Contentment, Wintering & A Puppy

To be quite honest, I really don’t love winter and January is a hard month for me. I love to be outside but do not love being cold. I love the sun and warmth. Finding ways to savor the winter season rather than wish it away is something I’ve tried to be very intentional about this year. Finding books specifically on the topic, cooking foods that just taste better during cold weather, moving my body daily, finding things to read or watch or listen to that I enjoy, and making my house cozy for the season have been really helpful, so I will share a few of those things below in this month’s reflection.

I read (and started reading)…

  • Wintering – I really enjoyed the beginning of this book, but didn’t much enjoy the second half. It was very intricately written and almost poetic and that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for in the book. It did have some good tidbits though about how to prepare for a “wintering” in your life though so it certainly wasn’t a waste of time. I gave it a 3/5 star on my notes where I write down the books I read.
  • The Temporary Roomie + Mostly Real McCoy – Both of these were easy and funny romantic comedy reads. I have Kindle Unlimited so find things on there to read in between heavier reads. I gave them both a 3/5.
  • I started the Bible in 90 Days (technically 88 days) on January 3rd. I am now about 1/3 of the way through the Bible as I type this. I’ve read a bit ahead as I’ll be out of town for a bit in February and didn’t want to stress about missing days while I was gone. I will likely write an entire post just on this process and what I’ve learned, but wow, if you’ve ever considered reading the bible in a year or a shorter time frame, I highly recommend it. While I’m also a huge proponent of studying books or theme or digging into verses, seeing this all play out as one story from eden to eternity is just so special. For a 90 day plan, it take me about 30-45 minutes a day to read 12 pages. If you were to do it in a year, it’s probably about 15 minutes a day.
  • A Minute to Think – This one another that I’ve started. It was recommended on a podcast I listen to and while I’ve heard Juliet Funt speak before on white space and the strategic pause in our days, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far and how she illustrates the importance of space in our days.
  • Growing Slow – And the other one I started is this one. It kept coming up in either recommendations on IG from people I follow or through browsing of books, so I purchased it last year and started it this month.
  • Focus: How One Word a Week Will Transform Your Life– Teddy and I started this together. It’s a year long, one word a week, book. There’s a verse and summary that reflect on a word as well as some tips and verses that help with understanding and application.

When I finish A Minute to Think & Growing Slow, I’ll be reading two more of my books for the theme of slowness, margin, and contentment during the winter season. I talk about in this post, but the next two will be Chasing Slow and Seasons of God, both are books I’ve read before but am revisiting.

I listened to…

  • The Bible Recap Podcast– This is my first time ever listening to this podcast, but after I do my readings for the day in the Bible in 90 Days plan, I spend about 30 minutes listening to 4-7 episodes of the podcast which cover what I read for the day. Because the Bible in 90 Days reading is not chronological, but the podcast is, finding the episodes you want to listen to require some searching since various readings from different books can be combined in one episode. I would recommend doing their year long reading if you want to easily listen to these 7 or so minute summary episodes. It will make the process a lot easier.
  • Work & Play with Nancy Ray Podcast – I revisited some of her older episodes about the Contentment Challenge and a few others that I’ve really enjoyed. I also signed up for her Contentment Challenge that I began on January 3rd so listened to specific episodes that go along with that process. More on that below.
  • The Dichotomy of Leadership – This kind of falls within the reading one, but I’ve been listening to the Dichotomy of Leadership again on Audible that I’d listened to a few years ago. It’s a 5/5 for me, so definitely worth revisiting.

I spent time…

  • Doing the Contentment Challenge – This challenge is intended to help you with contentment in what you have rather than discontentment in what you don’t. I’ve done it once before, but am really enjoying doing it again. I’m just about a month in, and have stuck to my specific plans of not buying any clothing, home decor, limiting going out to eat and coffee, and just not buying non essentials. It’s been so good for my heart and also my house to not have more things around that aren’t needed.
  • With our 8 week old yellow lab, Remington, who came home to us in mid January. We’ve been spending a lot of time outside for potty breaks as well as training him what he can and can’t play with (or chew) in the house.
  • In the Catskills with Teddy for New Year. While it was only 4 or so weeks ago January has felt much longer and it feels like this was a few months ago. I truly have never laughed so hard on a trip before, and I’m so glad we could spent quality time together doing something we both enjoy (traveling) at the beginning of the year.
  • Using my Peloton App as well as my bike for workouts. I’ve really enjoyed the strength, cardio, meditation, stretching, and cycling classes. I’ve done 1 every day for over the last 30 days which is rare. But getting movement in during the winter when it’s honestly the last thing I want to do has been really good for my mental (and physical) health.
  • Watching the winter sunrise over the farmfields. There truly is just something about a winter cold sunrise that’s incredibly beautiful and moving. There’s so many purples, blues, and piks

I made…

  • Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos – I made these and they were incredible. Full 5/5 so I highly recommend them. I made them with cabbage, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes, some onion, and chips and salsa on the side. I was very nervous for the frying part of the recipe and putting so much oil in my pan, but the shrimp turned out perfectly.
  • Cheeseburger Soup – I made this with venison meat and then added a little cheese and croutons on top when I served it. It was a great Sunday crockpot meal that provided lunches throughout the week. I’m all about a crockpot Sunday meal that makes the rest of the week easier.
  • Chicken, Broccoli, Rise Casserole – This was a recipe my mom had that I did my own thing for. I cooked chicken and diced it and then added it to Knorr’s rice sides that I had in the cabinet. I had a cheesy chicken broccoli and a chicken one I made and put in and then added steamed broccoli to it. Since I pre cooked everything, I just put it in the oven to let it all melt together and added some cheese on top. Surely not the most healthy, but very delicious.
  • Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts – These were incredible and I ate the whole bowl in one sitting and so stinking easy.

Whatever season you’re in, whether it’s one you love or you dread, I hope you find intentional ways to savor it, because another season will always follow.

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