Do you feel like the months go faster as the year moves on? The longer we get do this “living by the seasons” thing, the more I enjoy each and every season. I used to dread Indiana Januarys and Februarys especially, but now I look forward to the (hopefully) slower rhythms of those months. Onto the lists…
What I’m learning
Even worms can do that. I came across this Martha Beck editorial looking for something else, and I loved her analogy that even worms can be trained to avoid pain and seek comfort. Certainly humans should be able to be at least as smart as worms, but, Beck writes, “Yet many clever humans turn repeatedly to the very things that ruin our health and happiness: artery-clogging junk food, alcoholic lovers, soul-crushing jobs.” I’ve found myself using that line when I don’t want to do something that I know is good for me.
The triple bottom line. I live with an economist, so I’ve had to learn the lingo in order to understand what he’s talking about. The triple bottom line (TBL) measures the social, environmental, and financial impact of an organization. Increasingly, companies are using the TBL to measure their success outside of just financial benchmarks (like typical bottom line thinking works). We’ve started using this phrasing around the house when it comes to decisions. For example, riding our bikes to the local park instead of driving has a triple return on investment (or maybe even quadruple): we’re outside together chatting while we ride, we’re exercising, we’re not burning any fossil fuels like we would in the car, and we save the gas money we otherwise would have spent. Or going to a local restaurant that sources from local farmers versus a chain restaurant: the local place knows our names and what our kids’ favorite treat is, our spending stays in the community and subsequently builds stability, and, of course, the food is SO much better (at least if you’re going to the right local restaurants!).
I’m pretty sure the way we use this verbiage would make a real economist cringe, but it helps us to think through our decisions to maximize time, effort, and spending.
The Third Way. I’ve been obsessed with this idea of both/and (santosha) for the last year or so, and it seems to come up everywhere. In a recent series on the RobCast, Bell digs into some stories about Jesus to explain what he calls the Third Way, which is very similar to this whole both/and way of looking at the world (basically, getting away from the dualistic, modern way of looking at the world). The stories of Jesus (regardless of what you think about Jesus) show us how creatively he resisted the powers that be, and Bell explains how we can use the example of Jesus as a model of resistance here and now. Somehow, this even came up with kids over dinner last week when we were talking about how anger just keeps escalating unless/until someone is willing to stop the buildup. Just listen to the podcast (and the The Thing In the Air whole series, especially The Lie of Redemptive Violence — sooo good) because he’ll explain it far better than I can.
The HSA is the most tax-efficient savings vehicle. We’ve had HSAs over the years and always maxed out what we could put in them, but we have used them for medical expenses as they came along. We met with a fee-based financial planner last month to talk farm stuff, and he recommended that we just hold onto our health expenses instead, and let our HSA investment balance (hopefully) continue to increase. Mad Fientist has been saying the same thing for a long time, but for whatever reason, it finally clicked. HSAs are unique in that you get tax-free contributions, tax-free growth, and tax-free distributions. That Mad Fientist post has all of the nitty-gritty details if you’re interested in learning more.
What I’m loving
The Unsettlers. I’m working on a review on this one because I can’t stop talking about it, but you should go ahead and read it already.
Pines and Palms Swim. I ordered a few of these bathing suits and loved them. I only kept one, but I love how they’re making the one-piece more fun. Plus, it seems like they rotate through the styles somewhat quickly, so you’re less likely to show up to the pool and find six other women wearing the same suit (first world problems obvi, but nice nonetheless).
Happy Folk playlist on Spotify. This just sounds like spring to me, so I’ve been blaring it around the house as of late.
Chef’s Table on Netflix. I’m not sure how we missed this because it has my name all over it, but I’m loving all of them and forcing myself to savor the episodes slowly versus binging the whole season at once (i.e. my typical M.O.).
Questions in community. During Lent, we’ve been having dinner church on Wednesdays and talking through some big questions. I love the chance to eat together (I think it might actually be my favorite thing), and it’s such a gift to have a safe place to talk through life’s big questions and learn and grow from one another.
ThredUp’s Clean Out Bags. I’ve been requesting one of these at the end of every season. If I see the big bag in my closet, I’m more likely to purge stuff that I’m not wearing as much as I go. Then, once it gets full, I just send it in. I haven’t made a ton of money off of anything (because I mostly buy second-hand anyway, so I don’t have much money in my wardrobe anyway), but it is more of a mental thing for me, reminding me on an ongoing basis to donate the stuff I’m not wearing.
Our newest additions. I hope spring for most of the rest of my life includes the ritual of baby chicks!
Homemade lip balm. I had run-in with those EOS lip glosses a few years ago, and ever since, my lips are soo sensitive. I made some lip balm for Christmas gifts and had a few batches leftover that I’ve been using lately. After a few weekends spent outside planting and being in the sun, I figured out that the homemade stuff is not only super easy to make, but heals my lips from the sun and wind like nothing else I’ve ever bought. You should make some yourself (I bought the tins and beeswax from Mountain Rose Herbs, but I need to ask some beekeeper friends if I could buy beeswax from them instead).