At the end of each month, I write about things I learned. This practice has helped me pay attention to life, myself, and God’s presence. In no particular order, here are 10 things I learned in April:
1. If you take the question words “where,” “what,” and “when,” and replace the letter w with the letter t, you have the answer words for each of those questions, “there,” “that,” and “then.” “Where is the tree?” “There it is.” Did everyone already know this? Am I the last one on earth to discover it?! Mind blown.
2. I can live on 33 items of clothing for 40 days. During Lent, I picked out 33 pieces of clothes (not including undergarments, exercise clothes and sleepwear), and boxed everything else up. It was a discipline of simplification and de-cluttering, and besides missing some “special occasion” clothes, it was a pretty enjoyable experience. I experienced the freedom of less options, and appreciated a simpler wardrobe.
3. Getting my son to agree to swim lessons is a two-fold strategy. 1) We promise a reward of an ice cream outing, and 2) we call it “swim school” and describe its similarities to preschool, just in the water. My husband came up with this, and clearly, he’s a parenting genius.
4. How to make homemade bread & butter pickles. And now we have yummy pickles to enjoy during summer evenings on the porch!
5. Spending $15 on a good car wash and interior cleaning was the best purchase I made this month. Clean car equals happy driving.
6. I love spending time with my kids, but they also drive me nuts. Aaron was on Spring Break for a week and a half. This meant having our two kids with me nearly every day, resulting in a messier home, totally different schedule than what I’ve gotten used to, more tiring days, and a lot of conflict resolution between the children. Aaron told me, “Mom, I’m excited to go back to school!” My reply, “Great! I’ll bet I’m even more excited.”
7. Our garden loves April weather. Los Angeles has experienced some lovely warmth recently, and all sorts of wonderful things are sprouting up in the garden, including tomatoes, oregano, and onions.
8. When you share vulnerably, it gives others freedom and permission to do it too. I shared about my experience with miscarriages, disappointment, and waiting with about 120 college students, and later on this blog. People responded with their own stories of waiting, hoping, and loss. It felt like such a gift to be a part of that journey with others.
9. I justify buying Easter candy for our kids, but really, most of it was for me. Full confession: I let them keep the marshmallow Peeps (because gross), and hoard the Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs.
10. It is hard but worthy work to get our finances in a healthy place. We’re using the methods and tools from You Need a Budget, and are already making some good changes with our budget, savings, etc.