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  • Writer's pictureRuth Sauers

7 things saving my life right now - late autumn 22

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts a couple weeks ago, (Emily P. Freeman, The Next Right Thing) and it was all about what’s saving her life right now. It was wonderful and lovely and gave me the idea to do my own blog post of what’s saving my life right now. So here goes.

Music without words -

My favorite is probably my orchestral playlist on Spotify which just has some beautiful film scores, some beautiful classical pieces, and random other songs I’ve heard that move my soul. I recently discovered the song Baba Yetu, and I just love it. It has words, but the words are in Swahili so I didn’t know what they were exactly. But then I looked up the song and realized it is the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili and the song became even that much more beautiful. I also just listen to classical mix on Spotify a lot of times throughout the day, it is calming and uplifting. Don’t get me wrong, I still love lots of music with words, but sometimes my mind is just too full to put more words into it, and my instrumental playlists allow me to focus a little more.

Friends- new and old-

When I look back over this past year I am amazed at the people God has put in my life and the friendships He has blessed me with. A lot of my good friends became even better friends, as they walked with me as I processed old trauma coupled with new developments that were very hard. They didn’t look away when I was sad, when I was angry, when I was grieving. Some friends showed up to help me process my grief and anger, not with placating words, or any kind of tone of shame, but with love and gentleness and strength. They said this is so hard, I am here for you to dump on whenever you need. They listened to the stream of words pouring from my mouth and they did not judge. They came closer, they held me steady. They fed me delicious food, and distracted me with fun things. They carried me. This is friendship, I am so blessed to know it.

Some of my friendships from high school days have been rekindled this year, and that is such a gift. And God has brought some brand-new people into my life that are just expanding and enriching my world. Yes, this year the gift of friendship is incredibly poignant.

Making lists -

In the past I have sometimes shied away from making lists because sometimes it feels like more pressure to get things done, but lately I’ve been making my list at the beginning of the week and it is so helpful to my brain to see exactly what needs to be done that week. It’s very satisfying to cross things off the list. And when I don’t get something done the first day it can move to the next. Of course all you list-makers out there are like duh, of course! I know this is such a simple thing, but it truly is helping me so much. I am easily distracted, and I often struggle with which things are the highest priority to get done. But making a list and seeing it before me organizes me, and it also motivates me as I check things off. I’m also the kind of person that thinks sure, I can do 30 things today. So, having a list and seeing what I was able to get done yesterday helps me be a little more realistic, a little less idealistic - and helps me manage my time so much better. I don’t just make lists of things to do, but I make lists of things that matter, things that I want to do, grocery lists and menu lists. I just recently made a list of what matters for thanksgiving. Last year thanksgiving was hard, a lot of hard things were happening in my family and I was just not feeling the spirit of the season. So this year thanksgiving and the holidays matter a lot to me, joy matters a lot. This is my list for what matters most this thanksgiving - relaxation, space, beauty, ease, conversation. Of course food matters also, but food doesn’t matter as much as these other things. There are no wrong answers- what matters most to you?

Maisie Dobbs -

I tell just about everyone I talk about books with (and that’s a lot of people) about the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacquelyn Winspear. I am on book 9 or 10 right now. Maisie Dobbs is a psychologist and investigator who was a nurse in the First World War. She went into service as a maid in a big house around the age of 13, and she would stay up late to read in the library every night because she had such a thirst for knowledge. She was called into a meeting with her employer one day and she went with much trepidation only to learn that her employer had hired a tutor for her who went in to become her mentor and teacher. She was able to move out of her station as a maid and go to college and she becomes a strong independent woman who solves cases with her intuition and deduction and compassion. Following her progression and growth and that of the other main characters is just a delight. It kind of feels like cheating to read a series like this because it is so easy to get into the next book. And she is such a likable character. I love the compassion she has for people, even the perpetrators of the crimes, all while standing for justice and fighting for the oppressed.

