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.

If you’re visiting for the first time from my podcast The Next Right Thing, welcome! We do this every quarter and will share our next list (What We Learned in Spring) on Thursday May 31. Grab your free printable list here to help you keep track and plan to share with us then. Now you can also share your list on Instagram using #wwlcommunity.

Here are things I learned this winter in no particular order:


1. Leah Remini auditioned for the role of Monica Gellar on Friends.

I’m listening to Leah’s memoir Troublemaker on audible right now (and, side note, I feel like I could rock a Brooklyn accent after spending hours listening to her). She talks about how she got into (and eventually out of) Scientology and it is fascinating.

But she also shares a lot about her work as an actress and said when she didn’t get the part of Monica, she was devastated because she knew that show was going to be huge. Of course she was right.

2. Every now and then, friendship has a red letter day. But that’s not the norm.

Speaking of Friends, I went to college with these girls and our small group met on Thursday nights. We would talk about Jesus and pray and laugh. But some weeks we would skip all that and just watch Friends. (Because Thursday night at 8pm).

Every now and then, friendship has a red letter day – like a trip to NYC to see Hamilton for example. But the only reason that’s even possible is because of the years and years of regular life and small connections built over coffee dates and Zumba class and long stretches of ordinary time.


3. It’s a wild and wonderful thing to bump into someone and realize it’s you.

If you’ve never felt the shocking, delightful, tender relief of finally feeling like your true self, then this quote might sound strange.

When I heard our friend and teacher Fil say it at an Enneagram workshop we hosted a few weeks back, I nodded and cried.

Coming home can do that to a person. In the presence of God is where we find ourselves. And in the presence of our true self, we finally see God.

I dedicated an entire podcast episode to that this month here — 25: Come Home to Yourself.


4. When it comes to art, we don’t care as much about new; we just want true.

I cried in the car by myself the first time I heard Stay Alive (Reprise) on the Hamilton soundtrack. It’s the part where Alexander and Eliza learn their son Philip was just shot in a duel.

But seeing it acted out, right there in the Rodgers theater on Broadway? Welp. I cried like a b-a-b-y. It was Alexander and Eliza sing-repeating – “I know, I know . . . I know, I know.”

That’s what got me. It didn’t matter that I knew it was going to happen.

It didn’t matter that I have heard the song hundreds of times already.

What mattered was those actors were in it. It wasn’t a new scene to me. But it was a true scene. And that’s why it mattered.


5. If one kid is on a travel team, it’s a commitment for the whole family.

I knew this, but I didn’t know this. One of our girls is on a travel volleyball team this season and it’s equal parts super fun and super overwhelming.

It’s weird the stuff we do for our kids. We set aside our own agenda, our own grief, our own plans and comfort and ideas of what makes a productive weekend and we drive and sit and wait and pack lunches and stand around and carry bags and refill water bottles.

It’s all part of cheering our kids through all their things – wins, losses, and everything in between.


6. My favorite day of Christmas break is December 26.

While I used to dread the day after Christmas, it has officially become one of my favorite days. This year my family was still in town for one more night, we had no agenda but to watch Little Women and eat pizza and finish a wooden puzzle of Florence and have basically the best day ever.


7. I associate seasons in our life with TV shows.

It’s weird, but when I look back at my journals from a few years ago, I like to remember what shows we watched together during a particular season. Here are the shows we’ve watched this winter.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: This is the best. We watch one basically every night.

This Is Us: Will we ever forget the episode after the Super Bowl? No we will not ever.

Stranger Things: We finally watched Season 1 and it took us this long because I was scared. But I stuck it out and it was so good. On to Season 2 now.

Good Witch: This show was our answer to the kids question of “is there a show we can watch together as a family?” It’s cheesy, predictable, no one is having sex or saying cuss words and it has townspeople (kind of). Check.


8. The ending does not get to define the whole story.

January 13, 2018 was the first day in 104 years that the sun rose on a world without John’s grandmother, Budder.

She died last month in a house fire. We believe the Lord was with her in her final moments and received her with tenderness and great joy.

At first the overwhelming sadness of how her life ended was too much – after all these years, a fire? Really? But the truth is, she’s been ready to be with Jesus, her husband, and her oldest son (John’s Dad) for decades now.

She had 104 beautiful, faithful years and one tragic morning that, in the truest reality, was the most glorious of her life.

If you want to read more about Budder:


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.

Some linking tips: 

  • Just use your name for the “link title” – it’s simpler
  • Be sure to link back here on  your post so your readers can join in!