“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
January always seems to be a quiet, lazy month filled with quiet evenings to myself, tea and books in hand. This January has been no different and has inspired a few of my Top 5, but I’m also looking forward to the uptick in tempo of February with its many occasions and holidays-Super Bowl, Winter Carnival, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, Restaurant Week-bringing me out of my hibernation and into the world again.
Here are my Top 5 for next month.
“Good fiction is made of what is real, and reality is difficult to come by.” ~ Ralph Ellison
Lately, I’ve been reading and writing fiction. It’s something that so easily falls off the priority list when things get busy but is so life-giving to me. It helps me dream and see possibilities. It helps me not take life and myself so seriously, realizing life is bigger than my to-do lists and Facebook feeds. It just makes me smile and slow down. So I want to keep it in my week even as the weeks get busier this month.
I’ve been reading the Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle and very much recommend it! Not only has it helped to read fiction this month, but also to read children’s sci-fi/fantasy fiction has invigorated my imagination and nostalgia. Plus, I can’t wait to see the movie this spring!
I’ve decided to choose a new word for the year (already :)) – Brave. All this past month I’ve been intentional about doing things I’m scared to. Like contacting a friend I haven’t seen in a while and am not sure where we’re at. Or starting to write fiction again and sharing my blog on social. Or just saying no to a friend rather than people pleasing.
In an interview with Oprah, Maya Angelou said, “Courage is the greatest of all the virtues. Because without it you cannot do any virtue with consistency.”
I want to keep taking little steps of bravery this year and slowly but surely reach the place where I can consistently say no to fear to live in the freedom of who God created me to be.
Here are two books that have inspired this journey:
3. 1 John
In small group, we’ve been studying 1 John. 1 John has always seemed to me a beautiful poetic book, but also a little scary and condemning- full of absolutes like, “The one who sins is of the devil” or “No one who is born of God will continue to sin.” Knowing I’m sinful, it used to set these doubts and performance mentalities in my brain and gut.
This time around, it’s felt different. Instead of seeing ways I fall short, I see the context of John lovingly, not condemningly, writing to “dear children” and “beloved” to save them from being deceived by liars who look like they’re from God but are not. His passion is not in the condemnation, but in his fiery desire to protect those he loves from being led astray.
His words are to reassure those in Christ that you are atoned for and anointed and although you will make mistakes, you are walking in the light. That is where you belong because Christ brought you there. You may fall into the darkness every once and a while, but that’s not where you live. That’s not where you stay. You’ve seen the light and know God and so you will continue to get up out of the darkness with the strength given through the Holy Spirit and a deep desire (like John’s) to bring more and more people into the light where you now live.
4. All the Restaurants
Now that I’m done with Whole30, I can’t wait to eat at all the restaurants I’ve been missing the past 30 days! Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad I did Whole30 and definitely want to figure out a good balance because I’ve been feeling great now that I’m not eating junk. But sometimes, you just need a donut. Or a juicy cheeseburger with fries and ketchup. And I’m going to enjoy those things this month…in moderation.
Here are a few restaurants I can’t wait to try out:
- Sarpino’s – You guys, I’ve missed good old-fashioned delivery pizza. That’s happening ASAP this month…probably Super Bowl Sunday.
- Fogo de Chao – probably my favorite restaurant and it’s made affordable by Restaurant Week later this month.
- Mi Ama – Apparently they have a great Taco Tuesday special.
- Sisyphus Brewing – I can’t wait to have beer again! This is a great brewery in North Minneapolis and the best part is Aaron and I won gift cards to it (free beer!) + they have comedy shows.
“Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work’s important, family’s important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming.” – Nicolas Sparks
In December, I counted down to Christmas. In January, I counted down to the end of Whole30. At work, I’m counting down to the Gala. There’s something exciting about ticking off the days and working towards something whether big or small. What should I countdown to in February?