Happy Friday from the front porch, sweet friends. Thanks so much for making us a part of your day today!
Truth be told, I’ve tried to write this post nearly every day for the past few days.
And every time I’ve come up empty.
As some of you know, my Mom, sisters, and I were supposed to be on our annual birthday trip to Renningers this weekend.
Several weeks ago though, my Mom broke her toe and my Dad was hospitalized with pneumonia.
As I shared last week while they’re both on their way to making full recoveries (my Dad got an excellent report from the doctor regarding his chest x-ray yesterday), I wasn’t really sure how to even celebrate our birthdays this year.
Honestly, things have been so up and down since the beginning of November that I was afraid to even think we’d have a chance to celebrate.
As melodramatic as it sounds, I was fully prepared to let the day go because I just didn’t have the bandwidth to take care of one more thing, much less the energy to problem-solve and make decisions.
That’s the thing about being a caregiver though, isn’t it?
No matter if you have a newborn, a toddler, a teenager, a spouse with special needs, or you’re also trying to manage the care of multiple households with aging parents there is a mental load we carry daily that almost always goes unspoken and unseen.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re tough, resilient, and steward the purpose with which we’ve been charged amazingly well.
We lift each other up and cheer each other on, learn to practice gratitude, and take breaks in minute sections of time.
But if you’re anything like me, when you lay your head down at night, you still have questions….how is this sustainable…how is this going to work out…is true rest even possible at this point…how are you, really?
I grabbed the phone to call my Mom to let her know canceling our birthday party would be the easiest thing to do. After all, both of my parents needed time to heal and I couldn’t think of anything I wanted anyway.
But before I could log out of my computer I saw one last comment come in.
So, I put the phone back down.
The comment was from Rachel of The Antiqued Journey and after I published it, I headed over to her blog to support her latest post.
Featured on the shelf in one of her photos was a small sign that read, “Gather hope,” and I immediately knew what I wanted for my birthday.
Armed with fresh inspiration, I called my Mom and asked her to make a birthday bucket list.
I created a list of my own as well.
On the top, I wrote, “gather hope.”
Underneath, I wrote a list of my favorite places to treasure hunt, restaurants I love to eat at but haven’t been to in months, and a few other simple pleasures to enjoy.
It’s in the spirit of gathering hope and being brave enough to ask and answer the question, “What do you really need?” that I’ve also decided to take next week off.
I do have a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide post that will go out Monday.
Other than that though, I’m giving myself the most luxurious birthday gift I can possibly think of, the gift of time.
Thank you for being here and for all the ways you keep showing up with inspiration, motivation, gentle truths, and words of love and encouragement.
When I blow out my birthday candles this weekend, I’ll be thinking of you.
Few of Our Favorite Things from Around the Web…
This home tour, Belgium Refuge, is really pretty.
Have you seen the Stone Lake Project from Bria Hammel Interiors yet? They are such a talented design team.
It’s hard to believe this farmhouse is new!
These butler pantry ideas are all fabulous.
How to Bring Life Into Your Garden with Winter Blooming Flowers and Plants (I love the way Kim makes gardening so approachable)
If you’re ready for a fresh coat of white paint, these colors are all beautiful.
How to Make an Amazing Pinecone Wreath (one fabulous wreath, 2 different ways)
5 Valentine’s Day Project Ideas (that are totally cute and totally doable)
This beautiful project has me on the search for vintage buttons.
Speaking of vintage, have you seen these hearts yet? They’re so pretty and feel like the perfect winter craft!
I love this Monday Morning reset idea, Nicolle shared. Making healthy choices is one of my top priorities this year.
Speaking of which, have you read Elizabeth’s post on 10 Tips for Getting and Staying Healthy in the New Year yet?
Rachel’s post on Top iPhone Photography Tips was so helpful!
I love the gentle reminder on this mug.
16 Best Gifts for Minimalists (if you’re thinking ahead for Valentine’s Day)
Happy Birthday to my sweet Mom and to all the other January birthdays who are a part of our community celebrating this month!
**You can read all about her milestone birthday celebration here if you missed it.
Words to Live By…
On My Nightstand…
(Amazon affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon and Impact Media Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)
Manifest: 7 Steps to Living Your Best Life by Roxie Nafousi (This book has been so much more helpful than I anticipated, I really like it. The clarifying questions have been tough at times but definitely worth it)
**You can find a complete list of all the self-discovery books we’ve read here.
On the Menu This Month…
Birthday Inspired Finds We Spotted Online at Amazon This Week…
(Amazon and Target affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon and Impact Media Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)
If You’ve Missed Anything from the Blog Recently or the Archives, Here’s a Peek At What We’ve Been Up To…
(this is great for little treats or for passing love notes and words of encouragement in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day)
(I literally LOL’d when my baby sister walked into the hospital with this box filled with treats for all of us)
January Bucket List…
- Do All Our Favorite Things on New Year’s Day
- Celebrate Birthday Week
- Continue 6-Minute Journal
- Continue Skincare Routine
- Eat Greens with Every Meal
- Drink Water Before Coffee
- Create a Cozy Winter Home
- Revisit Bible Study/Devotion
- Reestablish Morning & Nightly Routines
- Transition to Afternoon Workout Routine
- Plan Valentine’s Day Activities
- Read the Book of the Month
- Keep Sundays Sacred
**You can find our complete list of Word of the Month Ideas here.
January Simplified and Organized Home Challenge…
Focus of the Month: Your Health-Wellness Routines & Home-Keeping Systems
- 01/01 Morning Routine & Workout Routine
- 01/08 Nightly Routine with 15 Minute Clutter Catcher
- 01/15 Cleaning Schedule
- 01/22 Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping
- 01/29 Organize Pantry
**You can find the entire 52 Weeks to a Simplified and Organized Home Challenge Plan here.
TCG Housekeeping Notes, Dates to Remember, and Upcoming Posts…
- 01/23 National Pie Day
- 01/24 National Compliment Day
- 01/25 National Plan for Vacation Day
- 01/26 National Green Juice Day
- 01/27 National Chocolate Cake Day
- 01/31 National Hot Chocolate Day
As always, we appreciate you more than you could ever know, and we hope your weekend is peace-filled and relaxing.