There are some weeks when my brain is just fried and I don’t have anything deep to share. With the news, it’s all I can do to not want to check out — and yet I don’t want to check out. I bet you feel similarly.

In order for me to stay engaged without deep-diving into nihilism nor plugging my fingers into my ears and singing “la la la la la,” it’s helpful to pepper the stuff I need to know with stuff that reminds me of the sweetness of life.

Here are four quick things I’m enjoying these days.

1. Dear Hank & John

Two of my favorite brothers on the internet, Hank and John Green, give dubious advice to listeners’ questions and it’s so much fun nerdiness. It’s a bright spot of positivity in my weekly podcast rotation, and my kids love it, too.

2. Home Town

Ben and Erin Napier renovate old houses in their small town of Laurel, Mississippi, and it’s just the right amount of southern charm without veering into saccharine-sweet territory. I’m several seasons behind, but I like streaming this show as I fold laundry.

3. Nature Poems

I bought this and this book as a birthday gift to myself, and they’re gorgeous. I love reading two seasonal, nature-focused poems per day as part of my daily bookends. Sometimes I’ll read them out loud to the kids, but I don’t make a big deal about it. These classic poems are a balm.

4. White Chicken Chili

I first read this recipe in Shauna Niequist’s Bread & Wine, and it’s been a regular in our menu rotation for years now. It’s even easier in the Instant Pot, and every one of our kids gobbles it up:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts or thighs (can be frozen)
  • 4 cans great northern beans (or 16 oz. dried beans, cooked)
  • 1 16 oz. jar of green salsa
  • 1 32 oz. box of chicken broth

Dump everything into the Instant Pot and cook on the soup setting, then let the steam naturally release. Take out the chicken and shred it, then return it to the pot. Let it all hang out — the longer it sits the better it gets. Serve with chips, cheese, avocado, sour cream, whatever. DONE.