4×4: Jan, Feb, Mar ‘18

I’ve been inspired by Courtney Carver’s 333, Janice @ The Vivienne Files, and always Francine Jay @Miss Minimalist.

I love Janice’s 4×4 wardrobe building idea and set out to implement it as best I can while only using clothes in my closet.

My planning sheet includes extra squares for accessories (scarves, jewelry, purses, sunglasses), shoes (boots and sandals), and weather specific outerwear (coat, vest, rain jacket, knit hat & mittens). I did this because I’m not very good at “finishing” an outfit. Shirt, sweater, pants, shoes — check. Necklace or scarf — not so good. Actually, shoes are not really check, as I tend to throw on either my trainers or, on really cold days, my Ugg knockoffs.

I have two things on my wish list: a black skirt and red sneakers (converse, maybe?).


Morning Office: Psalm 25, Mark 3:7-19
Vespers: Paalm 9, Psalm 15

Weather: 3 – 31 degrees F, overcast and snowy, waning crescent . Sunrise-Sunset = 7:58-5:45

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Celtic Book of Days, Redemption in Indigo, Rising Strong, Cafe in Berlin (German), Fearless After 50
Star Trek: Voyager
Harry Potter 7 (audio, as I fall asleep)


Mornings. . .

Mornings, especially winter mornings, are a real struggle for me. I am a creature of light. I like to get up with the sunrise and by the time the sun sets I’m done (as in put me in the recliner with a book or a movie).

After years of pushing myself to get up and get going — zero to sixty in two minutes—I’ve been working on a more gentle approach to my 50s and winter mornings. I’m finding four elements necessary this year.

  • Fire—there is something about coaxing a fire to life while saying the  morning office from the Book of Common Prayer. It feels right. It feels  deliberate. It feels connected.
  • Air—my body wakes up stiff these days and the only thing that helps is to get it moving. So I pull on my trainers and pull up a walking video.  30 minutes of “walking” and I’ve loosened up my joints and muscles, my heart and lungs have cleared out the sleepiness and I’m thinking more clearly.
  • Water—warm water, peppermint soap (or coconut, depending on my mood), Akamai skin fuel, a hint of amber oil, and Grove lip balm are my personal care essentials. Throw in some mascara and a touch of lipstick and watch out world!
  • Earth—by now I’m hungry.  Oats with blueberries, an egg, and decaf coffee with almond creamer is my standard breakfast. Focusing on organic and plant based helps start my day right.


Morning Office: Psalm 119:1-24, Genesis 4:1-16, John 1:35-42

Weather: 42-58 degrees F, overcast, 3rd Quarter/ waning crescent . Sunrise-Sunset = 7:59-5:40

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Celtic Book of Days, Redemption in Indigo,  Rising Strong, Cafe in Berlin (German)
Star Trek: Voyager
Harry Potter 6 (audio, as I fall asleep)

Epiphany 2018

6 January 2018
Holy Day:  Epiphany
Chalking the Door
A traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance, 20 + C + M + B + 18.
  • The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
  • They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.”
  • The “+” signs represent the cross and 2018 is the year.
 Dreikönigskuchen–3 Kings Cake
  • 4-4 1/4cups flour
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp orange zest, thinly stripped
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest, thinly stripped
  • 1/2 cup raisins, cherries, cranberries (whichever your family likes best)
  • 1 whole almond
Egg wash
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1Tbsp water
  • 1/8 cup apricot jam
  • 1 Tbsp hot water
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together all ingredients except for the almond, egg wash, and coating.
  2. Once a soft, smooth ball forms, set it aside to rise until doubled in bulk. About 2 1/2 hours. Be sure to cover it and place in a warm spot.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 Pieces, one a little larger than the rest.
  4. Roll each piece into a ball and arrange the 7 smaller balls around the slightly larger one on a sheet pan, forming a flower.
  5. Let rise another 30 minutes, then brush with the egg wash.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  7. Prepare the glaze by mixing the apricot jelly with a tablespoon of hot water.
  8. Bake the rolls for 30-40 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
  9. Brush with several coats of apricot glaze and sprinkle with the coarse sugar
  10. Once the bread is cool enough to handle, poke an almond into the bottom of one of the rolls.


Morning Office:  Psalm 46, Psalm 97, Matt 12:14-21
Vespers: Psalm 96, Psalm 100

Weather: 14-23 degrees F, sunny, waning gibbous moon. Sunrise-Sunset = 8:00-5:35

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Celtic Book of Days, Commonwealth, Every Earthly Blessing
Star Trek: Voyager (rest time) and Fringe (family time)
Harry Potter 6 (as I fall asleep)


5 January 2018

12th day of Christmas
Eve of Epiphany

Today is a transition day for us. The whole house gets a thorough cleaning in the morning. The King Cake dough is started and left to rise behind the wood stove for a couple of hours. While that’s rising, I begin to take down the Christmas decorations.

I’ll put a winter wreath on the door, change to a matching Vespers table, and keep the warm white twinkle lights in the eating area window.

Each year I try to bring home more green plants for the living room. I spend the rest of the year trying not to kill the plants! I need light and life to help steer my ship through these dark winter days.

My natural tendency is to hide away in the warm house, but this year I am going to stay involved in my Spiritual Companion Group. I’m going to ask a friend to join me for coffee at least once a month. I’m also going to go outside and walk around the yard as many days as I can.

