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What I Learned This Winter

Every few months I make an effort to press pause and take a look over the past season and what I learned in it. This discipline of reflection both inspires and encourages me as I realize how full and vibrant my right-now life is, while also anticipating the growth and joy ahead.

From big and little (mostly little), here’s what I learned this winter:


1. Make a Plan For Everything (and then hold it loosely)

I’ve been taking a few extra minutes every morning to map out my day – specifically and with detail. And though it rarely is followed exactly, it is helping me eliminate those wasted spaces during transitions in which I wander through my house, check my phone eight times, and snack on everything in the fridge.  My plan is focused, and when it (inevitably) gets interrupted I know how to get back on track.

2. I might have wrapping paper OCD

I stood in Target for at least 45 minutes analyzing the perfect paper and ribbon combination and trying to visualize how it would look under my tree. Nevermind that it would only be there a day or two before distributing it to multiple other Christmas trees where it would no longer match perfectly, and then torn up and thrown away a few days later. I need help.

3. Not all Netflix shows are available in different countries

I vaguely knew this from my siblings overseas, but forgot it in a moment of panic when I tried opening a current show in Costa Rica. There was no trace of it to be found and I almost cried because I still had three seasons to go, before realizing it just wasn’t available in Costa Rica.

4. The Whole30 is worth trying

I don’t know if it was miraculous or life changing, but after thirty days of clear guidelines for clean eating I feel like I’ve implemented healthy food habits and know better how different ingredients affect me. (Here’s a lengthier list of what it taught me.)

5. Adulting is HARD (and you never really get on top of it)

I’ve had this ungrounded idea that we could just pull our act together and somehow get on top of all the many adulting tasks I’ve put off. (Schedule all the appointments, pay off all the things, set up all the accounts, renew all the things, file all the documents.) Slowly I’m working toward these goals, and just as I finish one thing, something else comes up. I have the feeling this will be the rest of my life, only increasing in complexity.

6. Give yourself some extra time to get ready now and then

I feel considerably better with freshly washed and blow dried hair, well-done make up, matching earrings, and clothes that aren’t on their fourth day of wearing. I don’t always need to give myself time for this, but every now and then it is just nice to feel all the way put together.

7. Sharing daily life with people keeps me accountable and light-hearted. (And Snapchat is good for this.)

Some of my dearest friends are too far away for regular coffee dates and afternoon strolls, but their faces come up on my snapchat and we share our plans for the days, our highs and lows, and regular updates on how our things are going. I get so much edification and pleasure from sharing the mundane parts of our lives in short video bursts using ridiculous filters. Technology isn’t all bad.

8. Crock Pot meals save lives

Because otherwise our eight minute window for dinner would have to be gas station burgers or Subway sandwiches and let me tell you how that does not save lives. I’ve been doubling a recipe on Monday and using it as our go-to quick meal the rest of the week and it has granted me a little sanity in this busy season.


9. Being an aunt is the best thing ever

My very first nephew came into the world in December and getting pictures of him (and a few coveted cuddle sessions) is by far the brightest part of this season.


10. I love Valentines Day

I don’t care how much the cynics whine about how its just a Hallmark holiday. I think love is worth celebrating and love that there’s built in days to do just that. And to eat chocolate and make cookies.


11. There’s no such thing bad running weather

I’d obviously choose overcast and 48 degrees for a run, but I’ve run in snow, wind, ice, humidity, and frigidity the past few months and I love the way the fresh air – no matter how cold or hot – fills my body with life.


What did you learn this winter? I’d love to hear about it below! Or join Emily Freeman and her people as we share what we learned together.

I put together a more regular list of all the good things from each month and send it out exclusively to my email list. Sign up here if you’d like to be included on this list. 

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