10 Things I Learned in September

1. My great-great grandparents came to Baraboo in 1851. I came to Baraboo in 2004. Although time separated us by 153 years, their homestead was less than a mile from where we now live. We went to pay them a call one afternoon, but nobody was home.

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2. The PBS series “Poldark” is based on a set of 12 novels, each of which is over 400 pages long. The twelfth and final installment has 704 pages. Be still, my beating heart. I think I’ve found my new calling in life.

3. I will never think of the nursery rhyme “Humpty Dumpty” in the same way again after hearing Tony Evans’ version during the “Cry Out!” prayer night.

4. We met some of our new neighbors. PB put up a trail cam in our two acres of woods. Lots of little critters have been walking the trail in our backyard and posing for the camera. One big critter ambled by, causing PB to consider bringing the florescent orange out of the mothballs. 

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5. We are in the “one-gallon-of-milk-a-week” stage of life. It doesn’t seem that long ago when we were in the “one-gallon-of-milk-a-day”phase.

6. The flannelgraph in my 1st grade Sunday school class might have been wrong. I clearly remember Jonah being swallowed by a whale. As I recall, that flannel fish was smiling and blowing water out of its spout. Jonah was on his knees, praying in that whale’s belly. Except the word “whale” isn’t in the book of Jonah.

7. Every house should have a brightly painted front door. My sister just got back from a trip to Cornwall, England, and she said every church and most every house had a cheery front entrance. What a lovely idea.

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8. I can’t resist taking personality profiles. The Enneagram uses a nine category system to understand personality types. I am a “1”. Just for fun, I signed up to receive an email every day with guidance for my type. I love it  when I get one like this: “You need to allow yourself to relax. A therapeutic massage would be extremely beneficial for you.” Oh yeah. I don’t love it so much when the message is like this: “Try not to deteriorate down into being too harsh and critical of others.” Ouch.

9. Hibernation is setting in early this year. I already have the down comforter on the bed, the tea bags stocked and the firewood piled. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long winter.

10. This quote from “Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken seems especially true this month: “We seem unable to get used to time. We are always amazed at it — how fast it goes, how slowly it goes, how much of it is gone. Where, we cry, has the time gone? We aren’t adapted to it, not at home in it. If that is so, it may appear as a proof, or at least a powerful suggestion, that eternity exists and is our home.”

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10 Things I Learned in September

sept1. I like demolition.  PB and I have been working on a house project this month, with the help of some good friends.  With a lot of help.  From some very good friends.  It included 40 pound sledgehammers and pulling up 3.7 million screws and a dumpster filled to the brim with our blood, sweat and tears.  I loved it.  I felt like I was on an HGTV show.  Busting stuff up and getting filthy dirty was great fun.

2. I’m a journal junkie. At present, I have seven journals on my desk.  One leather bound journal for, well, journaling.  One small bound book that is a five-year/one-sentence-a-day volume.  One that keeps a list of books I’ve read for the past eleven years. Another that is titled “Pretty Good Ideas”. Then there is a spiral notebook for brain dumping, another for taking notes on podcasts and sermons, and yet another for writing reflections on scripture reading.  Oh, and one more that I use for copying down excerpts from books.  Make that eight journals.  Last week I stumbled onto something called the “bullet journal” so now I am chomping at the bit to start October so I can roll out number nine.

3. Gardening is not my strong suit, but I do like digging in the dirt.  When we moved to a new place years ago, I had a hard time adjusting.  When spring rolled around, I told a friend that it finally started to feel like home when I started digging in the dirt.  She laughed and said, “You old farmer, you.”  My thumb is not green and I can’t keep a houseplant alive, but this month I’ve pulled some weeds and took pleasure in the feel of dirt in my hands.

4. Podcasts are fun to listen to, but lots of work to create.  Our church started producing a weekly podcast with updates, announcements, sermon recaps, family devotions, etc.  It helps to have a super talented technological wizard doing all the heavy lifting.  All I have to do is push record and try to talk naturally into a microphone in an empty room.  It’s harder than you’d think.

5. Live theater makes me happy.  PB and I went to see “Newsies” this month and we’ve been seizing the day ever since.  I always leave musicals wishing I had stuck with dance lessons.  Alas, when I was five, I refused to go on stage in my tutu.  My mother walked me around the parking lot and tried to talk me into performing, but I was a no-go.  Hence, the end of my dance career.

6. Nobody’s favorite Bible verse is from the book of Nahum.  I’ve been reading through the Old Testament minor prophets this month and it’s a hard read.  Bless the people who are called to pronounce impending judgment on nations.  Bless the nations who heed the warnings.

7. September is my new favorite month.  Summertime has always been my season of choice, but this year September was spectacular.  Bring on the sweatshirts and flannel jammies.

8. I’m willing to be a fool for Christ.  Every Sunday morning we do some silly theatrics for the K-5th grade Sunday school classes.  So far I have 1) mixed a Super Hero concoction of chocolate syrup, maple syrup and cough syrup and drank it, 2) pretended I couldn’t lift a five pound weight, and 3) swallowed a packet of hot sauce.  Anything to get kids excited to come to church.

9. After observing Jesus’ habit of going outside to pray, our Bible study ladies were given an assignment to take a prayer walk.  I get it.  It was so much easier to praise God when I wasn’t distracted by the dust on my table or the streaks on my windows.  My confidence in God’s ability to hold the world together, including me, soared.  Getting out into big beautiful nature put my problems in perspective.

10. I am not prolific.  I wish I could pound out blog posts like nobody’s business.  I just can’t figure out how these people blog every day.  But then I remembered that I’m ghost writing for another blog, creating content for the new podcast, putting together a 12 week Bible study and trying to keep up with my eight journals. Make that nine journals starting tomorrow.  Bring on October!

goodbye