What's Saving My Life

Since 2017, I’ve been sharing a mid-winter post about What’s Saving My Life right now. Winter in Iowa can be tough….dark, cold, gloomy days, snow storms, freezing temps, and very little sun. Even though that is how much of January was, February here in Iowa has been unseasonably warm. As I’m typing this post it is 46º and sunny outside. It’s 62º on our 3-season porch and I’m not sad about it. In fact, on February 1, I went for a walk around town in a sweatshirt.

Even though, this winter season may not be the harshest winter we’ve been through, it has been harsh personally. As I’ve said here, my dad died on December 9. Even though my dad was 91, he was still my dad. He was in my life for 51+ years and getting used to not seeing him has been hard. I know how blessed I was to have my dad for that long, but I also miss him a lot. Even though I’m not grieving something traumatic, there is still sadness that looms over my life…not every day, but definitely often.

I’ve had to pivot a bit in how I want to spend my time. This month, I have been subbing at our school for 14 years. Even though that isn’t a long time for most people’s careers ( I was a social worker and then a mom in my former careers) it feels like I’m ready to pull back a bit. I haven’t subbed hardly at all since November and I really haven’t missed it. Do I plan to give up subbing? No, but I’m not saying “Yes” every time they call like I used to.

So, aside from changing my lifestyle a bit in this new stage of grief, I do have a few things that are saving my life right now. If you’d like to read my posts from prior years, click HERE. Many of the things in those posts are STILL working for me right now including books (always), puzzles, coffee (and tea), and blankets.

I’m sharing this post with Modern Mrs. Darcy and other readers. Click HERE to see what others feel is saving their lives right now.

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What’s Saving My Life

Daily Texts

I have several daily texts that bring me joy. First of all, I’ve been sending our daughter a daily text every morning that includes a Bible Verse, an inspiring quote, or maybe a song I think she would like. She has expressed more than once how much she appreciates these texts. But, what she doesn’t know is that the texts bless me too. First, I know that she will hear from me every day. Second, I get a response back every day. Third, the things I’m sending are just as uplifting to me as I hope they are to her.

I also have daily texts with my cousins and a friend group where we share our Wordle scores and our NYT Connections scores. Sometimes there aren’t any words shared, just the scores, but other times there is a bit of razzing when we don’t do so well or cheers when we get Wordle in 2. It’s one of the best parts of my day.

Habit Tracking

I found this cheap habit tracker and I’ve been tracking my habits this year. I’m not necessarily tracking the same habits each month, but I’m finding what is working well and what needs to be tweaked or let go. As you can see above, some habits took off and others didn’t. But, for the ones that weren’t as frequent, I realized they wouldn’t have likely been done at all if I wasn’t tracking. So, I decided that some is better than none. I’ve also noticed what works with habit stacking and what doesn’t. Also, leaving the tracker out on my bathroom counter forces me to keep track of things each night while closing out my day.

Reynolds Plastic Wrap with Slide Cutter

I don’t use plastic wrap all that often, but when I did, I was constantly frustrated with the cling wrap clinging to everything and not cutting easily away from the box. When I saw this plastic wrap at the store with the slide cutter built-in the clouds parted and the angels sang. Seriously, life-changing.

Pill Sorter

I take several vitamins every day and this pill sorter holds them all and is easy to grab the day’s pills and drop them in my bag for the day if I’m going to be gone. Plus it looks pretty on my counter. It also has AM/PM sections if needed.

NingXia Red

Back in the fall, I was dealing with some pretty painful inflammation and a friend told me drinking this daily had worked for her. So, I gave it a shot and noticed pretty immediately that it was helping. I’ve been taking a shot or two of this drink daily and I also think it has helped with my immunity. If you aren’t familiar with NingXia Red, it is an antioxidant drink made from wolfberries and a host of other good things. It is available through Young Living and if you’d like to try it, click HERE. I’ve been exposed to COVID when my dad was in the hospital and twice to Influenza A and I haven’t gotten sick at all. Plus, my inflammation is nearly non-existent.

Dessert for Two Blog

I recently came across this blog that features all kinds of recipes (not just desserts) pared down for just two people. Now that Pat and I are empty nesters, it’s been a bit of a struggle to find quick, easy, and smaller meals to make. One of my favorite recipes that I’ve made twice already is her Monster Cookies which just make a dozen or so cookies depending on the size you make them. She also has several cookbooks and you can subscribe to her newsletter.

Dr. Gross Peel Pads

Laura Tremaine raved about these and I decided to give them a try and now I get it. These pads make your skin feel amazing. I don’t know how, but they do. I use them about once a week and just love how my face looks and feels after I use them.

Along with skincare, I had my annual dermatology appointment in the fall and my dermatologist told me that based on my skin (I run oily) and my age (50+), the 3 most important things I need to do for my skin are Vitamin C, Sunscreen, and Retinol. So, that is what I use daily on my skin. I use these three products based on my dermatologist’s recommendations: La Roche-Posay Vitamin C. Serum, Naturium Dew-Glow Moisturizer SPF 50, and Naturium Retinaldehyde Cream Serum.

täōs Shoes

I had some trouble with plantar fasciitis over the last several months. One thing I was told to never do was to walk barefoot which was something I did every day in the house. This winter, these shoes are saving my feet…and my life. They are pricey shoes, especially to only wear in the house, but they are worth it.


In January, I traveled with my mom to visit my niece in Colorado. In less than 2 weeks, my sister, my mom, and I are heading to Florida and Georgia to visit family and then work our way back home visiting some tourist destinations along the way. Then, at the end of March, Pat and I are taking a quick trip to celebrate our 25 Anniversary. In April, I’ll be taking my mom on another trip to visit one of her sisters. These trips have offered my mom (and me) something to look forward to every few weeks. My mom spent several years at home caring for my dad and hasn’t been able to get away as much so these trips are life-giving and I’m loving this time I’ll be able to spend with her making memories.

There have been so many other things that have lifted my spirits this season. Notes from friends, hugs (gosh I love hugs), a bible study that brought me a lot of clarity in this season, prayer conversations with God, lists( all the lists), and the power of saying “No” have been the things that like Anne Bogel says, “have kept my head above water” and also restored my soul.

Whatever it is that is helping you in this winter season, feel free to share it below. I’d love to know about it.

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