The predictable rhythm of one month ending and another beginning has become a welcomed steadiness in the midst of my frenzied days. There is a sacredness I’ve found in taking note of the turned calendar page, a much needed opportunity to press pause on this ever moving life and give recognition to where I’ve been and celebrate where I’m going. So, in no particular order or discipline, five things April taught me, five things I loved this month, and five books I read:
What I Learned:
1. Hard things are usually worth it in the end
Every year when we get to the end of another musical at the high school I remember why we do it. It’s mesmerizing to see the kids up on stage exuding energy and joy. All the hundreds of hours and dozens of late nights and stressful weekends seem worth it. What I haven’t learned yet is how to tell when the process – regardless of the end reward – is demanding too much.
2. Sleepy is better than groggy
That extra 45 minutes of snooze button pushing is just not worth it. You may as well get up and put yourself together, because nothing feels worse than trying to function at your job two minutes after rolling out of bed.
3. I think I’m a 9 on the enneagram
It’s still up to debate, but as I’ve explored this personality tool I keep coming back to number nine – the peacemaker. (Let’s talk about how I cannot handle conflict, see every side to the story, and have an incredibly hard time getting off the couch and starting a project.)
4. Community is necessary and beautiful – even for introverts
We’ve landed in a sweet little town, full of people who genuinely care for others. That was incredibly evident during the final few weeks of musical preparation. The amount of people who devoted their time to help with costumes and props and tech and ticket sales was astounding, not to mention a group of friends from our church who brought us meals to our nightly rehearsals. I know I joke about being a hermit, but I can’t tell you how much I value our community.
And it’s taken me a few years but I’m finally coming to grips with the fact that I’m not what I do.
What I’m Loving:
1. All things green
Green trees, green grass, green buds, green everything. Watching winter melt into spring and the miracle of new life will never cease to amaze me.
2. Spotify playlists
It took us a long time to make the plunge and pay for Spotify premium but I haven’t regretted it once. I love compiling mixes of my favorite songs for every occasion, and I love the ones Spotify makes for me.
3. Bonding with my siblings over TV shows
We have a group message dedicated to quotes from The Office (and the occasional Arrested Development quote) that regularly brightens my day. Two of my younger siblings nearly died with excitement when I told them we started LOST, and the other night I sent a message to my brother in Ukraine gushing over the season 4 finale of Gilmore Girls. We’re spread far and wide these days but it is so fun to have common shows to bring us together.
4. Longer days
No longer are my morning runs in the dark, nor do I have to work after sunset. What a blessing.
5. One outfit a week
Life gets busy and I get lazy and unintentionally I’ve found myself to resorting to one outfit a week. Occasionally I wonder if people notice, and then I quickly get over that thought and throw on the same sweater I’ve been wearing all week.
What I read:
A thorough but not overtly complex unpacking of Jesus’ teachings and example of love and how we can apply it to our own life. I’ve read several books by this author and have really come to enjoy his gentle yet convicting teaching style.
This is a great book on personality types and understanding how we are wired. I enjoyed discovering more about myself, as well as trying to understand the various people in my life on a deeper level. If you’re interested in the Enneagram this is a concise but thorough place to begin.
By far the most practical and inspirational book on marriage I have yet to read. By the same author that wrote Sacred Marriage, this book casts a vision for marriage that goes further than merely making it work. What if we went beyond unconditional love (as important as this is) and began delighting in and cherishing our spouse? It is absolutely worth the read for any married (or soon to be married) person pursuing God’s very best in marriage.
At the beginning I was a little daunted by this complex novel but by the time I reached the final hundred pages I could not put it down by. It is a carefully layered book dealing with a grown daughter’s investigation of a murder committed by her aging mother decades earlier. The many flashbacks and setting changes made it a little confusing, jumping from present time to London during the Blitz, but once I got into it I was hooked.
This was my study during the Lent months, a daily devotional, scripture reading, and reflection as well as an option for a daily fast. I appreciated this companion as I traveled toward Easter, thankful for the space it created in my days for less of me and more of Christ.
I’m grateful to Emily Freeman in helping me cultivate the art of reflecting on what I learned each month. I’d love to hear what April brought you!