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What I learned in February

    As I get older, I am trying to reflect more and more on my life, and especially, my soul. What things do I love? What gives me life? What makes me sad or tired or like I want to check out? By paying attention to my life, I’m hoping it helps me make good choices as I move forward. Some things we just have to do and others we get to choose – I want to do both with grace and joy and intention.

    One little practice I am doing this year is taking a few minutes at the end of each month to look back over the last 30ish days and think about what I’ve learned. My friend Emily does something similar and I always love reading her insights. I’m following her lead and sharing my things with you …


    I’m weird about how the dishwasher should be loaded … but so are you

    I didn’t mean to be one of those people who cared about how things were loaded into the dishwasher. BUT I AM! I like the bowls on the bottom and the tall glasses in a row. The salad plates on the right and tupperware down the center. The dishwasher is not the place for wooden spoons or sharp knives and if there’s extra room, then a mixing bowl can squeeze in at the last minute. My family mostly obliges, but they are not surprised when I come back after them and rearrange. It’s crazy. I get it. And thankfully, you’re a lot like me (at least according to all of you who raised your hand on this instagram post).

    Ryan and I have very little will power when it comes to staying up late watching just one more episode of our show

    I like watching tv at night. My evening routine consists of cleaning up the kitchen, picking up the family room, getting the kids off to bed and then sitting on our big, wonderful, full-of-pillows couch and watching an hour or two (or three or four) of a favorite show. It’s not cool to say you like watching tv, but I do.

    In February, Ryan and I started watching Scandal. It totally reminds me of Alias from way back (oh how I loved Sydney Bristow and Will and the strange storyline of the Rambaldi prophecy). There’s an alarming amount of bad behavior, double-crossing, lies (hence the name Scandal) and yet after every single episode we’re like, “just one more! We need to find out what happens next!”. And so most nights this past month, we stayed up way too late hanging out with Olivia Pope and the gang and pay for it in the morning when our alarms go off and have to force our sleep-deprived selves out of bed.

    You should always eat a healthy fat with an apple

    I’ve been doing some research on nutrition, trying to figure out how to heal my body, keep our family healthy, wade through the mixed messages of food. I don’t love it because it feels confusing. Someone please just tell me what to do!

    We watched two food documentaries: Fed Up and The Magic Pill. I highly recommend both. I met with a friend who is a nutrition therapist and a wealth of knowledge and it was beyond helpful. She gave me so many suggestions but one that I found so practical is to make sure you eat a healthy fat with any highly sugary fruit. That way, your body will use the fat for energy instead of the sugar. Or something like that. I’m still learning …

    The gun control issue is complicated, emotional and I wish it were not a thing

    In February, we experienced another tragic school shooting in the United States. Why?!!! How can this happen?!!! And what do we do to prevent it from happening again?

    The aftermath has been emotionally charged, upsetting, hopeful, confusing. I sat in bed one morning reading through Emily Henderson’s post and the hundreds of comments that followed and so appreciate the way she opened up the dialog between everyone on the spectrum of I haven’t touched a gun in my life to I conceal-carry everyday. It was very interesting and a positive forum for sharing a wide range of perspectives on the topic of gun control.

    You know what’s hard for me? I have three boys who find so much enjoyment in playing Airsoft with their friends. They run around the yard and our surrounding woods with their toy guns and have the best time. It is not particularly violent or dangerous and they are good-natured, active boys just having fun. My boys have always loved swords and nerf guns, sling shots and bows and arrows. They make armor out of cardboard and battle each other with rubber band guns. My husband is not a hunter, so it’s not something we’ve instilled in them for sport. It’s just always been a favorite game for all three of them.

    I know my boys’ interest in weapons and battles and fighting is normal boy behavior, but it has made me pause. It’s just a little raw, you know? And conflicting. To approve of your kids playing with toy guns when across the country kids just a few years older lost their lives because of a real one.  I just wish it wasn’t a thing.

