Tag Archives: learning

10 Things I Learned This Fall

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. ~Albert Einstein

We are in the middle of a very deep cold snap. Winter is past its first holiday. A new year has begun, and we are all feeling reflective. Here are a few things I learned this fall.

  1. Skimm. Two m’s. I work very early in the morning and never get to see the news. I noticed I had no clue what people in society were talking about. It was making me feel, well, clueless. Enter Skimm. It’s a great news source that gives you the world’s news highlights in ten minutes or less. I only manage to read the daily version about twice a week, so I’m not as informed as most, but I think it’s helping me rejoin society.

2. The Instant Pot. It was the go-to gift this Christmas according to my friends and Facebook feed. Mine came mid-autumn because it was on sale and my husband is diligent about reading his email advertisements. My goal was to have another crock pot that was light weight. It sort of – kind of met that requirement. The pot is lightweight, but the actual machine not so much. I need to make room for it on a lower shelf. It has  a learning curve, but once you get it, you’ll likely enjoy the Instant Pot. My favorite part? Hot soup in half an hour that tastes like it simmered all day.

3. When the wood floor looks discolored, try poking it with your finger. I thought the bathroom flooring was just discolored or water damaged. Turns out we were about to fall through the floor. Talk about being dethroned! A talented friend came to the rescue and installed new ceramic flooring that looks like wood. I LOVE it. And we have a new toilet, too. Still queen at this house.

4. I can install a shower head. Actually, I have installed shower heads before, but this one has special features- dual shower heads. Get one. Right now. You can thank me later.

5. Wendell Berry writes poetry. I know; I’m late to the party on this one. I became acquainted with Wendell Berry this summer when I read some of his Port William books. I love his descriptions and especially his ability to bring a character to life. Maybe it’s because he writes in Appalachia that I feel so comfortable with his characters. But it was his poetry that first brought Mr. Berry fame. He writes of farming and nature and the spirit and how they all intermingle to create miracles.

6. I need a day off. I’ve been learning that for years and years. Just when I think I understand the importance, I’m struck with the need to work more. For the past year I have been working six days a week and then on Sunday, umm . . . Preacher’s Wife. In November, I finally forced myself to commit to a day off and it has been exactly what God commanded.

7. I am as English as you can get and not be from England. Due to some unfortunate prejudice issues in my son’s life, we decided to take a DNA test. It turns out that I am almost completely English. My husband is related to King Louis XVI. Good thing we got that throne fixed.

8. I have a student who can trace his family tree back to something BC. He told me the date, but it escapes me. Might have been 500 BC. That blows my mind. I must keep better records. Tax season will be here soon. Ugh.

9. The after-writing part of writing is as grueling as the actual writing. I’m looking for endorsements for a Bible study now. Anyone want to read a Bible study on John?

10. Some park rangers play Jazz. New Orleans is a city of surprises. The Jazz National Historical Park has free concerts every day, and while there are often famous musicians, there are also days when the fill-ins are the rangers. And after you listen to the jazz concert, take a tour of the cemeteries. You’ll learn so much you’ll be writing your own blog post.


The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. Proverbs 18:15 NIV

 

10 Things I Learned This Summer

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. ~John Lubbock

Watermelon flags are on clearance and candy corn can be found at the grocery. One season has unofficially ended and another begun. It’s time to look back over the summer and see if I am any better off than when it began.

  1. Every summer I travel a LOT and then decide that next year I will stay home more. This summer I once again learned that I would rather stay home. I love the trips while they are happening, but the return home to chaos and a lawn ready to winter a herd of cattle sends me into despair every time. Here’s to next summer when I will master the skill of staying home.

2. Practicing what you preach is difficult, but so necessary. This summer I gave a lecture on the importance of nature to nurture the soul. My ending suggestions were 30 minutes a day outside and once a week 2-3 hours. Once a month should include a day retreat- or at least half a day if you can’t find an entire day- of uninterrupted nature, rest, meditation, and reflection. I have successfully managed the daily and weekly, the monthly is getting better.  The solitude gives me peace, the outdoors gives me perspective.

3. Trees are astounding, amazing, stunning . . . I could go on forever. The Hidden Life of Trees was part of my research reading this summer, and it opened my mind and eyes to things beyond my imagination. Trees talk to each other, and even to trees of other species. They intentionally plan mass reproduction cycles, tell giraffes to go somewhere else, and kill off their enemies. Read it. You will not regret it.

4. Medical personnel no longer use real venom to counteract snake bites. The artificial ‘antivenin’ costs $3900 a bag and you will gladly pay more than that for your baby to survive. Some things you could do without learning.

5. Chinese students are given homework to do over the summer. Not little packets of busywork in case they get bored, but books of homework and online assignments. It is not wise to inform young Chinese children that this is not the habit of American schools. If there is a rebellion, it is not my fault.

6. Bureaucracy at universities is exasperating. An incorrect charge applied to my son’s bill took nearly FIVE months to get taken off of his account. This meant classes were dropped and registrations were denied. Even going in person and hand delivering letters will not guarantee that business gets taken care of.

7. Losing a loved one mentally does not lessen the pain when they actually leave you physically. It was hard to say goodbye to Grandma, but I know it’s only “See you later!”

8. Peaches at the Virginia Farmer’s Market peak in August. Oh. My.

9. It will take an entire year to fix a kitchen after the ceiling falls in. We still don’t have cupboard doors up.

10. The idea of writing a one-syllable essay sounds horribly monotone, but in actuality is a beautiful  form of art. I’m so excited that my essay was chosen for publication in Short and Sweet, Too. All proceeds benefit World Christian Broadcasting. I’ll let you know when it comes out.

It’s been a summer of reflection swimming in peaceful waters, sometimes deep and murky, other times shallow and clear. I’ve discovered that peace does not mean the absence of pain, and love provides unexpected strength.

What did you learn this summer?

While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease. Gen 8:22 NASB