10 Things I Learned in August 2016

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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.

“10 Things I Learned” have become some of my favorite posts to write. I love the process of looking back, and seeing the deeper lessons that I might otherwise miss.

In no particular order, here are 10 things I learned this month:

1. How to say “selamat pagi” (good morning) well enough to make people in Indonesia think I am local.

It has been a few weeks since our amazing trip to Indonesia, and I continue to be grateful for that experience.

2. Ali Wong’s comedy special on Netflix is pee-your-pants hysterical.

I’ve watched this three times, and it gets funnier every time. I love that Ali is a spunky Asian woman who is masterfully funny storyteller. We need more of this! Warning: you need to be ready for cussing and topics like sex and vaginas.

netflix ali wong

3. How each Myers-Briggs Type reacts to stress (and how to help).

Read this article if you want to know how you (and others) uniquely react to stress. I can say that as an ENFJ married to an ENFJ, there are some really helpful and accurate insights here.

4. I am working on asking directly for what I want.

This is hard for me. Female + Asian + harmony lover = I don’t naturally ask for what I want. I can go for pretty long with stuffing my real desires down for long periods of time…which of course, is generally unhealthy for lots of reasons. But I’ve asked directly a few times this week, and each time I do, it gets easier. My mantra: “just say something and give the other person the chance to respond.”

5. Coaching a soccer team of 7-year-old boys takes lots of energy.

These boys. Just keeping them focused and on task for an hour of practice is requiring me to use every teaching/coaching/parenting strategy I can think of. I’m loving this coaching gig.

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6. I am surrounded by some pretty great mentors.

In the last year, I’ve stumbled upon a handful of really wise people who I can turn to for input and counsel. Especially in this season of ministry, transition, and parenthood, I am so glad for these mentors making themselves available to help guide me.

7. Having three young kids is wild and insane, but sometimes it’s the best.

Recently, our kids have been playing together so well. Last week I found them having their own group story time. It is a wonder to witness their friendships grow.

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8. My friend Amy Dixon writes wonderful children’s books.

Amy’s most recent book is Sophie’s Animal Parade, and my kids immediately fell in love with the magical, creative world that Sophie dreams up. Amy also wrote the book Marathon Mouse. If you know of any kids who love books, go pick up copies of Amy’s books!

9. My 1-year-old has finally lost that baby smell, and it makes me so sad.

I will admit that I am one of those weirdo parents who takes deep inhales to get that baby-scent high. Please, someone. Find a way to bottle the newborn baby smell and turn it into an essential oil. I will love you forever.

10. Any form of change we undergo involves three factors: vision, intention, and means.

Dallas Willard explores this in Renovation of the Heart. Vision is that picture of the preferred future – the way it could be if a change took place. Declaring and deciding our intention is essential: we move from thinking about a particular change to intending that change to occur. And finally, we need the means: the various processes we engage or resources we pursue in order to experience the change. I’ve been thinking a lot about how change happens for people, and love those moments when someone has all three of the factors – the vision, intention, and means – to change.

What about you, friend? What things did you learn this month?


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