What Helps in Winter 2018

Anne Bogel @ modernmrsdarcy.com has an upbeat, helpful blog about books & life. I came across it a few years ago. Since then she started a podcast focused solely on books too; What Should I Read Next.

Each Winter for the past several years she has shared the post What's Saving My Life Right Now. Why I loved it so much is because without getting dark or too heavy she simply stated her struggle with seasonal depression and what she does to combat it in an honest, light, and practical way. 

Her blog post made me 1. feel less alone 2. shift my perspective about Winter 3. get practical and proactive to survive and even find ways to enjoy Winter.  Now, annually Anne shares an updated version of What Is Saving My Life Right Now and invites others to join in.

Her list usually contains all types of helpful things from the simple, maybe a little silly, to the more serious. 

This is my 3rd year to link up with Anne and share what's helping me in the Winter. So here is my 2018 list:

What is helping me this winter 2018

therapy lamp 

Though I read about Anne using a therapy lamp a while back, it took me a 2 years before I ACTUALLY bought one. I was skeptical, but oh my goodness, I love it so much now. It sits by my nightstand, and when Jeff's first alarm goes off I grab a cup of coffee, tea, or water and bask in the light. On cloudy days I often turn it on while I am at my desk or filling out my planner. I bought  the  Verilux HappyLight Liberty 10,000 LUX Light Therapy Energy Lamp

therapy lamp


I look forward to this podcast every Tuesday. If you need a gentle, discerning, faith-filled, creative voice speaking into your life I highly recommend giving this podcast a try. Emily mentored and taught me for a 6 week period along with 8 other women in a course she created called the Artists Bench, for which I will always be grateful. Her books are among my favorite, and so I was thrilled when she started this podcast. The podcast description is below, which I copied and pasted from her site:

"For the second-guessers, the chronically hesitant, or anyone who suffers from decision fatigue, best-selling author and host Emily P. Freeman helps create a little space for your soul to breathe so you can discern your next right thing in love. Because out of the thousands of decisions you make everyday, chances are a few of them threaten to keep you up at night. If you're in a season of transition, waiting, general fogginess or if you've ever searched "how to make a decision" on the internet, listen in."  

My current favorite episode is #20 Ignore with Intention


Calligraphy + Lettering

I have always had a thing for tactile learning, and for movement, for flow; whether it be dance, or poetry, or cursive writing. So it makes sense that I have found learning and practicing calligraphy to be therapeutic and enjoyable. Practicing calligraphy takes less concentration than when I paint, but it still gives me the satisfaction of working with my hand and doing something artsy. For me it's a much better fit than crocheting, knitting, cross-stitch or sewing. Give me threads and I will give you tangles, but the pointed pen, brush-markers, and inks are my thing now! In a few weeks I might share my favorite resources, books, supplies and kits in a blog post, if anyone would be interested in this?!

calligraphy kit by @designroots

calligraphy kit by @designroots

diffusing oils +  lighting candles

If house chores are piling up and procrastination is starting to take over diffusing oils in my kitchen seems to give me a little lift, especially peppermint and citrus oils combined. 

Lighting candles in the Winter is always a comfort too. I mostly like to light them while cleaning dishes, on rainy or extra overcast days, and when I am at my desk practicing calligraphy.

sacred ordinary days planner and illuminated bible

Sacred ordinary days Planner

If you follow my blog, you are probably sick of me mentioning how much I love this planner. I am guessing it was on my list last year too. It keeps me focused on daily tasks, weekly goals, all while grounding me in God's word, inspiring me with quotes, and providing a short prayer for the day (like in just one phrase- what I call a breathe prayer). read more about the planner or purchase one for yourself here

beautiful bible

As a Christmas gift I received the Illuminated Bible:

"The ESV Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition places the full ESV text alongside over 500 elegantly hand-lettered gold ink illustrations by renowned artist Dana Tanamachi. Printed on thick, cream-colored paper, the Bible’s single-column text setting and wide margins provide generous space for additional notes, prayers, and designs—inviting readers to creatively engage with and reflect on the beauty of God’s Word."

 On the back cover of the Bible is the scripture 119:130 "The unfolding of your words gives light."  Amen!

mantras + quotes

Flustered or discouraged, coming back to an encouraging quote or mantra is like having an anchor to return my heart to hope, gentleness, and perseverence.

Lately, as I have been pursuing creative dreams and things these 2 quotes by author Emily Freeman and Madeleine L'Engle are ones I keep returning too;

Befriend narrow limits. Let them be a reminder to you that your work and your art are impossible without divine resources.
— Emily P Freeman
It is the nature of love to create.
— Madeleine L'Engle

And more recently as I have been reading through the book Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen this quote has encouraged me:

I felt the groundswell of freedom that comes from living with nothing to prove.
— Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove

a lightbox for tracing

So maybe this is not applicable to you, or seems silly, but I bought a light box for tracing and I LOVE IT. If you love painting but you struggle with drawing, I suggested a lightbox. I print off photos to trace for doing custom paintings (like house portraits) or I print off vintage "found" clip art which is from pre-copyright time and use it to trace and create art. I learned this technique from an e-course I took by artist Molly Hatch @ creativebug.  Also, if you are starting to learn lettering and calligraphy it is a great tool. I use it the most tracing letters/alphabets to build muscle memory for calligraphy and lettering. 

light box calligraphy.jpg

fleece leggings with long sweaters or shirts

Because during Winter comfort is key

stay organized.jpg


I went too long in life without realizing that spending money on organizational baskets, containers or supplies is totally worth it. This winter I organized the pantry and bought a few new containers. Being organized feels like giving my soul extra breathing room. I definitely believe that clutter increases anxiety. 

I bought a few office organizational supplies this past month too. 


The Amazing Race

why: a show we can generally watch as a family. Oliver brings the globe down from his room while we watch the show, and we show him where all the places are located.

Kevin (Probably) Saves the World

why: It's a new feel good drama-dy on ABC; imaginative and not too heavy

Paddington Bear (on Netflix)

why: Oliver laughs his way through this movie and I adore the whimsical home decor and artful inspiration