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Category: Stuff and Things (Page 2 of 3)

What I Learned This Spring


Thank goodness Emily P. Freeman is ready to do another link roundup for stuff we learned this spring. This is actually a life saver because I need something easy to ease me back into blogging here regularly and list posts are easy and now I have an excuse to do one. This list is mainly going to be about things I learned pertaining to moving because moving pretty much consumed our entire spring. So with that in mind…

  1. Moving is hard. I mean, duh, right? We knew this, but it had been nearly nine years since the last time we actually had to do it, and it’s easy to forget just how hard something is when you haven’t had to do it in a while. But it is HAAAAARD.
  2. Good friends are a blessing. Good friends with a large truck and a flexible schedule and a heart for helping and serving others are an extra-special blessing.
  3. Downsizing your stuff is not something that should be put off until AFTER the move, especially if you’re considerably downsizing your space. We’d planned to do away with a lot more of our stuff before the move happened, but a window of opportunity opened up for us to move sooner than we’d planned, and so we ended up packing and bringing with us more stuff than we have space for. This is making unpacking extra super fun.
  4. There’s always more to do than you think. The actual moving part didn’t take too long, but then we still had a lot of stuff left to deal with at the old place–furniture and stuff we’d decided to donate instead of bringing with us, etc. Not to mention an entire garage filled with my deceased in-laws’ belongings. Getting all of that sorted and dealt with was a much, much bigger job that we’d anticipated. SO much bigger.
  5. Transitions are hard, even when they’re desirable and good. We really, really wanted this move to happen, and when the door opened for it we dove in faster than Michael Phelps at the sound of the starting pistol. Other than the actual time and work involved in moving, I didn’t think it would be that big a disruption to our day-to-day lives. After all, we don’t have kids and we both work from home and simply changing our location shouldn’t have much of an impact on how we do things, right? I could not have been more wrong. One of our biggest struggles has been re-establishing rhythms and routines and adjusting to the fact that we no longer live a convenient distance from anything.
  6. Transitions are hard, even when they’re desirable and good. No, I didn’t accidentally copy and paste that from above. I deliberately added it again to make the point that it’s okay not to be joyful and bursting with gratitude every second of every hour whenever you finally get something you’ve been praying a long time for. It’s okay if sometimes you’re too worn out and exhausted and a little depressed because everything is so much harder than you expected and you’re beyond frustrated at how difficult it is to get back into a flow. Give yourself grace, acknowledge that it’s hard, and then step back and try to remember why you wanted this thing in the first place and why you actually are, in fact, so grateful that it finally came to pass.
  7. Don’t unpack in a hurry. Apart from unboxing the things we absolutely needed in order to set up house and be comfortable, we’ve been taking our time about unpacking, finding a home for things and decorating. We want to see how we actually live and utilize this space in order to determine what makes the most sense in terms of where to put stuff. While it feels a little chaotic still being surrounded by boxes, when we finally do pull something out and put it away we can be reasonably certain it will stay in that spot and we won’t have to endlessly rearrange things.
  8. My soul is so much happier surrounded by nature. We moved back to the place where I grew up, a little housing edition out in the country overlooking a lake. There are woods within walking distance and we only need to cross the street for views like this one:

    The people are much friendlier here, too. Every time I go for a walk in this neighborhood my heart soars with joy to be here.
  9. God is so, so faithful. Last week I reblogged this post that I wrote a little over a year ago. In that post I talked about how trapped and hemmed in I felt where we were living, and how our prospects of getting to move anytime in the foreseeable future were slim to none. But I kept praying even though hope seemed small. And at last, after a long season of waiting and having our patience tested and stretched, He’s answered our prayers and delivered us into a safe place and a season of rest.
  10. Resting is the hardest part of all. For all of the difficulties involved in moving and transitioning, I think what I struggle with the most is simply receiving this blessing and enjoying it instead of immediately looking to the next thing. I’m not going to lie — the last eight and a half years or so in Tulsa were some of the most challenging years of my life. God used those challenges to grow us in ways we’d never imagined. And now I believe He’s brought us here–beside the still waters, overlooking green pastures–to rest and heal before we move on to whatever He has planned next for us. But I’m so future-oriented and I’m having a really hard time relaxing into this new phase of our lives and enjoying this step along the journey instead of worrying about where we go from here. I’m having to be really intentional about letting go of that worry and trusting that God’s got this and everything’s going to continue to work out as it should, in His time.

