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 April: Uber, Rifle Paper Co, and Coloring Books for adults

It was a busy month, but then again I think every month lately has been. April was busy in a different way because my husband and I were out of town for 5 days at a conference/getaway. Which made the rest of the month … well … a bit exhausting, between getting ready to go out of town and then coming back from being away and having to catch up on life. It caught me off guard – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here are a few things I learned in April (linking up with Emily Freeman):

what we learned in april

1 – Koala bears are not bears, but marsupials. We learned this from a new favorite book recently checked out from the library: Xander’s Panda Party.

IMG_86722 –  Rifle Paper Co. and its designer/founder are pretty amazing. My husband grew up with the owner/designer, Anna Bond, and so we were able to get a personal tour of their company/storefront in Winter Garden. I was in awe of the remarkable growth in five years, and of Anna’s creativity and unassuming spirit. She graciously autographed a few items that I bought, and put up with my starry-eyed admiration when I asked to take a picture with her.

photo from nytimes.com

photo from nytimes.com

3 – Uber is the best way to get around Orlando, Florida. We tried this alternative-taxi service available through a phone app and loved it. I mean, within minutes of requesting a ride, a personal driver showed up at the very corner of Winter Garden where we were waiting.

4 – Crossway publishing company is a great fit for me as I write my first book with them. It’s on the topic of shame, and I’m unashamedly happy to be part of such a team. I was able to meet many of them in person for the first time at the conference we attended in Orlando (The Gospel Coalition).

5 – Jen Wilkin, Christina Fox, Jen Pollock Michel, and Bethany Jenkins are my newest favorite writing-friends. They have each written extensively for several sites including TGC blog, Her.meneutics, and/or Desiring God, and I wish we all lived closer and could hang out and talk about the highs and lows of writing and finding God in the midst of the process together.

6 – I can feel tremendous (self-imposed) pressure to go to all the scheduled events of a conference, when what I may need more is space to rest. This was the double-edged sword for me of the conference we attended: I didn’t want to miss anything, but it was a fairly packed schedule and so I also didn’t want to miss out on anything great either. Added to this was the fact that Seth and I needed/wanted a getaway just the two of us – and instead were part of a conference attended by 6,000. Next time: two separate trips for two different purposes!

7 – Doing too much without breaks leads to a break-down. The week after returning was rough for me. I felt tired yet needed to be “on” as a parent, counselor, and moving assistant for my in-laws. Note to self: working for days on end without rest/good breaks is not good for the soul or body.

coloring page8 – Best new trend worth trying: coloring books for adults. Seriously. Read this article, and then purchase your own here.

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.

11 things I learned in June

I am linking up with one of my favorite bloggers, Emily Freeman, over at Chatting at the sky, for this post. She also happens to be a friend of my BFF, Katherine, which I think makes me famous-by-association. She’s an inspiration for me through her grace-infused and humorous insights on her blog, and she’s also a published author. I am loving her book Grace for the Good Girl. More on that in a future post, I’m sure.

So, in no particular order, and with various degrees of importance to daily life, here are my “things I learned in June”:

1. Caffeine lowers the risk of dementia and other health issues. (Hooray!)

2. Related to #1, I can become addicted to caffeine after just three mornings in a row of 1-2 cups of coffee. (Meaning that if I don’t drink coffee in the morning on the 4th day, I’ll have a splitting headache all afternoon. Yikes!)

3. That plants (including our fruits and vegetables) have a circadian rhythm which they lose when stored in bright fluorescent supermarket lights. This rhythm helps them to fend off insects and might also give them more nutritional value. So make sure you turn off your refrigerator lights at night … ?!

4. Siri (the voice command on the iPhone) has an attitude! If she’s not helping me and I ask her to cancel what she was doing, she responds, “Forget it then,” with a very churlish tone. As if I need one more person with an attitude as a mom of toddler twins …

5. The concept of “spontaneous trait transference” means that “people unintentionally transfer to me the traits I attribute to other people.” Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project cites this research as extra incentive not to gossip about others, since what you’re telling someone about another person is what they may implicitly attribute to you. I.e., if I always complain about store clerks being so rude, my friends will associate me with the quality of being rude. Not sure how that works … but certainly another reason to follow God’s instruction not to gossip.

6. Four and five-year-olds are (generally) compliant as a rule; non-compliant as an exception. This is opposite of 2-year-olds, who are non-compliant as a rule and compliant only as an exception. This was my observation after helping with a 4- and 5-year-old class at our church’s Camp Jr.

7. Given the opportunity, Lucia will choose to dress like a princess when going to bed.

8. Volume buttons function as the camera shutter in iPhone 4 and above. (Thanks, Meghan, for enlightening us – a good friend and my favorite Apple employee.)

9. Adding cold water to an ice bucket cools a bottle of white wine faster. (Thanks, Leisa, for that advice.)

10. Feedly is way better than Google Reader, and I have happily transferred all my blog subscriptions over. Do so ASAP if you haven’t yet. It’s wonderful!

11. Although I enjoy building IKEA furniture, a 60+ step project started at 8:30pm will leave me bitter, exhausted, and frustrated when I’m still working on it at 11:30pm.

11. Blogging daily is overall a good mental challenge for me and helps me to capture life moments and process them. In this stage of being home with little ones, I feel like this is the one time of a day when I get to connect with others over various topics from deep to funny and everywhere in between. I may decrease in July, but I’ve enjoyed the sense of connection with you readers and the way it’s helpful for me to put my life into words.