Good Things for You. From Me: January 2017 Edition

throw pillows

Pour an extra cup of coffee and congratulate yourself. You’ve made it through January.

Raise your hand if you have a complicated relationship with this first month of the year.

We start out resolved and hopeful, taking life by the horns and showing it who’s boss. And then somewhere in the middle we realize we might be depressed {because it’s winter, yo}  so we commence to baking two ginormous batches of monster cookies in a four-day period.

This month has been harder than I anticipated. I realized that our three dear children are somehow in four different sports, thanks to a 6-week overlap in cheerleading and soccer. I don’t do the busy sports-mom thing very gracefully or graciously. And yes, I do realize how un-American that sounds.

Our family lives or dies by our color-coded calendar these days and the busy-ness is hard for me. When our kids were younger, we decided not to do lots of outside activities during the little years. In my lazy mom opinion, the chief end of childhood is play. I’m so grateful for those unscheduled years and I miss them.

Don’t get me wrong. The teenage years are their own brand of awesome. {Gilmore Girls marathons! Everyone can bathe, feed, clothe themselves!} But I also feel like we’ve climbed aboard the busy train and this locomotive will not be slowing down anytime soon. I have no choice but to hop on and endure enjoy the ride. Once I finally get to the bleachers or the sidelines or the event, I realize it’s all going to be okay and I find great happiness in watching my kids display equal parts impressiveness and awkwardness. Plus the concession stands sell popcorn and candy and I feel I’ve earned it.

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This January has also made me grateful for the most important things in this world — my people. Two weeks ago my husband and youngest son were in a car accident. Our car is totaled but my two people emerged mostly unscathed. The car’s side-curtain air bags likely saved my husband’s life. The funny thing is — we didn’t even know the car had those. It felt like a miracle.

Sometimes God’s mercy shows up unexpectly like that and it’s a game changer. Suddenly our schedule, our bank account, our piled-up laundry, our various struggles — they all faded into gray.

The accident has made me grateful for the gifts of bleacher-sitting, laundry-folding, and minivan-driving. Things can change in an instant, can’t they? I don’t want to be ruled by fear and what ifs, but I do believe that it’s such grace when we’re reminded of our truest priorities. I can never have enough arrows in my life that point me toward gratitude and remind me of the real value in my right-now work of loving people in the daily rhythms and making a home for all of us.

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One idea I have for this new year is to offer a Favorite Things sort of post at the end of each month. I’ve been blogging for almost a decade and when I first started out, I figured my blog would simply be an online space to share recipes and favorite things. I never imagined I would emerge as a writer. Many hundreds of posts later, I’ve bared my soul and shared my stories. But I still have a weakness for dishing about the fun stuff and I want to make it more of a regular thing instead of a few times a year thing or a weekend links post.

I hope you enjoy it!

 

In the Kitchen

Easy Honey Mustard Baked Chicken from Good Life Eats

My entire family loved this dish which felt like a modern-day miracle!

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Flourless Monster Cookies from Life in Grace

I made two batches in 4 days. Let that shameful truth speak for itself. These cookies are everything.

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Watched

I enjoy all sorts of movies but I have a weakness for independent films. These first two movies are quirky like that.

Big Eyes

A drama about the awakening of painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s. ~imdb.com

St. Vincent

A young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door. ~imdb.com

 

The Crown {A gorgeous series on Netflix. SO GOOD!}

The early reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is portrayed. ~imdb.com {Dear IMDb, I feel like you can provide a better description than this.}

As always, do your research. We all have different sensitivities when it comes to media. Just because I recommend something, doesn’t mean I recommend it without disclaimers.

 

Currently Reading

Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson

Poetic, slow, beautifully written, and not for those who want a fast-paced, plot-driven narrative. I’m taking my time with this one and it’s teaching me to approach literature in a different way than I’m used to. Rush through this one and you’ll miss the whole point of it.

old books

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer

I mentioned this book in my earlier January post. This is my second time to read it and it’s speaking to me in a whole different way than before.

God’s Will: Finding Guidance for Everyday Decisions by J.I. Packer and Carolyn Nostrum

I’m reading this on my Kindle but wish I had a hard copy so I could write in it. There’s just so much wisdom to underline with an actual highlighter. J.I. Packer has lived a looooong time and I appreciate his wise voice. It feels like I’m reading a book that one of my grandfathers would have written and something about this comforts me.

 

January Gifts from the Internet

home office

Fun fact: This was my awesome but very brown and brick office a year ago. She looks so different now, thanks to a spontaneous December makeover. I’ll have to show her off on February’s monthly post so stick around!

