What I’m Learning: Mid-Winter Edition

“It’s not the experience that brings transformation,”says author and teacher Jan Johnson, “it’s our reflection upon our experience.”

Emily P. Freeman
  1. Mid-Winter is an invitation to pause.

We’ve already had significant snow (though the yard is mostly bare and brown now), the holidays are done and our attention at church is drawn toward Epiphany, days are getting longer (barely, but it is happening), school/work are back in session, and things are…meh. Fine, really, just nothing particular to speak of. I’m learning that this time of bareness is an invitation to rest, to embrace the mystery and to allow nature and God to replenish us, body and soul.

Embracing the season

2. The internet and my kids love baby Yoda. I love the Office Ladies.

While my family (and much of America, apparently) are going ga-ga over baby Yoda and the Mandalorian, I have discovered a new podcast. Real life BFF’s Jenna Fisher and Angela Kinsey (Pam and Angela) are rewatching every episode of The Office and once a week they release a podcast wherein they talk about behind the scenes details, fun facts about actors and others involved in one episode. It’s enjoyable to have on the background while I am doing chores like, say, ironing.

3. Ironing (yes, really).

I will admit that for most of my twenty years of marriage, I did not iron. I didn’t like it, didn’t want to, didn’t know how, didn’t think I needed to, didn’t want to be pressured into some task for a 1950’s housewife. Turns out though, my husband appreciates smooth work shirts, amazon sells cheap (enough) fancy irons and ironing boards, youtube and my mom know a lot about how to iron, and well, now they have podcasts which makes the time just fly. So now, about once a week, I iron.

JK! I now iron as a function of adulthood. Better late than never!

4. Traveling with adolescents: Fun. Traveling with anxious dog: Not Fun.

After about twenty four hours on the road with the family this holiday, I can say that our kids are fun to be around. Mostly. They were occupied with their own audio books (yay for many reasons), they are easy traveling companions, chatty when we forced them, and agreeable on pit stops. The dog, however, isn’t. Or I should say, wasn’t last year. This year, I talked to the vet who recommended anti-anxiety medication (check), an anti-anxiety collar (check, thank you Amazon), and a a thundershirt (uh, ok, check). “It’s like being wrapped up in a big hug. Trust me, dogs love it.” Whatever – I will try anything to avoid having a panting, whining, unsettled anxious dog in the car for twelve hours at a time. Turns out, the medication, collar and “giant hug” might be the trifecta for dog anxiety, because precious Penny only panted for about the first half an hour of the trip.

Oh, sure, now you are relaxed!

5. Just Cranberry Juice is really, really, really tart.

I enjoy a small glass of tart cherry juice before bed – supposedly the cherries help you fall asleep, help with general health and, actually I enjoy the taste. Not to brag, but I have developed a reputation in the family of being able to stomach tart things. I can swallow a teaspoon full of apple cider vinegar, straight, to everyone’s shuddering horror. But then, to shake things up, I bought a bottle of Just Cranberry Juice and, man, that stuff is. so. tart. Hard even for me to get down.

It feels appropriate at the start of the new year to pause with a few reflections on the past season. Thanks Emily P. Freeman for the encouragement to share my reflections on recent experiences!

This post is inspired by the WordPress online course, Writing: Finding Everyday Inspiration (Day 5: Hook ‘Em With A Quote). Read the whole series here.

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