January Reflections

For many years, I thought January was a gloomy month. After the excitement of Christmas, it was sad to take down the lights and decorations and deal with the rest of the cold, dark winter.

Though I still don’t like the cold, darkness, and bare landscape, I do like the respite that January brings. For our family, there are no major events in January after everyone goes back to work. Much as I love all that’s connected with the holidays, I love having January to reset for the new year.

After a bit of resting, I’ve felt almost driven to get a number of tasks done this month. Some were organizational, some involved cleaning and mending. In my early married years, Sandra Felton’s Messies Manual and newsletters helped me reign in a lot of clutter and bad habits. One of her mottoes was “Scratch where it itches”—take care of whatever is bugging you now. That’s how I felt when I saw my bathroom curtains, shower curtains, and bedroom window all desperately needed attention. Why put that off for spring cleaning? It felt good to take care of those things, both in getting them done and having the time to do so (now the rest of the windows will have to wait. 🙂 ).

An added bonus to getting so much done early in the month is that I didn’t have anything I had to do this week beyond the usual laundry, meals, grocery shopping, etc. There’s always stuff that could be done, but I had nothing that had to be done. So I have been able to delve back into my writing. I hadn’t touched the book I am working on since probably early December. I got a few good revising sessions with it this week plus wrote the rough drafts for two potential articles.

I revised my “About Me” section of the blog (I thought I had done that once or twice since 2006, but it didn’t look like it!). I added a Writing page and tab at the top. I’ve also been removing some older, silly posts, like a “What kind of cookie are you?” quiz. I’m working on the latter partly to free up more space: I’m about to max out on the allowable space for a free blog with WordPress. It’s only taken me thirteen years to do so. I am probably going to switch to the paid version soon, both to access more storage and to eliminate the ads that WP puts on free blogs. I don’t think the ads show up as much on a computer, but they are pretty heavy on devices. And one is at the bottom of the email version of the blog posts.


We did have one major event at the beginning of January: my husband and I belatedly celebrated our 40th anniversary with a quick, fun, refreshing get-away to Gatlinburg. We stayed in a cozy lodge and visited the Titanic museum.

We haven’t had many other family doings this month besides eating together once or twice a week, playing games, and chatting. We had a fun FaceTime tour of my oldest son’s new condo after he got settled in and decorated it. My youngest son started a new job in early December and is enjoying it.


I know for some of you, my little grandson’s sayings are your favorite part of my monthly musings. Unfortunately, I don’t have any written down. I mentioned before that he likes texting, usually gifs and emojis. But now he’s picked up that the iPhone will offer up word prompts. That has led to texts like this:

Thanks 🙏 I the way we are we can yeah hey there are we doing a little shopping 🛒 is


Ghffjf us is to much to do so she has the same problem ho I ghosted and my phone 📱

He has also taken to writing us “notes.”

He’s doing well with home school. For one project, they had to make a timeline with key events from his short life illustrated with his drawings. For his birth, he drew a baby in a box. I don’t know if he thought babies arrived, like everything else, in Amazon packages, or if he remembers pictures of himself in the NICU incubator.


I finished When Calls the Heart while riding my exercise bike, at least all they had. I don’t know when to expect the latest season of it on Netflix. I’ve enjoyed it, even knowing it is different from Janette Oke’s books. I know the faith element isn’t brought out as much in the series as it was in the books, though they do sometimes quote the Bible or spiritual principles or pray. But they’ve also had some “off” sayings: “Follow your heart,” God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” “the man upstairs,” “We’re born under a star. Maybe ours was lucky.”

We all enjoyed the second season of Lost in Space. So good, but so intense! Unfortunately, we’ll probably have to wait a year for new episodes since this season just came out.

I found a delightful four-episode series on Amazon Prime videos called Doctor Thorne, based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Trollope (whom I have never read). It doesn’t have a ground-breaking plot: a young man from an aristocratic family in the 1800s falls in love with a poor girl of questionable birth. The young man is urged by his mother and aunt to “marry money” to save the estate from its debts. It was quite enjoyable and satisfying, even though the ending was predictable. The script was written by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame, and he introduces and closes each episode. I’m not sure why it was rated TV-14: there’s nothing really objectionable in it, except two characters are alcoholics. One dies after an accident, and there’s blood, but it’s not that traumatic a scene.

I’ve discovered another Amazon prime series called Home Fires, about the British Women’s Institute during WWII. I’m only on the second episode, but it’s good so far.

We enjoyed watching the old animated 101 Dalmatians with all the family.


So far this year I have completed (titles link to my reviews):

One I finished in December but didn’t get to review til this month was Seasons of the Heart: A Year of Devotions From One Generation to Another compiled by Donna Kelderman. She draws from writings of ladies like Susannah Spurgeon and Frances Ridley Havergal and transforms them into one-page devotionals for the book.

I’m currently reading:

  • Good Tidings of Great Joy: A Collection of Christmas Sermons by Charles Spurgeon
  • Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam
  • The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home by Denise Kiernan about the Biltmore House.
  • Hard Times by Charles Dickens (audiobook)

February marks the last Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge . I’ll have the first post for it up on Saturday. (Update: The sign-up post is here.)


Besides the updating and book reviews I mentioned earlier and weekly Friday’s Fave Fives, I’ve posted:

I’m a bit conflicted abut whether to continue the end-of-month musings. I enjoy them. But I wonder if they are too much repetition, too much sharing things you’ve already seen. I do include some things not posted before, but a lot of it is recap. I’d love it if you would let me know honestly whether you enjoy these monthly wrap-ups or pass them by.

