10 Things I Learned in November

1. If I live to be 81 years old, I will see six more presidential elections. Lord, have mercy.

2. Inspiration comes from unexpected places. I received a word of encouragement from my daughter’s husband’s mother’s sister’s husband and it was enough to keep me going.

3. Evie is getting a brother in April! It took me a while, but eventually I caught on when I realized everyone was wearing blue one Friday night. The grand score is back to even: boys – 4, girls – 4.

4. If you would have told me five years ago that I would be staying up until midnight cheering on the Chicago Cubs in the seventh game of the World Series, I wouldn’t have believed it. Never say never.

5. On October 4, 1991, I was issued a passport. It expired on October 3, 2001 with no stamps decorating its pages. I am reapplying for a new passport even though I have no plans to go anywhere. My hair looks ridiculous in that ’91 photo.

6. Good gravy is the cornerstone of a successful Thanksgiving dinner. PB grew up with a dad who was a gravy connoisseur, a gravy grandmaster, a gravy guru. So I rolled up my sleeves and roasted, simmered, and whisked. Five hours later, I had a gravy that PB declared “the best I’ve ever tasted”. Grandpa O would have been proud.

7. Hebrews had a word for me this month. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) I can’t begin to count how many times I whispered to myself this month, “eyes on Jesus, eyes on Jesus”.

8. There’s nothing cuter than watching a four year old muster up his courage to play the “Pie in the Face” game. Unless it’s watching him get a handful of whipped cream in the nose. I hope the four year old reminded his parents that they both offered him a dollar to stick his adorable face in the line of fire.

9. Convincing middle school boys to dress up like angels for the Christmas program is challenging, even if they are the archangels Michael and Gabriel. I’m scouring Pinterest for manly angel costume ideas. Flaming swords might win them over.

10. Advent is a respite this year. I’m eager to enter into a quieter season. More praying and singing, less talking and wrangling. More candles and music, less TV and Facebook. More glory to God in the highest, more peace on earth, more goodwill. It’s time to treasure up some things and ponder them in our hearts.

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10 Things I Learned in November

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1. Birthdays are wonderful.  Although I’m not crazy about getting older, I am crazy about being alive and fairly healthy and mostly sane.  Every day is precious, but birthdays are worth celebrating.

2. I wouldn’t have made it to Oregon in 1846.  In fact, I never would have left my log cabin with two cows on six acres in the heartland. I read “The Indifferent Stars Above” out loud to PB this month — the story of the Donner Party and their debacle in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Nightmares ensued.

3. Craig’s List works. I sold something for the first time on the free ad site. There were bidding wars in my inbox right off the bat. Some lovely people came to our house, picked up the goods and handed me cash.  I might be hooked.

4. Prayer is a deep topic.  Our women’s Bible study has been learning about prayer for 12 weeks now and I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface.

5. Sometimes old, familiar words take on a whole new meaning.  Take, for instance, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” The word “follow” suddenly became significant. I guess I can’t sit around and wait for goodness and mercy to show up.  Instead, I set out and start moving ahead and when I turn around to look over my shoulder, there they will be.  Goodness and mercy can’t follow me if I’m not going anywhere.  After all this time, that little bit of truth has been waiting for me to unearth it.

6. I read through Ecclesiastes this month and found myself irritated with Solomon’s pessimism.  After each chapter, I wrote Solomon a letter outlining all the problems I had with his view that “everything is pointless, perfectly pointless.” “Dear Solomon, The best you can offer is ‘eat, drink, and be merry’?  That smacks of a very shallow life.  I’m all for good food and good times, but Sol, there’s more to life than prime rib and parties.”

7. I’m taking a friend’s advice to enjoy winter this year.  Typically, I’m a happy hibernator from January through March. But after hearing my friend talk about her decision to approach winter with a positive attitude, I signed up. The key for her is bundling up and going outside, despite the cold and snow.  I’m asking for battery powered socks for Christmas.

8. Old football injuries never go away.  PB gave his knee to Brillion High back in the 70’s. Soon he will be getting a new one. With six grands, he has to be able to give horsey rides without his knee going out of joint.

9. In January, I’m going to transition from working full-time to working part-time.  I’m trying to figure out what that means.

10. Being thankful and saying “thank you” to someone are two different things.  Listening to the celebrities interviewed during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, I was struck by how genuinely grateful they all sounded.  Not many knew whom to thank, however.  It’s like being thankful for the turkey on the table without saying “thank you” to the one who made it.  Knowing Whom to thank makes all the difference.

What did you learn in November?

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