What I Learned: Spring 2019

March - May 2019

1. Labor is really hard and only a little bit like what I expected

When I was pregnant, I spent so much time wondering what labor would be like. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted it to be like, but I also knew it was important to remain flexible. What I didn’t realize was just how flexible I would need to be - nearly everything I thought about how it would go went right out the window. The most surprising thing is just how quickly and how much I loved her as soon as I met her. I had no idea that was possible.

2. “Sleeping through the night” means your baby stays asleep the whole night, not even waking up for feedings.

For weeks when people would ask this question I would answer enthusiastically that “Yes! Abbie is sleeping through the night! She’s amazing!” (because she is). I even told her pediatrician at her 2 month appointment that she was sleeping for 8-10 hours straight. Then I learned that my understanding of “sleeping through the night” was different than everyone else’s because if Abbie went right back to sleep after nursing, I was counting it as a win. So to all the people I accidentally lied to, my two month old is not yet sleeping through the night. (Side note though: why do we even ask this question?! My daughter is still young enough to count her age in weeks - of course she wakes up hungry at night and wants to nurse. The expectation that a baby would sleep through the night is wacko to me and creates an unnecessary expectation for parents. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.)

3. May is the December of summer.

I don’t remember where I first heard this but it is so true. Between graduations, weddings, and general merriment, May is so full and fun. But I’ll admit I’m ready for the slowness of summer after this busy month!

4. Quiet time with Jesus can look different and still be beneficial and sweet

For all of my adult life, my quiet time has looked essentially the same: reading passages of scripture in the morning, taking notes in a journal, and sipping hot tea from a favorite mug. This spring I learned that my quiet time doesn’t have to look like that to still be beneficial and sweet to me. With a newborn, time with the Lord only sometimes happens in the morning and rarely includes writing in a journal or sipping tea. Instead, I’m most often reading scripture on my phone with one hand while Abbie nurses, reading slowly and sometimes out loud to her, or listening to the Dwell app in the car while we drive somewhere. It’s different, and it is still good.

5. In a two-term presidency, all of the cabinet members submit their resignations as a courtesy to the President

I actually learned this from an episode of West Wing! When a president is reelected, all of the cabinet members will resign without being asked, giving the President the option to rehire or replace them.

6. How to make parmesan chicken with mushroom rice

This is now one of my very favorite recipes. It is easy and quick to make, heats up lovely for leftovers, and only uses one pot. Not to mention it tastes fantastic. What a dream.

7. “Being impressed by your own advice will most likely make you a terrible listener.”

“Being impressed by your own advice will most likely make you a terrible listener. You’ll only listen up until the point that you have a great idea. Then you’ll interrupt, I mean interject, so that you can share your idol, I mean your wisdom.”

Thank you, Jackie Hill Perry, for this quote that I now call to mind whenever I’m asked for advice.

8. Listening to podcasts while doing chores is the best

The first time I listened to the Popcast with Knox and Jamie while doing dishes was the first time I learned how great doing the dishes can be. Listening to my favorite podcasts while doing housework that doesn’t require much thought is one of my new favorite life hacks.

9. Our bodies can help us make decisions

I’ve been thinking a lot about our bodies in general, how we experience life through them and how we can care for them well. When I was considering a big decision this spring, I followed the advice of Emily P. Freeman in her Discern + Decide course and asked myself how each decision felt in my body - whether it felt light and colorful or dark and heavy, whether my shoulders felt tight. Thinking through the question in that way brought so much clarity to me in ways that thinking cognitively about the decision hadn’t.

10. “Stories are verbal acts of hospitality.”

I’m still processing this incredible quote from Eugene Peterson. Suffice it to say: I was moved when I read it.

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