Candles & cozy lighting

I recently bought a small lamp for my kitchen counter from my favorite thrift shop. It’s amazing how this changes the whole space, it makes the kitchen feel more homey, and it just makes me want to be in there more. And now I want to put little lamps all over my house.  I also love candles this time of year. I love my fall scented candles - current favorite is my “hello fall” candle with notes of cider, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. I often light it in the afternoon and then it’s burning when the kids get home from school. It helps to set a peaceful tone for the after-school homework.

Sitting in silence with God -

I hesitate to even share this one because it has become so precious to me, such a sacred time. Please, please don’t think I do this because I am super spiritual or pious. I really do it because I am desperate. This is a spiritual discipline that is really helping me, fortifying me right now. I sit in silence with God for about 15 minutes. I set the timer on my phone and I sit with my eyes closed and my palms up. I have followed Ruth Haley Barton’s book Sacred Rhythms and how she outlines how to do this. It’s so full of grace. “Sit quietly at the base of the tree that is your life and begin to notice what is true about you these days. Don’t rush or try to make anything happen. Let your soul venture out and say something to you that perhaps you have a hard time acknowledging: Is there a particular joy you are celebrating? A loss you are grieving? Are there tears that have been waiting to be shed? A question that is stirring? An emotion that needs expression? Sit with what comes into your awareness, becoming conscious of God’s presence with you in that awareness. Don’t try to do anything with what you are knowing except be with it. (In other words, don’t scare it away.) Feel the difference between doing something with it and resting with it. Feel the difference between trying to fight it and letting God fight for you. What does it mean for you to be still and let God fight (or work) for you in this particular area?” P.43-44 I find that when I take time to be with God in this way, things come out that would never come out if I did not give them time. I’m able to be honest and work through things without feeling rushed. I’m able to feel the loving presence of God all around me, His truth filling me, I’m able to feel connected to God in ways that I am not connected all the time. I imagine Him sitting right next to me, His arm around my shoulders, real and close and assuring.

The first time I did this I did not really “feel” much of anything. I didn’t see a bright light or hear a voice, or have any great epiphany really- the only thing I felt was that I needed it and I wanted to do it again.

Daily walks -

I’ve been making it a daily habit to take a walk, sometimes with Marley, sometimes not, sometimes in the morning, sometimes afternoon, sometimes evening. Sometimes it’s a fast walk, sometimes slow, but one way or another I’m putting feet to pavement and the rhythm steadies my soul. Steve and I have gone in the evening after dinner lately, when it’s twilight and growing dark, and I love it so much. In the late fall/winter, when it’s dark I often feel compelled to stay inside, but I am defying that thinking now. I will walk when I want to walk. It clears my head, gets me some fresh air, it’s a beautiful interruption to the long dark evening hours, and I plan to continue this practice as much as possible.

These are some things that are saving my life right now. So much of the time we spend our energy focusing on what’s not working in our lives, it’s helpful to take some time to think about what is working, what is blessing us right now. What’s saving your life these days?

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Nov 02, 2022

Ruth, you have such a gift of communicating ! I found such encouragement in what you wrote as I too am trying to process a lot right now. My mother passed away a few months ago after a long sweet life…one week later we went thru a cat. 5 hurricane that really through me for a loop! It rattled our world and nothing is the same…of course our foundation is firm..but devastation is everywhere you look and behind every bent piece of aluminum or blue tarp is a sad sad story…PTSD is real. anyway..everything you posted is so true and comforting especially having a sense of routine and time alone with God..all your ideas are so right on…

Ruth Sauers
Ruth Sauers
Nov 03, 2022
Replying to

I’m so sorry for the incredible hardship and loss you’ve experienced in the last few months - praying for you as you grieve and step by step rebuild your life. ❤️‍🩹 thank you for your encouraging words! (I have such wonderful memories in high school of gatherings in your home- it was such a safe haven and wonderful joyful place - full of delicious food! 😉)

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