What have you learned this spring, dear reader? Do you also have a hard time enjoying the present instead of constantly thinking about the future, or does God’s rest come more naturally to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

I’ll resume my regular blogging schedule next week (Lord willing) with the series on faithfulness that I’d originally planned for March. See you then!


PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at

What I Learned This Winter

what-i-learned-feb-17This week I’m pausing to join Emily Freeman and her community of readers in talking about what I learned this season. And I’m glad this has come up because this winter had quite a lot to teach me, lessons both big and small (and a little scary).

  1. Apparently you can have two words. Remember back in January when I said I originally thought my One Word for this year was “faithfulness,” but then I felt God nudging me to switch it to “abandon”? Apparently, I’m supposed to focus on both, because no sooner did I set aside “faithfulness” as my word than I started getting bombarded with lessons on both God’s faithfulness and faithful obedience. Like, every single Bible study I’ve done since the beginning of the year has emphasized these things. I’ll be talking about this more in the months to come because I’ve learned a lot on this topic and there’s too much to go into in this post.
  2. I’m actually capable of keeping a clean house. Y’all, I’ve never been able to get this whole housekeeping thing down, and I’m over 40. I figured that at this point, this leopard ain’t going to change her spots, and I was working on accepting this about myself. But this year I kept feeling a nudge to just do my best to be a faithful steward of my home (see item 1 above), and so far, I’ve been doing pretty good. I’m not going to be winning any Good Housekeeping seals of approval or anything, but I’ve managed to pick up some habits that are helping me stay on top of things, and I’m finding that this thing I’ve struggled with all my life is really not that hard. I don’t know if I just reached an age where the adulting switch finally flipped to ON of its own accord or if it’s something else that just clicked into place for me, but something has suddenly transformed me into a halfway decent housekeeper.And I’m not sure what it says about me that this, more than anything else I’ve done — more than getting a publishing deal for my novel series, more than losing weight and keeping it off, more than running a business — makes me feel like a capable, competent grown-up.
  3. Small, faithful steps can accomplish much. Seriously, it never ceases to amaze me what just whittling away at something for 15 minutes a day can accomplish. That’s how I’ve managed to stay consistent (so far, this year) with updating this blog regularly. It’s how my next book is getting plotted and planned (and most likely will also get written). It’s how the sorting and packing is getting done. And it’s also how my house is getting cleaned — not necessarily 15 consecutive minutes a day, but just a few minutes here and there throughout each day. You can fit just about anything you really want to get done into your day if you do it in small bites, and while those tiny bites might feel futile and pointless at first, you’ll be amazed by how quickly they add up to big accomplishments.
  4. I’ve learned a lot about English and Irish history. My husband is reading The English and Their History by Robert Tombs, and it’s put him in the mood to watch these documentary series about English and Irish castles on Netflix, both of which are heavily focused on medieval history. It’s all pretty fascinating. I can’t say I’m retaining a lot but some of it’s sinking in. I can tell you this — it was all pretty bloody.
  5. I think I might be a minimalist. After so many years of living in cluttered chaos and inflicting mindless busyness on myself, I’m so, so tired of it. The Lord’s been working on me for the last couple of years now to get me to slow down and focus more on what really matters, and now I’m at a place where I want my home to reflect that, too. I crave white space not just in my days but also in my environment. The other day I watched the Minimalism documentary on Netflix and it really spoke to me and where I’m at in this season.
  6. I know what my next book is about. And maybe the next two books (in the series) after that. I haven’t got the plot completely hashed out, but I’ve got a pretty good road map and I think I’m almost ready to start writing it.
  7. I also think I know the sort of freelance writing I’d like to pursue. A vision is starting to emerge of being more of a Christian living and home and lifestyle blogger — which coincidentally seems to be the direction this blog is moving into. It feels like a bit of a stretch and it’s a little scary, but I’m trusting God and staying yielded to the kind of work He wants me to do. That seems to be the direction He’s leading me, but I don’t want to presume anything or run ahead of him. This whole sitting back and allowing Him to control and shape my writing career has been working pretty well so far and I sure don’t want to mess that up.
  8. Trader Joe’s Ginger Turmeric tea is delicious. The end.
  9. I learned about hygge. And that I pretty much already practice it but it’s nice to have a name for it, even if it’s funny and hard to pronounce.
  10. We’ve been living catty-corner from a member of a Mexican drug cartel for the last several months. This nugget of information came to our attention a couple of mornings ago when we were awakened by a multi-departmental law enforcement raid on the neighbor’s house, complete with a SWAT team in full armor riding in on a small tank. There were minor explosions, but no gunfire, thank goodness. It was all very exciting — a little too exciting. Lord help us.

