Joyful Simplicities for January: Simple Abundance Book

I love lists. I love the book “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach; I’ve had this book for at least 30 years. And I especially love the lists she adds at the end of each month’s chapters.

These are some of my favorite ideas from January.

Go through your personal papers at home and organize your desk to get a fresh start on the new year. Discard as much as you can. Hang your new calendar. Try to make your personal space at home where you do paperwork (or computer work) as inviting as possible.

Visit a good stationery store or a very large bookstore and search for a beautiful blank book to use as your gratitude journal. At the stationery store, you also might want to look at different colored inks and pens.

Visit an art supply shop and look around. Take in all of the different ways that you can begin to express yourself: in vivid color, on paper, canvas, in clay. Sound like fun? While you’re there, pick up a couple black-bound artist’s sketchbooks to use for the illustrated discovery journal you’re going to create (information about doing this is on the book). My favorite size is eight-and-a-half inches by eleven inches lengthwise.

Put up some acrylic magnetic picture frames to create a gratitude college on your refrigerator. Place in it photographs of those you love and are grateful for, such as family, friends and pets. Also place in it reminders of little things you’re thankful for, like, the car repair bill that was less than you had feared. If there is something particularly want to come into your life, place a pictures of it here and give thanks for it ahead of time.

Prepare for a winter’s idyll. Stock the pantry with real cocoa, tiny marshmallows and a bar of good chocolate (for a shaved chocolate topping). Get some whipped cream and keep it in the refrigerator. When snow comes and school is canceled, stay at home with the kids. Lounge about in your pajamas. If you have a fireplace, have a fire all day. Build a snowman together, go sledding and then have tomato soup in mugs and toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch. Take a nap. Luxuriate in an unexpected day off. (Watch movies too)

Bake a pan of dark moist gingerbread for after school tea with the children. (Top with homemade lemon sauce or lemon curd and whipped cream).


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