Let’s Share What We Learned in December

This month I’ve learned a lot of things about rest, listening, and what it looks like for me to create space for my soul to breathe. But for me, those things need to be worked out in posts of their own. So today, on the almost-last-day-of-December, I bring you 10 less important but hopefully still interesting things I learned this month:

1. The smell of rosemary makes me feel sad. I tried that your-house-will-smell-like-Williams-Sonoma trick I learned on Pinterest, where you simmer rosemary and lemon and vanilla and some other what-nots in water on your stove. But a few minutes in and I had to throw it out and scrub the inside of my nostrils with peppermint.

2. The smell of bay leaves, lemon, orange peel, cloves, and cinnamon makes me feel happy. I had to redeem the first round. This one was delightful.

simmer on the stove

3. My smeller is apparently strongly connected to my feeler.

4. When walking through a store that plays music, I work hard to try not to walk to the beat. It is my grown up rebellion, I suppose.

5. I enjoy the lovey Christmas movies on Netflix. They are fantastically cheesy and highly predictable. “Love at the Christmas Table” with Winnie Cooper I mean Danika McKeller was my favorite. I already regret telling you this. You could watch the whole movie or you could just watch the trailer and you’ve pretty much seen it.

6. My kids know where I hide the Christmas gifts.

7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas was introduced by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis.

8. Netflix does not have Meet Me in St. Louis available to stream. Womp.

9. Songs have power similar to smell. They can take me back something fierce. Since June when I learned Jewel is a Kilcher, I’ve been paying more attention to her because Alaska. I listened to Foolish Games the other day and I was suddenly 19 and pining and craving swiss cake rolls and soothing my angst with Jewel like you do. Girl can sing.

10. Finally, this month I’ve remembered how important it is for me to write even when it gets hard. Margaret Feinburg is sharing an interview we did up on her blog today and reading my answers, I remembered how hard writing can be but also how thankful I am that I get to do it. It isn’t exactly something I’ve learned this month, but it’s something I’ve remembered – the importance of practicing what I already know to be true.

Now it’s your turn.

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  1. says

    I love number 4 – made me laugh out loud! We’ve been drinking spiced winter red tea this year – it smells like and tastes like you are drinking christmas – we’re loving it.

  2. says

    Netflix also doesn’t have “Its A Wonderful Life” available to stream. My husband and I looked everywhere for it, and eventually found it posted (probably illegally) on YouTube.

  3. says

    Love at the Christmas Table was my very favorite cheesy Christmas movie from last year. Because, of COURSE. I’m so bummed I didn’t get to watch it this year. (Luckily I watched it about three times last year. Yes, as a matter of fact, I *am* proud of myself for that…) :)

    • says

      Agreed! (and agreed!)

      My Girlie is not feeling so great today – which is not so great other than the fact that it gives us an excuse to lay around and ‘rest’ all day… and this movie is on my To Do List now! I promise I won’t think less of you! LOL! (Who doesn’t LOVE a cheesy Christmas movie?)

  4. Connie says

    Okay, I’m in…here are a few things I learned in December….

    1) The movie Free Willy turned 20 this year and the actor that played the boy is 33 years old. Where, I ask you, has time gone??

    2) My beagles have a direct connection to God. Whenever I talk to them about Jesus they get excited and they wag their tales intensely.

    3) Chewy gobstoppers are the best snack when writing a dissertation. They are the right mix of sweet, crunch and chew to help the brain keep putting words on the page.

    4) The early morning hours, when the sky is still asleep, the Christmas tree is twinkling and the beagles are snuggly make the perfect time for coffee, reflection, repentence and gratefulness during the holiday season.

    5) There is simply joy in just being at home, in your pajamas, hanging out with those you love and who love you. They are times to be savored.

    I’m sure there is more, but I must get back to the dissertation. I pray everyone had a very Merry Christmas and that the new year ahead is filled to overflowing with blessings!

  5. says

    These are some of my favorite posts to write. Thanks for the invitation to put something out there during a time of year when my brain is nearly fresh out of words.