That’s quite a lot of learning crammed into a couple of months. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of lessons this next season will bring. The weather people are expecting a rather terrifying spring, with the potential for both more and bigger tornadoes, so there’s going to be plenty of opportunity to exercise faith over the next few months. Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains, indeed.

What have you learned this month? Tell us, or link up your own What I Learned post in the comments!


PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at











Ode to October

An Ode to October


O month of months, in you I most delight.
No day of birth, nor remembrance day to mark,
Just that Eve of Saints, carved pumpkins set alight,
Costumed kids parading through the dark.
What fun! But not the only reason
October is blessed of all the seasons.

Autumnal sun warming days to perfection,
Chilled nights that coax to deepest slumber.
Cozy mornings breakfasting on pumpkin-spice confections,
With blankets, scarves and sweaters am I happily encumbered.
Reds and russets, orange and yellow hues,
Leaves turning, anticipating natures cues.

With a steaming mug and gladness in my heart
I welcome you, October, to this place.
Thirty-one days until you must depart
To make way for times of thankfulness and grace.
Winter, spring and summer I must bear
Till you make your way around again next year.


An Ode to October

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What I Learned in July


I think July is kind of like the Wednesday of months. It’s the hump month. Once we get over July, it’s kind of a downhill slide into the sweet Friday of fall and the weekend of the holidays. At any rate, this July was a productive one in which I discovered a few worthwhile lessons.