    I Still Prefer Paper

    Sure there’s something convenient about an online calendar and grocery list apps, but I’m a paper girl at heart. I keep my phone with me almost everywhere I go, and you’ll usually find a piece of paper or notebook and pen nearby as well. I carry a notebook in my purse, have one by my bed, keep a stack of blank note cards next to my computer and another in the kitchen. I write blog post ideas on a paper calendar and take notes in church or during business conversations with Ryan and write out important messages to myself because my brain just works best putting pencil to paper.

    My favorite writing tools? This pencil and these pens. I like scratchy writing utensils better than smooth, so I always go for micro or ultra micro tips. And I prefer a blank notebook (like this one) and the cute lists from Paper Works (of course!).

    Did February teach you anything great? I’d love to hear in the comments!

    31 thoughts on “What I learned in February”

    1. We have been into Longmire! It’s soooo hard to stop! I don’t even usually like westerns, but the ongoing mysteries and personal relationships are so good. Also, it has a lot of Native American actors and deals with issues of reservations, which was totally foreign to me!

    2. Mark Hyman just came out with a book, Food. This seems to be the book to set everyone straight. I just started reading it and I just listened to a podcast where he talked about this book. I have a feeling it will give some insight about what we should really be eating and why.

    3. 27 years ago when I had my first son the whole “don’t let your kids play with guns” thing started. As in no water pistols, no nerf guns, no nothin’. My friend started applying this rule and guess what? Her son bit his toast into an L and made a gun, used the letter L from the magnet set on the refrigerator as a gun, AND then there were always his fingers which made a great L shaped gun. Good luck with outlawing guns (for kids or adults for that matter)!
      I am waaaay more concerned with those playing violent video games and listening to violent music than with those playing GASP! “Cowboys and Indians” or “Cops and Robbers” as children. It would be interesting to profile these shooters….and NO not everyone who plays the video games will be a shooter, but garbage in garbage out applies here. I think violent entertainment is a strong contributor to the problem, that and bullying/rejection issues.
      I did appreciate Emily Henderson’s discussion. It was respectful and sane.

    4. I love paper and I try to avoid my beautiful and comfortable couch in front of the TV in the evening, sometimes I am not so strong. But I love it.

      About the guns….we (in Europe) play the same games with toy guns or sticks, but this is just with toys, and only for kids. If you don’t have a gun…you don’t used it.

    5. I loved Alias!! I still enjoy Scandal, I just started Blindspot on Hulu and it reminded me of Alias. I also prefer real paper and have a hard time reconciling my kids playing nerf wars and what to do with gun violence/school shootings.

    6. It’s very refreshing to hear you admit you also watch a couple or more hours of tv a night. It’s just really cozy to me and it’s a time we look forward to spending together as a couple after the kids go to bed.
      Also-I did not know there were people who enjoyed scratchy writing utensils!! Haha love t. I simply must have smooth.

    7. Yes to paper, in tandem with fountain pens and Rotrings, because as writing tools they work better and don’t autocorrect you into gibberish. Yes to a right way to load the dishwasher—like dish racks, they are designed to be loaded in a particular direction (so there is adequate space between dishes and they can clean/dry more efficiently). People who don’t spend as much time with the process don’t see the inefficiency. Re: school violence—my own school district has gone into fits about prevention, to the point that awareness may have turned into profiling—so I understand your concern.

    8. I watched “That Sugar Film” (free w Amazon prime). So interesting about the dangers of sugar in our diet! Even the kids enjoyed watching it! I agree that knowing what to eat feels so confusing!

    9. It’s wonderful that at your age you are reflecting on your life and your soul. It’s hard to do when you’re busy raising a family and days go so quickly. Upon reflection, you can quickly change course when needed instead of not seeing potential problems. You’re wiser than I was at your age. Keep doing everything your doing, don’t ever stop running or bike riding or skiing…whatever you enjoy. If you keep it up, you’ll be able to do it when you’re 80!

