What I Learned in April

Emily over at Chatting at the Sky has made it a practice to record the things she learns each month. It’s a valuable habit, this habit of reflection, and so I’ve been joining her in it for the past year. If you’d like to join us as we remember, you can comment on this post with what you learned, or head over to Emily’s site and link up there.

1. I am deathly allergic to something in or around the zoo this time of year.

Katie and I took a trip to the zoo with a local moms’ group this month and I, thinking my allergies had abated enough to avoid medication, neglected to take my trusty Claritin. Big mistake. An hour into my time there, I was sneezing enough that it was eliciting comments from the other women and my vanity was grateful that it was just sunny enough to wear sunglasses, which hid my puffy, watery eyes.

I took a magic white pill the moment I got home, and then showered in the hopes of washing away whatever it was that was causing me such misery, but my symptoms didn’t really abate until the next day. Lesson learned: Claritin every day in the spring, without fail, even if I don’t think I need it.

Despite my finicky nose and sinuses, we did have fun – Katie’s favorites were the giraffes and the monkeys.

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2. Hearing an author read his or her own words can change your perspective on that work.

I had the opportunity to attend Calvin College’s Festival of Faith and Writing in the middle of the month (many thanks to my thoughtful husband who not only encouraged me to go, but took the time off of work to be with Katie so that it was possible). I could write this entire post on lessons learned there (and I may yet share some reflections on my experiences), but one thing that struck me as I listened to various authors speak was that hearing and reading are two very different things. While a short story may have struck me as nothing very special as I read it on the page, hearing it read aloud, from the writer’s lips, brought it to life.

There’s more to be explored here, I’m sure. I’m still thinking through how to apply this concept of listening and perceiving in my everyday life.

3. People are often kind, even when I am awkward (or: I should fight my introvert tendencies now and then).

While at FFW, I saw (from afar) several bloggers whose work I admire. Mostly, they were there to attend and to learn and to grow, as I was, and my self-conscious inner voice often convinced me that the last thing they probably wanted was to be approached by a random stranger who only knew of them through their writings on the Internet. But finally, with a few of them, after much hemming and hawing and inner debate, I worked up the nerve to say hello, to introduce myself, and to tell them I found encouragement or challenge or joy in their words.

And you know what? Unsurprisingly, they were gracious and kind and responsive, despite my awkward introductions and my self-conscious laughter. I left glad that I’d said hello.

4. Bullet journaling might not be my thing – but I am going to try again.

At the end of March, I bought myself a new notebook, all fired up and excited to try this bullet journaling thing I’ve heard so much about. I carefully laid out my Table of Contents and started my Daily Log and dreamed of all the Collections I’d begin and then I managed to make it all the way to April 9th before things came to a grinding halt. Sigh. I still like the idea of the thing, so I will try again in May. If any of you have successfully kept one of these things, I’d love any tips or pointers you might have for making it a habit!

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5. Baby Palmer is a … girl!

We’re more than halfway (!) into this pregnancy, which meant we were able to determine the gender of our newest addition at our last ultrasound. It came with all of the tech’s disclaimers that it isn’t a guarantee and there’s a possibility he was wrong, etc etc, but it appears that we’ll be adding another girl to our family come August. We’d have been thrilled either way, of course, but it will be fun to have a sister for Katie.

Those are the things I learned in April. What about you? What did you learn?

This Thing Called Life

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One Response to What I Learned in April

  1. jywatkins says:

    When I went to writer’s workshop in Princeton last spring, I went alone so each meal and event I had to overcome my introverted tendencies and meet new people. At least two to three times I happened to meet special guests or big time authors without realizing it until halfway through the conversation and I kep feelinh so silly for not recognizing them. They too were kind and gracious, even when I became flustered.

    Congrats on the baby girl, so exciting!

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