10 things I learned in May

At the end of each month, I like to share a few things I learned. The idea started from a post I wrote back in January, Searching For What I Know For Sure. That post morphed into a short series called Artists and Influencers where I featured the people who were (and still are) teaching me about various subjects that are important to me – home, writing, church, and love.

I decided to write a post at the end of each month as a way to continue to pay attention to what I’m learning. But as I wrote them, I  discovered most of the things that came out were lighthearted, frivolous, and always included at least one celebrity fact. This surprised me, but not in a bad way.

Most of my writing is serious and introspective, so once a month I enjoy writing on purpose a few things I’m learning that are, well, not so serious. I hope these posts are fun for you, too.

Here are 10 things I learned in May in no particular order:

1. Lennon and Maisy Stella play sisters on TV – and in May I learned they are sisters in real life, too. Also I’m a little bit obsessed with them. Watch this video below (subscribers may need to click over) and in about two seconds you’ll know why:

2. The up volume on the side of the iPhone can also be used to take a photo. What?! I know all of you already knew this. Why didn’t someone tell me this sooner? Changed my life.

3. After three books and over seven years of blog writing, I decided it was finally time for me to have a desk. The sunroom seemed like a lovely place to put it. Having a desk doesn’t make me a better writer, but it makes me feel like a better writer.

my office4. Since I’ve been spending more time in here, however, I have remembered there is a reason we call it “the sunroom.” There are windows on the ceiling, people. Sitting here much after 1 pm and I am literally a hot mess. So I try to finish my work by 1-ish or there will be sweat prints on my laptop.

5. I do indeed love getting clothes in the mail. I wrote about my first Stitch Fix but not about my second one because I didn’t have a chance to take the photos before I had to send back what I wasn’t keeping. Would you like to hear about what I get in my third box?

6. My 15-year-old nephew says now in Drivers Ed they are teaching them to hold the wheel at 7 and 4, not 10 and 2. I need you to confirm or deny this for me because 7 and 4 makes me very uncomfortable. Is this what our youths are learning?!

7. When you tell people your husband is quitting his job, they are generally supportive and kind and gracious to share with you about their own transition. And then you will learn that there are way more people in transition with you than you initially thought. Sometimes they will even send you leads and job descriptions for positions at their churches. This will make you smile and warm your heart.

8. I learned to always double-check even after I spell check – or I may be saying asses when I mean to say assess. And this might not be a big deal, but when you make those kinds of typos on your highest viewed post of all time, you will hear about it because more eyes equals more editors. And then you will kick yourself. And then you will laugh hysterically because you are 12, apparently.

9. Flower Patch Farmgirl texted me this week:

text from flower patch

So I did, and I had to kind of agree with her. And then I had to prove it by staging my own photo because I have absolutely no work to do at all and my house cleans itself and my book edits are definitely not due Monday and there is no better way to spend my time than to have my 9-year-old take photos of me. (And also, yes, I have Shannan in my phone as “Shannan FlowerPatch Martin.” Obviously.)

melissaSo I guess I learned in May that Melissa Michaels has a daughter who kind of looks like me as long as she is looking down at a laptop and wearing a striped sweater.

10. Or I learned that I am a MASTER at finding creative ways to avoid doing my work.


Here are the lists of things I learned so far this year. Except for January. Evidently I learned nothing in January.


  1. Jen says

    When my daughter took Drivers Ed 2 years ago, it was 9 and 3. I will not forget because she watched me carefully, and reminded me often since I mostly drive with my one hand at 2…or 6.

  2. Donna says

    I definitely see what you mean about Lennon and Maisy Stella ! Now I’m obsessed too. And yes, definitely would like to know what you get in your next stitch fix box! I love your serious writing. It is very meaningful to me. Also love these posts, very much enjoying all of you. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Colleen says

    yes 7 & 4 – it’s due to air bags & accidents! if you have your hands/arms higher and are in an accident, your arms will be thrown back against your face with the impact of an air bag — many broken arms due to this (not to mention bruised faces & broken noses!)

