9 things I learned in January: from Buffer to Freedom Firm

I am linking up with a favorite blogger and author, Emily P. Freeman (Grace for the Good GirlA Million Little Ways, and Simply Tuesday), for her monthly series “what I learned.” It’s a fun way to summarize each month and take stock of it, and to share things that are a mixture of serious and silly/fun.

1 – To rest takes a lot of work. As my husband starts a 3-month pastoral sabbatical, and I get the privilege of joining him on this break, it’s been surprisingly hard to slow down as I need to and have been longing to do. I think it’s akin to stepping off a moving sidewalk (like at the airport) – there’s a bit of a jolt as your gait has to readjust to “normal.” Cue the metaphor for going from crazy busy to rest.

michael hyatt

2 – Michael Hyatt = amazing virtual “platform-building” coach. Thanks to my friend and fellow writer/blogger/speaker, Leigh Ellen, for encouraging me to check out his podcasts.

3 – Buffer is an easy way to regularly schedule updates to Twitter and Facebook. (Consistency can be difficult for me in every area of life, so I appreciate any and all tools that help me stay on track.)

4 – I have “donated” $135.35 to our public library since 2010. My donations have been in the form of library fines. Oh, yeah. At least it’s for a good cause? (I tell myself.)

anna quindlenannie dillard

5 – Anna Quindlen and Annie Dillard are two different authors. For some reason I thought they were one and the same. They’re not. I’ve greatly enjoyed both of their writings, two books which made it to my favorite books of 2015 list.

6 – Making the right choice for your family and yourself doesn’t necessarily feel easy or good all the time. As I’m choosing a 9-month sabbatical from counseling to devote more time to parenting my twin 5-year-old daughters (among other factors), I have to dig deep to stay motivated for the shift in pace/focus/energy. I love my daughters, and I am convinced this is what’s right – but it doesn’t mean I don’t wrestle with this decision. It’s a good place for me to be – reminding me of how dependent I am on God’s love and strength and sufficient grace for the new challenges that are ever-present.


7 – Visioning energizes me, whether it’s my own personal vision, talking with someone else about theirs, or creating a vision with my husband for our family during this season of sabbatical. Speaking of vision – I’d love to introduce you to my friend Dan who’s a life coach and a former colleague of mine from my days working as a recruiter at Serge. Check out his blog here that talks about his new venture of life coaching. And while I’m talking about life coaches, I had the great experience of a visioning seminar with local coach Melissa. I highly recommend her seminars!

8 – Looking at kindergarten for our daughters has been unexpectedly emotional for me. I’ve felt on the verge of tears after each school tour we’ve taken. This milestone for our girls in the fall of 2016 feels huge and momentous. (Even though they’ve been in preschool for three years already!)

light at the end of a tunnel

9 – The biggest impact Freedom Firm (based in India) has seen for rescuing victims of human trafficking comes through prosecuting brothel-keepers. Oh, that there would be more justice and more rescues in this crucial arena of fighting darkness with light! 



5 things I learned (in October): from Adele to bullet journaling

Whenever I can, I enjoy linking up with Emily Freeman’s monthly “What we learned.” I’ve missed the official link-up this month, but that’s no reason why I shouldn’t share with you what I learned in October. Because there was. SO. MUCH. I’ve chosen my top 5 things I’ve learned/am learning.

  1. Adele. Hello. Hauntingly beautiful is how I’d describe her music video that’s breaking records. adele hello
  2. Daily blogging doesn’t really work for me. See my conclusion to #write31days.
  3. The importance of margin. I have started to literally schedule it into my week like an appointment. Its absence has led to an accumulation of needless stress in a life that already has *plenty* to go around. Margin is helping to restore my soul – because it creates space for the Spirit to meet me and touch my heart and life. 
  4. Konmari is magical. And exhausting. My dear (and slightly OCD in terms of how much he loves things to be neat and clean) husband has patiently endured piles and piles and piles of the things I’m purging after being inspired/instructed by Marie Kondo in The Magical Art of Tidying-UpWe tried to yard sale most of it, which wasn’t the smashing success we’d hoped it would be. Oh well. More on this in the month to come. #lessonlearned #justbringittogoodwill
  5. Bullet journaling. Thanks to Emily Freeman talking about it on her blog, I decided to start practicing this way of daily tracking activities, to-do lists, and ideas. I found a beautiful three-section journal that I’m loving, which I picked up for all of 4.99 at a Tuesday Morning store. I started in September with one of these journals from Rifle Paper Co – they’re perfect in terms of size and portability. RPCo notebooks

what I learned in February: Vanilla Ice’s real name, silencing text alerts, finding a good purse, and more

photo credit: globalpost.com

photo credit: globalpost.com

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted in this “what I learned” series hosted by Emily Freeman over at chatting at the sky. So by way of a brief introduction, here are her words:

At the end of every month, we have a regular practice here of looking back before moving forward. While some of the deeper, more in-process things I may keep private for a while, other things are fun to share here. And when you share things you’ve been learning, I always discover lots of fun tips, great new books and shows, and encouraging thoughts to begin the month.

We’re all at different spots on the journey, and these end of the month posts are a way to reflect, share, and celebrate on purpose.

1. Whitney Houston died in 2012. Yes, I am slightly behind the times with this news, but hey, twins. Who were born in 2010. I lost a lot of my being-in-touch-with-news over their first two years especially.

2. In some churches, the pastor’s wife is called the “First Lady”. For real. Since I’m the wife of an associate pastor, would that make me the “Second Lady”?

3. You have to click “See All” to make Facebook messages full-screen on your laptop.

4. Don’t only listen to kids’ music in the car. It’ll drive you crazy, and they need the variety of exposure to your music. And so do I need the sanity that comes from listening to Jack Johnson instead of another round of Raffi.

5. A good purse is hard to find. (But I have one right now that I love from Stella and Dot. Shameless plug for my friend Maria.) It’s the “How Does She Do It” bag. Appropriately named. They’ve discontinued the pewter one I have, but this Navy Ikat is also a nice option.

6. jamberry mini heaterJamberries (nail wraps) last longer when using their mini-heater. Available for purchase for only $19. Worth it, and another shameless plug for my friend Karen.

7. Arbonne’s SeaSource Detox Spa Gelee works wonders on achy muscles (after, say, you fall on your bum on the ice … hard!). A shout-out to my friend Liz who’s running a good sale today. seasource

8. Turning off alerts on my phone gives space for a lot more calm (cutting out a lot of unnecessary stress that I feel when I feel the urgency of that text alert … which often keeps me from focusing on what’s important in that moment, like giving full attention to the book I’m reading with my daughter).

9. When buying paints for my girls, also buy a container of wipes. 32 is about the right number per painting session. (#LessonsLearnedTheHardWay)

10. Vanilla Ice’s real name is Robert Van Winkle. How about that? And he was arrested for burglary this month. Which he, of course, is disputing.

11. Sometimes the unwanted rearrangements of life/schedule can help you rediscover the parts of your life you’ve taken for granted. Like our litany of illness-into-epic-snowstorms forcing me to focus on my family and to learn to love my home, prayers I’ve been praying for a long time.