what I learned in August

This is a fun link-up I’m enjoying on a monthly basis, from Emily Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky. Love her blog, her book, her link-ups. Love that she’s also a mom of twins and that I have some teeny tiny connection to her through her friendship with my BFF, Katherine.

1. Roasting broccoli is delicious but fills the house with a pungent odor that lasts for days. Enough said. Don’t expect roasted broccoli if I ask you for dinner.

2. Arbutus is a type of tree. This may not rock your world as it did mine. Explanation: I’ve been using this word as part of an address to a friend I frequently write. And I had no idea it was a tree until coming across the word in the book below.

3.  North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is not about the Civil War era as I assumed before picking it up. Actually it’s written in the Victorian era in England.

4. Pecorino Romano cheese is pasteurized sheep’s milk. Who knew? 

5. Hippos have built-in sunscreen. Thanks, Dr. Seuss’ PBS TV show, where I learned such interesting facts.

6. Foie gras is frog’s legs goose liver! (Thanks, Ann and Rikki for correcting my misinformation.)It’s considered a rare (and expensive) delicacy. That seems a bit strange to me, but I’ve never tried it myself.

7. A pound cake is named so because it required a pound of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. (at least in its original version, which I found a recipe for here.) No wonder it’s so rich! My grandmother from South Carolina whose baking is fabulous enlightened me.

8. A two-night getaway with my husband feels like 400% more time away than one night. If you’re not sure, it’s a very very worthwhile experiment to undertake for your marriage, particularly if you have young children at home. It was the first time in the three years since we’ve had kids that we spent more than one night away. So wonderful to actually have a full day with no deadlines. But the adjustment back to reality … whew, rougher than I thought. I hope to write about that another time.

9. When preparing to speak at a retreat (when preparing any talk for that matter), inviting others’ input is immensely insightful and constructive. I am speaking at a women’s retreat in a few weeks at a local church, and after working for months on these two talks on wisdom, I felt stuck. I emailed a few friends to ask them to be a wisdom “think tank” for me, and many of them were in my living room discussing these talks over coffee the next evening. What a gift to have such friends and such collective wisdom!

9 things I learned in July

This is a fun link-up I’m enjoying on a monthly basis, from Emily Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky. Love her blog, her book, her link-ups. Love that she’s also a mom of twins and that I have some teeny tiny connection to her through her friendship with my BFF, Katherine.

Drumroll please? Here you are …

1. David Kirk and Daniel Kirk are two different author/illustrators of children’s books. David  is of the “Miss Spider’s Tea Party” fame; Daniel created “Sam the Library Mouse” series. Both series are favorite picks from the library for my girls (and for me to read – please, no more Dr. Seuss, can I get an “Amen?”).

2. I am really obsessed with lost things. Although I had already bought a replacement pair of Target Crocs for Lucia because we thought one of her pink ones was missing, when I found the “lost shoe,” I spent about 30 minutes searching everywhere for the original un-lost one. Alas, I had thrown it away already. This scenario repeats itself daily when we have (gasp) lost a lovey or a Lego piece or a doll outfit or … I wish I could say that there was something spiritual about my obsession, as per the Father who awaits the prodigal (lost) son, or the woman searching for her lost coin, or the shepherd searching out his lost sheep [seek Luke 15]. Usually I am more frustrated in my search for the lost thing than inspired by the value of what’s lost. I think it’s more about me wanting to be on top of life and have it in order than my passion to seek what’s lost.

3. If I’m starting something new I don’t mind leading (prefer it actually), but if I’m joining something that’s been in existence for a while I prefer to watch and observe before jumping in with both feet. Definitely seeing echoes of this tendency in one of my twins.

4. My cross-cultural experience helps me in counseling, friendships, and marriage because every relationship involves bridging the gap of individual cultures. For example, I learned in training and experience of a few summers overseas in Mexico and Ireland that it’s important to listen first before talking, to contextualize truth to the shape of that particular culture, and not to rush in too quickly with my own ideas.

5. There’s a local gym membership that includes a monthly parents’ night out for free! You better believe we joined it, and have already used this privilege once.

6. Proclivity to express yourself better in writing points to introverted tendencies. My personality finally explained – outgoing yet processes life best when writing. Thank you, my new favorite book, Quiet

7. I like to trash pick. My husband doesn’t. I’ll let you imagine how I found out that little tidbit. Let’s just say it involved a large dresser on the side of the street that I spotted next door to a friend’s house, and then asked [begged] him to return to pick it up in our car at 9:30pm. We don’t have the dresser. We still love each other and have our marriage. I will not trash pick in the future. Enough said.

8. Lulu.com is a self-publishing website. So perhaps my dream of publishing my own book doesn’t have to be so far off after all? Any writers out there want to give tips on how to get published v. self-publishing?

9. “Peacock” is a term that refers only to the male variety. A female f.k.a. “peacock” is actually a “pea-hen.” In the plural, they are “peafowl.” Thank you, Ann, for that enlightenment at the zoo this afternoon.