  4. says

    My most recent graduate of driver’s ed here in Charlotte, NC, also told me that 7 and 4 is the new 10 and 2. I have to admit that I am also skeptical. I was relieved when I saw her back out of our driveway the other day with her hands safely in the 10 and 2 position. I am confident the Holy Spirit showed her how to do it right when our system of instruction failed. :)

    And yes, I would very much like to see what comes in your next box of clothes.

  5. Holly says

    My daughter has finished the class portion of Drivers’ Ed, and has her permit. Here in Mass. they are learning just slightly below 10 and 2…for what it’s worth. :) And I was thinking the same thing about your sweater…

  6. says

    Your desk is gorgeous!

    Also…. I recently discovered Lennon and Maisy’s YouTube channel and my little boys and I watch it all the time! They love those girls more than I do! :) They’re just incredible. Those perfect harmonies can only come from people who are related. I think you and your sister could do the same thing, don’t you? 😉

    • says

      I felt like such a stalker doing that. But I was compelled by a force stronger than my will to resist. Must. Re. Create. This.

  7. says

    So flippin’ funny! You are hilarious. And I feel so validated that they are now teaching 7 and 4 because this is what I do! And I always felt like such a rule breaker for not using 10 and 2! Free at last! :)

  8. says

    Confirm. Because of airbags, 10 and 2 could thrust our thumbs into our eyeballs. Or so I’ve heard. Apparently I’ve had the 10 and 2 habit too long. I can’t give it up.

  9. says

    Are you kidding me??? The up button takes a picture – well, gosh darn, if you aren’t RIGHT. I had no clue. I dearly love these posts – the randomness does my meandering heart so much good. I am SO stuck right now and the release of laughter and tears (those sisters singing. . . . oh.my.word) was exactly what I needed. Thank you.

  10. Jane @ See Jane Learn says

    I love knowing the girls on Nashville are real sisters! (I like learning facts and information from you way more than what I might learn watching the evening news!) My hubby & I went through that quitting a job, waiting on God’s direction last year…our change turned out great, yours will too!

  11. NCJill says

    How did I miss your Stitchfix post?! Thanks for sharing what you got. I got mine two weeks ago (so fun!)and also kept two, sent back three. Now I’m glad I requested clothes only, no accessories. I gave my family several fashion shows and when Josh said, “wow, mom, you look young in that!” I said, “SOLD!”. :) If you are Beautiful Life tonight you will see the top he said that about. The other thing I like about Stitchfix is that since they are in CA, the items aren’t easily copied like everything else in my wardrobe (uh hem, Target!).

  12. says


    I just have to say how much I enjoy you. I’m reading your book and love it. I always learn something new on your blog. But I too take myself way too seriously so I’m really enjoy these post lately. I also look for creative ways to avoid a crazy schedule. Like sticking around “chatting at the sky” a little while even though I’ll have 500 kiddos here this weekend for VBS! I’m sure there is something I “need” to do. But for the moment, this is my little sunshine. Thanks so much!

  13. says

    I’m currently in drivers ed….so I can say that yes, it is 7 and 4, mainly because of the airbag, as well as the fact that it gives you more control. They’ll let you get away with 9 and 3….but no 10 and 2. :)

  14. Diane says

    I just learned the iPhone camera trick last month too. Mind blown. Why have I struggled through so many awkward picture taking moments for so long?

  15. says

    Just goes to show that NOTHING is really set in stone. I mean 10 & 2 goes the way of “the world is flat”; speaks loudly about openness, flexibility, and tolerance.
    A ROOM OF YOUR OWN … contemporary, organic, charm in favorite hues!

  16. says

    Love these posts! They are so quick & refreshing & almost always make me laugh. Thanks for sharing even the lighthearted and frivolous parts of your life.

  17. Marla says

    The Up button is amazing! Wow! Now if only I could figure out how sometimes I get pictures of my screen. I’m sure everyone knows how to do that but me. Love your writing.

  18. says

    1. That photo is uncanny.
    2. Since you posted in March and then April and now May, I’ve tried to keep track. I have one thing. ONE! So, I’m either not learning new things worth sharing OR I’m not aware of when I learn new things.

