Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January Round-Up

Welcome to my first ever monthly round-up, where I get to rave on all the awesomeness I've been digging this past month.

Listening: I've had this song on replay all month long.  Kasey Musgraves Somebody to Love. 

I really love the entire album - every song has it's own flair but there are definitely running themes of acceptance, the common experience of life, and blunt yet relatable little truths about everything from beauty pageants to being raised in the south.  I just love this girl.  Her music is resonant with a charming humor.  She's unafraid to talk about things the rest of us try not to bring up.  Religion.  Gay rights.  Feeling less than.  Everything she says is my jam.

We find it so easy to see the faults of others, many of us without stopping to consider our own grievous flaws.  We expect fair treatment when we don't treat others fairly.  We expect understanding when we don't allow our minds to open to ideas which we don't agree with.  If we as people are to grow, we have to be willing to step out of our own comfort, our own normal, and into the lives of people who aren't like us, whether it be family, acquaintances, or those we've never encountered.  And I'm not talking about politics or anything having to do with the State of the Nation.  I'm talking about personal relationships.  Real life in real time.  We've got to start accepting each other, flaws and all.  We've got to stop demanding perfection from those we care about and allow one another to just be.  And show up anyway.  Love anyway.

Favorite line from this song : "We're all good, but we ain't angels.  We all sin, but we ain't devils.  We're all pot and we're all kettles, but we can't see it in ourselves."  And the ending, "We're all little kids just looking for love."  Yep, because aren't we?

Reading:  I finished two books in January - The School for Good and Evil which I reviewed here, and How to Live a Good Life, which I touched on here, but plan to review in more detail in February.  Currently reading: Die Empty.

In the Car:  I'm a podcast junkie and I always hit up one or two during my commute and/or in the car rider line at pick-up time.  My favorites this month include Good Life Project (do you detect a theme here??) and The Unmistakable Creative.  Excited to listen to the new podcast by Marie Forleo as well.

Movement:  I'm always into weight-lifting and this year has been no different.  We've blocked out time to be active as a family as well - hitting up a new hiking spot and taking a family bike ride, as well as several walks around our neighborhood together.  To be able to do those things in January is just nuts!

Monthly Challenge:  I followed along with Rebecca from Simple As That Blog and completed a photography challenge for the month of January.  I would say I did 25 days of 31, so not too shabby, although I definitely noticed a reluctance to finish out the last week.  All in all, though, I really loved the challenge.  Things like this help me to stop and notice the little moments in a day.  When it's hectic or there are chores to be done or things just aren't going right, or maybe things are really turning completely inside-out (I've had several of those days lately), it's nice to look up and find a bright spot in my day.  To see my children and take a moment to appreciate them.  To say or write something sweet or thoughtful.  To come back to present.  It really softens hard moments, and I appreciate that very much.  While I'll be happy for a few weeks off from having to post, I'll definitely participate again.

My challenge for February is a tough one for me - I'm going cold turkey on social media consumption and all online news/mindless browsing/shopping.  This is something I know in my heart that I need to do, but man, it scares me.  I created a new "Do Not Use" folder on my phone and moved all the apps I'm limiting into it.  I also deleted all of my shortcuts to favorite websites (here's looking at you Gap, HuffPost, and Groopdealz).  I plan to allow myself to use the internet for business related stuff (more on that at a later date), blogging, and any school assignments I'm assisting with.  I'll also post my blog updates to Instagram, but without getting sucked into browsing it and watching all the stories.  It's day 1 and I've only been tempted about 100 times today, so I'd say that's a solid start.

Well, that's it for my January Round-Up.  As always, I've created a few free graphics, inspired by my favorite song.  Pop on over to my graphics page and grab 'em if you're into that.  Until next time...

grace + love

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