How has your January been? Let me know in the comments.

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Global Blogging, Senior Salon, Shannan, InstaEncouragement, Worth Beyond Rubies)

29 thoughts on “January Reflections

  1. i, for one, do enjoy your end of the month musings. :0) I appreciate all the time and effort you put into all your posts. And the Laudable Linkage always has a site or two i find challenging.

  2. Well Barbara i for one LOVE reading your monthly musings because i can’t always go to blogs during the work week as a bit too busy with teaching and managing my home and trying to keep my health up with work outs, etc. So anyways, i LOVE reading your posts and actually thought maybe I’d try to do a brief recap. I don’t tend to read your recap of books because i do usually read your book reviews even though i don’t always comment. 😀

    It sounds like you had a lovely month. What has helped me this January is less snow and bitter cold. And more sun!!!!

    • Thanks so much, Faith. I’m always happy for you to visit whenever you have a chance. I’m pleased to know you enjoy these posts. I hadn’t thought about the aspect that they might be beneficial for those who can’t visit often. I’m glad your January has been less cold and snowy. More sunlight is always a boost to the spirit.

  3. I love your monthly musings because I don’t always have time to read all the others. I like it also because it reminds me of things I did read of your daily thoughts that I had forgotten about and had intended to act upon!

  4. I enjoy reading your monthly musings, please keep them up if they aren’t too burdensome. We live so far apart it helps me to feel connected to our family.💕

  5. Hmmm, I’m confused. My sister and I loved watching Lost in Space as kids. Is there a new version out now? I love the saying “Scratch where it itches” 🙂 Helpful! Looks like Timothy has been inspired in his notes by your card-making! January sounds like a good month down your way. I hope February will be as well!

    • I’m sorry, I should have specified. Yes, there is a new version of Lost in Space on Netflix. It has two seasons out now, I think maybe ten or so episodes each. The family starts our pretty dysfunctional, but they begin to find their way back to each other. But, as I mentioned, it is intense in places. Anyone going through a fraction of what they did would be in therapy! It’s fun whenever there is a tie-in to the old show. Here is a trailer for season 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzmM0AB60QQ.

      I just learned recently that Timothy’s Daddy will leave little notes for Mittu and Timothy if he has to leave before they are up. So I think maybe that has inspired his recent interest in notes.

      I hope your February will be good, too!

  6. Hi Barbara. This is the first of your monthly recollections I’ve seen and I was very impressed by the amount of detail you included. I was only seeing your Friday Fave Five posts before but then added you to my reading list so I now get all your updates. I think with blogging you have to do what suits you best. I know we all hope and like to have an audience but I certainly write for myself. I hope you do continue though and it must be a good way of being able to look back on what’s been going on in your life.

  7. I love that you only “scratched where it itched” with your windows instead of feeling you had to do the whole house at once. I need to remember that. Sometimes I don’t clean ANY windows because I think I have to do ALL the windows. ha. Oh, the silly little rules we unconsciously lock ourselves into.

    Glad you were able to get more writing done. I’m so excited about your upcoming book.

    I always love your Timothyisms. And the notes are great. I also love your wrap-ups. I know they’re a lot of work, though, so I understand if they may not seem worth it to you. But from this reader’s perspective, I’d like to see them continue. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Lisa. I enjoy doing them, but thought if I was the only one, maybe time would be better spent on other things. 🙂

      I do that, too, with some tasks–think it has to be all or nothing. Then it’s a big ordeal.

      I’m excited that you’re excited about my book.:)

  8. Even though January is my birthday month, it is probably my least favorite. This year, we got a respite from the cold when we visited my sister and brother-in-law in Florida – so nice!

    I love that “Scratch where it itches” philosophy. Now I have to figure out what is causing me to “itch” so I can scratch it!

  9. I am always glad to see the back of January, a month closer to spring then, hopefully, a summer #globalblogging@_karendennis

  10. I love reading what others have got up to over the month. Throughly enjoyed yours, you packed so much in. I often think what on earth I could write for the month. doctors hospital op shop dog walking…same ole stuff each month. #SeniSal

  11. Thanks for this, Barbara. I think I already wished you a happy anniversary—we’re almost to 40!!! And we honeymooned in Gatlinburg! Maybe we’ll go back there for our 40th. I’m sure it’s changed a great deal. We need some more Timothyisms next month! LOL

    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  12. I changed over to a paid version of WordPress because of the ads. Some of them were so disgusting I was actually hearing about them from my readers!
    And I do love this monthly update. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

  13. January seemed to last forever but February is racing by! I did lots of reading last month so was feeling quite proud of myself but work got in the way of much cooking experiments. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

  14. Hello, hello, hello! Carrie here after a long, long while. I haven’t blogged in forever but stay in touch some old book blogging pals via Instagram. However, the other night I was listening to Sally Clarkson and thinking about women I’ve known who encouraged me, specifically online, and I thought of you! And so I’ve popped on to see how your family has been doing. It’s been delightful to scroll through some of your posts and kind of get an idea of how you are all doing. Love the Timothy-isms! 🙂 Drawing his birth in a box! HA! 🙂

    Just wanted to take at least a minute and catch up and say hello.

  15. Pingback: February Reflections | Stray Thoughts

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