  6. says

    Wait. What? Jewel is a Kilcher? I’m from Alaska and take great pride in knowing these essential facts about my home state. But this is big news to me. Thanks for sharing and I enjoyed the link, too. She is so adventurous. I loved your post today. The things you share about yourself are authentic and make me laugh. Thanks for allowing us to link up with you. Happy New Year!

  7. Christine Ann says

    Here are my ‘Things I learned in December’ list ( Thanks for your Dec mix of all that you learned).
    1) December has all but flashed by in a whirlwind of planning, spending, creating , eating and trying to keep focus on the real meaning of Christmas.. Jesus.
    2)Learning the lesson, not to set myself too high a task of handcrafting gifts and settling ( with relief) to purchasing ready made things instead. Just as nice, but not made by me.. It’s the thought that counts.. Really!
    3)Learning to find the grace needed to get along with my ageing and awkward mother when she came to stay. ( patience did not come naturally or easily). So I give thanks to the Holy Spirit for the extra patience needed.
    4) Finding out that my husband and I are really big kids at heart.. when we choose to go and see ‘Frozen’ at the cinema ( without the excuse of taking grandchildren ). This was our 36th Wedding anniversary outing!!!!
    5) Finding joy in being part of ‘The Great Big Christmas Hamper’ project. In a day of packing and distributing 60 wonderful hampers of food and gifts for families across our city. Reflecting the true heart of Christmas.
    6) Learning it is greater to give than receive, when helping to provide a Christmas Dinner for 12 young mother’s at a pregnancy Crisis centre. A lot of work but so rewarding to see joy in their faces.
    7)Learning a lesson, after I left a candle burning , when we went out for the evening, coming home to the smell of scorched wood.. Thankfully there was only a scorch mark .. there could have been a fire. Extra vigilant with candles all through rest of December!!!!
    8) Learned to battle envy.. and be pleased that others in the family had I-Pad’s and Tablet’s as gifts, and to remind myself that gifts come at other times of the year too. My time will come…
    9) Keeping up the prayers for members of the family who are struggling through a turbulant time in their marriage and not to take anything for granted.
    10) Learning to forgive and see through new eyes, those who hurt or fail us…( This could be a constant theme through 2014.)

  8. says

    I have yet to try that william-sonoma-scent trick from Pinterest! I would love to try my hand at that soon. That is good to keep in mind about the scent in connection to emotions!

  9. says

    I love this idea! I just found your blog through recommendation from Heidi. Just whipped out a post for this and linked. It’s my first time linking. :)

  10. says

    Smell is incredibly important to me, too – one of my favs is cinnamon, orange – just like you listed. Every time I smell coffee, I get hungry for a club sandwich. When I was little, my mom would take my downtown to the department stores and we would have lunch at the coffee shop. I got 1/4 of her club sandwich! LOL Wishing you much blessing in the new year!

  11. says

    I love Alaska! Crazy that Jewel is a Kilcher. New information for me. I like what you said about practicing the things we know – I had to remember that too.

  12. says

    I died laughing hard reading #4! And #5, Winnie Cooper! Emily you are the best.
    When it comes to the smell thing, you are right. My background is psychology and if I remember correctly, our senses, especially the sense of smell, are closely associated with memory. Just like the tune of Bon Jovi’s Living On A Prayer can bring back some memories from our adolescence (how old am I?), a smell of musk perfume can bring back a long lost memory with a strong emotion. Interesting, eh?
    Happy New Year! ox

  13. says

    I KNEW I WAS FORGETTING SOMETHING TODAY! Boo. ‘Tis what happens when you sleep in til… uh… 1:30pm. It happens. Gotta love that nocturnal-ness college gives you, right?

    My list (I might write a post and go more in-depth on it tomorrow, we’ll see):

    1. Grieving a pet sucks. I’ve grieved my dog ten times harder than I’ve ever grieved a human. My 9 yo pug died 2 days before Thanksgiving unexpectedly; he’s been my buddy since 5th grade, so I’ve been pretty torn up about it (and my Mom is 10 times worse).

