Bonjour mes amis,
How did the month of January go for you? Are you still feeling hopeful about 2019? There are a few simple things that have given me a burst of optimism about this year and the future, so I'd like to share what I've found:
Things I'm Loving in the New Year
Better habits are easier than you think:
Good habits aren't rocket science; they're fairly simple to establish. This is what I learned from James Clear in his new book Atomic Habits. Clear teaches the simple science behind making lasting changes in your everyday life and daily routine. Atomic Habits is an easy read, and what I learned has helped me start this year with consistent new habits that are healthy and satisfying. I'm really happy with my improved morning routine, which is saying a lot for someone who has an infant, a preschooler, and two school-age children! I can share more about my new habits in a future post if you're interested.
A Daily Planner with the Right Priorities:
Over the past few months I was looking for a planner that I could leave open or face up on my desk so I'd be reminded of my priorities throughout the day. Happily, I discovered that Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind created a printable daily planner that not only includes space to write down your priorities, but it also helps you focus on acts of service, time outdoors, a book to read, two chores, water drinking, and other wise habits. A second page provides space to jot what you've been learning, wondering about, noticing, and memorizing. Her printable is only $6, and I'm loving it. I print out a few copies at a time on 8x11 paper and keep the current page posted on a clipboard on my desk. It's perfect for people who like to reflect and plan, but also want a simple, useable system.
Finding the rhythms of prayer:
A year and a half ago I read Paul Miller's book A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World. Miller has a Master's in Divinity, and he also raised an autistic daughter and has worked as a teacher, so the honesty and truth of his words in A Praying Life really impacted me as he explained how prayer can and should take place throughout our days. What I learned from his reflections brought me into a deeper relationship with God.
This month I read The Rhythm of God's Grace by Arthur Boers, which is an argument for re-establishing the daily habit of morning and evening prayer. Until I read this, I hadn't realized that these rhythms were present in the early Christian church and were Protestant habits that we have since set aside in the Protestant faith. I appreciated the bits of history here and the practical information as well. Our church is also teaching on prayer right now, so this was a timely read. I've since exchanged my shorts moments on my phone (social media) in the morning and evening for moments of prayer, and this change is life-giving.
I reserved this book at our library, but it's less than a dollar on Amazon right now.
A healthy and tasty morning drink:
Did you know the French consider the caffeine in coffee to be scientifically different from the caffeine in tea? My French host mom and I had a great conversation about this topic and their use of the words caféine and thèine years ago. I've become more of a tea fan over recent years as I learn about it's health benefits. In contrast, coffee leaves me jittery, so I'm thrilled to have found a morning drink that's healthy and keeps me alert throughout the day without any jitters: organic matcha powder plus lucuma. I add a teaspoon of matcha powder to a mug of non-dairy milk, then add a teaspoon of lucuma powder. Not familiar with lucuma? It's a South American fruit high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and it's powdered form has a light caramelized taste. I don't like the cloying sweetness of Stevia, so this is a good alternative.
Coming Blog Posts:
We've been back from France for a few months and I've been trying to establish the rhythm of homeschooling my children, so this blog has taken a lesser priority. However, I'm going to be writing regularly again, so you'll be hearing more from me soon. I plan to write about our homeschool curriculum (with both French and English resources), the books I'm reading and plan to read (I have quite an ambitious list !), and I'll share an update about our bilingual progress. I also have some travel pieces to share about some more of the fantastic places we were able to visit in France as a family. There are so many amazing places worth visiting!
Many of you are new readers—merci beaucoup! It's a joy to have you here. And thank you, too, to the sweet readers who have been following Intentional Mama for so long. Whether you're a new or longtime reader, I'd love it if you could let me know in a comment if there is a topic you'd especially like me to write about. I always have ideas I want to share, but I also want to make sure I'm in tune with the topics you enjoy most.