I know it’s completely unoriginal to say, but I really can’t believe it is December already. It feels like I was just writing the January WILL post. I need to start thinking on a big WILL post for all of 2016, but, in the meantime, read on for my November list…I would love to hear what you’re learning and loving these days in the comments!
What I’m learning
Little changes can make a big difference. Because of the remodeling projects at our house, we rearranged our bedroom and our family room. And I’m obsessed. In our bedroom, we moved the bed all of about six inches, but it allowed us to move the desk over to give us more breathing room. I never disliked our room, but I didn’t love it. Now I find myself escaping to it much more frequently (granted, that may have more to do with the disastrous state of the rest of the house, but oh well). Because we knocked down a wall and extended the kitchen, our former family room is now more of a hearth room/extension off of the kitchen, so we rearranged the furniture, and it feels so much cozier. It will be even better once the kitchen looks less like a war zone. By themselves, these things didn’t cost any money – we just rearranged stuff we already had. The difference the changes have made have me wondering what other seemingly small changes might be around the house (or our schedules, gardens, habits, etc.) just waiting for me.
Cooking is my creative outlet. I joke about cooking (or gardening) as therapy, but without much of either this past month because of the aforementioned reno, I’m not joking about it anymore. I have caught myself being so much shorter tempered and impatient, and I’m realizing that I need that creative outlet that cooking provides. Once this kitchen is done, I plan on making up for loss time, but this past month has been an important reminder to make time and space for the things that fuel my more creative side.
Take one risk per day. I picked up The Joy Diet because I heard a great interview with Martha Beck, and The Joy Diet was the only title of hers available at the library. I wasn’t expecting much, but I got sucked in. One of the things she prescribes in her “joy diet” is to do something that scares you every day. I blew off that suggestion at first because I was making it too big. It stuck with me, and I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my days. Most days, it has been a very small “risk,” like texting a friend I haven’t talked to in awhile, or going up to someone I don’t know at church. I’m an extrovert, so these things aren’t too terribly scary for me, but it is still putting myself out there. Last week, I went to an arm balance yoga workshop – and was so energized by trying something different and new. I started a list of risky things in my bullet journal, so that I have ideas for the days ahead. Also, the best part of Beck’s plan is that she insists you reward yourself in some way after you do the scary thing!
Eating together is the stuff. We’ve been going to a new church, and in the few months that we’ve been going, we have shared a community-wide meal at least once a month. I’ve long been a fanatic about eating together as a family, but I didn’t realize how much I missed eating together as a community until recently. In this Decontsurctionist’s episode with David Capener, Capener talks so beautifully about the importance of the table to our faith, and it made me want to stand up and cheer. I’m excited for a new year ahead to learn more about what it means to extend our table both figuratively and literally.
What I’m loving
My parents living so close. Because of the kitchen remodel (are you as sick of hearing about that as I am of talking about it yet?!), we’ve been spending lots of time over at my parent’s house. We didn’t have a sink or a range, so it was so much easier just to head over there after work/school and eat with them. My parents do hospitality better than anyone I know, and the last few weeks have been such a nice reminder of how all-around wonderful it is to live close by as adults. I have many more thoughts about this that I haven’t completely fleshed out, but I’m just extra grateful lately to live ten minutes from my parents and for our children to have such close relationships with them both.
Books. I read some great books last month in case you’re looking for something to curl up with in the last few weeks of the year. Lila, Station Eleven, and Commonwealth are all contenders for my favorite novels of 2016. I almost wish I had spaced them out a bit more because now I’m nervous about the next title I pick up. December through February are possibly my favorite reading months of the year, so I have a big stack I’m looking forward to digging into. I need to work on a best reads of 2016 post too…
Hygge. I first read about hygge in some internet article like this one a few years ago, but I was reminded about it again recently in this Sorta Awesome podcast episode. I’ve been trying to be more intentional about incorporating it into our routines, which lately has included turning off the lights and lighting candles instead, playing jazz or instrumental Christmas music in the mornings while we get ready, diffusing essential oils just because, and asking Grant to make more fires in the fireplace. As we attempt to live more seasonally, I love looking forward to things each season. I used to be a bit down about January and February, but I now I look forward to an excuse to hunker down, read lots – and practice our hygge. Next on my cultural to do list is figuring out a way to make this Icelandic Christmas tradition a thing in our families.
Hoping your Advent season is full of peace, hope, joy, and love!