10 Things I Learned in February 2017

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It’s been a while since I wrote a “10 Things I Learned” post. Life has been full lately, so I’ve had less capacity to blog. But here we are!

This habit of writing down what I’m learning helps me pay attention to life, myself, and God’s presence. It’s my way of reflecting and celebrating. “10 Things I Learned” are 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. I love baking bread with wild yeast.

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For several months I’ve been maintaining a sourdough starter, and using it to make all sorts of bread. This is the method used before packaged yeast was created. The rhythm of feeding the starter (which I named “Nasty Woman”) with new flour and water to keep the yeast active has become a part of my daily routine. And now our kitchen is often filled with the scent of rising dough, freshly baked sourdough, and crusty baguettes.

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2. If you’re ready to do a deep dive into self-awareness, explore your Enneagram type.

The Enneagram is a tool that helps you identify your personality within a spectrum of 9 different personality types. I began learning about the Enneagram several years ago, and it has given me so much insight into who I am, what motivates me, and how to continue growing.

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I’ve read several books on the Enneagram, and recommend The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Riso and Russ Hudson, and The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Susanne Stabile (they also have a podcast!). For those who are curious, I am a type 1 (the Reformer) with a 2 wing.

3. Spotify is amazing.

We just started using Spotify, and YOU GUYS, GAME CHANGER. But you all probably know this because I’m pretty late to the discovery. I love that I have access to so many digital albums and songs, without the hassle of having to actually own and store them. I thank Spotify for all the hours I get to listen to Hamilton on loop and create Disney playlists for my kids.

4. My favorite weekly ritual is our family’s “Golden Fork and Spoon Night.”

Once a week, one person in our family gets to use the special golden utensils at dinner. During that meal, the rest of the family shares all the things we appreciate and love about that one person. It is a way to celebrate and affirm each person, and create space for gratitude as a family.

5. I get excited about packing.

This makes sense given I am an Enneagram 1 as mentioned above. Creating lists and order are comforting. But now I love packing even more since discovering eBags.

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I received the eBags Weekender Convertible, an awesome carry-on travel backpack, as a Christmas present. Later I purchased the packing cubes and toiletry case. I’m a huge fan of the well-designed eBags products.

6. I am rich in friendship.

Several recent occasions reminded me of this. Steve and I took a trip to Los Angeles, where we had the pleasure of reconnecting with many friends from our 15+ years of living there. We’ve also hosted a few gatherings in our home in the last few weeks. These experiences were brief snapshots of the many lifelong friendships I’ve been given, and I am so grateful.

7. Parenting three kids makes my life a lot more fun.

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I love how much fun my kids add to my life. Because of them, my days involve more play, imagination, and humor.

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8. Lagunitas Brewing Company is churning out some of my current favorite beers.

Try their IPA, Undercover Investigation Shut Down, or Brown Sugga.’ Mmmm.

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9. Storytelling is a powerful way to increase empathy and compassion.

Have you watched a movie or read a story that invites you into a human experience other than your own? If you allow yourself to enter into the story without judgement, you begin to understand the perspective of other people. I watched a recent episode of This Is Us (so good!) that showed a major character experiencing an anxiety attack. It was heartbreaking, and deepened my compassion for people who deal with this level of anxiety.

Our world is filled with an ocean of human experience. Let’s all resist the temptation to remain in our own bubbles, and listen to stories of people who are different than us. Listen to the people with whom you cross paths. Read books from authors who have a different background than you. Watch films that shine light on topics that may make you feel uncomfortable. Perhaps you’ll grow.

10. If I could, I’d wear a flannel shirt and jogger pants all the livelong day.

Steve Jobs was known for wearing black turtleneck and jeans every day. Maybe my flannel shirt and jogger pants uniform will increase my visionary leadership and innovation. Or maybe it’ll decrease all my productivity altogether.

My Life in Verbs

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Drinking: homemade gingerbread lattes. I love the gingerbread lattes at Starbucks, but they are so darn expensive! So I figured out a way to basically make gingerbread simple syrup at home. Yesssss.

Joining: the Injustice BoycottI am excited that there is a tangible way to advocate for justice. If you want to combat police brutality, racial violence and systemic injustice in America through organized resistance, please join in this nationwide boycott.

Reading: several books, as usual. First, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. To be honest, I’m struggling through this book. It has been recommended to me by multiple people, and I love the concept, but at this point I find the style sort of verbose and annoying. Second, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany by William L. Shirer. Yep, I have a very fat book with a huge swastika on it. I started reading this because I am interested in having a clearer picture of what happened in Germany through the life and leadership of Hitler. I know, very light reading. Third, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. It is my third time going through this book, and my soul is refreshed and refocused every single time.

Watching: This Is Us on Netflix. I watched the first episode and felt so many feelings. Anyone else watching it? Is it worth pursuing? I feel like it may be a balm to my soul as it misses the show Parenthood.

Loving: my friend Christina Grenga’s Food Freedom & Faith program. She created this 8-week course to help people on the journey to physical, mental, and spiritual health. The program begins January 2, 2017. Click here to sign up for Food Freedom & Faith.

Dreaming: about what I want to create in 2017. If you’ve been around me for any length of time, you’ll know that I am passionate about creating. Creativity fuels my life in so many ways. Currently, I’m thinking of creating a community for creators, artists, writers, and entrepreneurs, and anyone with a calling to create. This idea has been brewing for a while, and I’m excited to take action with this in January. Are you in the process of writing, creating art, starting a business, or making something that doesn’t yet exist? Let me know, and I’d love to connect!

Okay, your turn. What’s going on with you? Share some of your verbs in the comments.