  1. The rest you get from a vacation tends to be shortlived. I’m already tired, y’all.
  2. I can live without Instagram (but I don’t like it). Around the middle of the month, Instagram stopped working on my old phone. I don’t know if it just stopped supporting the older Android OS I was using or what, but I couldn’t log in anymore. Of course, I could still go on the web version and look and comment, but without the app I couldn’t post, plus scrolling on a big computer at my desk isn’t nearly as gratifying as scrolling on my phone while lounging on the sofa. At any rate, last weekend I was finally able to upgrade to a new phone, so problem solved.
  3. Except without Instagram, I was way more productive. Since I couldn’t camp out on the sofa and scroll through all those tiny square adventures, I actually got up and did stuff. Namely, I Konmari’d my bedroom closet and filled about five large bags with stuff to either send in to ThredUp or give away. I also finished my novel, did some hoop embroidery and put some stuff on the walls.
  1. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I learned this from The Nester as I spent some time going through her blog and really thinking about our house and what kind of space I want it to be (which is a whole ‘nother post). At any rate, as I cleaned out the closet and came across some posters that I had been saving for “some day” when we would get them framed, I was inspired to stop waiting and go ahead and tack them up sans frames. And do you know what? They look fine.
  2. Grief is hard, but it’s a process you have to walk through slowly, and maybe just sit with for a while. This is not a new lesson, but I got a refresher course a week ago as we said goodbye to our 15 year old kitty, Nibblet. I have a tendency to try and rush through the grieving process, or get to a point where I want it to be over so I run from it, and the results are always disastrous. So I’m being intentional to just let myself miss my cat and be sad and allow these feelings to run their course and not worry about whether my sadness is bringing anybody else down or making them uncomfortable. It’s hard, and it means a lot of random crying, but it beats falling into a pit of depression next time something sad happens because I get overloaded by all the unprocessed grief it stirs up.
  3. I’m not in a season right now where I can give this blog the attention I want to give it. I wish I was, but I’m just not. I want to post more regularly, but between writing and editing my novels and running my freelance writing and editing biz, I don’t have a lot of energy left over for writing thoughtful blog posts. I’m praying that this will change some day and I’ll be able to move blogging higher up on the priority list, because I feel that this is important. It’s kind of the only avenue of ministry I have, and although it’s tiny, every time somebody leaves a comment to tell me that a post touched them or spoke to what they’re dealing with, even if it’s just one person, I know it’s worth it and I’m supposed to be here. I just can’t be here as much as I’d like. So I’m giving myself permission to not try to stick to a posting schedule just yet and only post when the Spirit moves me. Ditto sending out my newsletter.
  4. Hello Cocoa is awesome chocolate. I tend to think I never win anything, and that tends to be true when it comes to major prizes like TVs and computers and major cash, but sometimes I get lucky and win drawings for nice little gifts that are like little shots of joy into my life. This time around, I won a giveaway on Holley Gerth’s blog and got a lovely selection of chocolate from Hello Cocoa in nearby Fayetteville, AR. The prize package included not only five gourmet dark chocolate bars (I would take a picture but we’ve already eaten most of them), but also a big bag of premium cocoa nibs AND another big bag of premium cacao tea. You guys, I learned to love cacao tea years ago but the store where I bought it stopped carrying it after I finished that tin and I haven’t had any since. So now cacao tea and I are reunited and it is the highlight of my day. Well, one of them, anyway. So big thanks to both Holley Gerth and Hello Cocoa. The next time we pass through Fayetteville we’ll definitely be stopping in there.

What lessons did you learn in July? Tell us or link up your own list in the comments!




PS – Linking up with Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart and Missional Women’s Faith-Filled Friday.


Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Totally Delicious Iced Coffee (and Other Recipes)


Summer is not even actually here yet, at least not technically according to Science. Somebody should really tell that to the heat index here in my neck of the woods, which has been in the triple digits this week. I’m gonna be honest here. Summer is not one of my favorites. I’d say it probably comes in at number 3 in my ranking of seasons–after Fall and Spring and just eking ahead of Winter.

It beats Winter mainly because I do enjoy not being cold all the time, being able to type without stiff fingers and only needing to wear one layer of clothing for modesty’s sake and not three or four layers just to feel kind of warm (y’all, my house is drafty and does not retain heat well). But Summer–especially in Oklahoma–comes with ridiculously high temperatures coupled with ridiculously high humidity and grass that never stops growing and has to be mowed constantly and SO MANY BUGS including West Nile-infected mosquitoes and . . . you get the picture. I’m not a fan.

That said, there are a few things I do enjoy about summer. One is the aforementioned ability to wear less and be warm. I love the sun, all the light it brings, and the longer days, and the disappearance of seasonal affective disorder. I love swimming, though I don’t get many opportunities for it. Ditto camping. And road trips. And cookouts and cold drinks.

Speaking of cold drinks, one of the very best things I enjoy about summer is sipping iced coffee.

Mmm, iced coffee.

It can be hard to get right, though, especially when you make it at home. I’ve been experimenting with it for a few years now, and I think this year I’ve found a dairy- and sugar-free recipe that I’m pretty happy with (yeah, I know–way to take all the fun out of it, Jean. But I have issues with dairy and I need to watch my blood sugar, so I can’t have as much fun as some of y’all can get away with. I thought my iced coffee days were over — last year I didn’t even try — but this version is great for my health requirements and is totally satisfying).

