I’ve been participating in Emily Freeman’s “What I Learned” link up for a few seasons now. Every season we reflect on what we’ve learned and share it with each other. From deep, spiritual lessons to genius life hacks. Emily recently created a new, free printable to help keep track of what we’re learning as we go through the season here on her website in case you’re interested in playing along!
Without further ado, here’s what I learned this winter:
1. Bathroom Paper Towels Life Hack
Ready for this? When in a public restroom, dispense your paper towels before you wash your hands. Genius. Why didn’t I think of this before?! Saves you the awkward wet hands trying to turn the now slippery dispenser knobs and, best of all, saves you from acquiring new germs after having just washed your hands. It’s more sanitary. It makes sense. Just dispense the paper towels, tuck them under your arm, wash, dry, done. (Thank you girl in the bathroom at CrossFit for teaching me this!)
2. Petroglyphics vs. Hieroglyphics
While on my amazing getaway to Nevada with my husband for a work trip, we were able to sneak away for a few hours one morning and go exploring so we visited the Valley of Fire State Park. Who knew rocks that are not mountains could be so breathtaking? This state park is beautiful. Gorgeous red rock formations with beautiful layers of colors in them – reminding me of how God is both mighty and that He’s in the smallest of details.
The extra amazing thing about these rocks was that some of them contained ancient petroglyphs. I didn’t know these were a thing. I knew of hieroglyphics but had not idea there was something called petroglyphs. To my untrained eye they basically looked the same. They were carved drawings in the rocks and were amazing. My favorite was the one of the family we came across.
I learned that petroglyphs are simply rock carvings. “Petra” means “stone” and “glyphein” means “to carve.” And they can be found all over the world. “Hieroglyphics” tends to refer specifically to the ancient Egyptian (and Mayan) writing system and means “sacred writing.” Sometimes the two categories overlap but that’s when my brain goes blurry on the subject. Anyway, pretty neat and inspiring to think that these were made by the first writers….
3. Why Teller Doesn’t Talk
While my husband and I were visiting Las Vegas, we also caught a show one evening and went to see Penn & Teller. I’ve remembered watching them here and there on TV appearances since I was a little girl. In case you’re unfamiliar, Penn and Teller are magicians who perform together and are known for their comedy. Teller has always been my favorite, and I’ve always been intrigued by his silent act.
During their live performance, Penn explained a little about Teller’s silence (and I Googled to confirm the authenticity of the story). Apparently when Teller started out in comedy in college, he faced a lot of hecklers. He found that if he didn’t talk, he wasn’t heckled so much. Ever since he’s continued his silent act. So Teller can talk. He just chooses not to and now I know why and you do too. Maybe there’s some wisdom in that…
4. Book Darts
These are amazingly awesome and – again – why am I just learning of them now!? I first saw mention of book darks on @annebogel’s Instagram. They are these awesome little, paper thin, metal devices that slip over the edge of a page. If you’re like me and highlight and make notes in your books and don’t like to use those flappy, paper sticky tabs and don’t like creasing your page corners, but find yourself constantly flipping back through the pages to find the quotes you had marked up: these are your solution! Plus they’re pretty gorgeous aren’t they? I ordered myself a set off Amazon and just started using them. (Just over $13 for a set of 125.)
If you’ve spent any time in a church, you’ve probably heard this word before: “Pentecost.” Please don’t shame me but before this winter I had little to no idea what it actually meant or referred to. And I’d actually studied and read scriptures multiple times about Pentecost but still missed it. This year. I got it.
Pentecost refers to the day the disciples received the Holy Spirit. I mean this is huge. I firmly believe the Holy Spirit is not preached on or discussed or studied enough. The Holy Spirit is the most amazing gift from our Savior. It’s how God lives in us! It’s how I can die to myself and walk with Christ. It’s how I can throw off my selfishness and other sinful habits and produce fruit that is not naturally of me! (The fruits of the Spirit we tend to be more familiar with, right?)
So Pentecost refers to the day God indwelt Himself in believers. The disciples first. And since then it has come to refer to the celebration of this day. After some more studying, I learned that Pentecost is celebrated and held on the seventh Sunday after Easter. To Jewish believers, Pentecost celebrates God’s giving of the ten commandments to Moses. This year Pentecost will fall on June 4th (it’s always 49 days after Easter on the 50th day – “Pentekostos’ means “fifty” in Greek).
6. I Have Not Been Shepherding My Child’s Heart Well
Honestly, there’s a lot behind this one. I think we will all doubt ourselves as parents no matter how hard we try or how much we seek God’s help in parenting our children. But I’ve been struggling for a couple of years now with a few specific aspects of parenting our oldest son who is now 5 and half. We’ve seen success and growth at times, but still there’s been a clear problem. In January I read the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp after seeking wisdom from my mentors. After reading it, which was challenging, honestly some of it was hard to digest, I sat on it, and I prayed over it. And God revealed to me that I was missing a huge part of how He wants me to shepherd and train my children and that included a new take on discipline, well not new, biblical, but new to me. It’s not culturally popular, but I learned a lot about what scripture has to say about raising and training children.
7. I Think I’m Allergic to Gluten
I’ve struggled with a wide range of symptoms from physical to emotional that basically accumulated to me not feeling like me last year. My doctor suggested I remove gluten from my diet. I knew this was coming because I knew my doctor’s approach, and I also know about how food can affect our bodies. I learned from my own children’s food allergies and seeing firsthand how foods they react to not only bring about rashes but terrible behavioral problems (which just complicated #6 above for me). Anyway, my husband’s whole family suffers from food allergies. My boys suffer from food allergies. I thought I was all good. But I was desperate to feel like me again. I knew something was not right. So I was ready to try anything.
We have been a dairy free house for 5 years, and I’ve learned how to deal with that. Certainly if I could do that, I could learn to go off gluten as well. So I did, for 3 months. I didn’t see complete healing of all the symptoms that were a problem for me, so I went back on gluten for a month (which just so happened to be over the holidays, our trip to Vegas, and my birthday so I could splurge on Christmas cookies and confetti cupcakes from a box that just don’t come gluten or dairy free). And it was then that I realized how much success I had actually seen off gluten. And mostly in my mood and energy. So… I think I’m allergic to gluten, and I’m back to gluten free again. I want to feel like me. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
8. This Donut Shop has the Best Donuts in the World
Speaking of gluten…. When I wasn’t avoiding it, my husband and I stopped at this donut shop (called The Donut Bar) while on our trip, and I learned it has the best donuts ever. Seriously. Donuts from heaven. Donuts as big as your head. Donuts created with whimsy and flavor. I enjoyed the Homer (pictured above). So, if you are not gluten free and, if you’re in Las Vegas, go to this donut shop.
What did you learn this winter? Share or link up with me in the comments!