What I Learned Fall 2020

What I Learned Fall 2020

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Fall is known as a time of change, and this year was no exception. I began the season waiting in anticipation after submitting an article to a magazine, and three months later, I have my words in print…as well as 68,957 words toward a novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo. If you’ve wondered where I’ve been, I’ve been hiding in my study, typing away.

I had considered using NaNo this year to be a “rebel” and work on the project that started me writing in the first place, but this is 2020, so I decided to make my own world for a while. As an enneagram 9, I am unsure if I did this to numb or if it was healthy…but I have a lot of words toward a book that has an end in sight, so I am going to keep convincing myself it was a good thing!

It has been a rough year for us all, but the past couple of months have been the worst for me, if we’re being honest. I recently lost someone dear to me, and although I know she is in heaven and no longer suffering, sometimes I am selfish and want her to be here again. Grief is something we have to keep learning to live with since there will always be an ache where she is missing, and some days are harder than others. I’ve learned this lesson before, but it seems with each new loss, I am reminded that grief comes in waves. I suppose that could be the first thing I mention here that I’ve learned. Or is it the second, since I learned I can write a lot of words in a month when I stick my butt down in a chair and refuse to move until I’ve reached my goal? Hm.

It is possible to win NaNoWriMo.

I did it in less than a month, actually. My goal was to get to 50,000 words by the end of November, which would be about 1,667 words a day.

By the end of the second day, I had 10,000 words.

I officially “won” on November 19th.

If writing was a goal you have for your life, here’s my advice: just write. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to start at the beginning or have everything planned out. Just write. You cannot edit a blank page.

I plan to let this project sit once I complete it. I probably won’t pick it back up until at least March because I have plans for the next three months, and I am sure after February I will want to be in my own little world again. December is for finishing the rough draft (and let me tell you, it is rough!) and catching up on some reading, and January is for knitting and probably binge-watching I Love Lucy and old Disney creations.

Grief comes in waves.

I already wrote about this, so I’ll simply link back to that and give you a poem I shared on Instagram semi-recently.

A good chair makes all the difference.

I bought myself a new chair for my study, and I love it. I am so glad I got it before I ended up spending days on end in it, and I am even more glad that it is comfortable, so I didn’t have to move around the house too much as I wrote. I spent a couple of hours at the dining room table, but that was mostly to enjoy the little bit of sunlight before it got dark out way too early. (Not a fan of this getting dark at five o’clock thing, by the way. Anyone else feeling this?)

The art of shopping your house and your yard. Or, in my case, a friend’s yard.

Myquillyn Smith (who gets to use her actual last name because her first name is so unique. And no, we aren’t related through marriage. At least, I don’t think so…) released her book Welcome Home and had a wonderful series of Instagram stories teaching us how to decorate for the seasons using things you actually find in nature instead of fake leaves from the store. I found these lovely dying flowers, mixed them with some dried roses I have collected over the years and used a container I already had to make this lovely fall centerpiece. I am having a hard time throwing it away, but that’s the joy of using real things: you don’t have to store them!

As I decide to feel more Christmassy, I am sure I will let go of them. I currently have my tree up (with only lights on it because that’s my favorite part) and my advent wreath on my table (I am working through Tsh Oxenreider’s new book Shadow & Light. It is beautiful inside and out!)

Drive-in concerts are a thing now and work much better than anticipated.

Six of us enjoyed our first live concert of 2020 from the bed of Andrew’s truck. I figured it would be hard to see, and we’d mostly watch the screen instead of seeing the stage, but we were able to see For King & Country and enjoyed it thoroughly! Thank God for living where there are a lot of open fields and farmers who are willing to let them be used for something other than growing crops.

Natalie and Will shared the tool box while the rest of us sat on three BMW chairs that were definitely hooked up to batteries so we could adjust them. And yes, my husband is holding my little brother’s head up so he would actually look at me as I took the picture.

Fall beach trips with twelve family members are not as bad as anticipated.

Yes. We went to the beach. And we loved it. And we didn’t kill each other.

My family is a family of six that has grown to ten through two marriages and two sassy little girls. We invited our “adopted” brothers along and had a grand time. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time actually in the water, but we were just a short walk from the beach, so we got to spend sunrises and sunsets there, as well as some night time shenanigans that may have included chasing (or being chased by) crabs. It was fun, and amazingly no one got hurt. 10/10 would go again.

If you move your freezer, make sure it is running after you plug it back in.

I found it a week later. 0/10 would not recommend. Enough said.

P.S. I am thankful for family who owns businesses and has dumpsters so rotten food can be disposed of on a Saturday afternoon. Yikes.

If a doctor seems uncomfortable doing something, you should probably feel uncomfortable with them doing something.

And for goodness’ sake, if you aren’t comfortable with them putting an IV in somewhere, tell them. Don’t end up with a blown vein and a hand that aches for a month. Another 0/10, do not recommend.

Pictures made it look better than it was. It was quite swollen and very black and blue.

Holding words you’ve written in a magazine makes something come alive within a writer.

It’s not as complicated as we make it out to be. Just write it. You will be glad you did.

You can find the article here or purchase the magazine here.

Getting your dog groomed professionally is worth the time and money.

My almost thirteen-year-old puppy experienced a real grooming for the first time ever and came out of there looking years younger. It is crazy! She is so soft and fluffy and smells so good! When she was getting blown out, it looked like there was a snowstorm in there, so much fur was flying! To any of my local friends, I hope you check out Paws & Claws on 8th Street for all your grooming needs! (Please note, the business is under a new owner and is doing a slow opening right now as my friend Angela figures out her new business. She is great with animals, and my older, inexperienced dog tolerated her well. Angela was patient and gentle, and I will be taking Mountain Pie back to her!)

She doesn’t like letting me get good pictures of her. But she got SO FLUFFY!

Well, there are ten things I’ve learned. I’ve learned a lot more and continually find it fascinating how we keep learning as we get older. I hope you continue to keep learning, and feel free to share in the comments what you have learned in the past three months!

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