10 Things I Learned in October 2016


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. Packing for a trip is WAY better with the Stylebook app.

Have you heard of Stylebook? It is my new favorite tool to virtually organize my wardrobe and create outfits with the clothes I own. But the best use of this app was to organize my packing list. It lets me plan on the clothes to take on my trips, and generate outfits using those items. So helpful!

2. There’s no getting around my daughter dressing up as Elsa from Frozen for Halloween.

I tried really hard to redirect my 4-year-old to other Halloween costume ideas. But nope…despite all my efforts and suggestions, she HAD to be Elsa. Sigh.


Minecraft Steve, baby Jack Jack from The Incredibles, and Elsa from Frozen.

3. Parents have all sorts of different strategies for dealing with the onslaught of candy during Halloween season.

I asked friends on Facebook what they do, and discovered a whole host of creative solutions. Some parents limit their kids to a particular number of candy allowed (we do 15), other parents let their kids eat one piece of candy once a week until their kids forget or get tired of it.

4. Boiled eggs are easier to peel under cold running water.

We’ve all been there. We boiled some eggs, and are now in the process of peeling the shell off. But then pieces of the egg stick to the shell, and our lovely boiled egg now has little chunks taken out of it. Here’s a great solution – peel your eggs under cold running water, and the shells come off easy peasy!

5. When I take risks, I thrive.

I took a few risks this month, including sending a book manuscript to a publishing company (eek!). You know what happens deep in my soul when I take risks? My soul soars. It feels joy in the simple act of courage that it took to try something new and unknown.

6. Pumpkin spice has worn out its welcome.

I, for one, am tired of how unoriginal pumpkin spice flavored anything is these days. Have some imagination, people. Okay, now I’m going to duck from offended people flinging their Starbucks cups at my head.

7. Sometimes something needs to die to make space for new life.

When we are about to transition into something new, there may be other things that need to end or get shelved to create the new space that is needed.

Speaking of making space for new life, I’m hosting something called 30 Days of Abiding over at my Spiritual Journey website. Want to know more about participating? Get more details here: 30 Days of Abiding

8. How to make my own homemade toothpaste.

My main reason for trying out this homemade toothpaste recipe was because Crest stopped making my favorite non-mint toothpaste. The taste of baking soda takes some getting used to, but I love how smooth and clean it makes my teeth!

9. My body is very unreliable these days.

In the last month, I’ve had a series of minor body malfunctions – strained neck, injured lower back, headaches, nausea. I have no idea what is going on, but it is super annoying and I’d love to be more physically healthy.

10. We can eat these chicken enchiladas for days. They are SO good.

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

10 Things I Learned in May


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. I’m linking up with Emily P. Freeman here.

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

1. If I don’t put it in my calendar, I will forget to return library books on time.

This has happened way too many times, and now I’ve accrued an embarrassingly high late fee. Sorry to my local library.

2. Sometimes something unexpected and interesting happens.

A few weeks ago I decided to pitch an article to The Huffington Post. It was an idea that I’d toyed with for a while, and finally figured, “What is there to lose?” I emailed a pitch to an editor, and within one hour got a surprising reply: “Welcome to the writing team!” If you want to follow my articles, go to my Huffington Post archive page.

3. My extended family is wacky and hilarious.

I have a big bunch of cousins that I grew up with. Now we’re all adults, and I love the times we get to see each other. We gathered together recently for my cousin’s wedding, and had a BLAST.


4. “Don’t be a stranger to what you most deeply want. I think what God most deeply wants for you is what you most deeply want.” ~ Father Greg Boyle

I love the wisdom in these words, and am learning to give myself permission to want and desire.

5. After almost 10 years of marriage, I got really vulnerable with my husband and asked him to trim my hair.

Eeeek! It was like doing a trust fall, but with my hair. He did a great job, actually.

6. I now feel comfortable enough to call myself a preacher.

This wasn’t always the case. Preaching was an area that used to fill me with anxiety and insecurity. But God, in his awesomeness, has been birthing more freedom and courage in me. My most recent opportunity to preach was at my amazing church, and it was a really joyful and powerful experience. So now, though I don’t preach often, I can embrace that role when it’s given to me.


7. My oldest son is now 7 years old.

And then I’m going to blink, and he’s going to be 18. *so many tears*

8. People with a sense of entitlement are easily offended.

When people take offense or become bitter, it so often boils down to their assumption that they deserve things being a certain way. I am beginning to think this is the key difference between feeling disappointment (I am sad that it turned out this way, but I am holding loosely to my hopes) and bitter (I am angry that it turned out this way, and I need it to change).

9. I want an Everlane top in every color.

All the Everlane clothing is well-made and well-designed. It’s my new go-to for quality basics.

10. You can find your tribe in a great Facebook Group. 

I recently joined two Facebook Groups – one for writers, one for bloggers & entrepreneurs – that are incredible. Both groups are filled with inspiring, helpful, non-spammy people who are trying to grow in the same areas. The bonus is that it’s like joining a good writing group, but I can participate in the in-between hours of my life. I’m so glad to have found my people!

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


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