reflections · writing

What’s Saving My Life :: Winter 2019

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People told me this would happen as I approach 40 (2019 is my last year in my thirties). They told me I would begin to realize so much better who I am, who I want to be, and who I’ve let the world make me.

I’m not sure I’m so happy with the last one. I’m a people pleaser and I overanalyze every one and every response–which actually is an incredibly unhealthy way to live. I may have a gift of empathy–and it may make me a better writer–but the junk of others doesn’t have to determine ME.

So this year is an experiment of sorts. A last year in my thirties and a time of personal reflection. I’ll drop some of those thoughts here, in this blog I’ve neglected since my debut novel released. Some will go to my insiders–those people who subscribe to my newsletter and let me tell them some things in their inboxes. Some will trickle into my Instagram and Facebook feeds, and I’d love to hear from you.

What’s saving your life–right now in the middle of winter and one month into a new year?

My list is simple and I’m linking up with my favorite Modern Mrs. Darcy who takes this practice cue from fellow writer Barbara Brown Taylor (who incidentally lives near me but I’ve never seen her at the grocery store).

What’s Saving My Life …

  1. Hiking My mama is an avid hiker and sometimes I tag along. Even when it’s cold, but only because she promises me baked goods and coffee when I’m done.
  2. Yoga For the first time since my wreck, my back doesn’t hurt. I’m no expert, but I like the Quick Yoga workouts I find on Amazon Prime. Doesn’t hurt the instructor’s name is Lindsay.
  3. Hot tea I’m partial to anything citrus flavored, especially a lemon-ginger at night because lately, my tummy needs some settling on a way too regular basis.
  4. My Bullet Journal I write everything in this little book. And I use these pretty pens. What I love about the BuJo is there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Setting it up can be overwhelming if you do all. the. research. Or you can be lazy like me and avoid all they hype and use what works for you. I do make a weekly spread and I try to keep up with my table of contents so I can find everything quickly. I also color code my months, which helps. For me the best thing is that everything I need is in one place.
  5. Internet hangout sessions While I’m making the effort to hang out with my IRL friends who can meet for coffee, I’m incredibly grateful for the hangout sessions I have via the Internet with my writer friends. These are the people who don’t let me add in plot twists just because, who call me out when I use way too many adjectives, and who help me keep this publishing journey in perspective. We live in 3 different states, so being able to “see” each other is wonderful.
  6. Fuzzy blankets Polar vortex came through. Enough said.
  7. Burning the gas fireplace without the logs. Our logs apparently weren’t suited for our fireplace and caused a soot problem. So take them out suggested the lady at the propane company. Guess what? Gas fireplaces don’t necessarily need logs to work. They’re aesthetic not necessity.
  8. Soup Next week I’ll offer up one of my favorite weird soup recipes, but I believe soup is a winter staple.
  9. Bible reading plan I’ve never read the Bible all the way through. Beginning to End. So my husband and I are doing it together. Right now we’re having interesting convos centered around Leviticus. Who knew there were SO. MANY. RULES? Hallelujah, grace. (Our plan is simple and listed in the back of our NIV devotional Bibles, but I’m reading my NKJV study version.)
  10. Book Tracking Y’all know I like to read, but I’m terrible at follow through. My Goodreads is only updated sporadically and it syncs to my Kindle app and thinks I’m reading things I’m really not because I hate to read on my phone. So this year I’m going to try tracking them by month in my bullet journal. So far I’ve read five books this year. I talk about them a lot on Instagram.

Your turn! You can find me on the socials or leave a comment or a send an email or ignore this and go back to work 🙂

P.S. This post contains affiliate links.

 

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linkups · writing

What’s Saving My Life Right Now :: Winter 2017 Edition

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Also, these boots. Wal-mart. I’m not kidding. Kept me toasty warm for our one snowfall this year.

In these days of rampant internet-grouchiness, it’s nice to have an online “friend” or two you can always count on for something uplifting.

Modern Mrs. Darcy is topping my list for always answering my never-ending wondering What Should I Read Next? and she may (definitely is) responsible for the ridiculous number of thrifted/library sale/borrowed books on my TBR shelf.

Today our book loving community is linking up the small, yet notable, things saving our lives in the right here and now. Because I’ve found it’s most often in the small stuff and the menial tasks where I regain my composure and find my joy.

On my list for this Groundhog Day (really? Six more weeks of winter, I’ve heard. Except in Georgia, we’ve only had like 3 days of winter, so I guess it’s okay):

1. The Skimm is rocking my inbox. Y’all, I want to be informed, but sheesh? Is there anywhere online to read news that’s not biased/filtered/full of typos? Yes. Yes, there is. Sign up for The Skimm and get the biggest news of the day straight in your inbox. Best part–these writers are speaking my language, literally. This is the vernacular of the people, that is, those of us who want to be educated but don’t want to have to look up that word some CNN reporter thought was important to use but not important enough to spell correctly. Plus, I appreciate that, so far, they’re not leaning left or right but telling it like it is–with a little tongue in cheek satire for the kindergarten squabbles happening on the Capitol floor right now.

2. Reading Eggs. I told those of you who get my newsletter about Reading Eggs a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the deal: if you’re homeschooling (like me) or have a student who might be a struggling reader (like me) or find that you want to pull your hair out working through a reader with one of your kids (LIKE ME), go sign up for the free 4-week trial. There’s a talking duck and some games and actual learning happening here. Yes, it’s a computer program. No, I don’t believe kids should only learn from the computer. Yes, I’m going to pay for a subscription when our trial is up BECAUSE IT IS WORKING AND DOESN’T MAKE EITHER OF US CRY.

