12 Things I Learned in June

Each month since February, one of the bloggers I follow, Emily Freeman, has posted lists of things she learned in that specific month. They’re full of the serious and the silly, the informative and the introspective, the this and the that. This month, she invited us readers to participate with her and, on June 28, post our own lists of the things we learned this month.

Here’s mine:

1. It’s easy to reclassify iTunes media as an audiobook, not music. Who knew the Options tab really was important? (You right-click the file or files in question, click “Get Info,” go to the Options tab, and enter the drop-down menu next to “Media Kind”). My slowly growing collection of audiobooks isn’t stuck with my music after all!

2. What I call a freeway, all my Midwestern and East Coast friends (not to mention most of America) call a highway. It was Joshua Katz’s Maps That Show How Americans Speak Totally Different English From Each Other that made me start to realize this linguistic difference, but it took a conversation with a few college friends to really drive the point home. The question is, how did I know them for seven years without knowing this?! (because of course “freeway” is my most-used word of all time).

what I call a freeway

3. I learned the hard way what a bedbug looks like and what to do when you encounter them on vacation. No, I am not posting a picture.

4. Corn on the cob with a thin layer of mayonnaise and a sprinkling of cheese is delicious! Seriously! I enjoyed most of the food I had on my Mexico missions trip, but the corn on the cob stands out. Probably because we look good together in this picture.

corn on the cob in Mexico
my mayo-and-cheese corn on the cob

5. Mexican nights can be colder than Alaskan nights in June. Never underestimate how much it can cool down in the desert at night, nor what a heatwave is capable of doing in the land of the midnight sun.

6. Mice can fit in very, very tight spaces. Our poor garage.

7. I would rather risk my (future) kids falling asleep in church because I let them sit during worship than risk them growing up thinking that all I care about, and all anyone else in church cares about, is outward expressions of religiosity. I know that I could discuss this a lot more and that the line between freedom and legalism — not to mention parenting itself — isn’t as cut-and-dried as blanket statements like this make it seem, but it’s a start, and it is something I realized this month, so there you go.

8. I’m not a picky eater anymore (at least, I’m nowhere near being the afraid-of-what-new-food-they-might-give-me-at-camp child or the I-will-always-request-plain-foods-when-I-go-to-restaurants teenager and young adult I once was). Huzzah!

9. There is a wit and cleverness about me, a delighting in the ridiculous and the foils and the opposites around me. And yet I am much more heart than head, much more grace than justice, much more soft, malleable shapes than rigid lines and corners. I don’t expect everyone to be like this, but this is who I am, and as much as I need people who get my sense of humor and can exchange witty dialogue with me, I need, even more, people who will see me and love me with so much grace and understanding and acceptance.

10. My dream is to be a writer and a voice. I’ve known the writer part for a long time, but and a voice came to me for the first time when I was in Mexico. It’s very simple and definitely connected with writing, but it also encapsulates the other areas of communication that I’m becoming increasingly interested in (teaching, speaking, etc.).

11. “Te doy mi corazon, eres mi Rey” means “I yield my heart to you, you are my King” in Spanish. And I think it sounds prettier.

12. I learned how to make concrete! Two 80-pound bags of cement, three wheelbarrow loads of sand, two of gravel, lots and lots of water, and voila!

What did you learn this month?

a life update (if ever there was one)

Railroad tracks in Alaska
in Alaska

When everything you think about seems too big and too overwhelming and too stressful — even the tried & true happy subjects — you know it’s time for sleep.

That was me 24 hours ago, and sleep I did. I awoke to more rain, but less disorientation.

The rain is unusual this time of year. I’m not a huge fan of rain (nor a huge opponent either), but knowing that this may very well be the last precipitation I see for three or four months gives me fonder feelings for those spontaneous droplets. And I welcome any respite from the over-the-top heat native to my brown, pastoral home.

I am still recovering from my back-to-back weeks of adventure in Mexico and Alaska. I suppose that’s only natural since I just got back two days ago.

One week of desert heat and desert cold, followed by one week of balmy midnight sun and green and mountains. One week of beans and rice, tortillas and soupy meat; one week of heavy-on-the-fish American fare. One week of making concrete and playing with kids whom I barely understood; one week of seeing breathtaking views and reuniting with old friends.

In August, I plan to start blogging regularly, making good on my desire to find a small group, and replanting my feet in work and church and life routines here. In August. But until then I still have mini-trips and a special visit and summer weddings smilingly withholding my routines from me. And I don’t mind one bit. I smile right back — smile even more broadly than they are — and speak words of warmest, eagerest welcome.

But this week, this is my week in between all of the glorious moments and soon-to-be’s of July. This is my week to rest, to breathe, to pray.

If you need me, that’s where I’ll be. And if I’m not there, if you discover that I’m doing too much, kindly advise me to ease back on all the mile-a-minute planning and preparing. It will get done.

Now is the time to rest.