      And…you are enough. Your husband thinks so, your children think so and God thinks so!


    10. I love watching TV too…there are soooo many really great shows on…Outlander is my most favorite show! Anything with time travel is fascinating to me. Happy to hear I’m not the only one who rearranges the dishwasher. I’m a paper and soft gel pen kind of gal. Learned a lot in February….that I miss my soon to be 30 year old son who just moved out..I know…late bloomer…but truly my best friend and I bawled my fool head off…not in front of him cause I know it’s a good thing he is out on his own. I learned that I love to read and had not been reading (voraciously) like I used to. Getting off Facebook (not missing it for the most part) has opened up so much time!

    11. Oh Emily! You are so right that the mixed messages about nutrition in this world can be so confusing… and distracting…and even paralyzing! I am a nutrition therapist and I am so so passionate about helping women experience more freedom in eating and in relationship with their bodies by helping make nutrition simple- so much so that it is the name of my practice, Simple Nutrition!

      Also- I just started listening to Emily Freeman’s podcast this past month and it has influenced me as well on how I am evaluating decisions as I near 40. And how about they are only 15 minutes or less long!!!!!!

    12. Hi Emily,

      I had a really long response to your blog today but in the end it just came back to what do I want to share with you to show you support and encourage you. As I was reading my Bible & devotional this morning 1 Samuel 16, 17, it really comes down to, the heart determines the life (Proverbs 4:23), and only God can see the heart (Acts 1:24-25).

      You and your husband are doing a great job with your children and family, trust your gut. I believe truely that “gut feelings” are many of the times the inner witness from the Holy Spirit.

      Speaking of the gut…(odd Segway, I know, sorry:) Have you read ‘The Plant Paradox’? It is a wonderful book by Dr S Gundry a Cardiac surgeon, medical innovator… It is so interesting, an eye opener and comes with solutions for help too.

      I am also a pencil person, and as for a dishwasher, I have one but use it to store things in that I can’t bear to part with as I find hand washing dishes therapeutic:) Also stack the dish tray like a sculpture of great beauty:)

      Anyway…Have a great day with kindest regards,and sorry for this shorter but still long post.

      With kindest regards,

    13. I use the calendar on my phone but still relish a paper calendar. I ordered the pens you recommended last year and just pulled the last of the package out—love them! My weakness is Twitter, not television. Wish I liked TV because my husband does but just can’t sit and watch it. Political Twitter is my addiction—don’t get me started on gun violence! My 3 boys played with toy guns and none of them ever got into guns or would dream of owning one as young adults. I also have 1 daughter so same family make up as you 😁

    14. There is something freeing about hearing you admit to watching and loving TV at night. Me too! It’s the very last priority for me in a very busy day, but a comfort nonetheless.

      Other things I learned in February: 2) i’m finally ready to read some of the books I bought 10 or 20 years ago. No particular reason, just more mature. 3) I don’t like my male coworkers book recommendations. Even though we are all engineers, we still do not think alike! 4) Whole carrots, skinned and cut, taste better than baby carrots from a bag. 5) I need to learn patience in traffic. The Puget Sound area is a great place to learn.

    15. Love your blog and have been following you for several years. This post hits home for a number of reasons…dishwasher loading? Check! Enjoying a few hours of TV w/hubby after a long day? Check! Tragedy abound yet again? Check! Eating healthy and still using paper? Check, Check! But one thing that I have to say that you and/or some readers may not agree with… I, too, was a viewer of the series, Scandal, and I have to say…you may not watch it after the fourth or fifth season. At the end of one of those seasons, Olivia is having an abortion to the tune of “Silent Night” playing in the background. I was greatly disappointed, not only with ABC and the show for choosing that song to play during her procedure, but to even show her in the medical facility having her abortion. Yes, I’m pro-life and I’m a Jesus follower and it pained me to see this play out on my television set. I can not stand aside and be silent…Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings with you. (Matthew 10:33 ESV)

    16. Your post reminds me of a book my sister got me called Eat Pretty Every Day, an expansion of Eat Pretty. Ever heard? I am loving it so far and it is perfect timing for me.