3. I’m composing this treatise during the YMCA Homeschool PE class my girls started last week. For $45 apiece, we get a 15-week class that lasts 2 hours. And there’s swimming. And it lasts TWO HOURS. Do you know how many words I can write in two hours? (Answer:  A lot.)

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4. The Mitford Books. I’m trying to be a better counter of my books this year. So far… I’ve written down two but I’ve read five? I think. See the problem? Anyway, there’s a long list of to-be-reads and want-to-reads and should-have-already-read but I keep coming back to the Mitford series, which my husband finds ironic since I directed the play last fall and you’d think I’d have read the books then. Yeah, not so much. I was a little busy with, you know, moving and editing my novel and directing my play. I’m picking up Mitford these days whenever I’m feeling low, whenever I’ve read something that makes me feel uncomfortable, whenever I need an immersion that’s soothing to my soul like a hot bath and a glass of wine… which I may be indulging in while reading.

5. Southern Living. I think it goes without saying that my mother raised me on Clemson football and  Southern Living like any good woman from the Lowcountry should do for her children. But we had a few years where SL was not winning in the recipe department for me. Listen, if I can’t find this ingredient at the local Ingles, I’m not making this dish. But the 2017 issues are already redefining the SL kitchen with family-friendly, budget-friendly, live-in-the-sticks-with-only-one-grocery-store-friendly recipes. We have especially enjoyed this Chicken with Cornbread Dumplings as an (almost) gluten free alternative to my family’s favorite. I even made it with the frozen turkey leftover from Thanksgiving and it was like turkey and dressing in bowl with a side of comfort.

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Conversations the latest issue of Southern Living causes with my sisters.

6. Writers Conferences. Finally, anytime I’m overwhelmed trying to figure out this homeschool/writer thing I’ve got going on, I take a deep breath and count the days on my calendar because FCWC is almost here. I’ll be heading out in nineteen days for the Florida Christian Writers Conference where I’ll be teaching How to Write Flash Fiction and hanging with my writer friends. For four days I get to be writer-Lindsey and nothing else and I cannot wait. Plus, it’s Florida in February which is pretty much perfect. (It’s also 15 weeks until the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference in case you’re wondering. I’ll be there, too.)

7. Meal Planning. I’ve always been a meal planner, but we’ve taken it one step further right now and made the attempt to stop my children from eating anything they find at any hour of the day. I’d say it’s working about 50% of the time. However, posting my meal plans is doing wonders for my social media interactions, so there’s that.

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What’s saving your life? I’ve got some books lying around that need a new home. Leave me a comment and you might win one!

1000 gifts · favorite things · linkups · writing

What’s Saving My Life :: Winter 2016 Edition

What's Saving My Life Right Now __ Winter 2016 EditionI adore that Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy says this about the Saving My Life posts…

The idea comes from Barbara Brown Taylor’s wonderful memoir Leaving Church. In it, Taylor tells the story of when she was invited to speak at a gathering, and her host assigned the topic: “Tell us what is saving your life right now.”

This is one of those six-degrees-from-Kevin-Bacon moments. (Did you ever play that in high school?) Barbara Brown Taylor is a professor at a local college here, so I see her and read her writings in the way that frequent small towns do–without much recognition that greatness lives among us. I haven’t read her memoir, but I might add it to my #60in2016 Reading Challenge.

But anyway…

Saving my life right now doesn’t look much different from last year about this time when I penned a post for the same link up with the same theme. But this time last year I was drowning in fear over my daughter’s neurological diagnosis and every moment seemed a blessing in disguise.

This year I’m aiming for renewal–of my soul, my hope, my joy, my focus. Last year was hard on us emotionally and many times, the year was as crushing as it was uplifting. For all the strides I made publishing-wise I still found myself floundering for my purpose, wondering how I could really be called to much beyond these four little souls (who try my temper daily) and making sure everyday physical and spiritual needs are at least acknowledged.

But there’s a call to not just write but share. And I hope that’s what this little corner means to you–that it’s a place I share the real and just write life.

Saving My Life Right Now :: Winter 2016 Edition

  1. The Trampoline. Seriously best Christmas present ever. Keeps them all occupied with something that’s not digital for longer than 20 minutes. Netflix, you’ve been replaced.IMG_0964
  2. My Reading Challenge. I love this group that came about because so many of you said you wanted to read 60 books in 2016 with me. I’m six down: Gone Girl, Dear Mr. Knightley, Jane Eyre, Raising Grateful Kids, The Extroverted Writer, and Restless which leads me to…

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    On the nightstand for February.
  3. Scripture. Which, I know, is the point of believing the Bible is God-breathed, but when you’ve been a good church girl your whole life, like me, you run the risk of letting the familiar become… familiar. Which is why I read Restless and why I’m exploring some verse-mapping ala Kristy Cambron (and also I’m an author blog stalker). Also why this one is on my reading list. IMG_5278
  4. My Better Life Bag. An early birthday present (twenty days until I tip early-thirties and into late-thirties) from my patient husband who appreciates a specific request. And, you know, a list for him that’s been commissioned as a blog post.IMG_8875
  5. This boy and his trucks. He both saves me from days of uninterrupted computer time, which would undoubtably result in back spasms and poor eyesight, and drives me batty because we’re trying to sell the house and piles of dirt and rocks don’t exactly say curb appeal. But that grin? It’s kind of irresistible.

 

Tell me about you–what’s saving your life right now? And if you want in on #60in2016 let me know!