  19. Kylie says

    I did not know the up button can take a picture! I had to try it by myself. Life-changing 😉 Did you know that the down button does too?!

  20. says

    First, sisters from anotha motha because I can get so creative and do cray cray off task too. It should be an Olympic Sport. We’d both metal in it. :) Even the sofa in the background is so SIMILAR> I love these posts where you let all the wild stuff rip. Your desk is perfection. Now just get a fan some cool “white noise” and you may never return to the “main quarters” of your home.

  21. says

    You are a WEALTH.

    Also, we’re kind of twins because there’s a button on the side of my flip-phone that takes really dark, grainy pictures!

    And I have been dying to see all this clothes-sent-in-a-box situation. I need details. A fashion show. You cannot leave us hanging like this. I care deeply, and that’s no joke.

    ps – Please don’t forget Deacon = Chip from Whose Line. WHAT????

  22. Allison Hitz says

    This post made me laugh. I’m not the only one learning random things, and still talented at avoiding work! Btw, love your desk chair; must be super comfy :)

  23. says

    Your desk is awesome! That seriously looks like something I’ve been trying to find in a desk… Mind if I ask where you got it?

    Also would love to see your next Stitch Fix! I’m intrigued to try it myself sometime.

  24. says

    Oh, my goodness. That IS you!

    I definitely want to know what’s in your third Stich Fix box. And, maybe you can even show us what you kept in your second box….maybe?

    I don’t know about Driver’s Ed yet. Thank God! So not ready for that.

    Love your desk.

  25. says

    First, super photo mocking (what procrastination??!)
    Second, yeah, Shannan’s totally right.

    Thirdly, the sooner you get used to 8 and 4 the better.
    I was pushed into oncoming traffic and was hit head-on by a big white Astro van. (As say that as if somehow the color or model makes a difference, which it doesn’t, but anyway…) Seatbelt was low on hips. Air bag deployed. I ended up with minor ankle and knee injuries…but you know what hurt the most? My right arm flying up from the 2pm position – SMACKING the rearview mirror right off and then the arm bending backwards at the shoulder.

    If I had panic gripped at 8 and 4 rather than 10 and 2, the airbag would have blown my hand down towards the console rather than towards the back seat.

    Bottom line.
    Seatbelts are to be worn tight and low – on the hip bones.
    Airbags are good.
    8 and 4.
    And, unearned grace from a loving God for no reason whatsoever who offers a second chance – priceless.

    ~ Dana

  26. says

    Thank you for your randomness…that many of us share, along with the laughs, and our uncanny ability to waste time in ever more unique ways. I feel ya girl!

  27. says

    you are too funny! I love reading these posts :) Definitely want to know what you got in your other Stitch Fix’s! I’ve only done one and am contemplating doing more… but I was so saddened by how expensive everything was in the first :(

    P.S. the first video from Lennon and Maisy I watched was here (my absolute favorite):


    and then I saw them when Nashville aired and I was like, “NO WAY” the end. :) and for some reason their “mom” on that show reminds me of Angie Smith?

  28. says

    Okay, so I’d never heard of Lennon and Maisy before… I ended up on YouTube watching their videos – they are completely amazing. I have a 12 year old and an 8 year old, and they do NOT sing like that. Ha ha… Such talent! Thank you for sharing them!!! But I should say that it’s my 10 year old that asks if he can go downstairs to practice his air guitar… so you just never know. I could have a child with his own YouTube channel someday too. :) :)

    And your desk is amazing. Perfect and beautiful. Up here in the frozen North we don’t have sweaty prints on the laptop type of problems. But we can dream.

  29. Laura says

    My hubby, a soon-to-be retired police detective, said that they ARE now teaching the 4 and 7 or 3 and 9 positions on the steering wheel as those positions offer more control of the vehicle in times of emergency. Go figure!

  30. says

    I love your desk. I want a sun room!!!! (green with envy right now…)
    I have started doing a top 10 list of things I am learning every Friday on my blog — thank you for the inspiration!

