So I tried Emily’s What I Learned series last year, and I failed after 3 months. Sorry, Emily!
So I decided to try again this month… if only because I learned a lot this month.
I’mma do the silly stuff first cause it’s easier:
1. German Chocolate cake did NOT originate in Germany.
Bizarre, huh? Yes, German Chocolate cake is an American thing created by the German Chocolate brand (which I’ve never heard of, but whatever). I learned that from the Food Network Queen, Ina Garten.
2. Puppies are awesome. And neurotic. AND EXHAUSTING.
So if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, this is the world’s worst kept secret, but I haven’t written anything about it here so: we got a puppy!!
For some reason WordPress is being a drama llama and WON’T LET ME UPLOAD PICTURES (Meanie) but I will attempt to again later. Pictures below!!
He’s a black pug, he’s 11 weeks old, and he is cute. A cute, tiny, snuggly menace. But did I mention cute?!?
(left to right: 5 weeks, 8 weeks, 11 weeks)
His name is Sirius Atticus (named for 2 of my favorite book characters), but we call him Russ. We’ve had him home 5 weeks now. He is a HAM. He loves people, attention, having his picture taken, and cuddles. He also enjoys biting, waking up at the crack of dawn, and chasing Lola around to her dismay (Lola is me in pug form–my little introvert, which balances out Russ’s i-love-everyone extrovert).
He is a mess, but dangit he’s cute. He gets away with a lot because of it. Can you just FEEL the sass in those pictures? We are in trouble.
3. Adult Coloring books are the best idea ever.
Why didn’t someone think of this/market this SOONER?!? I love to color. It’s one of my anxiety-helpers when I’m in panic-attack mode… I just print out some pages usually and color. I do not, however, enjoy coloring My Little Pony or whatever the latest and greatest kids franchise is… so adult coloring books= brilliant. I have yet to invest in one, but Margaret Feinburg just released one today that I will be purchasing tomorrow. Worship art is one of my favorite ways to have quiet time, so this is the perfect combination of those things for me. Praying/learning scripture with art is my happy place.
(I would love more than one adult coloring book, o people who wonder what I want for Christmas!!!)
4. McDonalds Breakfast all day= GENIUS.
Guys. As much as I hate to admit my McD’s love, I can’t quit McD’s breakfast. Besides their sweet tea and fries, that’s about all I eat there. So this whole all day breakfast thing= game changer. I am a breakfast-food lover any time of the day, especially McD’s biscuits– plus, now I can get a biscuit with fries instead of a wimpy hashbrown. Dangit, I’m hungry now.
here’s hoping CFA follows suit- I’m pretty sure I could eat chicken minis every day and not regret it. (Ok my thighs would regret it, let’s be real).
5. Jimmy Fallon (still) saves my sanity.
RELEVANT wrote a fantastic article about Fallon and Late Night TV, and what we can learn from the newcomers like Fallon and James Corden (read: we can learn a lot, people of faith!). Fallon Tonight really reminds me how much God loves laughter and joy. Jimmy is the epitome of laughter and joy for me. As Relevant says, he is authentic– and his enjoyment and passion for what he does shines through. You can tell he loves to make people happy–he was made to make people like me laugh and feel better.
He is a breath of fresh air, and he makes me laugh on nights when I am crippled in bed with fear. I never realized how grateful I’d be for late night TV. 🙂
6. If you have not listened to Ben Rector’s new album, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?!?
This isn’t as much of a lesson as much of a reminder: Ben Rector is perfect. His music is perfect. Do yourself a favor and go listen to Brand New on Apple Music (or buy it, which I will be doing soon). I’m usually a bigger fan of Ben’s slow songs, but on this album I preferred his more upbeat dance-y tunes. Brand New and Crazy are on the top of my list, but Fear might just become my new theme song.
WordPress is seriously being a jerk tonight and won’t insert anything, so GO HERE to listen to Fear:
Same feelings about Jon Foreman’s EP series: I have pre-ordered every one as they have come available, and they have yet to disappoint. DO IT. You can thank me later.
onto the more serious lessons of the month…
7. I need to read more.
The one thing I’ve noticed about not being in school is that I’m not reading as much as I used to. When I lived in Elam, I would usually go sit in Starbucks or chill outside (I miss my swing!!) and read; I could easily get a book down in a week or 2 doing that (in-between the dozen books I was reading for class. English major probs).
Now I don’t have many places to go and read. We have a screened-in back porch, but it is currently in use by our roommates (but they are not here for much longer, yippee), and I don’t have a nice outdoor place to sit and read (again, I miss my swinggggg!). I know I don’t need a place to read; but being inside, I usually lean more towards playing on the computer (or reading articles on the computer, which is still reading but not the reading I should be doing) or playing with Russ, or sleeping. I need to get back into the reading habit. I’ve been reading the same 2 books since July, time to finish em and keep going! (and there are SO many books that just came out or are coming out I need to read… if only I could finish the ones I HAVE!).
