Just like that, it’s February 3rd, and I’m looking at January in the rearview mirror. I’m never overly torn up about the departure of the first month of the year (is anyone, really?). Our hands are raw from the incessant washing and the kids are getting stir crazy from being cooped up inside, but we did manage to contain the stomach flu to only one kid and found some new inside activities to keep us busy, so at least there’s that?
Anyway, I was inspired by my insightful writing friend, Emily Fisk, (who was, in turn, inspired by her own friend, Brittany Bergman) to think and reflect on each month as it passes rather than wait until the year’s end to process as a whole.
I particularly love this idea because, of course, who can remember everything you read and wrote and thought about after an entire year has passed? Not this girl, anyway.
So, in case anyone is interested, here are a few things I read and wrote and thought about in January alone.
What I Read
- Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham: I love a good memoir, but I didn’t necessarily love this one. She wrote parts of it while shooting the Netflix reboot of Gilmore Girls, and it honestly read like someone wrote a book while they were also working on something else incredibly time consuming. Her writing voice is exactly as you would imagine it though, and I especially liked a chapter in which she reflected upon her age based entirely on a conversation about a roll of paper towels.
- “Moms Make Peace through Christ” by Emily Jensen: This is an article from the Risen Motherhood podcast blog and looks at the source of division and disunity specifically in relationships with other moms (one of our more vital life sources!). This quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer stopped me in my tracks:
“If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. … How can I possibly serve another person in unfeigned humility if I seriously regard his sinfulness as worse than my own?”
- “I Live in the Tension, Too” by Emily Fisk: In this essay, Emily perfectly articulates my often uncomfortable feelings about today’s current social climate especially when she says this:
“…now I live here, in rhetoric, political, spiritual no man’s land. I share borders with ancient faith and progressive politics, but in the middle of the Venn diagram is me with thoughts and opinions some consider contradictory. I hold membership in groups that sometimes oppose each other, groups that sometimes seem to demand total allegiance in exchange for my participation.”
What I Wrote
I’ve gone a little quiet on my own blog recently because I realized at the end of last year that my brain was needing to take the short chapters I’ve been living and turn them into a more holistic story.
When I was four, my dad taught me to ride a two-wheel bicycle. A few days after I mastered the skill, I asked him to put my training wheels back on, and I can’t stop thinking about how this one small story from my childhood represents many of the larger themes in my life. I’ve been trying to wake up early at least one morning a week to put an order to all these thoughts. We’ll see where these early morning writing sessions take me.
I did, though, sum up all of 2017 based on a spot the differences page in one of Lily’s activity books, so don’t worry, I’m still thinking in very specific metaphors over here.
What I Thought About
I’ve been reading through the book Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and then recently listened to a Journeywomen podcast episode (I can’t tell you enough how much I love podcasts right now) titled “What to Do with Unmet Expectations.” I am a person who wants to be grateful in any circumstance I am given, and I am also a person who often feels given less than desirable circumstances (lookin’ at you, residency, and your buzzkill 80-hour work weeks).
I am finding though, no thanks to my own strength of course, that gratitude is not hard to come by each day as long as I take the focus off myself and put in on things that really matter. This excerpt from the podcast has been playing on repeat in my brain:
“Only in nearness to God will we have all of our desire fulfilled. I like to call this holy discontent. This means that the purpose of this unmet desire is to constantly remind you that only God will satisfy the unending desire of your heart. Elisabeth Elliot says, ‘Heaven is not here, it’s there. If we were given all that we wanted here our hearts would settle for this world and not the next.’ So this holy discontentment is a kindness to keep us longing for more of God.”
The Weirdness of Residency Schedules
Since I kind of threw residency under the bus earlier, it’s probably worth noting that I actually can’t remember the last time Jake worked an 80-hour week. January has been very good to us.
We’re constantly re-calibrating to new schedules over here which is a weird part of this whole residency life. Just when you get into a rhythm, four weeks pass and it’s time to embrace a new routine.
In a week, the kids and I will have to readjust to having Jake gone again most days and evenings, but I find that there is also an adjustment period for when he is home more often than he is gone.
Weird is honestly the best word I can think to describe it, and I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what is fair to expect of each other when we’re both home as well as what I want that family time to look like.
Conclusion: The idea of fairness in parenting is ridiculous, and our family time probably shouldn’t look like me taking a nap on the couch while Jake entertains all our kids.
January in Rear View
Already I feel better about moving into a new month (even if Punxsutawney Phil declared six more weeks of winter).
January is now in the rearview mirror, and when I think about what’s still to come as the road keeps stretching into 2018, I’m kind of on the edge of my seat.
I think this is going to be a good one.