What I Learned: Fall

September - November

One of the practices I have most enjoyed this past year has been keeping track of what I am learning. The idea came from this post by Emily P. Freeman, and I’ve found that the discipline of writing down the things I am learning as I learn them has encouraged me to pay closer attention to my life. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned this fall!

1. During WWI more American women died in childbirth than American men died on the battlefield.

I learned this piece of information listening to this phenomenal talk by Jen Wilkin at the Advance 2017 conference. This talk about the vital role of women in the church was one of my favorites from this season.

2. Winston Churchill was a painter.

I don’t know why this surprised me so much, but I never would have pictured this brash, courageous world leader mixing paint colors in his spare time. He even wrote a book about his hobby titled Painting as a Pastime.

3. I really enjoy knitting.

After listening to this podcast episode and learning that Winston Churchill benefited from having a pastime, I decided to try my hand at knitting. So far I have successfully knitted 2.5 legwarmers, with quite a few horrendous mess-ups in between. I really enjoy it though, and it’s so fun to have something to do with my hands that isn’t directly related to any type of work.

4. When I have limited time to clean, I should choose something that makes the biggest difference to me.

I’d never really thought about it before, but there are different parts of my house that will drive me crazy if they are not clean and other parts that I could honestly care less about. For example, clutter on kitchen counters or our table makes my skin crawl, but a dirty bathroom sink doesn’t bother me as much. Ideally, both spaces would always be clean but that’s just not realistic. When time is limited, I can now choose to do the cleaning chore that matters most to me (or to my husband!) and will contribute to my sanity. My home isn’t necessarily any cleaner after learning this trick, but it sure feels better.

5. We are designed to feel and our emotions can be a way in which God speaks to us.

My natural inclination is to approach God intellectually, but I’ve started learning that God can use my emotions and feelings just as easily as he can use my thoughts and reasoning. I’m slowly introducing more emotional questions into my time with the Lord (reading my Bible, listening to sermons, etc.) like: how do I feel about this particular passage? Why do I feel this way? What do these feelings tell me about myself and the way I am approaching God?

6. When decorating a space it’s important to consider all five senses.

I loved this super simple tip from Myquillyn Smith’s Cozy Minimalist class. When I decorated for Christmas this year, I put this tip to good use playing music (sound), throwing extra cozy blankets on the couch (touch), diffusing essential oils (smell), making brownies and drinking sparkling grape juice (taste), and of course decorating in the traditional ways (sight.) It was SO FUN.

7. “...one form of superiority comes in the unwillingness to be served.”

This fall I read this short article by Amy Julia Becker about how Jesus let others serve him throughout scripture. I’m naturally bent toward independence and doing things on my own, but this season has been one where I’ve intentionally answered yes to many offers of help. From sweet women who came over to paint our new house for us to friends who brought dinner after I got into a car accident, receiving help from other people has allowed me to feel the love of God tangibly through their service. The moments of awkward humility (which are good for me in their own right!) are quickly eclipsed by love and gratitude.

8. “Szn” is an abbreviation of the word “season.”

I don’t know why the word “season” needs to be shortened, but at least now I know what “szn” means. Maybe I’m just an old crotchety grouch, but I’m not a fan of this abbreviation (haha!)

9. A surprising number of people take conspiracy theories very seriously.

Reply All is one of my all-time favorite podcasts to listen to when I want some fun entertainment and maybe to learn something new. This fall, I listened to several episodes (don’t ask me how many because I am ashamed) and learned about the complex world of conspiracy theories like QAnon and Pizzagate (which are strangely related.) I think they’re honestly fascinating, but I was surprised by just how many people take these things very seriously!

10. Pregnancy cravings are no joke.

I am ashamed to admit that when women talked about pregnancy cravings, I used to internally think they were probably no big deal. Then I got pregnant. After eating approximately 18 reese’s blizzards the past couple weeks and even storing emergency ones in my freezer for those times when DQ is closed, I now believe in the power and legitimacy of pregnancy cravings.