Morning Office: Psalm 2, Psalm 5, John 15:1-6
Vespers: Psalm 29, Psalm 98, Rom 15:7-14

Weather: 2– 20 degrees F, partly cloudy / sunny, waning gibbous moon. Sunrise-Sunset = 8:00-5:35

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Celtic Book of Days, Commonwealth, Every Earthly Blessing
Star Trek: Voyager (rest time) and Fringe (family time)
Harry Potter 6 (as I fall asleep)

4 January 2018

11th day of Christmas


Last night was . . . not conducive to good solid sleeping. Our small, rural electric cooperative lost power at 10 pm. It was bitterly cold outside. Thankfully the wood stove was still hot, so we took turns getting up to feed the fire. I am so thankful for the stove and Kelly & Michael for keeping us supplied with firewood.

I was looking for an easy task for today. I turned to the closet and decided to give it a thorough cleaning.  I’ve adopted a minimal closet in clothes that make me happy. I won’t win any fashion contests, but the clothes are comfortable and in good shape.

Boring details—

My wardrobe is based around denim and black with a few red highlights. In winter this looks like:

  • Red plaid scarf
  • Rust+Purple scarf
  • LL Bean perfect pants, slim (like leggings) x2
  • Black skirt
  • skinny denim
  • skinny gray denim
  • Denim skirt
  • mock turtlenecks (black, cream, red)
  • long sleeve T (navy, white,purple,  rust, teal)
  • Hogwarts graphic T
  • sweaters (red, sage, black)
  • long cardigans (oatmeal, gray)
  •  Shoes (trainers, black ankle boots, brown Ugg style boots, snow/insulated boots)
  • Purses (everyday carry verde, black)
  • Coats (rain jacket, coat, light coat, vest + hat and mittens x2)

*The totes hold all my fall/spring and summer clothes plus shoes/sandals.*

Morning Office: Psalm 85, Psalm 86, John 14:6-14
Vespers: Psalm 89

Weather: 4 – 21 degrees F, partly cloudy / sunny, waning gibbous moon. Sunrise-Sunset = 8:00-5:34

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Celtic Book of Days, Commonwealth, Every Earthly Blessing
Star Trek: Voyager (rest time) and Fringe (family time)
Harry Potter 6 (as I fall asleep)

3 January 2018

10th day of Christmas

The sun is shining again today and even though the temperatures are much below our normal temps for early January, I am finding myself energized by both the sun and the cold. The wood stove is producing marvelous, wonderful, beautiful warmth. I spend a few minutes tidying up the bedroom and then come in the living room to defrost my fingers and my backside. Then back to the bedroom — today’s tidy is accompanied by a playlist of David Bowie and Niall Horan. Quite the mix!

My bedroom is an oasis of calm and quiet for me. I have de-cluttered / minimized it to just the necessities and even those keep getting pared down. I recently took another 5 grocery bags to the local thrift shop.

I’ve had this winter accessories issue . . . I have been keeping them in a plastic tote.  It was nice because they were out of sight, but also a pain because “out of sight, out of mind.” Every time I needed them, I’d have to move the fan, open the tote, and dig around. So this morning, I took one of my spare  canvas bags and hung in on a nail.  Now my colorful mittens and knit cap set and my plain Jane set are just stuck in there. I like having two sets because sometimes they get wet or need to be washed.

Morning Office:  Psalm 66, John 10:7-17
Vespers: Psalm 72

Weather: 7 – 26 degrees F, partly cloudy / sunny, waning gibbous moon. Sunrise-Sunset = 8:00-5:34

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Celtic Book of Days, Commonwealth, Every Earthly Blessing
Star Trek: Voyager (rest time) and Fringe (family time)
Harry Potter 6 (as I fall asleep)


2 January 2018

9th day of Christmas

I’ve picked up my very rusty German lessons. I found some readers and have been copying out a bit each morning and working my way through. I’m noting vocab that I’ve forgotten (and therefore looked up in my dictionary) and reminding myself of grammar rules. It’s going quickly and I love the satisfaction that comes with seeing it all written out and worked through.

Today I spent some time tidying the bathroom and noticed the same feeling of satisfaction when I completed the task. Before (and I originally used the word normally, but hit the edit button!) I worked for a set period of time and then stopped. This morning I said, “Tidy the bathroom.”

1 Jan 2018

8th day of Christmas

Holy Day: The Holy Name

Today I’m beginning to shift my mindset from living a “quantified” life to a more intentionally incarnational life. For years (my whole life?) I’ve measured success and goodness by numbers.

  • How many books did I read?
  • How many steps did I take?
  • How many hours did I sleep?
  • How many calories did I eat?
  • How many vocabulary words did I add?
  • and on and on and on

It ends today. Or rather, today I will take steps to shift my thoughts. I’m working on phrasing to help reflect this shift.

  • Am I hungry? What do I want to eat?
  • Am I tired and ready to stop this walk or do I want to go a bit more?

I’m working on journaling practices to help as well. I’m tracking weather, lunar phases, holy days, BCP Bible passages for the day. I’m jotting down book titles and thoughts from that days reading (without assigning a number to the book). I’m doing more long-form writing (and thus, blogging).

3rd day of Christmas

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . .


John 1:14—-And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Apostles’ Creed: I believe in God . . . And in Jesus Christ his only son . , . I believe in the Holy Ghost.