August has been fun. Despite a great summer, it has been nice to get back in the school routine. Our gardens are popping, and we’re spending every spare minute outside, knowing that the it won’t be long before it’s cold out. Here’s what I’ve been learning and loving this month – I would love to hear what you’ve been learning and loving in the comments!
What I’m learning
Learning, not learned. I was beating myself up this month for not managing my time better, among other things, as we transition back to the school year routine. I realized that I unintentionally titled these monthly WIL posts, “what I’m learning,” not “what I learned.” Obviously, learning – at least about the big things – is a process, and I might take one step forward, then three back, then a few to the side. I might not ever “arrive,” but hopefully, I learn a bit more about myself as I go along. On a somewhat-related note, this post from Emily Freeman really resonated with me – and not just from a parenting perspective: “I’ve grown weary of trying to squeeze a lesson out of everything, of always asking what God is trying to teach me in every circumstance, of seeing the world through lesson-colored glasses.”
On the idea of re-learning things, one thing that has really been sticking with me this season is the idea of santosha that I mentioned back in May. The idea of so much of life being both/and seems to be pervading so many different aspects of our lives right now.
Disappoint the right people. I need to write an entire post (series?) on the lessons I’m learning from Shauna Niequist’s Present Over Perfect, but I’ll stick with just one for this month. Adulting is hard; we’re going to disappoint people. “But,” Niequist writes, “here’s the good news: you get to decide who you’re going to disappoint, who you’re going to say no to. And it gets easier over time, the disappointing.” I realized that I, like Shauna, was so worried about disappointing everyone that I was disappointing those closest to me (Grant, the kids, myself) in favor of not disappointing people that are important to me, but not the most important to me. This will be a game changer for me (I hope!) moving forward.
A breakthrough for me, was that this idea extends to my energy as well. If I’m spending my energy all week on my to do list, meeting others’ expectations, emptying my bucket, etc., then I don’t have the relational energy left to be really present with Grant and the kids. I have a shorter fuse with the kids especially. I’m not setting myself up for success when I’m overextending myself. And what matters is figuring out for me what that looks like – it doesn’t matter – and really who cares?! – what it looks like for my friends or co-workers or family members.
It’s nearly impossible to out-workout sitting. Well, this is just depressing and probably has something to do with the extra pounds I’ve put on since adding another day to my desk job schedule (either that or just life in the mid-thirties).
Two-handed euchre is a thing. I looove to play games, and Grant is a good sport. We googled this on our trip in Colorado because he was in the mood for Euchre, and we’ve been playing it ever since. We’re always looking for new two-person games that we enjoy.
Admit you’re wrong at least once in every argument. I like to be right, so this is a difficult one for me. But I’ve been testing it out this month and trying to own something I’ve done wrong in the midst of an argument. It is surprisingly disarming, especially with the kids. It takes practice, but once I started trying it, it was easy to recognize how I could have handled the situation better.
What I’m loving
Our garden. It has been a stressful few weeks, so I’ve spent more time than usual in our garden because it is such good therapy for me. Any of you gardeners know that there is always more work that could be done in the garden, which has been nice for me lately because it gives me something to focus on as my mind wanders. I’ve been reading about the neurological benefits of liturgy lately, and I think the garden gives me a similar benefit as I do the repeated and necessary tasks of weeding, harvesting, watering, pruning, and planting. There is a poetic analogy in there somewhere, but I’ll need some more garden therapy in order to get it down on paper.
Friends on Netflix. Grant and I have been binging Friends episodes on Netflix. He never really watched it much, so I’ve been loving laughing at it with him since I was a bit addicted back in high school. After a heavy few weeks, it has been nice just to chill out and laugh together a few nights a week. We’re thinking about throwing a Friends party and requiring everyone to dress up as the character they are most alike – how fun would that be?!
The @fromwhereidrone account on Instagram. This just makes me happy.
Turmeric in place of anti-inflammatories. We started taking turmeric with our normal supplements last year or so (we get this one from Costco, but just make sure you find one that also has black pepper, which increases absorption), but recently, I’ve been taking it in place of Advil. I don’t love taking pills in general, so I tend to avoid them. But Grant and I both tried taking turmeric in place of Advil this month, and it seemed to work just as well, with waaayyy more benefits and less side effects.
Cold brew. Grant is in charge of coffee at our house, but even I can handle how easy it is to whip up some cold brew using his formula. I’ve been adding a second cup of coffee on several days lately because that early alarm clock on school days is kicking my bum, so having a batch of this in the fridge makes me so happy.
The 1.25 speed on Stitcher. I tried a different podcast app this month because not all of my podcasts are available on Stitcher (I’m looking at you RobCast and Magic Lessons!), but it didn’t have the 1.25 speed, which I’ve figured out is my favorite for listening to heavier podcasts. I can handle 1.5 if it is light, but I really need 1.25 in order to pick up on most things. So I’m back to Stitcher, but I still don’t understand why it doesn’t have all of the same podcasts as are available on iTunes.
Your turn…what are you learning and loving as summer winds down?