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10 Things I Learned This Winter

Change comes when the seasons turn and even when it's an exciting shift---like winter to spring---it's really easy to get lost in the transition. If you want to avoid floating from one season to the next it's important to take a breath and reflect on where you've been so you can move forward with intention.

Reflection is part of my daily and weekly routine, at the end of every season I want to share what I learned and invite you to do the same.

Here is my list of 10 things that I learned this Winter, in no particular order:

1. Simple is better than just okay.

Simple is the most kind of fun. Simple allows a soul to breathe. Simple is an opportunity, not a disadvantage. Simple matters most when it comes to relationships. Simple communications clearly and efficiently. Simple is less. Simple is more. Simple is a truth even a child can understand. Simple is profound.

2. A morning rhythm just simply needs to be.

Mornings have a way to be unpredictable (especially with small children), but they also have a way to impact the whole day. For that reason, finding a rhythm that is healthy and soulful is worth figuring out in each new season. After having consistency with a life-giving rhythm this season I've learned that it doesn't need to be complicated, it just simply needs to be.

3. Moving my body is necessary.

Just like eating, breathing or sleeping. Getting exercise is really not complicated, yet I somehow get into funks where I make it so. Exercising involves all parts of what makes me a soulful human (not just my body) and impacts my mental, spiritual and emotional health as much, if not more, than my physical health.

It's not complicated, it doesn't need to look a certain way, it doesn't get to be the focal point and it certainly doesn't define me, but it is necessary.

4. "Routine is a better friend than inspiration."

Whether I'm writing for myself or for others, the process engages my mind, body, and spirit in a complete way. For this reason, it can feel very challenging at times to I'm hitting my head against a brick wall. (Why would I want to do that?) On the flip side, it can also feel so insignificant and trivial. (What's even the point?) Can you picture this weird internal wrestle I feel pulled between all. of. the. time?

I'm learning that when I feel like I don't have anything say is when I need to write the most. And I'm learning that when it comes to important things like this, "routine is a better friend than inspiration," as Ralph Keyes puts it.

"Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration." (Ralph Keyes)

5. To say "no" more.

It's hard for me to say no, specifically to people. Especially if it might cause a conflict for them, for me, or between us. Something that's helped me discern when to say no is to first take a breath and ask myself this question: "Am I hesitating to say no because I'm avoiding the conflict?"

Conflict is okay. If someone else thinks I'm wrong in saying no, the world will not end.

6. To say "yes" more.

I know how backward this sounds coming after #5, but if I'm saying no to something I'm saying yes to something else. Discerning my no's has helped say yes more to right and good things. For example, in this season we've said no to friends (the children's and our own) on Saturdays and said yes to our family time and rest.

Also, it's okay if other people don't understand or value my yeses, my little world will not end because of this either.

7. God's grace sometimes feels like suffering.

I often think of God's grace as a pretty-packaged-gift to receive, but his grace---though still a gift---isn't always appealing. Sometimes it comes in the form of difficult parenting moments, hard conversations or the exposing of ugly sin. You can't judge a book by its cover, nor can you judge a gift by its package.

8. Staying up late isn't worth it.

I'm not sure how many more times I need to learn this, but here it is again. There's always a new season and a new reason to push the bedtime hour...but it's rarely, if ever, worth it. I am a better human if I simply just go to bed at a good hour.

9. I love house plants.

Somehow I forgot how much I enjoy house plants. The greens, the textures, the life they bring to a makes me happy.

The end.

10. To pay attention to what frustrates me.

Frustration has a lot to say underneath the angry roar. Paying attention to what frustrates me quiets the obnoxious static and turns up the volume of my heart. Frustration brings a lot of awareness and insight into a situation if I'm brave enough to listen in.

That's my list. Now it's your turn, what's something you learned this winter?


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