8. I MISS WALKING.
Living on campus, I walked everywhere. I tried to walk everyday- not only was it my favorite form of exercise, but it was also a way for me to get away from the dorm for a bit, and it was my biggest anxiety reducer (when I felt a panic coming on, I’d run out of the dorm and walk around campus. It was the most beneficial thing for my anxiety).
Now, I live on a road without a sidewalk. It’s also a cut-through street to 2 main roads, so people speed down our road like no one lives here (I’ve seriously yelled at people to slow down from 70-80mph while getting my mail. SERIOUSLY!). So, walking here is really out of the question (unless I’m desperate for a moment alone, which has happened a few times). We have a park with a walkway less than 2 minutes away, but I can never go (my mom has 100 different excuses as to why… I hear them every. day.). I miss my exercise!
9. Honestly, I miss being on campus.
I loved campus life. Not only was it (usually) fun, I was in close proximity to everyone and everything I needed. Along with being 40 minutes away from my mother (instead of 40 seconds away, UGH), and a 60 second walk down to my therapist… yeah. I miss it.
Except the dorm part of it. I miss being on campus, but not really living there. I love you, Elam, but I do appreciate having a room not adjacent to 200-something other girls’ rooms. And a working kitchen. And my dogs. So there’s pros and cons to both, but I do miss being close to everyone. I’ll be back soon enough, but it’s hard not being around all the time when that’s all you’ve known for 4 years.
10. Writing more often is one of the best things I’ve done for myself.
This could be its own post, but I’ll just write it here for now.
I write here, obviously, but have never pushed myself to write regularly… or as much as I really wanted to. I make excuses for not writing more all the time, because it was just a hobby I could put on the backburner when life gets busy– when in reality, writing is one of my best stress relievers and is the best creative outlet/talent I have.
With DOD, I had to submit things regularly and on a specific day/time. It forced me to write, and be diligent about writing. I realized when I was on a time crunch, I wrote more and enjoyed it more, because I had a goal and a challenge every week to accomplish. No procrastinating or overthinking about it was possible. It made me more disciplined in writing… and it also made me want to write more.
Now, I’ve been writing on Thursdays for Five Minute Friday for a little over a month now… talk about discipline! It has been so fun. And those pieces might not be my best-written (because hello 5 minutes to write!) but they’re some of my favorites, because I had to just let it all out on the paper (or the screen) for everyone to read.
Ernest Hemingway said it best:
“Write clear and hard about what hurts.”
FMF gives me the freedom to do that, and the discipline to keep choosing to do it every week… I look forward to Thursdays now!
I want more reasons to write. It’s reignited the passion I’ve always had for writing that I’ve missed (college kills it just a little). I am determined to make this a much more active space in my life. I need it, clearly.
I am grateful for these writing opportunities for reminding me just how much I love being a writer. (I never call myself a writer… go me!)
11. I still hate Romeo and Juliet.
This could have gone with the silly ones above, but honestly… gah. I hated it when I read it (barely) freshman year, I hated it when I attempted to teach it. My Lipscomb supervisor joked that the only reason we still read Shakespeare is because it’s in the public domain… I’m starting to agree with her! (Sorry Scott). I like some Shakes, but R & J will be one I never like… or understand why we teach it.
This is the biggest lesson August taught me.
Again, thought I had it all figured out. I always do, don’t I?
Then real life happens and you’re thrown a curve ball bigger than you ever anticipated… it’s awful. Mentally and emotionally, this is the worst I’ve felt in months. This month has been agonizing as I made decisions that quite literally change the course of my entire life… after I thought I knew exactly what I was doing.
Would it have been different if I had a different teacher, not at my alma mater? Sure, probably.
Would the circumstances had been better if I hadn’t started teaching full-time my 2nd week there-if I had been able to wait longer and learn more before being given full-reign? Probably. (Definitely).
Would I have been better off if my mental health was better? I don’t even have to answer that one, do I?
But, I had the cards I was dealt… and I caved under the pressure. I’m not proud of it, but am relieved I knew myself well enough to know when to stop and say no. (A year ago I probably wouldn’t be saying that–I would have probably stayed until I mentally broke more than I already did). It was sucky timing, no doubt. But I’m glad I’m starting to figure it out now… even if I have nothing else figured out quite yet. Who knows, I may take this semester and decide to try again. Or this may be leading me somewhere else. I don’t know yet. I’ll know when i get there, I guess.
13. Change is hard, scary, and currently miserable… but necessary.
And hopefully, it’s worth the mess I’m in.
Reminding myself that I was made for such a time as this… time to live it bravely.
Hoping September is kinder to me, but still filled with lessons… just more silly ones this time.