10 Things I Learned in November

At the end of each month, I share things that I learned. This habit helps me pay attention to life, myself, and God’s presence. It’s my way of reflecting and celebrating. It’s how I take notice and be present. In no particular order, here are 10 things I learned this month:

1. Science fiction can be surprisingly engrossing. 

If you haven’t read The Martian by Andy Weir yet, I highly recommend it. For being a novel about one guy stranded on Mars, I didn’t expect it to be so entertaining.

2. Pumpkin bread without sugar tastes like damp cardboard.

I made two entire loaves, but forgot to add in the sugar. It was a heartbreak.

3. I need some older, wiser mentors. 

This is one of those areas of my life that feels like it atrophied when we moved to Hawaii over a year ago. Back in Los Angeles, I had a pretty amazing handful of older people who were invested in me and my growth. Now, I feel like I’m around younger people nearly all the time.

4. My kids are creatures of habit.

Despite my best efforts at pointing out other book options at the library, this is what they borrow every.single.time:

Me: Let’s find some new books…how about this one about animals at the zoo?
Kids: More Mo Willems Pidgin books! Even though we read them all fifty times already!

It’s the same story for lunchtime too.

Me: For lunch I can make chicken soup with homemade stock that took 4 hours to cook.
Kids: Quesadillas every day, all the time!

I tried, y’all.

5. For great Thanksgiving turkey, you really need a good kitchen thermometer.

In previous years, I’ve tried all the time-consuming brining and whatnot techniques. This year, I instead went with a simple method, and our turkey turned out perfectly moist and tasty. The key is taking the turkey out of the oven RIGHT when it hits the correct temperature.

6. When I feel stressed, I declutter.

I’ve noticed this tendency recently. If I feel overburdened, I usually clear out my closet, go through the house and find things to get rid of, or cut my hair.

7. An artificial Christmas tree was a great purchase.

I was a bit torn by this decision, but now have embraced the practicality. It may not have the nice tree scent, but it was so much easier to set up. And yay, no needles to clean up!

8. Month eight in a baby’s life is pretty exciting.

This month Aria got her first two teeth, started crawling, and figured out how to clap her hands. She seems very pleased with herself for reaching these milestones.

9. The AnyList app is fantastic.

I use it for all my list-making needs – To Do’s, Movies to Watch, Books to Read, Packing List, Christmas Gift Ideas. But the true value is in having a shared Grocery List with Steve. We can both add to the list, and now have a live-updated, streamlined shopping list.

10. Writing. I need to write daily.

I love that feeling of creating words and thoughts in my mind, and putting them together on paper. It’s good for my soul to create.

What did you learn this month?

3 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned in November

  1. Hi Larissa,

    This is Robert from Bluewater. (After Ho'olohe Pono, God called me to spend some time in Seattle, which is why you haven't seen me lately.) I enjoyed reading your blog and about the ten things you learned this month. I especially appreciated #3, about needing older, wiser mentors. Been feeling that for a while. Unfortunately we have a shortage of those at Bluewater…lots of youthful energy, but not a lot of elderly guidance. Thankfully, the church I found up here in Seattle seems to have a plethora of those. 🙂 Keep on writing. Blessings,



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