I start by following combined instructions from The Kitchn and The Pioneer Woman (I make it concentrated, a la PW, but make it in my French press like The Kitchn) to make a pot of cold brewed coffee. For reference, my French press holds about three cups and I put in about six rounded tablespoons of grounds and fill it up with cold water (I like my coffee strong). This provides me with two days’ worth of coffee concentrate, which I transfer to a pitcher and keep in my fridge.

Next, ice. I used to just add regular ol’ ice cubes, which of course watered everything down. At some point I tried making frozen coffee cubes as seen on Pinterest, but I didn’t really love that. Although these days I usually drink my hot coffee black, I like some sort of milk in my iced coffee, and as far as non-dairy options go I’ve found I prefer unsweetened almond milk. So the other day I hit on the idea of freezing almond milk cubes, and you guys! This is just right. As the cubes melt it just makes the coffee creamier. Also, as the cubes sit in the glass they soak up the coffee and sweetener, so it’s like little iced coffee pops to crunch on when you get to the bottom of your drink.

So I set up the cold brew and put an ice tray full of almond milk in the freezer the night before I plan to drink it. In the morning, I pop a few of the cubes into a glass or mug, fill it about two-thirds of the way with coffee concentrate, then fill it up the rest of the way with more almond milk and stir in a packet of Stevia. Best iced coffee my dairy- and sugar-deprived self has had in ages.


Have you perfected your own iced coffee recipe, or found one online that you swear by? If so, share it in the comments! Iced tea recipes are also welcome — that’s my second favorite.

I’m taking a break from the blog next week (I know, I just got back from an unplanned break — but my schedule has space next week for a vacation and since it might be the only chance I get all summer I’m seizing it while I have the chance), so I will leave you with some more iced coffee links to help you create your perfect iced coffee at home.

And hey! Want to get a friendly and casual letter from yours truly in your inbox this weekend? One that talks about how I plan to spend my sort-of vacation, what projects I’m working on, and what things are bringing me joy right now? If you said yes (or even just thought it), click here to sign up to Daydreamer Dispatches, my semi-weekly letter to friends of the blog!

Daydreamer Dispatches

I hope you all have a glorious week!




What I’m Reading: June 3, 2016

What I'm Reading: June 3, 2016


I’ve always been a voracious reader. But there for a while, I fell out of a regular reading habit. Life seemed too busy, and I became convinced that I couldn’t make time for reading and writing, and chose to focus on writing.

Of course, my writing suffered for that decision, because you can’t constantly pour out words without filling yourself back up with them. You have to take time to fill that creative well in order to find inspiration. It’s not even that simple, really. Writers need exposure to other people’s writing in order to help process ideas and not only know what they want to say, but also become equipped with the right vocabulary to say them properly. Reading is important, y’all!

A couple of years ago, after a long reading dry spell, I finally figured this out, and made a conscious decision to fit reading back into my daily routine, even if it was just fifteen minutes a day. And do you know what? It’s amazing how, when you decide something is important enough to make time for, other, less important things have a way of shifting around or even falling by the wayside to make room for this new priority, without you even having to give it much thought.

Anyway. The point is that I’m reading so much these days, I might as well start using this space to document and share what I’m reading. These are my current reads. I typically read two books at a time now–a nonfiction work digested slowly in small bites throughout the day and a fiction work that I devour in big chunks on nights and weekends–which is amazing to me because I’ve always been a staunchly one-book-at-a-time type of reader. See what I mean about things shifting around to accommodate conscious priorities?

