My January Rest: 01.16.22 Lit for Food!

Food, glorious food. What a saying. And, food is glorious! I spend a lot of time with food, thinking about it, shopping for it, paying for it (ouch), amassing it, storing it, preparing it, eating it, cleaning up after it, and even counting its calories. Food, you just can’t live without it! 


I want to have a healthy relationship to food, period. That is one of the major reasons for My January Rest (MJR). I rest from certain things, that is take a break, and that helps me change my focus to a healthier mindset. Year after year I’ve done this and, over time, much has changed!

Each MJR has its unique fingerprint due to yearly circumstances like Covid protocols, who is in the home like guests or teenagers, what is my current eating protocol (for example: no sugar, going gluten free, etc.). This year has a greater emphasis on food for several reasons which is making it feel busier than I’d like. I’m only now beginning to process why this feels true, so I will write about it in a later post. If you are curious, you can see The List for this year.

Today I am excited to share about one new thing that I have never done and it has been terrific yet has shown me some troubling tendencies! For my meals, when I can, I’ve lit candles. This idea started with slowing myself down to focus on enjoying my meal—sit at the table, put my fork down between bits, be grateful, record what I’ve eaten, and slow it down! Plus it was a win because I have lots of leftover candles that I haven’t been using. I suppose if we lose power, we’ll be in good shape, unless I use them all up for MJR! 

Precious memories warm my heart and meal

The first week of MJR my husband was deployed through LERT to Kentucky to help cleanup damage from the latest tornado. That meant I was dining alone. It is already too easy for me to grab food while working, let alone not having anyone in the house to care if I ate or when or where I ate. Too easy for mindless eating. Did I even enjoy it? Especially since I’m not snacking all month, I want to remember my meals! 

Maybe it is just me, but I’ve felt more distracted since Covid began. There is heap upon heap upon heaps of heartache and illness. Life is so very hard for so many. The stress takes a toll. I start out doing one thing and it turns into another, and then another, and so on while what I started remains undone. I’m not going to lie, I’ve always been better with inception and implementation, but not so great about cleaning up. Ask my husband. As long as my clothes are clean and not wrinkled, I couldn’t care less if they are in the basket or my dresser. 

Attempting to deal with my distracted clean-up issue gave me the second idea for using the candle. I decided to light it, sit, eat in peace (by silencing my phone), wash dishes, and clean everything up—then blow out the candle. What I couldn’t have known without this Rest Point was how much internal strife I experienced by attempting to make myself sit still for 15 minutes! I wanted to check my phone. Or get up and do something. Or shovel the food in quickly so I could do something “productive”. Sigh.

Lit for delicious food!

The other painful lesson was how many times it took me to finish the dishes without getting sidetracked by other things! Wise or not, I hand-washed everything instead of using the dishwasher: the dishwasher seemed a bit of overkill for one person. The week my husband was gone I lit the candles for most of my meals. I set my timer. I turned off my phone, turned on an alarm and took some time to slow down. The alarm was extra insurance that I would blow out the candle. I might or might not have forgotten to do that once…it scared me that MJR could become hazardous to my health!

Some terrific things that came out of slowing down. I realized how scattered and hurried I can be. Knowing this means I can do something about it. And I was practicing to do better! I took time to reflect and be thankful for the food: the chickens, the farmers, and hands that prepared it (even when they were mine). Beside lighting the candles, sometimes I intentionally picked inspirational music that encouraged me. A few times I lit the fireplace for ambiance and enjoyed the vibe of my home. Warm and safe I watched the snowflakes dancing their way to cover the blades of still green grass.

Hot salad by warm candlelight

The first day my husband was back I had MJR amnesia (it is a real thing). We quickly ate at the kitchen island: before I was done eating, he was up, buzzing around doing dishes as per his norm. Our daughter is now in college. With only the two of us, we often eat different food (leftovers), quickly at the kitchen island. Two things worth noting: one is without even thinking about it, I was in our old most-of-the-time mode, and two, because of him, clean-up was mostly done for me. I realized that one reason I felt so busy while he was gone was that he saves me a lot of time! The next night, I set the table and lit a candle. We don’t have to do this every night, but I wanted to stop and think about our meal together rather than our meal being on autopilot and autoeat!

Since I’ve been practicing MJR for over a decade, I was truly surprised by this new Rest Point that I’ll now call slow meals. I have a lot of practicing to do! It is easier to do with friends, less so with my husband, and even more difficult to do on my own. I’ve decided that while every meal need not be an event, taking time to sit, breath, and eat is something I think has value. 

How about you? Do you have any meal practices that make your meal more special and satisfying? 

The next post will focus on food, what I have, what I don’t have, and how I’ve used it as well as how shopping, or lack of it, has played into this year’s MJR. I’m excited. It’s going great!


  1. This my first MJR. I am using up food in the freezer so doing as little shopping as possible. I decided to take a break from Facebook for the month. This has been hard. I feel very disconnected from everyone.
    I like your idea of lighting candles and slowing down to enjoy a meal. Might try that. The hubs might think I’m nuts tho.

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