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!

16 Responses to What I learned in February

  1. Danielle March 19, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    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. Kristina March 8, 2018 at 12:48 pm #

    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. Nikki March 4, 2018 at 6:01 pm #

    I loved the show Alias too! I also watch Scandal, very easy to get caught up in binge watching.

  4. Taylor Norris March 4, 2018 at 2:56 pm #

    This is a great practice and I love this kind of post.

  5. TinaD March 3, 2018 at 8:21 am #

    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.

  6. Kelly March 2, 2018 at 8:02 pm #

    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!

  7. Jennifer March 2, 2018 at 3:33 pm #

    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.

  8. Kelly March 2, 2018 at 1:11 pm #

    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.

  9. Ginny March 2, 2018 at 12:45 pm #

    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

  10. Beth March 2, 2018 at 12:33 pm #

    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!)

  11. Wendy Bisping March 2, 2018 at 12:17 pm #

    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.

  12. Debbie C March 2, 2018 at 11:55 am #

    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!

  13. Rachel March 2, 2018 at 11:54 am #

    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?!

  14. Bonnie Goodwin March 2, 2018 at 11:37 am #

    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.

  15. Missy G. March 2, 2018 at 6:49 am #

    Thank you for supporting my apples & almond butter obsession. :)

  16. Shauna March 2, 2018 at 6:41 am #

    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!

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