Nonfiction: Even if Not by Kaitlyn E. Bouchillon – This book was on my wish list and I didn’t even know my husband had ordered it for me. It arrived just in time to accompany me to the ER when he had a health scare, and it couldn’t have been more appropriate reading as we waited for answers (which we’ve since gotten, and in case you’re wondering, he’s fine now). It’s a hope-filled memoir with an encouraging message about choosing to trust God in the in-between–in the waiting time between questions and answers, between problems and solutions, between hard times and deliverance–and making up your mind whether you will still trust Him if things don’t turn out the way you hope they will. It was appropriate to that upsetting weekend at the hospital, but it also speaks to the bigger picture of our lives these last several years, and it’s been doing a lot to encourage me and renew my hope in the middle of my own in-betweens.

Fiction: Paper Hearts by Deborah Williamson – I picked this up on a whim at a used book store. It’s not the sort of thing I typically read, but I’ve been trying to branch out and expand my horizons beyond the gritty genre fiction I typically prefer. And you know, I’ve actually been enjoying some of the more light-hearted and heartwarming reads I’ve come across lately. This is one of them. A teen running away from her abusive past has a chance meeting with an old widower who’s ready to give up on life, and they end up rescuing each other. It’s set in small town Oklahoma and filled with believable and believably quirky characters that I’ve quickly grown to care about. I particularly appreciate that Williamson, a fellow Oklahoma native, doesn’t paint any of her characters with a stereotypically Okie brush, and yet I can recognize the Oklahoma in them. It almost feels like I’m reading about my own neighbors and kin.

I’m nearing the end of both books, and hope to wrap them up this weekend. So hopefully I’ll have a couple of new books to share next week (including Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me by Alexandra Kuykendall, which I can’t wait to get started on).

What about you guys? I’d love to hear what you’re reading. Do you have an recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

What I Learned in May 2016


May was a bit of a whirlwind. This is probably only the tip of the iceberg in terms of lessons this crazy month had to teach me. If I listed them all we’d be here all day, so here are the most pertinent things I learned in May:

  1. That I’m glad I did Whole30–it actually taught me a lot of things about my health and eating habits, too many to mention here–but paleo as a lifestyle isn’t for me.
  2. That I can work on two books simultaneously, as long as they’re in vastly different stages, and as long as I don’t also try to blog.
  3. That I can make word count on my novel and write an entire freelance article on the same day.
  4. That I shouldn’t try to do that too many days in a row.
  5. That nonfiction and fiction are very different in terms of how agents get signed and publishing deals get made. A lot more work (i.e, actually writing the entire book) is typically required up front in Ficlandia.
  6. That the nursing staff on the cardiac floor of Hillcrest South is pure awesome. Ask me how I know.
  7. That there is a fist-sized hole in our roof, courtesy of a fallen limb.
  8. That we’re surrounded by awesome neighbors.
  9. That Ben & Jerry’s dairy-free ice cream is creamy and delicious.
  10. That God is faithful and his ever-present provision never ceases to amaze me. The way He came through for us and held us up during the tougher and scarier events of this month served as a much-needed reminder of that.

What did YOU learn this May, friend (and can you believe it’s June already? Where is the year going?) Tell us about your own May lessons in the comments!

In love,



PS – I’m linking up this week with Emily P. Freeman, Holley Gerth and Missional Women. Check them out for encouragement and more May reflections!

PPS – Do you know about my newsletter? I send out Daydreamer Dispatches about twice a month. It’s a little more personal, a little more intimate, a little more silly — a place to share the things going on in my life that don’t quite fit on this blog. If you sign up, you’ll get a special, super-sekrit link to my Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools & Resources page! Click the image below to subscribe!

Daydreamer Dispatches

Memorial Day 2016



It’s a lazy Monday. Mr. B made hot dogs for lunch (inside, because weather), but not before we paused to remember those whose sacrifices paid for the freedom we still enjoy.

What I Learned In March

This week I’m doing my first link-up with Emily P. Freeman in which we look back on what we learned in the previous month. This is kind of a doozy because March was a big month for me as far as spiritual healing and growth, which means we’re going to get a little vulnerable here. Which brings me to…


1. I learned I need to let myself be more vulnerable. I’m pretty good at that in writing (although there’s room for improvement; also, some people *cough*myhusband*cough* might say I have a tendency to be a little too vulnerable, if by “vulnerable” you mean “tending to overshare about things nobody wants or needs to know”), but face to face I can be pretty reserved and closed off, and it’s hard, even online, for me to reach out, put myself out there and take risks with people. So, praying about that, and resolving to work on it.


