Emily P. Freeman, podcast queen of my heart, has a beautiful practice she’s carried on for years: listing 10 things she’s learned each season. Sometimes the lessons she lists are deep and spiritual, sometimes light and fun, but always interesting. She invites people to join in every three months, so at the end of last summer, I did, and loved the practice of it. I fully intended to carry on each season, but then life happened, and all the lessons felt long and heavy during fall and winter.But now it’s spring, life is good, things feel lighter again, and I’m ready to start (publicly!) listing the lessons once more, in all things big and small.
1) We can only do a few things well at a time.
Ann Voskamp once wrote, “You can do it all, you just can’t do it all at the same time.” I completely love that, because our culture constantly pressures us to do it all. In my opinion, the term “Super Mom” is one of the worst titles ever, because it glorifies a woman who is stretched very, very thin. Why do we consider it a desirable thing to be stretched thin?! Some women look like they can handle it all, but I definitely can’t, and I’m not very good at faking it.
This spring, after reading Essentialism, I made a list of what I want to do well. It was short: Be a wife, be a mom, improve my health, and love Jesus. That’s a lot. Right now, there’s not room for very much more. Making that list was a moment of realizing I was doing too much, and my Big Four were suffering because of it.
So this was the spring of saying no to some things.It was HARD, because they were good things. And there’s a fear that good chances won’t come again – say no now, and be passed over the rest of my life. But I gave it all to Jesus, and decided to trust that He has good things in store for my future, as He does in my present.Saying no is tough, but slowly my life started to feel more manageable and enjoyable than it had before. It actually feels really good to be very clear about my purpose in this season of life. I want to be fully present.
2) How casts are made.
Anika broke her wrist three weeks ago, and although there’s been some disappointment and pain involved, she’s been pretty great about the whole thing.Nobody in our family has ever broken anything before, so it’s been an interesting experience. I did not know how broken bones are set. I didn’t know you can pay $10 to make a cast waterproof, or that fiberglass casts start off as a roll of material that is unrolled on your arm, and fully hardens after an hour. The things you learn…
3)Balance bikes are the greatest parenting hack of all time.
Everett has LOVED his balance bike, and we always felt it was great for him to have, but when we bought him his first regular bike this spring, we were amazed – he hopped on and rode off down the street. No fear on his part, and Ben didn’t have to spend hours doing that backbreaking, crouching run down the street holding the bike steady. The learning happened so gradually for Everett on his balance bike, it was the most painless process imaginable. We are all huge fans of the balance bike!!
4)Winner’s has a natural personal care products section.
That whole store is fun to wander through, and you never know what you’ll find. But for some reason, I’d never ventured into the natural section. I found a bunch of my favourite products, at fantastic prices! I will be back.
5) A teenager is super fun to watch teeny bopper movies with.
(Okay, I knew this one before, but this spring brought new delights!) Ben has always teased me about my cheesy taste in movies, but I have persisted nonetheless. After years of enjoying chick flicks alone, it is loads of fun to enjoy them with a daughter who shares my love for cheesy teeny bopper movies and TV shows! We’ve thoroughly enjoyed “Heartland” together, and this spring, Netflix has come out with some great movies – “The Perfect Date” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” got us through many hours in the hospital while waiting for a new cast, in the best way possible!
6)Ben loudly proclaimed his love for me to the wilderness before I ever knew how he felt about me.
Even after being married for almost 19 years, Ben still surprises me with stories I’ve never heard from our dating years. His memory is very patchy, and you never know what will suddenly surface!This time, his memory was jogged because a friend of his from college became our interim pastor last year, and they’ve been hanging out. Ben casually mentioned that it was on a camping trip with David, during the very early days of our relationship, that he confessed his feelings for me to his friend, and David said, “I think you should shout it to the wilderness!” So Ben, my super private, close-holder-of-emotions husband, went and yelled “I LOVE KENDRA!!!” into the woods.
I was in complete disbelief as he was telling me this, partly because it sounded so out of character for Ben, and also because HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD THIS BEFORE???!!! This is the joy of being married to someone with an unpredictable memory! When I hear these new angles to our love story that I’ve never heard before, it feels a bit like getting the DVD of a favourite movie, and getting to watch deleted scenes and all the bonus features!!
*Also, I feel the need to clarify that Ben remembers things I CANNOT – like phone numbers and stuff like that. It’s not like he’s completely absent minded, he just forgets certain things – things I think is super “important”, like what we were wearing on our first date!
7) “There is an immense difference between TRAINING to do something and TRYING to do something.” (John Ortberg)
I love this quote, because I need to remember the grace that comes when we practice something, and don’t expect ourselves to know how to do everything right away, the first time we try. We train, and that takes time, and that’s a good thing!!!
8)”You don’t change the world by writing a self-help book, or by being an influencer – you do it by dealing with your own crap so that you change the trajectory of your life.” (Christine Hassler)
This is another quote I’ve been chewing on for a few months. It’s so powerful! I love the idea that we can make an impact by changing our own direction. We can’t change others, or force anything to happen for other people, but they will be touched by the impact of us dealing with our own junk.
9)When to use borrow/lend
Apparently I should have known this already, but I don’t remember learning it! And I never use the word “lend”, oddly enough. I just use “borrow” for everything! Now I know – “borrow” when you’re talking about asking for something, “lend” when you’re talking about giving it!
10) “The best changes are made gradually over time.
“This one comes from my muscle therapist. He asked me recently if I noticed my pants fitting differently, and I said, “No, why?” He said I should be able to feel that my legs are more muscular. I told him that because I live in stretchy yoga pants, and because I have been working at strengthening my body FOREVER, changes have happened so gradually, I haven’t noticed any change.He said that was a good thing, because it’s the kind of change that will stick. I prefer fast, flashy, dramatic change because it’s so much more exciting, but it is good to remember that the little changes we make every single day will get us somewhere, with time. Hang in there, because those little positive choices are not wasted!!!
Speaking of small changes over time, when I sat down to write this list, I didn’t think I’d learned anything significant this spring. But when I look over that list, I have to say, my life is better with these 10 new things in it, however small they might be! I’m glad I learned them! Onward, to summer!
What did you learn this spring?