I don’t know about you, but October seemed to fly by around here. I love these monthly recaps because it gives me an excuse to reflect back on the month, and October 2016 was all-around wonderful. I would love to hear about your month in the comments!
What I’m learning
Incentives are my friend. I feel like this is probably one of those things that I should have learned by now, but I discovered a new love for creating my own rules this month as a way of instilling good habits. Over the last month, I’ve been working on my own “every damn day list,” but I was having trouble incentivizing myself to do some of the things on my list (maybe defeats the purpose of the every damn day list, I know). So I came up with some “every damn day rules” instead, such as:
- No coffee, until water (that big 34-ounce tumbler)
- Ten minutes of moving as soon as I wake up (I’ve been loving the shorty YWA videos or just this sequence in the dark in my jammies). It makes such a difference to the start of my day.
- No phone until I’ve read something meaningful (I’ve been doing a chapter a day of Acts so far – the YouVersion Bible app makes this super easy with their plans).
- Vitamins before I brush my teeth.
Not surprisingly, these triggers/rules are scientifically proven as one of the best ways to make habits stick.
Post-modernity problems. Many of the things I’ve been listening to and reading lately falls into this idea I’ve coined lately of “post-modernity problems” (like “first world problems,” but stuff that makes your brain hurt once you start unraveling some of your previously held assumptions about the world). A few examples from just the past several weeks:
- learning about different, biblical theories of Hell, some of which were accepted for centuries before some of our more current ideas and depictions. One of my new favorite podcasts, The Deconstructionists, did a deep dive into Hell and the devil in October (episodes 28-31)…and it was surprisingly fascinating and mind-bending. I was going to take this month off because I thought talking about Hell would be a bit dark and depressing, but Grant told me to listen anyway, and I’m so glad I did.
- reading The Course of Love and thinking differently about our ideals around love, relationships, and marriage
- discussing Unclobber with Grant (read it, and then listen to this beautiful Liturgist episode too)
- I’ve already mentioned them previously on the bloggity, but the Women and Race episodes of the Liturgist definitely fall into this category and are worth bringing up again
- contemplating my own preoccupation with efficiency and productivity – realizing that they aren’t innately good, but instead products of the post-Industrial Revolution, uber-connected world we live in
- listening to this three-part series (episodes 42-44) on the New Creation and rethinking my ideas of heaven too. How beautiful is this:
What we do here, what we create, what we protect, what we sacrifice, is not in vain. In every leaf we paint and in every generous act for others, we are planting the seeds of eternity. Not in the sense that we’re going to be rewarded in some off heavenly realm but in the sense that we will someday see God turn the feeble artwork of our lives into something more real, more beautiful, and more lasting than we could ever have imagined.
Those are just a few examples. It feels like a period where Grant and I are rethinking or relearning many things we thought we knew. It is exciting, especially to be going through this process together, but it is also stressful and, frankly, exhausting. We live in an exciting time to have so much wisdom and knowledge at our fingertips, but with the vastness of information comes other challenges.
Processing the news. I got a bit too into the election this month. I realized that it was making me angry and fearful, so stepped back a bit. I listened to some great podcasts on the topic over the last month listed below. I’m not sure where I have landed on this, but because of the 24-hour news cycle, Twitter, and just the internet in general, we are exposed to more news than ever before. I’m not sure compassion fatigue is a fair cop-out, but the fact is that 100 years ago, many of us would not have the opportunity (let alone a feeling of responsibility) to know what was happening across the country, let alone across the world (how many of us learned about the Armenian genocide, for example?).
I’m still processing this whole topic, but for now I’ve landed on trying to obtain my news from more thoughtful, slower sources. The Atlantic or The American Conservative, for example, are monthly magazines that dissect the news after it has happened. There is certainly a place for more timely news, but I needed to put myself on a diet for at least the rest of 2016. I’m curious to see where I land on this one. I also don’t want to risk the echo chamber problem, so let me know what sources you learn from in the comments.
Must listens on this topic:
- On Being with David Brooks and E.J. Dionne
- RobCast: episode 122 and episode 120
- Pantsuit Politics: they were great pretty much all of October, but this episode on talking to your kids about politics was especially helpful – and not just for parents of young kids
What I’m loving
Argan oil. I picked up some of this on my last Plant Therapy order (full of fun holiday oil blends – hooray!) because I heard someone recommend it on a podcast awhile ago that I can’t remember now. I use it at night after I wash my face, and I’m loving it. I’ve been using it for about two months, and I’ve noticed that my complexion has been clearer and less blotchy.
This oatmeal bread recipe. I made this recipe for a get together a few weeks ago, and Grant and the kids have been asking for it every time we run out. It’s super easy, no fuss, and makes two loaves at a time. It makes the perfect delivery method for all of those summer jams we canned.
Cubs baseball. I love October baseball, but especially when the Cubs are still in it (not that we have much experience in that department). It was so fun to text and joke with our family during every game and to hear new memories from my dad, aunt, uncle, and grandma about growing up Cubs-obsessed. Also, I am now ready for more sleep and to watch something besides baseball on TV.
This fall. This has been the best fall I can remember in terms of weather, and the leaves are just now hitting peak at our place. We have been soaking up every minute outside for those dreary February days to come.
Dinnertime questions. We do highs and lows around the dinner table, but after reading this post, we stole the question idea too. We all take turns asking questions, and it has been tons of fun. Granted, some of the kids’ questions get a little weird (e.g. which would you rather eat: a regular tarantula or a wolf spider? Jasper is spider-obsessed lately obviously), but that is part of the fun too.
Book chain. I posted this favorite book challenge, and it’s like Christmas at the mailbox every day this week receiving people’s (mostly strangers) favorite books.
What are YOU learning and loving these days?
Linking up with Emily Freeman, although she is just doing seasonal WIL posts these days.
*Some affiliate links above.