Standouts 2020

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Annie Dillard





“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”

Epictetus



So how did you spend your days in 2020?

Any unexpected joys?

Your biggest personal change or challenge?

Something new you learned?


I love the open landscape of a new year. It always whispers a sweet invitation to imagine the possibilities. Before setting goals or considering resolutions I always need a little time to let the hope and energy of a new beginning buoy me forward. Our days were different in 2020. They were marked with pain and suffering for many. Yet, we carried on. Before we move on to a new year, is there anything good that we can carry with us?


Here is what stood out for me:


OPPORTUNITIES


Opportunities to make memories with more family time and quieter days. This past year was sacred time in many ways as I was literally at home with my husband and two teens. This time together made me more aware of and thankful for what I have.


Opportunities to use our house in new ways with everyone at home. It’s amazing how small shifts in the way we organize our time or our space can make an impact.


Opportunities to discover the wonder of an ordinary day. I love the view of my backyard and the simple beauty of the sun rising and setting and all that happens in between.


Opportunities to try new things. I started a new part-time job and learned how to create this website. I am excited to share the new year with all of you through this blog. I also enjoyed trying some new small things, like baking scones for the first time.




BOOKS

Murder at the Vicarage: A Miss Marple Mystery by Agatha Christie

I enjoy taking family road trips and listening to audio books each summer. I got to know Miss Marple in the The Murder at the Vicarage. She is a master at observation and reminds me to pay attention to life. After the first book, we were hooked and enjoyed At Bertrum’s Hotel as well.


Managing Oneself by Peter F. Drucker

This little gem is a Harvard Business Review Classic. No doubt it gives every reader something to think about.


The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways that Jesus is the Way by Eugene H. Peterson

Peterson takes our hand and gives us fresh insights as he guides us through the stories of Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Isaiah, Herod and more using the metaphor of the “way” to help us understand Jesus more fully.


The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection

I reread this little book and found the simple yet profound counsel of Brother Lawrence inspiring and encouraging.


Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.

When voices all around us were seeking understanding this past year, I reread this collection of sermons.


You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life by Eleanor Roosevelt

I think we all want a fulfilling life. The concept of this book may be as instructive as the book itself. It prompts you to ask yourself what makes your life fulfilling and encourages you to consider what you have learned that informs the way you live. I always find it fascinating to learn people’s stories so it was interesting to learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt as well.


To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’ Donohue

I am still enjoying this wonderful book of poetry. When I long for words that illumine and inspire me, I pick up this book.




THINGS TO WATCH and LISTEN TO


Europe from Above

This is from National Geographic. I loved traveling to and learning about new places through this series. We also enjoyed Ancient China from Above, India from Above, Japan Between Earth and Sky, and Greeks.


Mandalorian

As a parent of teens this was a must see. How could you not like “Baby Yoda”?



It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

We enjoy watching movies as a family but this has to be one of my favorites from this past year. Mister Rogers story and life can continue to help us all be our best self.


Typology Podcast

The host Ian Morgan Cron helps us learn more about the Enneagram and ourselves in this podcast. If you are new to the Enneagram you may also enjoy his book, The Road Back to You.



As we look ahead, let’s be mindful of how we spend our days. The pandemic continues and so do new opportunities to rejoice for what we have and to consider what may be.