Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ten Things I Learned in June

This post, linked with Chatting at the Sky, is sparked by an idea from Emily Freeman. She started it on her blog, a way to zero in on the random thoughts and lessons and challenges and growth from this month.

1. When a baby bunny is surprised or afraid, it hunkers down, motionless, lays its ears flat on its back and looks just like a pudgy rock. "You don't see me!" I was out front watering and it stayed perfectly quiet until I got too close - then it bounded off like a rock[et]. Fascinating to see how animals are equipped for survival.

2. On a home garden tour, I saw many of the same plants grown in each yard. Each yard, though, had a completely unique feel, attitude, look, character. You and I may plant the same plants, but each of us will create our own unique expression with it. This was a wonderful lesson in creative individuality. It is not the tools that make it unique, it is what we make with them.

3. Japanese Beetles are a destructive nuisance in my garden. Garlic juice (home brewed) helps, but I ended up pulling out the affected plants.

4. I can keep my desk cleared off - well, almost. The sticky note function on my computer is a great tool - keeps the papers from floating around my desk. Oh, and if my desk is cleared off, I have to dust it! Never had to do that before...Thanks to The Nester's challenge, I can keep an uncluttered desk.

5. "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."                            -Carl Bard
This quote, and a post by Allison Vesterfelt on the Storyline blog, really got me thinking. She says, "The smallest decisions I make during my day say a lot about me...I love the fact that the word for 'character' in a book, and the word we use in English to mean 'the essence of who we are,' is the same...Our character [is] the compilation of small actions and experiences over time...And of course we can't control all of our experiences, but the closer attention we pay to our 'character,' the more power we have to carve it into something we can be proud of in the end." My smallest actions, my choices, my attitudes, all tell the story that is my life. Life is not necessarily determined by heroics, but by the day in, day out small stuff.

6. I love having a dog in the house. Really missed her when she was gone for a week with her boy. (Missed her boy, too).

7. Letting go does not get any easier with the younger kids. You'd think I'd be used to it, would know how to do it by now. Nope. It still takes a calm effort to trust and quietly, confidently release them. To allow them to wing it on their own, trusting that their roots will not tether them, but give them security and self-confidence to fly on their own.

8. Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies are not a big hit. It's like I committed a horrible crime, mixing vegetables and chocolate. What was I thinking!

9. Pomodoros really do work when I am stalled or disoriented. Just 25 minutes. Just this. Now. A lesson I seem to need to re-learn repeatedly. I forget. Then learn it again.

10. I do not like novels with gut splattered relationships. I like happy endings, not novels that leave me depressed, discouraged. I want to be encouraged, to read of characters who make mistakes and mess up, but who learn and grow and develop hope and love. This is how I want to write. I also do not like bad language in books. Writers should use real words that mean real things. Do we really have to have bowel movements or male puppies of female canines mixed in character's conversations? I don't think so.


  1. Wonderful list - I love #2 which was very inspirational - #7 is so very true - and #8 made me laugh, although they sound good to me:)

  2. Hi Maureen,
    I've never heard of the pomodoro technique. I loved the little video they have about it an I am going to give it a try. I might also use it with my daughters in homeschooling next year. Thank you so much for putting it out there.

  3. I am a happy ending girl, too. I also struggle with novels when I don't like the protagonist.... I had to put Gone with the Wind down. Scarlet gave me a headache... :)

    Great list! I am so excited that Emily decided to host this. :)

  4. That pomodoro thing? What in the world?! I do that with my iPhone but I didn't know it was like, a thing. So will be watching that video clip. I love reading what other people are learning! So much fun.

  5. I loved this list, Maureen. Number seven made me sigh a bit; number eight made me laugh out loud (and appreciate the forewarning); and number ten made me nod my head in agreement. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Maureen, #5 was a great reminder to me about character and the small things. And I will definitely be using #9 as I begin packing to move this week. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Interesting list of things to learn this month. I have to agree everyone definitely does their gardening differently. My mother-in-law does her garden a different way each year. I love to see what she creates for her garden. I don't have a green thumb at all, but I do appreciate seeing them.

  8. start building a brand new ending? brilliant!!!

  9. I made zucchini bread with chocolate chips and it was eaten with only a small comment about its strangeness. So I guess I got off good.
    The Man-of-the-House collects J. Beetles in a bottle. He flicks them into it. At the bottom of the bottle is water. They can't fly with wet wings and drown in the bottle. It's disgusting but it works. Our little dogwood tree is where they congregate.
    I like the same kind of novels you do. Ordinary heroes make good main characters. If the book reveals the kind of things that take place behind closed doors or language that isn't fitting for dinning room table conversation I won't read it.
    Karen A.