 

It’s Hard to Admit that You’re Lonely by Rebecca K. Reynolds 

What to do When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything at All by Jon Bloom via A Holy Experience

Nothing is Everything by Kendra Adachi at The Lazy Genius Collective

3 Things I’m Doing to Keep Life Calm by Deidra Riggs

 

Listened to

This podcast with Sally Clarkson on The Simple Show

She talks about the book she co-wrote with her grown son, Nathan. I listened intently to every word of her interview. If you’re raising a child who’s “different” and “out-of-the-box,” I highly recommend listening to Sally’s and Tsh’s interview.

 

The Still Small Voice, a sermon by Tim Keller

I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to this sermon but it’s one that restores my soul each and every time. God’s ministry to his people is ever so personal and more nuanced than we tend to minister to people {or allow ourselves to be ministered to.}

girl-on-a-hill

This song by Bethel Music

On Repeat. Because Fear has been loud and bossy and all-consuming lately and this song helps.

Cleopatra by The Lumineers

One of my favorite albums and one that I associate with summer. But I started listening to it on a whim this month and I can’t quit. Is it too early to begin craving summer?

 

Stuff

Fine Tip Expo Markers

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I found them on amazon and they’re perfect for the aforementioned calendar that sticks to our fridge. Where have these been all my life? {Store them in a cup, tip side down or the ink will be way too light.}

 

Born This Way Foundation by Too-Faced

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It’s spendy but my 43-year-old face says it’s worth it. Plus I had a $20 credit at Sephora. Listen up. This stuff is amazing and a little goes a long way. I prefer a more natural make-up look {on the days when I actually wear it.} This foundation feels and looks natural but it evens out my skin tone and somehow covers up my age spots and undereye circles. I don’t even use concealer anymore. Plus you can layer it in places where you need it, like under your eyes. Best of all, it doesn’t settle into your lines.

“What are lines?” ask all you twenty-somethings. Ah, they are the marks of wisdom and grace, young readers. And also proof that you never slept through the night for years after you started having babies.

I digress but the moral of the story is this. It works so well, it might be sorcery. But at least I’ll be making my way to the dark side with an even skin tone.

 

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Just in case you were worried that I was turning into a beauty blogger with that last product mention, I’m going to let the pendulum swing to the other extreme with this one. Hold on to your homestead. I made dishwasher detergent.

We ran out of dish tabs so I googled “dishwasher detergent substitute” as a good 21st-century homemaker does. This recipe came up first so that’s the one I tried {a few drops of dish soap + baking soda + salt} and IT WORKED.

As the girl who knocked over a bottle of hydrochloric acid that ate up everyone’s lab papers in high school chemistry class and also exploded a glass beaker {two separate incidents}, the success of this experiment made me inordinately happy. {Who’s winning at science now, Ms. Matthews?}

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That’s a wrap, friends.

Happy end of January! May your resolutions still be going strong and if not, that’s why God made monster cookies and Netflix.

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If your life isn’t compete without art house photos of monster cookies, follow me on Instagram! {@marianvischer or just click the pic}

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Comments

  1. Amy Albright says

    And! Woman in Gold is on Netflix this month! It pairs disheartening history with a we-can-do-justice hope! I was cheering for Ryan Reynolds’ all the way.

  2. says

    Marian! Oh my word, I am so grateful that your guys walked away unhurt from that accident! Dear God, what a perspective-changer. Bless you all.

    I love your favorite things posts. Yours may be the only ones I ever read start-to-finish. I like your style and I like your style. :)

    • says

      ale np pocisków w broni oficerów BORunabojów, amunicji (p‚eywdziaÅobim)Wiemy także, że materiaÅ‚ wybuchowy w pociskach (raczej amunicji) broni rÄ™cznej jest inny niż trotyl, dynamit czy nitrogliceryna.Ale skÅ‚adniki spÅ‚onek mogÄ… być identyczne z tymi z zapalników.Jak i nie jestem nietety up to date, ale przynajmniej do amunicji artyleryjskiej stosowano kordyt i stosuje siÄ™ balistyt, zawierajÄ…ce nitroglicerynÄ™. NitroglicerynÄ™ zawierajÄ… również niektóre medykamenty kardiologiczne. poza tym, na pokÅ‚adzie byÅ‚y chyba i inne systemy pitotechniczne. CoÅ› mi siÄ™ paÅ‚Ä™ta po gÅ‚owie z systemem gaÅ›niczym.

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