The season of spring officially comes to a close this week.
Our school year is ending. Our wardrobes are changing. Time marches on.
But today, I wanted to take a pause. As life keeps going faster and faster, I find myself drawn to the idea of seasonal reflection as a way to process my own life and what I’ve learned in it.
So without further ado: Seven Things I Learned this Spring.
1 – Blogging is really good accountability for me.
Writing in this blog every week—for sixteen weeks—has been unbelievably stretching and ridiculously helpful.
Nobody was forcing me to write weekly. Some of you may even have a backlog of unopened emails from me because life is crazy. (So sorry, and I’ve been there!)
Writing weekly was a practical way to keep my own equilibrium in the forefront of my mind. Preparing for posts kept my mind mulling on good and true things. It helped me grab a hold of myself and give a “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” shake. It forced me to keep my pity-parties short.
I knew I didn’t have time to get off track and then back on track in time to write a helpful, let alone coherent blog post. Doing this was a just a click too hard for me, which made it a beneficial challenge, forcing me to grow.
2 – Even my cat struggles with anxiety.
Yes. My cat.
A couple months ago, Twinkle Toes started exhibiting signs of a UTI and I took her to the vet. Unfortunately, antibiotics did not help.
After some investigation, my vet informed me that my cat’s behavior was caused by stress. We could try Prozac, but that would entail me wrestling this already high-strung cat every day to pop a pill down her throat that would turn her into a lethargic blob of a cat.
I had been writing on this blog for a few weeks at that point and was really struggling to stay on an even keel, emotionally. My daughter had been needing late-night Mom Therapy sessions. And now, even my cat was struggling. It was definitely one of those “you’ve got to be kidding me” moments.
Long story short, we changed a few things—like the litter box locations—and are attempting to not be quite as rambunctious around her.
I am happy to report that symptoms have improved—everything but the over-grooming. But I can’t solve all the problems. If she wants to become a hairless cat, that’s on her. We will love her either way.
3 – Writing out the Psalms is a lovely way to end the day.
I’m not sure who originally came up with the idea, but I learned about it at one of my sister-in-law’s Homeschooling Well workshops. If you’ve never heard of the practice before, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
I got myself a blank notebook and one of my nice, inky pens. I broke out my cursive to ensure slow going and started with Psalm 1.
You just copy it. Into a notebook. It sounds so simple and maybe a bit silly. But it isn’t!
First of all, scrawling flouncy penmanship as I’m winding down for bed makes me feel like I’m in some sort of a Victorian novel. Just the act of writing is in itself super soothing.
More importantly, this slow, word by word meditation on the psalms feels so good to my soul. Writing out each verse is so much slower than reading them and doing it forces me to quiet my heart and notice things.
The goal is not to have a handwritten copy of the book of Psalms. The point is the practice of slowing down and meditating on good things. And it has been delightful.
4 – Praying mantises hatch out of these things:
This spring, I tackled a tangle of vines that love to yearly overrun our chain link fence. As I was fighting back the ivy, I found these curious pods attached to the branches. For nature study, we stuck them in a mesh container to see what would happen.
Lo and behold, hundreds of tiny praying mantises crawled out! They were adorable and we sent them off into the wild world.
5 – If you give the Lord a request for patience, He might just send you a glitchy printer.
At first I thought it was my fault. I had ordered copier paper for our laser printer. And not a little of it. The normal progression of printing looks like this: select print, go get printed papers. Easy peasy.
Here’s what my process looks like: pray, brace myself, select print, wait, take apart printer and fix paper jam, reassemble printer, wait, celebrate over two complete pages, unjam printer again, repeat.
We did this for weeks before I finally broke down and bought the right paper. And guess what. It still jams. So who even knows if it was the copy paper at all.
This might seem like such a small thing, and in some ways it is, but really, this printer could have been the death of my sanity and definitely of my pleasantness.
I literally just finished printing out my kids’ exams and it was not a streamlined experience.
But you know what? God is on the throne, and I am learning how to simultaneously face minor inconveniences and not turn into a monster.
Also, we’ll be saving up for a new printer.
6 – Beauty is everywhere.
This spring, I’ve made it a point to get outside more. And it has been lovely. Pausing throughout the day to notice the beauty around me does wonders for my mood. I don’t have to look further than my own backyard. Beauty is everywhere—even in the flowering weed growing through our rusty fence.
“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”Luke 12:27
7 – The Internet says that blogs with lists should have an odd number, rather than even.
Seeing how I could only think of six things, and that I technically did learn this fact, I felt it qualified enough to join my list. Whether odd or even numbers actually affect anything at all, I don’t know. The Internet says a lot of things, very confidently. That I know for sure.
But let’s go back to beauty. Here’s a poem we recited this year that has become one of my favorites. It’s basically a list of beautiful things. (And I found it on the Internet.)
Swift Things Are Beautiful
by Elizabeth Coatsworth
Swift things are beautiful:
Swallows and deer,
And lightning that falls
Bright-veined and clear,
Rivers and meteors,
Wind in the wheat,
The strong-withered horse,
The runner's sure feet.
And slow things are beautiful:
The closing of day,
The pause of a wave
That curves downward to spray,
The ember that crumbles,
The opening flower,
And the ox that moves on
In the quiet of power.
So there you have it. Seven things I learned this spring!
Anybody else want to do some seasonal reflecting? I’d love to hear what you all have been learning this spring! Scroll down and share your “aha! moments” in the comment section below.
Also, I’ve decided to take a sabbatical from blogging for the months of July and August. I’ve really enjoyed this spring and I look forward to forging ahead in the fall. But in the meantime, I have a delectable stack of books calling my name, a new school year to plan, and summer adventures to embark upon.
If I feel there is something pressing to write about, you never know, I might check in.
In any case, if you haven’t yet, I’d love for you to consider subscribing to A Life at Rest.
I know I could have used a blog like this. Actually, I currently need a blog like this. Lol. I write what I need to hear and you are welcome to listen in.
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See you next week for my last post before summer break!