Well, here we are the end of the first month of the new year (yes, already, somehow …) and I want to introduce you to my new monthly wrap-up posts that are the Things I Learned series that I compiled for FOUR AND A HALF YEARS. I wanted to change up my end-of-the-month posts, so I thought I’d go another listy route with highlights, favorite things, books, and TV shows. I can’t promise those categories will remain exactly the same, but it’s where I’m starting.
So, here are Stories from the Porch in January.
The kids and I didn’t leave the house for EIGHT DAYS in the middle of the month because we had many inches of snow and ice. Y’all, this is Kentucky, and we just don’t know what to do with all of that. We (mostly) enjoyed the unexpected time off and together.
Meanwhile, I chose a focus for the year based on what God was already doing. I’m learning about living rescued and there have been lots of real-life moments on the snowy, rainy, and sunny days to hold onto this perspective. I’ve also read a couple good quotes about that:
“God, tell me the truth of who I am. I’m listening. I want to be free from all the lies – do that for me. Rescue me. Bring truth like a waterfall.” – Annie Downs in “100 Days to Brave”
“God didn’t come, die on a cross so I could cope. He died on a cross so I could be free.” – Carlos Whittaker on “A Greater Story” podcast
- Wallpics – I’m really excited about these 8-by-8 photos I ordered to come in. Apparently I’ll just peel off something on the back and stick them on the wall. And if I don’t like where I put them, I can move them. Ordering them was super easy through the Wallpics app and there was (and still is at the moment) a 40% off sale happening. Get an additional 10% off with this code: a14ef383af.
- Kroger’s ClickList – I like to grocery shop, so I wasn’t sure I would care about the online-order-pick-up service. But I do care. Greatly, actually. It’s been so practical to plan meals in my kitchen as I order the groceries I need. Then I pull into a parking place, tell the store I’m there, and my groceries are loaded into my trunk.
- Andrew Osenga’s “The Pivot” podcast – I listened for the first time because my friend (and singer/songwriter) Randall Goodgame was on an episode. But I liked the host and the premise that God uses all the pivots we make in life, so I kept listening. Perhaps this podcast resonates with me because I’m quick to make decisions but slow to accept the realities that often come with changes.
- “One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book” – This is a journal that has space for one sentence a day for five years. It’s become my nighttime habit this month to write down a sentence (or maybe two short ones!) from my day. I already know I’m going to love looking back on this.
From the bookshelf
- “100 Days to Brave” by Annie Downs – This is what I’m reading in the mornings, along with Love God Greatly’s James study. It’s really good, and more than once I’ve sent a scripture or quote from this devotional to friends.
- “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance – Greg recommended this book to me, but I’ve heard many other friends have read it too. Memoirs are my favorite, so it’s really interesting to read about a culture that includes parts of my state and reminds me of some of what I’ve encountered through my volunteer work with the pregnancy resource center and the adoption support group I host.
- “If You Only Knew” by Jamie Ivey – I’ve already written a review on this book, but it comes out TODAY officially, so I wanted to remind you that you want to read it.
- “In Bloom” by Kayla Aimee – This memoir comes out next week, but it’s another one you’ll want to read. I have a review coming, but in short: Kayla Aimee really is a gifted storyteller. In this book, she addresses so many heavy topics like shame, purity, expectations, purpose, community, and relationships with fun and meaningful stories that bring freedom and confidence.
- “The Perfect Stranger” by Megan Miranda – Written by a new-to-me author, this psychological suspense novel kept me guessing and wondering and wanting to figure out what was going on.
- “Every Last Lie” by Mary Kubica – Again with a psychological thriller, I was intrigued. Honestly, I didn’t love the ending. It’s a totally different plot that Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl,” but I was left without the resolution I wanted. Even so, it’s worth reading.
I’m keeping a list of favorite books on Amazon, in case you need recommendations.
On the screen
- “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – During the first episode, I wasn’t sure what to think about this show. But it’s by the creators of “Gilmore Girls,” so I wanted to give it a chance. By the second episode, I considered myself a fan and promptly watched the brief short season on Amazon Prime. (Did you know you can try Amazon Prime FREE for 30 days?)
- “The Resident” – Yes, it seems a little (a lot?) like “Grey’s Anatomy,” but it’s got a great cast, including Matt Czuchry (hello, “Gilmore Girls,” again, and “The Good Wife,” which I miss) and Emily VanCamp (“Revenge” was a really great show to binge watch).
- “911” – I wanted to like this show. The cast is excellent. But the pilot episode stressed me out so much I couldn’t finish it.
Tell me about your January. What are you loving?