Learning is a funny thing–it’s always happening but we don’t always stop to notice or acknowledge it. But pausing to notice helps us appreciate what it is and solidifies our gratitude for it. It’s also been awhile since I shared what I’m learning, so I’m making some space to remember what I learned in October, and would love to hear what you learned too!
1. Writing for 31 days in a row is no easy feat. For years I’d watched, as people participated in writing for 31 days on a topic of their choosing in the month of October, and as this year approached, I knew it was time to write. And so, every single day in October, I showed up to write 31 days of what I learned and what you should know before an affair.
Some days I got up early, some nights I stayed up late. I spent hours in the silence of our local library, and also seized snippets of moments throughout my day, in any little cracks of time I could find. It was a series birthed out of my experience. And it was hard to write, but I’m so glad I shared. Sometimes writing brings a new level to our personal healing, as we revisit and reflect and retell what we’ve learned.
You can find all the posts in the series over HERE, and it is my hope that even if the temptation to have an affair is not your thing, you’d find encouragement and hope for any situation you’re facing, and a kind and gentle friend in me, to walk with you as you wrestle through your own unique story. May you know today, how very loved you are.
2. I’m speechless in awe of autumn. In October I traveled to Pennsylvania and New York for a conference, and this California girl has no words to describe the amazingness of the real autumn I found there. Everywhere I looked was stunning beauty and color and change. I just couldn’t get enough. I drove to the conference with my friend Mary, and snapped pictures from the car window during our entire drive from Pennsylvania to New York. I just couldn’t get over the beauty! I grieve at what I’m missing to not live in a place with such breathtaking change–change which takes the fun of summer and ushers us into the quieter, calmer, more reflective pace of winter.
I couldn’t help but think about the gentle goodness of God to provide the stunning example of transitional seasons of beauty like autumn and spring. How in His faithfulness He also provides His beautiful presence in the situational transitions of our souls–from our summer soul moments of joy and celebration to the moments of suffering and adversity of our winter hearts. No matter where we’re going, or what we are facing, He is with us. And the soul transitions He gives take my breath away, just like autumn in the east.
3. Ellie Holcomb points hearts directly to Jesus. What a gift it was to hear the music of Ellie Holcomb while I was at the conference. I already had my own Ellie Holcomb Pandora station, but hearing her live?!! … I was so moved not only by her music, but also by her heart. She just oozes Jesus.
She shared not only her music with us, but the stories behind the songs, which were some of my most favorite moments. She loves scripture memorization too, and most of her songs are pure scripture, providing rich food for hungry hearts. If you’re in a place today where your soul needs to be encouraged, you must go find her music now! I promise, it will be profoundly moving and deep. I found myself weeping through much of the concert, just for the goodness of it, and I was so very thankful to meet her afterwards–to thank her and beg her to keep creating and never stop.
4. No matter our influence, we all struggle with our desire to belong. No matter how aware we are of our identity in Christ, it is human to struggle with significance, belonging, and wanting to fit in. I see it in my 7th grade daughter, and I see it now and again in my 44 year-old self.
At the beginning of the conference, I put on my pre-approved necklace, said a prayer as I always do, and braved the mingling at the conference. Whenever I felt that tinge of “not-enough” I’d reach up and hold my necklace and say a this prayer–“I am loved. I am chosen. I am enough. All because of You. Thank you Jesus.” I’d breathe in deeply, and breathe out slowly, and purpose to put on my eyes of compassion, so I could be stop worrying about me, and instead be the encouragement someone else needed in their “not-enough” moment. It has become a life-changing practice for me.
This issue of wanting to matter, struggling with comparison, and being unkind to ourselves is dangerous. And yet I was reminded this month, no matter how far I’ve come, this in one struggle that will not be conquered soon. It’s important to remember–no matter a person’s influence or platform–the struggle is universal. Inside, we are all the same, and we all want to belong. It is a wrestle, but it’s manageable when we choose to look to God in the middle of our struggle, and purpose to get over ourselves and love others through theirs. This, I know, will be a life-long journey for me.
5. Brené Brown is my new BFF. I discovered Brené Brown several months ago and have consumed practically everything she’s written and spoken since. I hope to write more about this, but suffice it to say I’m changed, my marriage is changed, my life is changed because of her work.
She writes about shame, and vulnerability, and her latest book, Rising Strong, talks about what it takes to rise strong after we’ve fallen flat and are lying face down in the dirt. She has taught me how to get curious about my emotions, write rough drafts of my thoughts, and rumble with the meaning of the stories I make up and tell myself about the situations and relational interactions in my everyday life. Let’s just say, she doesn’t know it yet, but she’s my new best friend–just so amazingly thankful for her.
6. The crock pot is a busy mom’s best friend. The kids are back in school this year and we have a small commute to and from the school. With after school activities and sports, making dinner at a reasonable hour has become a challenge, to say the least. So I’ve been dusting off my crock pot, perusing recipes on Pinterest, and trying out some new ones this past month. I’m not an expert yet, but it sure is a comfort to walk in the door at six’o clock, to the smell of a home cooked meal, knowing our schedule doesn’t have to mean we miss dinner together at the table. What is your favorite crock pot recipe??? I’d love to try it!!
7. The iPhone is complicated. So I’ve been an android-girl this whole time, even though I have a Macbook computer. But with the release of the latest iPhone, my husband and I decided to switch and give it a try–to simplify and sync our electronic lives. It took three weeks for my long-awaited phone to arrive, and it is now here. But I’m finding it to be a bit more complicated than I’d anticipated. I’m exploring apps, changing settings, picking wallpaper, selecting podcasts, finding ring tones and alert tones, and so much more and I’m thinking customizing and learning this new phone could become a full-time job!
Just yesterday when I made a call, and I could only hear everything on speaker phone. There was no sound as a regular phone … it wanted headphones or something??? I think this is going to take time, and I’m thinking it will be a tool of blessing that will help me become more patient, yes?? I must admit, it is pretty though, and I’m looking forward to exploring it more. I’d love to hear any of your favorite tips, tricks, apps, or secrets I should know as I delve into my immersed Apple world!!
8. Subscribing to a podcast helps it rank higher on the iTunes charts. For a long time most experts thought that new ratings and reviews combined with downloads helped give podcasts their ranking in iTunes. But now they’ve discovered that it is actually acquiring new subscribers which gives a podcast a higher ranking.
I’m so thankful to be a podcaster, and the way in which it allows me to share with you so personally each week. I’m committed to continuing to share muddy stories with you, with the hope that you would be encouraged to know, whatever you’re facing, you are not alone.
As a podcast community, we’ve been blessed to be in the top 200 of all podcasts in the kids and family section of iTunes this past month, and I’d be so thankful if you’d go subscribe to Mud Stories in iTunes, with the hope that more people could find the show and be encouraged too!
I’m so thankful to be in this with you … and can’t wait to hear what you’ve been learning!!
What did you learn in the month of October?
What’s your favorite crock pot recipe?
What’s your favorite iPhone tip?