  31. Trace Kennedy says

    My daughter finished up Drivers Ed in March and commented to me that my 10 and 2 wheel hold was incorrect, that it is 9 and 3. 1/2 inch difference maybe? I’m cool with that, but when she is driving and positions her hands at 9 and two-fingers 4, my brain and voice go to auto-correct. The biggest blessing with Drivers Ed and the ensuing months after is the increased prayer life I have experienced.

    Yes, post what is in your third box please! I signed up but am on a wait list due to the amount of people who have signed up. Did this happen to you, and if so, how long were you on the wait list?

  32. says

    I didn’t know they were sisters either. I enjoy watching them on the TV show Nashville. They are very young and talented. And you do look like the photo of Melissa’s daughter. I love Melissa of The Inspired Room. She was one of the first bloggers I followed when I began blogging in 2007.

  33. says

    How do kids these days even know the positions of 7 and 4? Do they first have to teach them how to read an analog clock?

    And #10 – that’s the one I’m really good at! (In fact, ahem, I’m doing it right now.)

  34. says

    WHAT? #2!! WHAT??? Really? Seriously? And … why is it that EVERY comment isn’t about #2? Really? I guess a.l.m.o.s.t everybody really did know about #2 …. except a few of us. So glad that you shared that! How many times have I played “Twister” with my fingers to try to get a shot because I had to hold the phone in some STRANGE position that caused my fingers to be rendered uncooperative … all the while the volume buttons were waiting patiently for me to call upon them. Truly, I’m surprised that I didn’t ACCIDENTALLY learn this trick. So thankful for your “Things I’ve learned” posts.

    Would you consider making a button and making your monthly post a BIG “What I’ve learned this month” cross-posting-sharing celebration with virtual glitter and balloons and punch????? I bet others have super things to share, too? Now that I’ve written that, I know I can post about waxing the floor after eight years in a house and how it changes ones ability to move with more speed across wood …. *blushes*

    Thanks Em! You’re grand. You make me laugh. And I love the thought of you walking down the sidewalk, alone, looking up and “chatting at the sky.” That’s how I picture you when I think of you. 😀

  35. says

    THE UP VOLUME CAN TAKE PHOTOS??!! I think you just changed my life. Goodbye– I’m off to take the best selfie the world has ever seen! (PS: We all need a little frivolous on our blogs now and then. Keep them coming!)

  36. says

    Lovely singing! And I have a very old iPhone (one that has a single purpose for the volume up button) — so thanks for cluing me in to that cool feature if I ever upgrade to a new one. :-)
    And yes, friends were telling me that their daughter was learning 7 and 4 in drivers’ ed because of air bags. We told her to do what she needed to do in order to pass the class but that it would be much safer if she drove at 10 and 2 or 9 and 3 because she’d have better control of the wheel, thus reducing the likelihood of needing deployed airbags.

  37. says

    I feel safer when someone is driving at 10 and 2. My husband drives at 7 and 4 – A LOT – and I tell him the car shimmies (sp?) more when he does that. Of course I tell him it does that if he gets above 70 on he interstate too. If he ever finds out about the airbag, thumbs punching eyeballs theory, I’m in trouble. Like your list. I started a third blog (not public) for the purpose of playing around with themes etc and I made it a list blog. I’ve done a couple of what I like or learned type lists. Lists are fun – have been enjoying yours. In other news, I have had a writing block for quite some time now and am long overdue for a post on my blog. After reading your May newsletter and your guest post on How they blog I think I may be inspired to get back in the swing of things. We’ll see. I have been torn between writing about decor (I am passionate about decorating) or doing more inspirational writing (I’m also passionate about writing). I started my blog as a way to chronicle our house renovation (but have not really posted about that yet) instead I have found myself writing other stuff, and mostly without a clear direction. Which I think reflects my scattered brain. :)

  38. says

    I’m a big fan of your blog–it always has the right touch and feel. I like the desk! And yes, we want to hear about your 3rd Stitch Fix box!

  39. Robin says

    You are just hilarious and I need a little chuckle now and then because I am way too serious. Thanks for being genuinely wonderful because of the Light in you! Blessings!

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