no life to save. He is my Savior—my all in all. In Him I have life and breath and victory.