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):
- Panosian: A Story of God’s Gracious Providence by Chris Anderson (audiobook). A dramatic true story of God’s protection of a family through the Armenian Genocide preceding WWI.
- Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke, a novel involving a couple of people on the Titanic, one who survived and one who did not, and one sister who wished the results had been reversed.
- The Shop Keepers by Nancy Moser, a sequel to The Pattern Artist and The Fashion Designer, novels about a young women going into those professions in the early 1900s. This one takes place just after WWI. I am giving away a copy of this book on Tuesday.
- The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle (audiobook).
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)
Besides the updating and book reviews I mentioned earlier and weekly Friday’s Fave Fives, I’ve posted:
- A Look Back at the Blog in 2019.
- You Don’t Have to Choose a Word for the Year
- Ways to Both Read and Study the Bible
- Every Resolve for Good
- Biblical Self-Talk
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.