Hello, friends! It’s been too long, as always. But I’ve been to Kenya and back in the time since we last met here, so I suppose that’s something. E and I had a wonderful week of safari at Amboseli National Park after his job in Nairobi was done. I can’t even tell you how good it was to be back together after four months apart, and how wonderful it was to do that in a place as awe-inspiring as Kenya. It was reunion and second honeymoon and the best kind of adventure all rolled into one.
I intended to get this post written and scheduled earlier in the week, but technical difficulties ensued–a good reminder about the fallibility of technology and the value in planning waaaay ahead. Anyway, I’m writing from one of my favorite places in Memphis (apropos since this is a post about favorite things), Cafe Eclectic. I come here whenever L has a weekend theatre workshop in Midtown. I eat delicious breakfast and drink wonderful coffee and write or brainstorm or read. I love these opportunities for self-care.
I also find that some of my best self-care comes as a result of tuning into the things that give me joy. This includes the simple things like afternoon tea, a good book, or even a homekeeping shortcut that saves me time on a Saturday. Here are a few of the things I’m loving now.
At Home with Sally. Any time someone asks me who my mentors are, I say “Sally Clarkson,” which is probably a bit silly since I’ve never met Sally in person. However, her books and blog posts–and now her podcast–have been ongoing sources of encouragement, inspiration, and even accountability for me in my marriage, motherhood, and homeschooling journeys. I only started listening to her podcast a few weeks ago (so many podcasts, so little time), and it’s quickly become one of my favorites. Sally and her co-host, Kristen Kill (hopewithfeathers.com and author of the upcoming Finding Selah, which I’m excited to be editing this summer) discuss everything from grace and spiritual freedom to the nuts and bolts of motherhood. I hope they keep on podcasting for a long time to come.
The Own Your Life Bible Study Guide and Planner. With E gone from Thanksgiving through the end of March, I felt like I needed to press pause on any big plans for the year. I made no real resolutions, and avoided thinking about any new projects. Now that he’s home and we’ve resumed “normal” family life, I finally feel the stirring of dreams and goals again, a yearning to press in and ask God what might be on the horizon. I read Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life when it first released in early 2016, but 2016 turned out to be an entire year of pressing pause, a year in which God asked me to just abide in him and to focus solely on the things he’d already given me to steward. Now I’m re-reading Own Your Life and working my way through the accompanying study guide. The teachings are rich and insightful, the conversation I’m having with myself exactly what I needed to help me delve more deeply into the longings that stir my spirit. If you’re already facing the beginnings of a mid-year slump, this book and study guide might be just what you need too.
Outlander. I have a number of friends who clamor over Diana Gabaldon’s series about a young woman from the late 1940s who gets trapped in 18th century Scotland when she steps into an ancient Stonehenge-like circle, so when I was craving something fresh and different, I finally picked it up. The plot is fascinating, the characters are engaging, and I can’t wait to move on to book two. (Note: there’s a good amount of fairly descriptive sex in the book, so just be aware of that. I didn’t find it compromising in any way, but if that’s something you don’t handle well, I thought you should know.) We don’t have cable right now, so I haven’t been able to catch the Starz series based on the books, so no spoilers, please!
Get Your Pretty On. Thanks to the sweet Jen Hatmaker, I was able to sign up for a free capsule wardrobe style challenge with Alison Lumbatis of Get Your Pretty On. It was exactly what I needed to get out of my yoga pants rut and clean out my closet (which was about 10 years overdue). I lugged six trash bags of clothes, shoes, and coats to the Salvation Army, and then refurbished my wardrobe with a few key pieces. I’ve gotten dressed in “real” clothes and done my hair and makeup more since this challenge than I have since L was born. You can get Alison’s 14-piece capsule wardrobe and outfit combos by signing up for her email list. She also offers seasonal style challenges complete with where to shop for the items she suggests, outfit guides, and Facebook groups for encouragement. If you’re in need of a fashion refresher, Alison might have exactly what you’re looking for.
Lipsense. This crazy stay-put lip color has gone viral among the women at my church, so of course I had to give it a try. I haven’t worn lip color much since E and I started dating (he’s not a fan of lip color kissing off on him). I was skeptical, but Lipsense really does not come off–on glassware, on people, or on your teeth. I only have one shade so far, so I can’t vouch for the color blending, but I am thrilled with this stuff. It’s sold by distributors, and there’s sure to be someone in your area. Check the website or Facebook.
Jackie Hill Perry. I lucked into a free ticket to Lifeway’s Abundance Tour last weekend, and was just blown away by this young woman, an ex-gay African American wife, mother, and minister. She’s a spoken word poet who’s simply on fire for Christ, and her testimony was one of the most compelling I’ve ever heard. Check out her album, The Art of Joy.
What’s making you tick this month, friends? Drop a comment below and tell me about it!
Note: There are no affiliate links in this post. These are simply my own personal recommendations based on what I’m loving now.