What could be more fun in February than sharing with each other what is saving our lives right now? Modern Mrs. Darcy is hosting this lovely gathering of people sharing the current things that are giving us life these days. As I sit tucked in a wingback recliner in the corner of my room, surround by tissues, a Yeti filled with ice water, blankets, and books, recovering from the flu, I will offer my favorite life-saving things too.


1. Write the Word Journal


I shared with you that I am a slow morning person. And that means using tools that help me ease into my day gently, don’t require much brain power, and lessen my morning decision-making. I decided to take a chance on a journal that already marked out a prompt for some gratitude, offered a Scripture for me to read and jot down, space to journal a little, and pick a “word” for the day. This is a template deep enough to be meaningful but light enough to engage a foggy morning brain. I actually look forward to my time opening the Word and reflecting because this journal puts boundaries to it and keeps me from being overly idealistic or neglecting that time altogether. 


2. Contoured Sleep Mask


For $6, this little bit of magic gives me an amazing nap. Adjustable straps like a bra around the back of the head. My eyes aren’t pressed down but given room to blink. Add a pair of earplugs, and I take the nap of a lifetime!


3. Stainless Steel Straws


I struggled with water intake and low-level dehydration for years. I tried so many different ways to track and increase the cups of water I had, but nothing seemed to work. For me, I realized that I felt a bit suffocated every time I drank from a glass. Straws were the answer! But plastic tasted like PLASTIC. I ordered these straws and never looked back. The water tastes cold and clean coming through stainless and it made all the difference! And when you have a cold or the flu, there is nothing like having that water come through cool and refreshing.


4. New Running Shoes


I’ve logged hundreds of miles walking on the dirt roads near my home wearing the same pair of shoes for four years. It was past time for a new pair. For the first time ever, I went to a local running shoe store to get my feet properly sized and fitted for good shoes. I wear a size 7 1/2 regular shoe, but when they fitted me, they told me that I need to be wearing an 8 1/2 wide running shoe! Turns out you need a lot more room in the toe box of your running shoes than you think you do. It felt so good to invest in my feet and into a shoe that is going to serve me well.


5. Taking Daily Time to Study and Take Notes


Todd Henry, the Accidental Creative, says that creative people need time every day to study, to ruminate, to take in other’s work to make connections with their own work. Two weeks ago, I took a personal retreat to a local hotel and had hours to read, take notes, and think about how habits of high-performing professionals can influence the lives of mothers in the home. As Kendra says, self-care is doing what makes you come alive, what makes you feel like a person. Studying makes me come alive, and I feel like my best self when I read, take notes, and share it with others. 


6. Plan to Eat


My friend Kitty tried to convince me for years to use the Plan to Eat website to make meal planning + shopping easier. I did not believe her because digital planning has never worked for me. But come November, I realized that meal planning wasn’t the issue that I was struggling with. I made my meal plan every Sunday night, but wasn’t following through because I NEVER MADE THE SHOPPING LIST! Getting up during my planning time to check the pantry and make the list would break up my focused flow, so I never got around to doing it. So I didn’t have a meal planning problem, but instead, a Shopping List Problem. I decided to try Plan to Eat because they auto-generate your shopping list for the meals you pick for the week. I can open the app and see the shopping list already made for me and add in any staples that I need to! I have used it consistently since Black Friday, and it has literally saved my meal planning and shopping. 


7. Wite-Out


When I was in high school, it was a thing to have your own wite-out. Why did I forget about this magic? I found myself scratching through things in my planner last year, either canceled plans or misspellings, and I was tired of looking at the mess and precious waste of planner space. Found the classic Wite-Out at Target and it is quite actually saving my planning life.


8. Chatbooks


I was a Creative Memories groupie back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I made all kinds of scrapbooks until I burned out on Mrs. Grossman stickers and die-cuts. Six children and many years later, I felt that there were too many choices out there to get some albums made. Even in the age of digital photo albums, it all still felt like too much. Someone told me about Chatbooks last fall. I downloaded the app. And in about 30 minutes I had four mini photo albums made of 2017! Chatbooks takes the latest 60 photos from your camera roll (what I did!) or your Instagram feed (there are other options too) and makes them into a hardcover photo album for $15 (free shipping!) They make it super simple to delete photos you don’t want or change the order. It’s crazy simple. My kids absolutely adore these albums and were so grateful that I did this!


What about you? What’s one or two things that are saving your life right now?