As I paused to reflect on what I learned this Spring, I decided to do a little word study on the word “reflect.” (You know I LOVE my “re-words.”) Bear with me for a brief etymology lesson:
Re- means “back” + flectere “to bend,” which is related to the word flexible, “capable of being bent; mentally or spiritually pliant.”
Isn’t that GOOD?! (And convicting.) Sometimes I think the closest I come to being flexible is getting bent out of shape!
All that to say, I found this reflection and exercise (inspired by Emily P. Freeman) to be a helpful and fun way to process All. The. Things.
1. The hype about cold brew coffee isn’t hype.
I’d never really understood the whole cold brew coffee thing, but then my brilliant friend Erica posted a yummy looking Instagram pic, so I finally decided to give it a try.
It was a game changer for my afternoon caffeine fix—smooth and rich and easy on my tummy.
Not easy on the wallet, however, so now I make my own big batch cold brew concentrate, just like Starbucks. You can, too. It’s easy and delicious.
2. There really are wild ponies in Beaufort.
I’d heard the stories, strained my eyes in vain searching for them, but I’d never once seen them. It frustrated me so much that I began to tell myself (and others) that it was just a story.
I stayed in Beaufort this past April, and once again, no ponies. On our final evening, I took one last walk to see the sunset and out of the corner of my eye—movement! I held my breath, looked up and there was a pony. No, wait… two ponies. Oh, my word, there was a whole herd grazing on the high ground. I’d always looked for them on the shoreline.
3. Contentment doesn’t look like I thought it would.
For the first time in years, things are pretty peaceful around our house. But it’s weird; kinda’ like floating when you’ve worn yourself out, trying to out-swim the sharks. It almost seems too passive or something. (Insert my husband’s eyeroll.)
But I know this season is a gift, a respite and reprieve and I am embracing it. There’s nowhere I’d rather be right now than sitting on my rocker on the back porch, breathing the night air and looking at the stars. Ahh…
4. Powerful things happen when women share their testimonies
I was honored to speak at Beauty for Ashes Retreat again this spring; the theme was Testimony. The stories the women shared from the pulpit and around the tables were real, raw and life-changing. I want more of that.
These two gals are something else. What a privilege to get to know them.
5. Randomness was stealing my creativity.
That phrase in an email jumped out at me and served to reinforce something I’d already begun to realize: I need to become more intentional about the creative work the Lord has given me to do.
I work well on a deadline but I’m not good at giving myself a deadline. The answer that’s working for me right now: Theme days. Monday is book writing day. Tuesday, study day. Wednesday—blog. Etc.
6. Makeup isn’t the answer.
I knew I was in trouble when a brand new ULTA store opened up within walking distance from my house. I’m always searching for a better concealer (the answer to all life’s problems), a more natural foundation (that still covers my sun spots) and eye shadow that’s not crepey.
But now that I’ve started to eat better, take collagen and am using more and better skin care products, I find I don’t need all the makeup. Exfoliation is my friend. (Not the scrubs, they tear your skin… chemical exfoliation.)
7. You don’t always have to spend the big bucks.
I’d had my eye on a pair of distressed Aerie jean shorts, but couldn’t bring myself to hit the “Buy” button. (When you grow up in the 60’s wearing Levi’s cut-offs that you made from your old jeans, $49 seems ridiculous.)
Solution: Goodwill. I found a pair of vintage all cotton denim Levi’s (no spandex! Yay!) for $3.59, already distressed because they were old. Grabbed the scissors and done. Sooo comfy. I am forever a hippie.
8. Broken can be beautiful
We have this old yard statue of a little girl holding a bluebird. Charming, but somehow, over the winter her feet broke off and we couldn’t glue them back on. I was about to toss them.
But then I got inspired…
Now those feet are my favorite thing on the porch.
9. Sometimes paradise is right where you are.
Here’s what I learned: When the grass is greener wherever you aren’t, what you have to do is dig. Fertilize. Water. Plant. Dwell in the land (the apartment, the marriage, the job) and cultivate faithfulness. It’s a hard lesson, but flourishing is possible.
10. I’m happiest when I’m learning.
Maybe I’m making up for not finishing my education? I don’t know, but reading, doing research, listening to podcasts and webinars fills my tank and it seems that I can’t get enough.
Writing this post was a learning experience, too. I was scratching my head, wondering if I’d learned anything at all in the last 90 days. (It’s not always obvious.) So, it was really insightful to go back and flip through my journals and photos and scroll through social media. This has turned out to be one of my favorite blog posts!
Now it’s your turn! What did you learn this Spring?