Welcome to What We Learned, where we pause to reflect on the past season before we move ahead into the future.

Before I share my list of what I learned this winter, I wanted to be sure you saw these free printable lists we made for you to help keep track of your own reflections.

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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. Here are 8 things I learned this winter in no particular order.

what we learned winter

1. One of my strengths is the ability to bear witness to grief and/or pain without trying to fix it.

When John and I took the kids to the doctor for shots when they were little, I always felt like a bad mom because it didn’t bother me to watch them get pricked. I mean, I didn’t like it, but I was okay being with them, holding them, and comforting them in the midst of their pain.

And maybe I would have seen that as a strength, except for the fact that my husband always had to leave the room, sometimes in tears. What is wrong with me?!

But then I learned through The Road Back to You Podcast that Enneagram 4s are able to bear witness to grieve and pain without having to fix it. I’ve known I’m a 4 for years now, but this was the first time I realized this comfort I have with grief and pain can actually be a strength to serve others.

2. The Facebook Groups App changed my Facebook experience.

This winter I learned the truth about my Facebook experience – 90 percent of my Facebook time is spent inside private groups.

what we learned

I love these private groups but don’t love having to get on Facebook to get to them. Enter the Facebook Groups app. All of what I want, none of what I don’t want.

3. How to do things one at at a time.

What We Learned

I’ve never really chosen a word for the year, but one thing I have done is choose a theme for a quarter. This quarter’s theme is all about the spiritual practice of doing one thing at a time. I haven’t fully learned that yet but one thing I learned for sure – it’s hard to do one thing at a time.

4. My little Indiana hometown is known around the world.

I grew up on the same street as the hospital where I was born in Columbus, Indiana. I thought every town had colorful ramps in their elementary school, odd sculptures outside the library that looked like elephants legs, and storybook clock towers in the town square.

Columbus, Indiana

Turns out that little town where I’m from is “known around the world for its collection of work by renowned architects, landscape architects, and artists.” The town is referred to as a must-see for any fan of mid-century modern architecture.

A movie called simply “Columbus” debuted at Sundance this year with rave reviews.

Reading about this film has taken me back to my childhood. Now I see the smooth concrete walls of my elementary school and the newspaper offices made of glass with brand new eyes. And I love it.

5. My Grandpa enlisted in the army just a week before Pearl Harbor.

Over Christmas break I signed up for Ancestry.com and I went in deep, y’all. I learned all kinds of things about my family I didn’t know and one interesting fact was that mom’s dad joined the army just a week before Pearl Harbor (and he was 5’8” and weighed 136 pounds at the time.)

I have so many questions about his experience, but there aren’t a lot of answers as he died in the early 2000s. But learning little details about my family from generations back has been fascinating.

6. Wearing tall shoes helps me feel productive.

What We Learned

When my work requires me to do a lot of sitting at my desk, I’ve found it helps my productivity to wear my tall shoes on those days. I’m 5’4 on a good day, so when I get up from my desk to refill my coffee and all of a sudden I’m 5’9? It’s time to change the world!

7. Though I pride myself on embracing mystery + curious questions, I would secretly prefer everything have a reason.

I threw my back out a few weeks ago and spent a few days walking around hunched over like the old lady version of myself. My mother-in-law gifted me a massage and when I went, the therapist told me the side of my back that was not injured was actually more tight than the one I injured.

“Is that weird?” I asked, wanting her to diagnose my problem.

“It’s just information,” she answered.

And I realized in that moment that a lot of my life I’ve spent asking is that weird? in various situations, wanting to find a reason or explanation for things. I’m learning the importance of simply letting things be what they are without demanding a reason or an explanation. Everything doesn’t have to have a story. Some things just are.

8. Pinto beans make me happy.

I’ve been craving beans lately. I made pinto beans for the first time this winter and topped them with some sour cream and salsa and cilantro and then I died of happiness. What took me so long?


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 at the top of the posts or right here.

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!