what I learned in January 2015

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I am always thinking about ways that I can sit down and “just write” instead of the blog posts that take more thinking and writing time. I’ve been reading Emily Freeman’s “What I Learned” series for a while, and I’m hoping to participate this year. Here’s what I learned in January.

1. IKEA stands for the name and hometown of the store’s founder. It is Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd (the town where he grew up), and Agunnaryd (the county or kommun where he grew up). But more importantly I found this information out via Swedish friends and not Wikipedia.  This makes me feel extremely Swedish. 

2. Swedes are a my favourite. This is a subject for a longer blog post, but what I learned about myself this month is that I am falling hard for this country and its beautiful people. I have lived in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, the United States, Australia, Switzerland and now Sweden, and easily Swedish people are my favourite people and culture.

3. Walking downhill on ice. Don’t do it. We had a thick layer of ice on the ground two weeks ago (and there is still a lot around), and I was walking down a sloping driveway, holding Little Bear, and we slipped and fell.

4. Buttermilk pancakes by Martha are stunning. Do not overmix the batter. Leave the lumps in. Gloriously fluffy pancakes.

5. I can keep amaryllis alive, said the woman who held dead mint and rosemary in her hands. This is the second round of blooms out of my amaryllis plant this winter, a gorgeous display of colour and life as winter takes most of it away from us.

6. Sabbath is life-giving but killer hard to maintain. I write for myself, so when these words come out, it is rarely to convince you of something, more because I need convincing, and the best way for me to do that is to speak to myself. I have never needed rest more than I need it right now, but every Sunday that rolls around, I have to fight off my inner desire to work on something, to check my phone, to keep my mind busy.

7. Let It Go, Let It Go. I’m late to this party, but I have two boys under three-and-a-half, so we’re partying, but with Thomas the Tank Engine, not an army of Elsas. But I do read, and by now I know that you, your little girls, adolescent girls, teenagers and everyone (and maybe even guys) in between, love Frozen, live Frozen, and received an Elsa dress for Christmas, etc. etc. etc. I went to a friend’s 40th birthday party two weekends ago, and during the dancing part, the DJ played, you guessed it, a certain song about snow glowing white on a mountain tonight, and the room paused, the vast majority of adults danced and belted the song out at the top of their lungs. Most of them have small kids, but it was still stunning to watch grown men and women with their arms flung to their sides, drama poses on, all Here I’ll stand, and here I’ll stay. 

I think Let It Go is more than the song of a generation of five-year-olds. It’s our generation’s song well.

8. Balance. We are organizing IF: Stockholm, part of IF: Gathering for next weekend. It has been a sweet, rewarding and fulfilling experience to launch into the unknown with this, and I am unspeakably excited about what will take place in February 7. But balancing life at home with life outside the home has done my head in. I didn’t figure out any answers in January, but I learned and was reminded daily that it is very, very difficult to maintain a rich life inside the home and a rich life outside of it. (And if you live in Stockholm and want to join us on February 7, we would love to have you. Register here.)

I’m linking up with Emily Freeman from the beautiful blog Chatting At The Sky.

What did you learn in January? Join us.

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