Just Life

More and Less | January 2017.

from Saturday’s morning walk

I’m taking a different approach to Currents this year.  Instead of documenting what’s going on with a list of -ing words, I’m going to frame the update with my intentions for 2017. Hopefully making that a monthly practice will help me keep those More/Less ideas top of mind … and get back to a habit of Currents posts.

more gratitude. This has been a challenge. There are still lots of good things in my life, but I’m getting bogged down by the not-so-good. I need to practice being grateful for all the things.

more mindfulness. With a huge thank you to Kat for the recommendation, I ordered Slow Stitch. I’ve been savoring the words and photos.

more exploring. Thanks to Krista Tippett’s interview (recently re-run) with Maria Popova, I subscribed to the Brain Pickings newsletter. I’ve wandered down a few paths on the site and enjoyed every single thing I’ve found. This article about Mary Oliver is one of my favorite finds.

more curiosity. One of the Read Harder Challenges is an LGBTQ romance. I’m reading Month of Sundays, my very first lesbian romance (because curious).

more connecting. I’m on track to publish 20 blog posts this month – woohoo! that’s almost every weekday. And I’ve made real progress in real life – Marc and I are walking together a few times a week and I’ve started a regular Monday afternoon knitting date with a girlfriend; there’s also knitting class on Wednesday afternoons, wine & knitting with my sister on Wednesday evenings, and small group on Friday mornings. With the little boys on Tuesday and Thursday (and a built-in opportunity to see their mama) and regular calls with my mom and Sara, I’m feeling about as connected as ever. (see less busy below.)

more yoga. I recommitted to the “daily yoga” habit on January 1. It helped that the Y added a second Yin class on Mondays and I’m back to using Yoga Studio. 23 days so far … and I’m almost ready to say it’s a habit again.

more prayer. A work in progress. (see less worry below.)

more letting (it) go. I packed up two boxes of “stuff” to donate (I’m not sure that really counts because it was mostly to make room for the three boxes of stuff I brought back from Mother’s).

less busy. My calendar seems awfully full (for someone with no day job), but I don’t feel busy. I wonder how that might change when Sam starts coming on Thursdays (this week!)

less worry. I’m paying more attention to current events now than … maybe ever. There is so much going on that’s scary and uncertain, but being informed and taking action (even little things) is helping. I’m glad I included this intention this year. Keeping it top of mind is helpful, too.

And whew – this month has flown by. Connecting with y’all continues to be a highlight of my day(s). Thank you!

As I start planning for February, I welcome any and all suggestions, especially for exploring and curiosity. Podcasts, books, websites?


  • Juliann in WA

    I am interested to see what podcasts are recommended. I really miss Books on the Nightstand and have yet to find a faith podcast that I enjoy. I like this more/less format. Thanks for sharing.

  • Honoré

    That's a lot of more and the lesses are great…especially the "less" worries…Brian Pickings is a fave of mine…I would so like to crawl in her head or be a ghost and follow her around…fascinating what she does…I'll have to listen to the interview…and R U sure you don't need a clone or two?

  • Bonny

    I haven't found a newsletter nearly as good as Brain Pickings when it comes to curiosity, but I did think of this article: https://www.brainpickings.org/2011/06/21/best-daily-email-newsletters/ Maybe you can find something to your taste.
    For a podcast from two quite curious minds, I'd absolutely recommend Radiolab: http://www.radiolab.org/
    Sometimes it's scientific, sometimes poignant, but always interesting to me. The guys from Radiolab (Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich) spoke with Oliver Sacks quite a few times during his life, and he may have been one of the most curious individuals I've ever heard, so I would also recommend his essays: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/08/the-oliver-sacks-reading-list/401993/ While I was looking for this list, I found that there is one last book of his essays being published (The River of Consciousness), but we'll have to wait until October 2017. I'm going to watch the comments as I'm also interested in recommendations!

  • Vera

    Love your more & less format and am getting great ideas from comments – thanks! I went back to yoga tonight after too many skipped weeks…I feel wonderful…it is so calming and centering.

  • Carole Julius

    Great idea for this type of post, Mary, and I think it will really help you stay connected to your intentions. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the news stuff these days and I'm not sure how to cope with it, honestly. I am a hopeful person at heart but I'm feeling rather hopeless (and powerless) these days. As for podcasts, I love Happier, but I feel like I've already recommended that to you.

  • AsKatKnits

    My gratitude really kicked in when Karen (of Pumpkin Sunrise) introduced me to Michelle_GD (of the same name blog). I love the Squam podcast – Elizabeth has a lovely conversation with an artist. I am always inspired. And, on YouTube – I really love The Gentle Knitter – again, she is inspiring and welcoming.

  • Kym

    I've been reading Brain Pickings for years — and always find it inspirational . . . with lots and lots of little rabbit holes to tumble into. So glad you've found it, too. Lovely post, Mary — and a great way to stay, well . . . connected! XO

  • margene

    Your intentions are right on the mark and there are many I would like to incorporate into my day. I am a podcast junkie. For current events I like On the Media and the Ax Files. Another I like is our locally produce podcast, Radio West. That's the one with the interview of the documentary filmmaker of the the Wendell Berry movie. Brain Pickings is fabulous, as is Krista Tippet.

  • alexa

    So many interesting links given by you and your readers – thank-you. I'l be following these up. I like your focus around your intentions very much, and your comment about letting go of two boxes and bringing back three really raised a wry smile!