What I Learned in August

I feel like I’m running the same tiny circles, day in and day out. But exercises like these are good for me to remember that even though the days feel like they’re all the same, they are moving me forward, bit by tiny bit. Now that I think about it, I realize that I am finishing August at least seven ways wiser and more informed than I was thirty days ago.


1. Conversation

Abby discovered this little conversation ball in Stephen’s youth-pastor-bag-of-tricks, and I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting it was to hear her answers to these questions I’d have never thought to ask. So many days I think of Abby as just another one of my appendages; it’s good to be reminded that she’s her own person, with thoughts and opinions that are not necessarily what I’d expect or know. (Most of the questions from Abby’s birthday interview came from this ball.)

2. Entertainment

I usually think I’m too sophisticated to join the unwashed masses in admiration of the latest reality TV phenomenon, but this month I’ve gotten completely hooked on the good clean fun of Duck Dynasty. On the opposite end of the entertainment spectrum, we’ve also discovered the show Suits, which is filling the White-Collar-sized hole in my heart.

I’m also reading two new books that I highly recommend: Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist and Housewife Theologian by Aimee Byrd.

3.  Technology

I’ve been reading blogs for years, but I’ve just now learned how to use a blog reader. It’s revolutionary! If you follow more than two or three blogs, this is a great tool: you enter the address of as many blogs as you care to read, and all of the new posts from those blogs display in one location. Before I began using Feedly, I literally clicked over to every site every day or so to check for new posts. Or I’d forget to check in for a while, and I’d miss updates of interest. But no more! The upgrade in efficiency is like the difference between the Pony Express and email.

4.  Blogs

Speaking of blogs, I’ve rediscovered an old friend in blog world, and her website has become one of my favorites. So if your world could use a little more truth, goodness, and beauty, you should go visit Katie at Cardigan Way. You are welcome!

5.  Preschool Moms

Yesterday we attended an Open House/Meet the Teacher for Abby’s preschool. I learned lots of details about the procedures for this place, which are not of general interest. But I also learned that Other Moms do actually make those pun-tastic teacher gifts that I have seen all over Pinterest (you know, the ones with the cute tags that say “Give yourself a BREAK with these Kit-Kat bars,” or “Preschool Teachers are LIFE SAVERS.” The pun must always be capitalized so that the teacher doesn’t miss it.) So we showed up to the Open House like schmucks with no teacher gifts in hand and also a very shy four-year old who made a less-than-charming first impression on the other members of the Enchanting Elephants class.

6.  Community

Also this week I’ve confirmed that misery does in fact love company. It was one of those mornings where I was feeling like even garbage men and hotel housekeepers had better jobs than me.  I didn’t feel motivated to do anything, but we had a playdate scheduled, so I put my chin up and trucked us all across town.  It turns out my friend had had a similarly defeating morning, so while the kids ran around like banshees, we sat shoulder-to-shoulder and cried together.  It’s the same thing I would have done by myself if I had stayed home, but it was much more comforting to do it with a friend.  No answers, just solidarity.  We both left feeling a little comforted.

7.  Questioning

As I reflected on the difficulty of that day, I finally put my finger on a question at the heart of my frustration: How do you know when you need more self-care, and when you need to die to self?  I’ve read good arguments for the importance of keeping yourself fueled so that you can give your best to your family (See “On Buying New Underwear” from Simple Mom).  On the other hand, it’s a fundamental aspect of Christian living to put others first, and this is definitely true for Christian moms (See “Motherhood is a Calling” from Desiring God).  I didn’t come close to answering this question in August.  But distilling a feeling of yuckiness into a question feels like good progress.

How about you?  Did you learn anything interesting this month?


3 responses to “What I Learned in August

  1. Missing White Collar: check
    Difficult days with crying: check
    Remembering to take care of myself: check
    Discovering Cardigan Way: check

    We may in fact be the same person living in two different bodies. 🙂

  2. Oh!!! I was enjoying your post, then I saw Cardigan Way, THEN I saw your comment section. I could just stop right there. But I will not.

    First of all, I’m headed to Abby’s interview next. How fun! Then, I giggled aloud on your pony express to email simile. I learned reader from the blog class and it both saved me and introduced me to new blogs! This, I’ve found is both wonderful. And keeps me up too late. 🙂 I’ve yet to watch “Duck Dynasty” but I learned that earlier this month, my brother drove Phil around for a day. That still means nothing to me, but when I’ve said that to someone who has watched, I think it was a big deal. Now I’m curious!! And thank you for your words on community and questioning. And reminding me that no answers with solidarity is great grace.

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