September Lessons and Favorite Things (2017)
Most Saturdays, you will find my honey and I seated at the Royal Hotel either enjoying breakfast or a cup of coffee with a donut. Afterwards we head back home hitting two maybe three grocery stores on the way depending on what is on our grocery list. This routine beats the Saturday traffic and gives me a chance to be off campus. Instead today we are at home enjoying some coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, and homemade cinnamon rolls. It is a welcome break in our routine.
As September closes, my school is in full swing, I have a sewing project out on the dining room table, and my muscles are sore from a lower body workout on Thursday. This is my life. It’s not perfect and often messy, but I like it.
Here are a few things I learned this month.
1. Faster Internet is Amazing!
For the first time in my time living overseas, our internet is fast enough to stream music, watch youtube videos, and sometimes even stream a TV show. It has been so much fun. Good internet is one of those things I will never take for granted right up there with electricity and water pressure.
So with this new freedom, I found out that Apple Music has recommendations and pre-made playlists that I can listen to. Even though the genius thinks I like country music more than I actually do, I have found a few gems amongst the recommendations. My current favorites are two of Nicole Nordeman’s albums: The Unmaking and Every Mile Mattered as well as Unspoken’s Unspoken album. It has been nourishing for my soul to hear the words of truth spoken in their songs. Here are links to two of my favorite songs:
My husband enjoys the youtube videos more than I do, but I often find myself watching videos of people who are living full time in an RV or sailboat as they share their adventures. I rarely watch youtube by myself. It seems to be an after work thing with my honey. Although this month I did learn about what a 10 item wardrobe is from an online ted talk. (It was intriguing but not for me.)
2. Knowing When to Have an Opinion and When to Just Listen.
This past month Facebook has been flooded with opinions ranging from kneeling during the national anthem to what kind of shoes the First Lady wore to Houston. I found that some of the opinions were well thought out where other opinions seemed just quick reactions. Some posts held anger and hurt. Other posts were seeking to understand. Especially living overseas where I am physically removed from what is going on, I am in a season of listening to the conversations. As I listen, I wonder what would happen if we took a little of the emotion out of the equation and sat down seeking to understand. (Of course, I think right there I gave an opinion of sorts. 🙂 )
3. My Husband Takes Seriously For Better or Worse
Being a teacher, I like to give grades. This month, my husband would get an A+. The week of my birthday, he came home each with some little treat like a chocolate bar one day or a refill of our coke bottles. For my actual birthday, he made a cake with yummy cream cheese coffee icing. Then our guest and he washed all the dinner dishes. I had made fajitas with refried beans for supper so it was a big mess of icky dishes. What a gift!
But where he really gets the A+ was last week. In the middle of the night, I got really sick. All I wanted to do was lie down on the cold bathroom floor. He was there for me in my worst. Thankfully, it was only a one night thing. The next day he called two or three times to check up on me making sure I was getting enough fluids and even brought home some ginger ale as my stomach was still off. So I would say that this month he had both the better and worse, sickness and in health.
4. Learning What Energizes Me
In her podcast, The Next Right Thing, Emily Freeman talks about understanding what energizes and drains us can be helpful when figuring out the next right thing. Looking back on the month, I found that time in my kitchen and also creating through crocheting and sewing were energizing to me.
Between guests and needing to bake for different events, I found myself puttering in my kitchen more than normal. With my Apple music streaming in the background, I made homemade bread, chocolate banana muffins, or what ever dish was on the menu for that evening. It was a perfect fit as I transitioned from work to home. Now if I could just figure out how to cook with less dishes to wash, I would be all set.
I would not say that I am a crafty person, but doing things with my hands is refreshing especially if it is a gift or something to make my house feel more homey. Here are some pillows I made for some friends.
5. I Like Statistics.
Statistics has always been my achilles heel in mathematics. This came out in clear focus in my 30’s when the school I was teaching at sent me to an AP Statistics Summer Institute for a week. The goal was for me to teach Statistics the following year. I was lost the whole week. Thankfully I never ended up teaching AP Statistics since I ended up quitting teaching for a few years to stay home with little ones.
In teaching, when I get past the basics of finding mean, median, and mode, I find myself becoming anxious. So I decided I needed to start from scratch. Somehow my college statistics class didn’t stick even though I received an A for the course. I needed to begin again. Some of my students had been using Life of Fred books for their Algebra. It was a different approach to learning math in story form with continual practice. I decided to try the Life of Fred statistics book. For this subject, the teaching style fits. I am almost halfway through the book. I don’t love it, but I like it. Statistics has a lot of details and places that are easy to make mistakes, but it is also a lot of plugging in numbers after figuring out what test to use. I am not an expert but am feeling more comfortable with the subject.
The crazy thing is that I have always liked looking at numbers and data. I am addicted to my fit bit data as it charts my steps, resting heart rate, and other things. I like to look at my stats for my blog. Who is reading? How many hits? Then this last month, I used a habit tracker. ( I found the one below free at Little Coffee Fox. ) For me, it helped me stay accountable in certain areas. Am I drinking my papaya tea often enough to prevent malaria? Have I exercised today? Etc. For some habits, the tracker helped. For others, not so much.
On a side note:
In another post, I will be sharing lessons I have learned from studying the book of Job this month.
What are some of your lessons or favorite things from this past month?
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