Every three months Emily Freeman hosts a What I’ve Learned link-up over at her place where bloggers offer a recap of the stuff — from little to life-changing — they’ve learned that season. Here’s my list for winter 2016-2017.
It’s Never Too Late to Get Political
It took me 46 years, but this election season changed something in me. Barely a month into this presidency, I can name more cabinet members in the current Administration than I could name in all the past Administrations combined since I began voting in 1988. I joined my newly formed neighborhood Citizen Action Group, I learned what local district I live in and who my senators and representatives are (yes, I admit, prior to this, I couldn’t name a single one), and I’ve even made a couple of phone calls to my government officials (As a life-long sufferer of phone phobia, this is big; I write out a script before I dial, and that helps.). I’m informed(ish) and engaged, and I can’t help but think this is good, regardless of who is in office.
It’s Never Too Late to Begin Yoga
Sure, I can barely touch my ankles, never mind my toes (or heaven forbid, the floor!), but I feel like my body thanks me every time I stretch it a bit. My husband and I signed up for a six-week Holy Yoga class at our church, and even though we pretty much died laughing at each other every class, we both admitted it was good for us. My body has been telling me I need to take better care of it for years, and I am finally beginning to listen.
I Can’t Sit for 5 Hours in a Dining Room Chair
File this one under the “My Body Ain’t What It Used to Be” category. After six weeks of physical therapy for a compressed cervical nerve in my neck, I’ve finally realized that I need to pay attention to my office furniture and my body. For the past five years my “desk” has consisted of a table I found discarded on the curb and a spindle-back dining room chair. It’s also been standard practice for me to sit for two- or three-hour stretches at my desk without getting up. The result: a visit to the orthopaedist for searing upper back pain and a pins-and-needles sensation in my left arm (I would also periodically experience the feeling of cold water being splashed onto my forearm – the first couple of times it happened, I actually looked up at the ceiling to see if there was a leak dripping down on me. Cue The Twightlight Zone theme song). For now I’ve borrowed an ergonomically correct office chair and make an effort to stand up once an hour (at least). I’ve also deemed 2017 the year I take care of my body.
Yazidi Food is Yummy
The Yazidi family we sponsored from Iraq invited us to their place for lunch and put on what can only be described as a feast of epic proportions. I’m not typically a picky eater, but one of my kids who shall remain unnamed has a sensitive gag reflex, particularly when it comes to unfamiliar foods, so I worried we’d have a culturally inappropriate incident. Thankfully all went well, and though I can’t tell you exactly what we ate, the food was delicious and the company was even better. The Yazidis are an exceedingly gracious, friendly people, and we feel so grateful and blessed to have these new friends in our life.
Trees Communicate with Each Other
A tree’s roots extend more than twice the spread of its crown, so it’s inevitable, especially in a forest, that root systems will intersect and grow into one another. This makes sense. What I didn’t know and recently learned from the book The Hidden Life of Trees is that trees send “news bulletins” to each other through their root systems by means of chemical compounds and electrical impulses that travel at the speed of a third of an inch per second (trees aren’t setting any speed records). What’s even more astonishing is that trees that grow closely together will often take care of each other, especially if they are of the same variety. They share nutrients and water, and they even synchronize their photosynthesis, equalizing differences between the strong trees and the weak trees so that all are equally succesful at processing sunlight. I love this and can’t help but think that it’s a beautiful metaphor for community.
A Manual Face Exfoliating Brush Works Just Fine
I admit, I have a pretty basic face cleansing routine: Wash with Aveeno cleanser, moisturize with Aveeno moisturizer, remove mascara with Vaseline. The End. Lately, though, I’ve noticed my skin has been suffering from the winter dulls. Enter the Sephora Cleaning Me Softly Facial Cleansing Brush. I heard about this little beauty tool on this episode of the Sorta Awesome podcast, and I have to say, I use it a couple of times a week, and it leaves my face soft and glowing. For $10, you can get the results of a more expensive exfoliating system. Works for me!
Flowers in February Save My Sanity
A couple of weeks ago we had a spate of super-warm weather here in Nebraska. For a few days I wore capris and short sleeves and was living in la-la land, pretending that winter was gone forever. A trip to Trader Joe’s one evening when my mood had plummeted with the temperatures reminded me that a cheap bouquet of store-bought tulips can do wonders for my spirits. Every week from now till spring-for-real, I’m splurging for fresh flowers.
I Have to Get Outside Every Day
Even if it’s just for a few minutes, and even if the weather is terrible. I don’t know if it’s getting “air in my snout,” as my dad likes to say, or the perspective I inevitably gain when I step away from my computer and into the bigger world, but the verdict is in: nature is critical for the health of my soul. Luckily, my Beagle-Corgi Josie-girl pretty much demands a walk everyday, so she and I both get our daily quota of air in our snouts.
So tell me, what have you learned these last few months? And be sure to hop over to Emily’s place to read some of the other What I’ve Learned posts – they always inspire me to try something new.