    17. I signed up for all your classes — and love them. My entire family and I use the Palomino Blackwing pencils. My husband loves them for crossword puzzles, my daughter finds them perfect for projection when she writes for her students using the smartboard. They are dark with wonderful erasers. I have purchased the pens you have suggested. All good to know. I loved the raincoat suggestion, as in Oregon you can never have enough rain gear (however, this winter has been springlike with a bit of snow.) Love all the Grove collections too. Thanks for sharing your life.

      I am glad you stopped the pod cast. I would rather just have you present to us, rather than trying to read questions and answer.

      How are your chickens doing? Are you into gardening—perhaps you do not have time LOL

    18. Reflecting on the past month is a good thing! I’ll have to try it. Yes to being a dishwasher nazi. I only use micron pens to write… I use my iCal but prefer paper! You can’t doodle without paper. I love watching tv too and made my husband watch The Crown after he made me watch Peaky Blinders and both are fascinating! Eating fat with sugar helps control blood sugar spikes but you will always digest the sugar first because it’s the easiest and quickest for your system. If you are not leptin sensitive, then you should cut out all sugar and starchy carbs (even fruit sugar) all together or your digestive system will not burn fat for fuel (see Kat James on this). This is sort of the Keto diet but different. You definitely don’t have a weight problem! And lastly, I married a man who grew up in the country where a lot of people hunt. You just don’t hear about gun violence in places where teens are taught to respect what they do. As a girl, I really don’t like guns but I would have my daughter conceal and carry if she lived in a dangerous place. I think there’s room for both Dems and Republicans to come together to address how to make schools safer. I just hope they keep the bigger picture in mind instead of how it’s been for the last decade. I also wish I’d never let my kids play video games. They would not like that I’m saying it but I think they are horrible! (Sorry to be so long!)

    19. On another topic, I just finished Kristy Woodson Harvey’s book “Slightly South of Simple”, and I loved it. I can’t wait to read the next one. It was such a wonderful read. Thank you for having it on your list.

    20. I totally stay up way too late watching TV too. And agree, it’s not cool to admit that you really enjoy it, but I truly do:)

    21. I agree about the dishwasher thing. The boys in my house still can’t seem to grasp the fact that all dishes need to face in towards the center of the washer! Ugh…minor annoyances.

    22. Raising my hand here at being a paper/pen girl! Handwritten lists, envelopes, etc for the win. Also I like to cross off the items I completed, so much more satisfying that clicking or tapping a box!

    23. I bought the pencils you like when you linked them a while back and absolutely love them. I was never a pencil fan – always liked pen better, but I am slowly converting! Going to test out the pens you suggested next. I do love a good pen – both in how in writes and how it feels in the hand. And thanks for the tip about apples with a health fat – I’ve always been an apple and almond butter fan but now I can justify it even better. Nutella probably doesn’t count as a health fat though, does it?!

    24. I am just like you in that I am set in my dishwasher arranging. My 3 grown children still make fun of me! :) Thanks for passing along the tip about eating a healthy snack with a non-healthy snack.

    25. Love that nutritional factoid! I’ve been on the apple & peanut butter for breakfast train for months and haven’t gotten tired of it yet. It makes me happy to hear that combo is optimal for my body since I, too, struggle with the mixed messages of food (and I even work IN the food manufacturing industry) – thanks for sharing!

    26. Alias was my favorite show back in the day too!! I haven’t gotten past season one of Scandal, but maybe I’ll give it another try!

      1. I have watched Scandal since it began. Boy, stuff happens!
        It is beyond believable at times, but the characters develop in a way that puts you on their side, no matter what they do. Always exciting to see what is happening every week.

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