Stuff and Things

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












7 thoughts on “What I Learned This Winter”

  1. Wow, that is a dramatic story about the cartel across the street! Glad everything is ok 🙂 Exciting news about your book progress as well – that must feel so great. I’m in the Southern Hemisphere but I’m really looking forward to Winter so I can learn to practice ‘hygge’ better.. Great post!

    1. It was pretty dramatic! There’s been too much drama in this neighborhood lately, which is a big reason why we’re moving. And the only thing I don’t like about hygge is that it’s not really applicable in the summer. But at least it’s a reason to look forward to the cold months later this year.


  2. I enjoyed your list. Small steps do make a difference. My husband and I do a 7 minute workout. It is not much but it makes a big difference. I will have to try the ginger tumeric tea next time I am in the states. I had ginger pea from Trader Joe’s and loved it as a great decaf option. I love the def of Hygge. Makes me want to go light a candle as I read everyone’s list. Blessings.

    1. 7 minutes has probably been about the extent of my own workouts lately, too, and it definitely makes a difference. Some movement is always better than no movement. If you try the tea, be sure to let me know what you think!

      Blessings to you!

  3. I’m 36 and despite being regarded as a generally capable human being I also have not figured out the whole housekeeping thing. Would love to hear what works for you. Feel free to email if you’re able.

    1. I’d love to e-mail you with what I’ve figured out so far. I’m in the middle of packing to move and beating freelance deadlines and I’m seriously fried right now, but when I get some time this weekend when I’m able to think clearly I’ll get it written up. Be sure to nudge me here if I forget.

      Meanwhile, I just discovered A Slob Comes Clean, and that lady and I seem to be brain twins when it comes to cleaning. If you’re wired the same way, you might find a lot of helpful tips on that blog.

    2. Okay, I was wrong — there’s no way I’ll have time to sit down and write that e-mail until this moving business is over and done with. But what I’ll probably do is write a blog post about it and e-mail you when it goes live.

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