As we're approaching the "middle" of winter, at least in my mind, I like to keep my momentum going. Christmas is passed, and spring isn't quite around the corner (although Austin might have me convinced otherwise). I'm so used to longing for the next big thing, but this time of year, there isn't a big thing for quite awhile. Anticipation is healthy and good, but it's also good discipline for my heart to stop, notice, and be grateful for some lovely little bits of life that God provides each day in the here and now.
Don't only look forward, but look around as you move forward.
Then I had this thought:
I need to balance anticipation and observation in light of the blessings in my life.
In that spirit, here are seven favorite things in my life right now (the number itself is completely arbitrary):
1. Reading Sense and Sensibility, thanks to a friend who loaned me her copy of the complete works of Jane Austen. It generally takes me a few pages to get reacquainted with Austen's formality of writing, but her subtle observations about society and culture really make me laugh!
2. Morning naps. On my days (before a night) off, I like to wake up early with Nicholas, have breakfast together, put his lunch together, and then grab a cozy blanket and head to the couch for a brief nap before the rest of my day begins.
3. The toaster oven. Nicholas gave it to me for Christmas, and I'm loving the versatility of it. I didn't grow up with one, so I'm still getting acquainted with this new-to-me appliance, but I'm excited to share what changes we've made in our kitchen because of it.
4. Creamed (whipped) raw honey. The honey man at the farmer's market remembered us, and his honey is the best, so I couldn't help myself. I'm excited to try it spread on toast if I ever stop eating it straight off the spoon (whoops).
5. Visits from a best friend (sister)! Liz, it was so fun to host you here in Austin. Also, I'm thankful Austin put on her best show weather-wise while you were here—the sunshine and warmth was just the thing.
6. Good food. From top to bottom, the best(!) tacos, asian lettuce wraps, (not pictured) our impromptu farmer's market spread and ice cream.
7. Knitting. Because would I be me if I didn't mention this at least once a week? ;) I'm wrapping up another pair of fingerless gloves like this pair for a friend. Next up? A birthday present for the sweetest sister-in-law.
What are your favorite things lately? What brings you joy in the middle of winter?
I love baking. I truly do. The difference between a bad afternoon and a good one can be as simple as a baked good. I love the slow process, the premonition of preheating the oven, sometimes playing around with different flavors. My favorites are your typical "home bakes," nothing couture. Cakes, cookies, brownies, etc., are all my go-to baked goods to make in my own kitchen.
Some projects come along at just the right moment, and this shawl is one of them. After several rather hectic months, I wanted to get back into the rhythm of knitting, but wanted a fun, low-pressure, but still creatively inspiring project. I love knitting socks, but I wanted to knit something with more colorplay and this shawl was just the thing.
It's that time of the year when typically, as a born-and-raised Northerner, I'd be yearning for spring. That yearning isn't quite so pronounced here in Austin, but nonetheless, February is a month of almosts. Winter is almost over, spring is almost here, etc. And so it has been timely for me to indulge in a few self-care practices (and treats) while we're living in the almosts.