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I’m late to the party with this. I wanted to get it up by the last day of November, but I was in the middle of trying to finish my novel and everything else got pushed into this week so I could get that done, and now I’m playing catch up. But thankfully it’s not too late to join in and share what we all learned with Emily P. Freeman’s blog community.

It has been quite the educational fall. I’ve learned some big lessons, and had some real light bulb moments, and also learned some things that don’t really matter to anyone but me. This post would be too long if I shared a comprehensive list, so I’ll stick to the highlights, in no particular order.

  • I learned that I’m a Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP, and also that that means something a lot different from what I thought it did.
  • I also finally nailed down my Enneagram number. Turns out I’m a healthy 9, aka a peacemaker, which actually makes total sense in light of my childhood.
  • Turmeric is a super spice. Did you know this? It has so many health benefits that I’m trying to include it in just about every meal now.
  • As much as I’ve always resisted housework and cleaning, I’ve realized that a certain amount of cleaning and doting on my home actually gives me life.
  • Relatedly, I’ve also realized that caring for my home is actually a worthy use of my time and energy, and not just a distraction from worthier things.
  • Sadly, we learned that our dog has heart and lung conditions that will likely drastically shorten his life, barring miraculous intervention. He came close to dying when we found this out, but thankfully he pulled through that only to turn around and come down with an infection that made him seriously ill. But he also pulled through that and now he acts like he’s got a new lease on life. He feels so good that it’s easy to forget he’s basically got a ticking time bomb in his tiny chest. So we’re walking that line between processing our sorrow over his condition and prognosis and trying to enjoy him while we have him and make the most of each day we get to spend with him. Meanwhile, he’s teaching us a lot about living in the moment, taking each day as it comes and not fretting about the future, and not taking anything for granted.
  • I learned that singing is a learned skill and not an inherent talent, and that just about anyone can actually learn to sing well with discipline and practice, just like they can learn to play any other type of instrument. Supposedly. I’m putting that assertion to the test but I’m not anywhere near to posting the results on YouTube anytime soon.
  • I learned that I still need to slow down and be more discerning about the things I allow to fill my plate. I’m still figuring out how to discern what the wrong things are so I can say no to them and leave more room in my life for the right things.
  • I learned that I’m not supposed to be a faith blogger–at least not in this season. You might have noticed that I haven’t updated in a while and that’s why. I realized I was running ahead of God with this blog, and that He never asked me to turn it into a ministry, or to build a second, more “Christian” platform for books He might give me to write someday. After a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I’ve realized that I’ve let this blog–which was initially only supposed to be a personal blog to hold the things I want to share that aren’t really appropriate for my author blog–become a distraction that’s pulling me away from the assignment God actually has for me: writing the books He’s actually given me to write and growing my already-established author platform.
  • Relatedly, I figured out that there’s no need for me to split myself into two author personalities, which is what I’d been doing. Somehow I got it into my head that if I was going to write Christian non-fiction someday — a vague desire based on a feeling that I’m eventually supposed to put my testimony into writing, although I have no idea which part of my testimony or when this should happen or even what that looks like — that I needed a more “Christian” platform than the one that exists for my more secular fiction writing. But God’s been showing me that He can use the platform and writing He’s already given me and that I don’t need to dress it up in culturally Christian clothes in order for it to serve His purpose and be used for His glory, as long as I’m willing to surrender it all to His will. I can actually be my weird, geeky, fantasy-and-horror loving self and God can still use that, and still use ME. Isn’t that great?
  • I also learned that setting something down for a season doesn’t mean I’m setting it down forever. I actually figured this out regarding my infertility struggles, realizing that I needed to stop carrying that burden and lay it down, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up hope or that the time will never come to pick it up again. It’s the same for this blog. For the time being it’s going back to being just a personal blog, but the time may come when I’m supposed to make it a priority again. Then again, it might not. We’ll just have to see where the Lord leads me.
  • Subsequently, I also learned quite a bit about online book marketing and promotion.
  • And I learned that I have to be careful not to let marketing and promotion become an obsession or idol in my life. The trick, for me, is not to look at analytics or worry about numbers, to just do the necessary work and trust God for the results.

So that’s what I learned this fall–or some of it, anyway. What did you learn? Tell me in the comments or, better yet, write your own post and add it to the linkup!