Today I’m going to attempt something new.
I’m going to try out this, “What I Learned This Month” idea that so many bloggers are writing about. If it works out, with any luck, this still-feeling-like-a-newbie blogger will even stick my neck out and link up with some other bloggers on Emily Freeman’s blog.
I also had a similar challenge to reflect at month’s end from my new online Pilates instructor. She also provided us with a nice printable to record “what worked” and “what didn’t work” in one of her blog posts. It’s an invitation to consider how specific things are working (or not), in my life.
Thinking about and recording what I’ve learned in the past month seems like it could be a little fun, possibly challenging, a good way to get to know and interact with some other wonderful bloggers, and most of all, a helpful practice to introduce into my life. When we step back to observe and listen to God, ourselves, and those around us, we are bound to come away inspired, challenged, thankful, and changed.
So here I go.
What I Learned in April 2016 (in no particular order):
1. I really need my “girlfriends”.
I’ve always loved and felt comfortable with my close (girl-)friends, but since I’ve been home more lately and not out in a people-filled work environment, I feel like I’ve needed my “girlfriend time” more than ever. I love my wonderful three men (my husband, one young adult son, and one teen son), but they can only tolerate so many words (and I have a lot of words!). I so appreciate every time my guys make an effort to listen and spend some quality time with me, but I need more than they are built to give in this area of communication. I’ve been incredibly blessed in this season when I could tend to feel quite lonely (lots of “between jobs” time, and working less hours), with some quality and regular time with several different girlfriends and groups of women I love. Their support, understanding and advice both encourages and challenges me.
2. Glass spray bottles are nice, but they break.
This just happened. I have three lovely glass spray bottles from one of my favorite companies. While using one to spray some homemade wrinkle releaser on my shirt this past week, it slipped out of my hand and smashed on my cement basement floor (leaving a pleasant lavender and vinegar scent, I might add). It was much prettier than my plastic bottles, but not so much when scattered across my laundry room floor in shards.
3. Being a wife, mother, and homemaker is really my number one job priority.
If this extended time at home has taught me anything, it has confirmed that I really do enjoy most aspects of being at home. My job as a wife, mother (even to older sons), and homemaker is still my number one priority job. I’ve never really been a true “career person”. Even jobs I’ve enjoyed have often overwhelmed me and added stress to my life when I found it difficult to get to some important responsibilities at home.
4. An acquaintance of mine is one of sixteen siblings!
You read that right. I just learned that someone I know has no less than fifteen brothers and sisters! I think that’s the biggest family I’ve learned of in my almost fifty years of life.
5. I really can blog.
Sure, I’ve only been doing it for four months now, and moving along more slowly than many bloggers, but I can actually truthfully say, “I’m a blogger”, or, “I write a blog.” It still feels uncomfortable in some ways (especially to those outside the “blogging world”), but I also feel like a small part of a big and diverse, but like-minded group of people from all over the country and even the world. Cool.
6. Doing laundry with a washing machine and plumbing that works properly is almost a joy.
I recently got a “new” (refurbished), washing machine, as our really old one finally bit the dust. We had also been having some increasingly bad plumbing issues in conjunction with the section of pipes that affect the washer. It started when we had our main line cleared out about a year ago, and came to a head when we attempted to hook up the new washing machine hose to the pipes. It would not work without leaking.
For months prior to this, I was taking extra steps and time to get our clothes clean and dry due to these issues. After we finally got a plumber to fix things up for us, and hooked up our new machine, I can’t believe how much better it feels to do the laundry! I’m sure the novelty will wear off, but for now I’m actually mostly enjoying doing laundry (but don’t let it get around!).
7. I like Pilates better than I thought.
I’ve always been somewhat active, and done moderate exercise fairly regularly for years now. As for Pilates, I had only tried somewhat lengthy workouts. While they were thorough, they felt a bit too intense for me as a beginner. I found and took part in a thirty-day online challenge this March with instructor Robin Long, which was mainly comprised of ten-minute Pilates workouts. I was pleasantly surprised to find that even with this short amount of dedicated time, I began to feel and see positive changes in my body. I can accomplish a short workout without too much stress, and I enjoy it much more. At the end of the month, I immediately joined Robin’s monthly subscription group and have enjoyed successfully completing another month with some longer workouts. I really like the camaraderie and encouragement of the Facebook group, where women from all over share both their struggles and their victories.
8. Webinars can be fun and informational.
I tried my first few webinars; some live, and some just replays. They were all great forums in which to learn more about various subjects (usually blogging), but the live ones were really quite exciting! It felt more like being in a room with a crowd of listeners, rather than just watching a video online. I am really enjoying interacting with and learning from others through the miracle of technology.
9. Just because I don’t see any comments on my blog posts does not mean they’re not being seen.
Being a blogger of barely four months, I am still too excited by every little comment left on one of my posts. My busy, but helpful husband (who hosts my blog and generally educates and encourages me in such things), was only able to get to adding Google Analytics about a week ago.
I’ve had a “dry spell” as far as comments go for the last month or so, and I don’t have a big following yet, so I kind of assumed that meant that no one was visiting my blog or reading my posts. I was feeling a little discouraged, and wondering if things were going poorly, when low and behold, my dashboard revealed that there is indeed someone out there finding my blog. It is both exhilarating and a little scary all at once.
10. I really love my church.
We’ve attended the same church for over twenty-five years now, so obviously we like it quite a bit. Recently, there were some pastoral changes, as our senior pastor made the wise decision to step down before the church “grew old” with him. Although we love and miss our former pastor, I’m finding myself more excited and convinced that this is where we are to be right now.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard of as smooth and successful a transition as this one has been. We’re proud of all involved in leadership and the decision-making process, as well as the dedicated group of believers who call our church their home. Although I don’t normally relish change, this one has been timely, and has made me appreciate both the old and new leadership for their unique contributions to this body. The changes seem to be what is needed in this season of our church’s growth. I am happy to be a part of such an effective group of Christians.
Well, what do you know? I started this post wondering if I could come up with even five points, and ended with so many that I’ve decided to take several points and use them to start another post about what I’m learning in general in this season of my life! I’ve really enjoyed taking this time to look back, and I think doing so regularly will benefit my life and help it to flourish.
I wonder what new things I have to look forward to learning in May?