    2. Buying Christmas presents for people with my OWN money is so much fun. Wrapping them on my own, not so much.

    3. Dave Barnes’ new Christmas album is my new favorite. So smooth and fabulous.

    4. Online college classes are of the devil. Evil, evil, EVIL!

    5. Finals week is a lot easier when you only have one actual final to take. The rest of my finals were all either done outside of class or weren’t a test. I lucked out big time.

    6. Christmas is when everyone gets sick. Always.

    7. Postponing Dad’s family Christmas gatherings because of #6 seriously saved my sanity. Made this divorced kid’s life so much easier.

    8. My Mom can never ever go without having me pick what I want for Christmas, then tells me she didn’t get it, only to find it Christmas morning. I’m 21 years old, I know how she works by now.

    9. Furbies are BACK, and Furbies are TEN! TIMES! FREAKIER! Than they were when I was a child. AHHH.

    10. 2013 Was a pretty great year, minus the loss of my dog. I’m ready to tackle 2014 head on with whatever God’s got in store.

    Bonus #11: Halfway done w/ Grace for the Good Girl. Emily, you’re rockin’ my world with this book. Just sayin’.

  14. says

    This post made me smile so much! My smeller and feeler are highly connected, too. And I can’t listen to Dashboard Confessional at all because it makes me 16 again.

    Also, my husband and I watched lots of those cheesy predictable Netflix Christmas movies, too. He made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone about one of the ones we watched… so I can’t name it. But it made us laugh so hard at all the cheese!! But really… we like them anyway because they always have feel-good endings :)

  15. says

    The holidays stole my time and I never got around to writing my own “What I Learned in December” post but here on this first day of the new year, I know exactly what I learned in December…. WORK OUT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND DONT EAT TOO MUCH BECAUSE YOU WILL PAY FOR IT NEXT YEAR!!!

    Happy New Year, Emily! I look forward to reading more of your heart and journey in the year ahead…

  16. Linda says

    Going backwards:

    3. I have to watch that movie.

    2. Mom of five here…after a couple Christmases of finding little ones not -so-surreptitiously unwrapping the gifts under the tree that were placed there on the 20th, I learned to thwart their evil ways and assigned each kid a reindeer name. They didn’t know which gifts were theirs. “Am I Prancer, Mom?” Except for one little problem…neither did I because I forgot to write myself the key. 😀

    1. What I learned in December: If I plan on making homemade presents, I really do need to start sooner…

  17. says

    You just got me hooked on Alaksa: The Last Frontier. I had no idea this even existed, but Jewel’s bio was incredible so of course I clicked through and now I need to see every episode available. Can I tell you what a huge piece of me wishes I could travel across anywhere with a ladder on my back and homestead and not be scared or anxious but just bold and courageous?

  18. says

    This makes me smile every time. I missed it this month. I don’t think I could come up with anything now, but I surely love reading everyone else’s lists. I don’t like rosemary at all so it would probably make me sad, too. Songs do me the same way.

    I think I’ll start working on my January list today. I learned something already and it’s only the second day of January. 😉

  19. says

    Just getting a chance to say that right before Christmas I listened to the Art of Simple Podcast and loved it. I have three younger sisters and we definitely have a telltale laugh–my kids always know who I’m talking to on the phone when they hear that laugh. Sisters are the best!

    Happy New Year!

  20. says

    This December? I’ve learned I’m both a better and worse person than I could have imagined.

    2013 kicked me in the teeth as many times as it possibly could, but I’m still standing. All of my loved ones are still alive although that was questionable a few weeks ago.

    I’ve learned that sometimes the most saintly thing you can do is pick yourself up and try again.

  21. says

    I missed the cut-off but did find something very pivotal in December that allowed me to move from desiring to be seen, to appreciating being hidden.
    God knows when I am reading to come out and shine my light. In the meantime I am Living in the Hidden Dimension!

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