Welcome to What We Learned, where we pause to reflect on the past season before we move ahead into the future. At the end of this post, you’re invited to link up to your own list of what you learned this quarter – be it silly, serious, sacred, or just plain useful. I like to share a mix of all of those.

WWL Spring 2017 epf

Here are 10 things I learned this spring in no particular order.

1. Watching your kids grow up feels like torn lace, like smoke, like wedding mints melting on your tongue.

For several years I’ve been trying to put into words what it feels like to have not-quite-grown kids but also not little kids, either. I was finally able to write my way through it here: What it Feels Like When Your Kids Are Growing Up.


2. Clarity cannot be rushed.

Thank you for that, Marie Forleo.


3. I prefer half and half to flavored creamer.

This is a small detail of my life. But two years ago I could not have imagined my coffee without flavored creamer. Then I went off sugar for 30 days and used milk instead of fancy creamer and then when I tried the fancy creamer again it tasted like perfume and I haven’t been able to go back.


4. The meaning of quid-pro-quo.

I have lived 40 years and never knew what this meant. But then they said it on Designated Survivor so I looked it up. Incase you also don’t know, it means doing something as a favor with an expectation that you’ll get a favor in return. Like, I’ll give you the quid if you give me the quo. That kind of thing.


5. If you cook eggs too fast they get tough.

I guess I knew this sort of  but I never thought about why. It’s because eggs are protein! Of course. I listened to this interview with The Barefoot Contessa and she casually mentioned this simple and obvious fact I’ve never thought of before.


6. Alcoholism doesn’t have to get the final say.

Dad stopped drinking nearly 30 years ago, but this month brings it all back around again as his first book releases into the world next week.

Mom + Dad

I wish I could tell my ten-year-old self that one day my alcoholic, non-believing-in-Jesus dad would write a book about about God and family and grace and what it means to get along with the people who matter most.


7. If God has something to tell me, He won’t let me miss it.

This I’ve learned from Dallas Willard. He writes in Hearing God that when he asks something of God – for direction or clarity in some way – he states it simply and then devotes the next hour or so to “housework, gardening, driving about on errands or paying bills,” things that keep his hands busy but his mind open.

Then he says this: “I’ve learned not to worry about whether or not this is going to work. I know it does not have to work, but I am sure that it will work if God has something he really wants me to know or do. This is ultimately because I am sure of how great and good He is.”

Over the last three months, that has helped me to rest in the midst of my unknowing.

What We Learned - Emily P Freeman

8. Turning 40 is a relief.

I didn’t realize it until after my birthday in April, but I have been symbolically holding my breath for a year in anticipation of this milestone birthday. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I think 39 was somewhat of a grieving for me on many different levels.

As it turns out, I’ve experienced a peace I can’t quite explain over the past month – hopeful for the future, grateful for life, and glad to be growing in wisdom and perspective.


9. I crave time with whole-hearted creative women.

In March I spent some time thinking about what it means to be a whole-hearted creative woman and I came up with a list of 8 things whole-hearted creative women do differently. Since then, that phrase has felt glad on my lips. In the last several months, I’ve decided to be intentional with these kinds of women – to learn from them, to work beside them, and to champion their work.


10. It all counts.

A short walk around the block, one yoga class per month, writing or reading a paragraph per day, choosing kindness once when you could haven chosen defense – it all counts. Small movement is still movement.


I keep track of what I’m learning by using my seasonal reflection lists. You can get your own printable lists for tracking your reflections by signing up right here. If you’re new around here and want to know what, how, and tools to track what you’re learning, check out A New Page for Your Bullet Journal.

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