What I Learned in December

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The view Christmas morning from my parents’ balcony.

Flannery O’Connor said “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

That has always been the case with me. I marinate and process in my brain, but sometimes I don’t know what I’m thinking or feeling until I write it down and figure out how to put it into words. Often I think something quite different than what I thought I thought. That sentence was a little confusing. Welcome to my brain.

It’s helpful to write things down to remember them, too. I’ve found that I not only understand what’s going around me and how I feel about it when I write it down, but I also remember it. JD and I do Weekly Questions, and sometimes we ask each other the questions and think, “What even happened this week?” Writing it down is important.

I’d like to join with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky and write down some things I learned in December. Some are silly (but those matter too!), some are more serious. It’s a motley list, but here’s what I learned in December:

1. HeLa cells are crazy! I listened to the HeLa cell episode from one of my favorite podcasts (Stuff You Should Know) a few weeks ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Here’s the podcast. Here’s the book.  Check it out.  Have your mind blown.

2. I wrote off John Green too early. I read Looking for Alaska at a student’s recommendation, and I didn’t really like it that much. At the risk of sounding too English teacher-y, I thought it was a more obscene version of A Separate Peace. But then I read The Fault in Our Stars at the beginning of Christmas break at another student’s recommendation, and I loved it. It’s about this girl, Hazel, who has terminal cancer finding meaning in her life through star-crossed love and bringing her favorite book to life.

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3. Forgiveness is hard when the hurt is fresh. I feel like I’ve been working on forgiving for the old wounds most of my adult life, and I talk about how forgiveness is freedom all the time to my Bible class and my friends, but when the hurt is fresh, it feels different. It feels hard and looming and overpowering. Forgiveness feels hard and far-off and feeble.  I’ve found comfort in Psalms 145-6.

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4. Using almonds as replacement for walnuts in my lentil-walnut loaf made all the difference. It was moist and tasty and perfect.

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5. Scantron machines are easy to use and probably the best invention ever.  I’m so thankful I learned this early on in my teaching career!

6. I’ve progressed further into my adulthood. I keep hitting these milestones and thinking, “I’m really an adult now,” and it’s been surreal each time. The past milestones have included graduating, getting my first paycheck, filing taxes, calling insurance companies 30 million times, etc. The latest milestone is seeing all the kids from the youth group I volunteered in getting married and doing adult things like going to college. No, no, no–they are still 14 and unable to drive!

7. Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray is so, so, so good. I’ve been savoring a few pages of it each morning, and the striving stress falls away, and I feel at peace and quiet for a few moments. Read it, read it.

8. Being well-rested is 100x better than being sleep-deprived. I’ve decided one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to sleep 7-8 hours a night–no excuses!  Sometimes that means I’ll have to be asleep by 8 pm.  But I can do it!

9. Old favorites are still current favorites. I still cannot keep myself from getting a second bowl of Avocado Basil Pasta every time, and I’ve made it a lot.  The recipe for this beauty will be posted tomorrow!

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What have you learned this December?

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One thought on “What I Learned in December

  1. I learned that you are never to old to dream. More importantly, you’re never to old to act on your dreams.
    I learned the path less taken DOES make all the difference.
    I learned the importance in judging yourself more and others less.
    Finally, I learned that maturing is not a dirty word!

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