I love reflecting on things that have grown, changed, made me laugh and made me cry, but I never really knew a fun way to pay attention to those things in a consistent way. Until now. One of my favorite authors, Emily Freeman, has a regular rhythm of tracking what she is learning and hosts a “What I Learned” community over at her blog every season. She says, “The practice of paying attention to what we’re learning serves as an anchor for the soul in a fast-moving world. Instead of waiting for the world to stop so we can catch up, we slow ourselves, look around, and name what we see”.
I’m excited to finally join the party with 10 things I learned this winter…
1. When I am overwhelmed with the emotional parts of my life, I default to travel planning.
Some people watch TV or scroll Facebook. I jump on Trip Advisor and start planning a trip. Maybe because it’s controlled research about something that really doesn’t have to happen if I don’t want to or maybe I just like dreaming of all the places I could escape to!
2. Smelly reed diffusers from Target.
Why did I not know about these? And why would anyone ever buy a candle again? I guess the seasonal candles like Yankee’s Home Sweet Home for Christmastime are still a must, but I bought two reed diffusers – one for my living room and bedroom – and now my house always smells like I want it to when I walk in (and not like our 100lb Rottweiler/Pyrenees dog, Gus – yes, please, thank you, amen).
3. Asking questions is a great way to help with awkward introductions.
I can be awkward when first meeting someone new and having to make small talk. That is when I say things I wish I never had just to avoid silence. Asking simple questions is a great way to dodge awkward silence without putting my foot in my mouth.
4. I love listening to people’s stories.
To me, it’s better than reading any novel. Especially, paying attention to the way their facial expressions fill in the blanks where there are no words to describe certain parts.
5. The Bullet Journal.
I love planners, but with my growing responsibilities in our family business and keeping up with three teens/tweens, they just aren’t working for me anymore – I feel boxed in and confined like I’m wearing the tightest pair of skinny jeans. And then I read this post and thought it might be easy enough for me to try. I learned a bullet journal (or Bujo as it is referred to) is overwhelming in that I have to figure out the rhythm that works for me, but it’s wonderful for the very same reason – it made me figure out the rhythm that works best for me.
6. I struggle with pride.
Well, I didn’t learn THAT this season. But I did learn that my pride looks like me thinking everyone around me needs to change whereas humility looks like me seeing things from other people’s perspective and letting compassion grow.
7. Winter + Pansies = all the color we need to carry us to spring.
I didn’t know there was a flower that could be so beautiful…in winter. Of course, we’ve had a pretty mild winter here in North Carolina, but still, I will forever fill all of my empty pots with pansies during winter to add all sorts of lovely to an otherwise grey and brown season.
8. Cold food dinner spreads saved our Tuesday nights.
Two of our children play soccer on Tuesday’s so half of us are gone between 5:30-8:45pm. This makes dinner ideas a stress-induced debacle for me. Then one Tuesday, I grabbed some deli meats, fruits, veggies, cheese & crackers because I hadn’t planned dinner and we all ate. And we were full. And I wondered what rule there was against doing this every Tuesday? There isn’t and the Tuesday dinner debacle is solved. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll even grab a rotisserie chicken on the way home from carpool. It’s delightful.
I don’t watch much TV because most shows are high intensity and my heart rate will need an hour to slow before I can fall asleep. I don’t watch movies much because I have a habit of falling asleep within 10 minutes of the previews (even in a movie theater, making that a pretty expensive nap). But This Is Us. Oh my. It is so worthy of a Tuesday snuggled on the couch with a glass of red wine and piece of dark chocolate.
10. Each month has it’s own personality.
We own a very seasonal business which makes work schedules very different depending on the weather. But I have always tried to keep the same schedule each month and for years, found myself frustrated that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. This winter season I learned that each month has it’s own rhythm and personality and I have to pay attention to it for me and the month to get along well.
I’d love to hear what you have learned this winter! If you don’t have a way to track it yet, I’d encourage you to check out Emily’s post that includes a pretty printable to track what you have learned. It’s such a great way to pay attention and notice the things you may otherwise miss!