10 Things I Learned in January

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. One hour in the snow is just right for our family. 

During our holiday trip to California, we took a day to drive up a mountain so our kids could play in the snow. For Hawaii kids, this is the dream. We spent one hour frolicking, making snowmen, and sledding down a hill. When the kids predictably began complaining about their cold feet, we jumped back into the car.

2. I love partnering with others in creative projects. 

Right now I’m currently collaborating with others on a few different new ventures. There is such magic that happens when you try something new and risky with other creative people.

3. I can eat this for breakfast every day.

Toast topped with a fried egg, avocado, and a dash of pepper and truffle salt. Yessss.

4. True listening transforms us.

My friend and former colleague Adam McHugh wrote a powerful and deep book called The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction, which compels us to listen to God, others, and ourselves. Since reading it, I’ve been challenged to be a better listener and to allow my heart to be more attentive and open.

5. Speaking of listening to God and others, I have recently taken on a new leadership role at my church as Pastor of Spiritual Formation.

Essentially, I will be giving guidance and direction in people’s spiritual journeys. I’m excited and honored to join people as they seek to know God more deeply, grow spiritually, and be released more fully into their God-purposed lives. I see this ministry as one of listening – listening to people, listening to the spiritual and soul realities, listening to God – and helping others to do the same.

6. Parenthood involves saying ridiculous things in all seriousness. 

As in, “Please wipe your face with a napkin, not a quesadilla.” I really had to say this to my child.

7. Hawaii has vog, and it’s gross.

The air quality is generally lovely here, until vog (air pollution from the nearby erupting volcano) settles in. We’ve had a few days of heavy vog, and it is nastier than Los Angeles smog.

8. We all have bad days, and this tool can help:

This diagram is in Jes Baker’s Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls as a tool for increasing health. I think it is wonderful in its simplicity and effectiveness.

Step 1) You begin with an “I feel” statement. Such as one of my common ones, “I feel anxious.” Step 2) Fill out the symptoms. Step 3) List out the core areas of your life that affect your health. For mine, I add in connectedness to God, water, and quiet time. Then Step 4) Assess how much or little of that area has been getting met, and Step 5) Actionable solutions for each area. Step 6) Put each solution into order. And now you have an action plan!

I’ve realized that lots of my grumpiness and anxiety comes from needing more time to connect with God and have quiet.

9. Sometimes I use popsicles to bribe motivate my kids. 

You guys, I’m a genius. I make homemade popsicles with fruit, yogurt, and spinach. My kids think these green popsicles are a fantastic treat, and are basically willing to do anything to get one. I feel no remorse over this.

10. Everyone has fear, and everyone needs courage.

I have my own fears. You have yours. We all need encouragement. Take courage today, friends. Do something that scares you, and kick fear to the curb. Go impart some of that courage to others around you.

What about you? What did you learn this month?

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