Following the post-holiday season and the beginning-of-a-new-year high that settled into a low-grade winter depression, February 2021 felt like a long and steady exhale. Perfect for the Lenten season to come in full force, this past month was slow, quiet, and productive in all the places I wanted it to be. Here’s what kept me occupied and afloat in February!
What I did
Visited my college roommates and met the new puppy, Kaiser! It was so life-giving spending time with some of my favorite girls and getting to play with their dogs. Have I, someone who’s never considered herself to be a dog person, slowly but surely been getting more comfortable around dogs? Why yes, yes I have, and I’m learning to be okay with it!
Went wedding dress shopping with my sister and her friend! I feel like my history of watching Say Yes to the Dress had prepared me to be the least horrible person to go wedding dress shopping with, but is one ever really emotionally prepared to see her younger sister in bridal gowns? Be still, my heart!
Completed my 2019 photo album! I’ve decided that I want to start making physical photo albums for every year of my adult life (more on why here), and I finished up my first one this month. After printing out all the photos for my 2020 photo album I am reconsidering my method though, as having to limit the number of photos in the interest of saving space broke my heart a little bit. My go-to gal for all things photo-documenting is Miss Freddy, so I’ll be reading through her blog to learn from her methods!
Attended an Ash Wednesday service with one of my mom’s good friends and started Lent fasting. As someone who is pensive and tends to spend a great deal of time thinking about the sadder things of life, Lent is my favorite liturgical season. I love the intentionality of participating with the global church in reflecting, repenting, and preparing my heart and mind for Easter. I attended my very first Ash Wednesday in 2020 (right before the country shut down), and when I posted about it on Facebook one of my mom’s friends said she’d want to go with me to the next one, so we made it happen! It was so wonderful to be in a church with her again and catch up on where life has taken us since we last saw each other years ago.
I’m also fasting from desserts and social media scrolling until Easter. Both are turning into major practices of discipline, but I can already feel the newfound lightness in both my body and my head from giving them up!
Hiked to see 4 waterfalls (Hemlock, Angel, Panther, Minnehaha) in one day! One of the community groups that I’m involved in at my local church decided to take a hiking trip to see some waterfalls up in North Georgia! We spent 12 hours together chatting on the car rides, hiking, and taking in God’s beautiful creation. I was also smiled and waved to by a guy my age, which I’m taking as a win. It was a perfect day trip!
Completed 24 Days of Pilates with Lottie Murphy. A friend of mine asked me if I enjoyed pilates, to which I responded, “No, I absolutely hate it,” which received a good laugh! I told them that although I hated it, I knew why. Training in competitive gymnastics for 10 years gave me a skewed belief that if I wasn’t doing high intensity, high impact exercising, then it didn’t count or pay off as much for my physical strength. I challenged myself to stick with pilates for a month as a way to help grow my patience and discipline, and I’m proud to say that I’m now stronger in those areas and in my physical strength!
What I discovered
Let’s Talk Podcast – A friend shared this podcast with me, and I loved it so much that I binge-listened to all 16 episodes throughout this month. I love the wisdom and perspective shared by each of the ladies who speak on this show.
What made me smile
Wonder Woman 1984 – I have my dad to thank for suggesting we rent and watch this movie on-demand, and I am SO GLAD he did. We had access to watch this movie for 48 hours, in which I watched the movie 2.5 times and then fangirled over Diana & Steve gifs on Tumblr for days afterward. The resounding message of the importance of the truth that was weaved throughout the film spoke to me in a way that I wasn’t expecting from this movie, and I definitely feel like it’s such a timely message for the current state of society in America (and perhaps the world). I told my dad after we finished it that I’m always so amazed by how closely the messages portrayed in ‘secular’ media align with ‘sacred’ messages found in absolute truth (the Bible), yet can be misconstrued and miss the mark when misapplied and not pointing to the one true end.
I also remembered a wonderful article that was written in response to the first Wonder Woman film, ‘Wonder Woman’ Might Be the Most Accurate On-Screen Depiction of Biblical Womanhood, and Here’s Why, and I’m hoping the author has something to say about the new film too. I’d love to read her thoughts and see if she was thinking along the same lines as me.
A new cross stitch project – I am so excited to have another project to work on with my hands that doesn’t involve a screen. Another practice in patience and diligence doesn’t hurt either 🙂
What I wrote down
“You probably have a hobby or work that delights you and I’m encouraging you to lean into it. Share it with others, be generous with what lights you up. Someone may only take a sip of what you’re savoring but it might change them.” – Lisa Hensley
“Remember that the uncomfortable times are the sanctifying times.” – Phylicia Masonheimer
“When you watch people complain about the things you desire to have, it’s always a reminder to cherish the things that you do and to seek to complain about them less. On the flip side, there’s someone who is looking at what you have and desires it too. Perspective.” – Ayanna Mathis
“A less digital life leads to a more human one.” – Seth Haines
“God always provides to us what He requires of us.” – Nancy Guthrie
“If I want to aim for wholeness in my relationships, I know that means hearing where I’m missing the mark as well as where I’m super wonderful.” – Christine Keegan
Where I saw God
There are a few relationships in my life that have been full of tension, and this past month I’ve seen prayers for restoration and forgiveness been steadily answered in ways that couldn’t possibly be the work and doings of anyone but God, the author and healer of relationships. Some of these relationships have been hurting for years, others only for a few months. I’ve been reminded over and over again that God is always working in His own timeline, not mine, and what a blessing that is. I’m grateful and full of peace as they continue to be working out in a way that is honoring and good for all parties involved. Won’t He do it?
What I’m looking forward to
In March, I’m planning to learn more about photography on Skillshare, how to document my trips with this course from BrightTrip, taking a solo trip to Charleston, spending a weekend in Beaufort with friends, and more photo-album-ing.
Although February isn’t one of my favorite months of the year, this past one gave me what I needed and I’m thankful for it. Here’s to looking forward to the upcoming spring!
Hannah, thank you so much for sharing your project (and recent activities!)
with me –and others, I’m sure! Your photo album efforts brought back some special memories of so many similar projects that I spent years developing. I did special albums of my sons when they were growing up, and gave them to their brides when they married. I did albums of the grandchildren that I shared with them when they were old enough to appreciate the efforts put forth! I did one of your Uncle Jack and gave it to him on his 80th birthday, showing his years in Boy Scouting as a scout master in our church in SC, , and one focused on his years in the papermaking industry, reflecting some of his accomplishments in that field. And he loved the section that showed him as a grandfather. And one of our granddaughters (JJ) helped me out by doing some organizing and illustrating some of those photos. She really did a good job of that– better than I would have, I am sure. And I have done some albums of old photos of ancestors, that family members have enjoyed studying to learn a bit more about family.
I am so glad that you were able to spend some time relishing the pictures of your Mom’s past, and, I am sure, gaining some appreciation of her past by studying scenes! I know you wished that she was there to share some related stories, but aren’t you appreciative of the fact that she took the pictures, and saved them so that you could later see them and then see your mom perhaps in a little different light! Pictures are such fun, later on! I am so pleased to see that you are working on some specialty albums. Those will be treasures, for someone, and hopefully for yourself! Those would be great to share at a family reunion! I know, I have done that in years past! And I think perhaps that might be a great activity at our next family reunion. Think about it, okay?
Hugs from Aunt Jan!