2. I learned that I’m a fan of Emily P. Freeman. I’d read posts on (In)Courage and on her blog before that gave me that eerie feeling that she’s peeled back my skull and peered directly into the inner workings of my brain, but after reading her books Simply Tuesday (which I finished in early March) and A Million Little Ways (which I finished last week), that feeling intensified to the point that I got all Anne Shirley over how she’s a kindred spirit. That lady GETS me.


3. I learned that I need to be kinder to my own soul. This includes accepting–nay, even embracing–how God made me instead of constantly fighting it and believing that I’m not enough. It means shedding the lies that the enemy used to prevent me from becoming the woman God wants me to be. And it means understanding that desire, in and of itself, is not a sin, is not selfish, and it’s okay to move beyond survival mode and spend time and money on the things my soul needs to thrive. It’s okay to want nice things for myself.


4. I learned that I enjoy passing the evening with a book instead of a TV show. I mean, I love my shows, don’t get me wrong. But we were in such a habit of feeling like we had to have something to watch together in the evenings, even when our shows aren’t on. But our Prime membership expired and we haven’t gone back to Netflix yet, and we’re down to just a small handful of network shows each week, so for the last couple of weeks we’ve been spending a lot of evenings just sitting quietly together and reading, and it’s been lovely. And I got a TON of reading done this month, which was nice.


5. I learned that my soul needs these things in order to really thrive:
  • Quiet and stillness
  • Opportunities to sit, think, process and dream
  • Opportunities to be creative, not just in writing but also hands-on things like crafting and visually creative things like graphic design or even just doodling
  • Beauty and art
  • Opportunities to connect with nature
  • Pretty things: a pretty home, pretty surroundings, pretty clothes, pretty tools, etc.
  • Intimate connections with people — having a few close relationships with people who really understand me rather than a lot of casual acquaintances
  • Books/good stories via any medium
  • Kindness and gentleness from others; assurance that I’m loved and cared for


6. I learned my “love language,” which is, probably unsurprisingly, me being a word herder and all, words of affirmation. I also realized that I need to feel really listened to, heard and understood in order to really feel loved on a deep level. A close second is physical affection, which also isn’t very surprising, seeing as how I’m both a hugger and a patter.


7. I learned that I think God is nudging me toward writing inspirational romance, except then I went to the bookstore and checked out that section and it all seemed to be stuff about either cowboys or Amish people, so probably that’s the wrong label for it. If there’s a category for chick-lit style books featuring strong and snarky but broken heroines figuring out their lives that are clean and explore Christian themes without being all preachy, then that’s the category I mean.


8. I learned a lot about Jesus. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been slowly working my way through the Gospels (I’m still in Matthew — that’s how slowly) with an eye toward trying to connect more with the human side of Jesus. When I think of Bible characters I can relate to, people like Elijah and Peter and Paul spring to mind — flawed, broken, plain ol’ human people who were prone to screwing up sometimes. As much as I love my Savior, I’ve always had a hard time relating to Jesus as a person. This latest round of gospel reading has really opened my eyes in that regard. This is stuff I plan to elaborate on here on the blog at some point.


9. I learned that I enjoy reading memoirs. It used to be like pulling teeth to get me to read nonfiction, but this year I set an intention to broaden my reading horizons, and so far I’ve been sticking to it. After reading the above-mentioned books, plus Wild in the Hollow and Bird by Bird (which is about as much memoir as it is writing advice), I’m eager to read more in this vein.


10. I learned that I’m really tired of feeling bad and being in constant pain and I’m finally ready to do something about it. Which is why on Monday I’ll be kicking off my first Whole30. I’m slightly trepidatious but mostly I’m looking forward to it.
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