Hello and welcome to the first edition of Learning & Reading. This will be a seasonal post where I share what I learned and read during the previous season, and I’ll ask you to share your own stories in the comments as well! This is based on the “What I learned” quarterly post by one of my favorite writers and inspirations, Emily P. Freeman (you can find her website here.) She says it’s a great way to keep track of how we are growing during each season in ways both big and small, before jumping into a new season without so much as a backward glace.
So without further ado, Learning & Reading: Summertime.
1. I’m not as in shape as I think I am.
Seriously guys; I biked to a coffee shop that’s only 3.5 miles from my house, and yes there were hills, but still! I was DYING when I got here. Thankfully their wild berry smoothie was just what I needed to perk me up so I could write this post for you.
2. Moving is harder than I remembered.
We moved to our new house at the end of May, and for serious, I thought I was doing pretty well with the packing and everything, but there are SO MANY THINGS, and then you pack things that it turns out you needed, and you run out of time to pare down on as many things are you hoped to, so you end up throwing away a handful of dead pens that you packed AFTER you moved, which just feels so darn annoying sometimes. And boxes are heavy. And your chiropractor won’t recommend it if you already have a bone spur in your neck at age 26. 😉
3. Small houses really are easier to maintain.
I seriously have been going on and on about this for awhile, to every single person who asks me how I’m liking our 1,000 sq foot house. I tell them, I LOVE IT! Yes, every area is high traffic and we do have two small children so it gets dirty pretty quickly sometimes, but that’s okay, because I can vacuum the entire thing from one outlet, and it takes me 5 minutes to sweep the kitchen and dining room floor. For me this translated to BEING OUTSIDE MORE! And actually having a garden for the first time in my adult life. I have squash coming out my ears, and I am loving it.
4. Minimalism works
So I mentioned we moved to a small house, this is partly because I am one of those people who feels like they can’t do anything ‘fun’ until all the work is done, and also partly because where we live is getting to be pretty darn expensive.
Now for me fun includes everything from baking cookies with my 3 year old, to being outside, to writing this blog post (yes that’s right! I felt like I couldn’t write because of all the house work I’d been doing.) I started learning a little bit about minimalism about 6 months ago, and this quote from Joshua Becker has really been an inspiration to me.
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” -Joshua Becker
So for me as a Christ follower, Wife, Mommy and Writer, this quote has been really helpful to me in trying to think more critically about the things I allow to take space in my mind as well as my my house. My smaller house, and the paring down I had to do in order to move into said smaller house, has been a huge step towards freeing me up to do more of the things that I THINK MATTER, (aside from cleaning my house, which of course is important as well.) As a result I have been able to spend more time with my kids, be outside in my garden more, read more books, write more, visit with friends longer, serve friends in need of practical help etc, without feeling like I am “letting go” of my house being at least mostly tidy for the sake of my own family (and lets me honest, my sanity.) I also learned a lot about thinking through my “areas of greatest impact” from a book by Greg McKeown called, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.
5. A frozen wash cloth on the back of the neck is not as good as air conditioning.
Yep. Our new house doesn’t have air conditioning…and here in Colorado we had a few weeks that were above 90 all week, and that meant that one day my house got up to 89 degrees inside…’nuff said.
6. But sitting in the baby pool with a popsicle is.
Yes. Yes it is.
7. Faith doesn’t work like a flow chart or growth chart.
Sometimes I think I should just get to keep growing up. Up and up and up. Like a profit chart or at least a flow chart headed in the right direction. But the reality is that faith on this earth means sometimes sharp turns, sometimes seasons groping through the dark, sometimes seasons of sky high faith that feels unshakable. It’s never anything to do with where God is, he is always there. But my frail human heart is not. Am I trusting him or am I not? Do I believe that what he has said about himself is true? Do I believe it in just my head or also in my heart?
The good news is that for all my stumbling, Jesus is still madly, deeply and irrevocably in love with me. And there’s nothing I can do to stop him from tracking me down, wherever I am.
Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker
This book was the book my soul needed, that I didn’t even know my soul needed. It was far and away one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Lisa-Jo’s writing is both poignant and eloquent. She shares deeply from the wounds and joys of her own heart, but in a way that is always peace promoting and life giving. Her chapter on walking through seasons of grief with friends absolutely wrecked me, and has been a constant inspiration. Thanks to her loving words I am excited to walk into my friendships with new passion to love out of the abundance of Christ’s love for me. Oh, and also, Lisa-Jo is FUNNY. 😉 You should follow her on Instagram. You’re welcome.
A Fierce Love by Shauna Shanks
A dear friend of mine has been going through a terrible season of difficulty in her marriage. When I saw a guest post by Shauna Shanks on Ann Voskamp’s blog a few months ago, I filed it away as a possibly helpful resource. It has been so much more than that. She talks about how God wooed her back to relationship with him during such an intense and difficult season, and it sparked flames of hope in my heart to hear of God’s faithfulness as he restored their marriage for his glory. A great read for anyone that needs to remember God’s love for them, or who wants encouragement to love as God loves us.
This is my second time reading through these two installments in Pat’s incredible character driven fantasy, and I’m still picking up new nuances and trying to puzzle together what I think is going to happen with all the loose ends in the final book, whenever Pat can finally finish it! COME ON PAT! WE BELIEVE IN YOU!
Did you read anything awesome this summer? Learn anything funny or true? Share with me in the comments below!