What I Learned

12 Things I Learned this Winter



Winter is coming to an end, just as it does every year, and I find myself stepping a little bit lighter and feeling energized by the fresh air, the warm sunshine and the hope that’s springing up from the ground.


It’s time for another round up of What We Learned with Emily.  In no particular order, here are 12 things I learned this winter.


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1. House plants are life-giving.  I’m hesitant to put too many plants around our home because I think some of our children will play with the dirt and rip them to pieces, but slowly we’re bringing some in.  This post by Jones Design Company was helpful in learning the kinds of plants that will do well.  And she talks about having a weekly rhythm of watering them, which is also helpful.  Right now we just have two, but every time I see them I smile.


2. Reading the news is worth my time.  Some of you may be laughing at me because, of course it is, but y’all, I have had my head in the sand for most of my life and been completely unaware of current events.  Bradley would fill me in from time to time, but that was about it.  Facebook had become my only source of ‘news’ and we all know how unhealthy that can be.  I enjoy knowing some of what’s happening in the world, and it’s provided content for good discussions with Bradley and the kids as we navigate through these sensitive times.


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3. I have a thing for bridges.  There are so many bridges in our area and I love every single one.  It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, there is always beauty to be found and sometimes I turn the car around just to get a picture.


4.Lady GaGa’s real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germonatta.  If my head has been in the sand regarding current events, it’s also been buried in ignorance regarding pop culture.  When the Super Bowl halftime show was being announced, I knew nothing about Lady GaGa’s music, life, etc.  I was intrigued by her name, so looked it up.  Her real name is beautiful and it’s a shame that we don’t hear it, but I can see why she would want to shorten it to just four letters.


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5. Different shoes affect my productivity.  I posted a picture on Instagram a few weeks ago and said I was wearing running shoes because I wanted to be productive.  Many of you agreed that works for you too.  However, I found that those shoes didn’t help with all of my tasks.  Let me explain.   If I want to get housework done, I wear my running shoes and I’m extremely efficient.  But when I go grocery shopping, run errands, etc., I feel more productive in casual shoes, but not dressed up (jeans or leggings/boots or loafers).  The weeks that I play the piano for church I prefer to wear heels; somehow this makes me feel more confident at the piano.  Wearing slippers around the house causes me to slow down and rest.  I find this fascinating and wonder if anyone else has these shoe issues??


6. Too much information becomes noise that negatively affects my soul.  If you find this is true for you as well, I wrote an entire post about it and what I’m doing to help.


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7.The new set of insert emojis on the iPhone tend to make me laugh.  I’ll be typing a text and down at the bottom a little emoji will appear to replace whatever word I’ve partially filled in.  I was responding to a text after my niece was born in January, and a little siren came up.  Not only do I find this hilarious but it’s also helped me to translate the mass amount of facial emojis that exist.  Emojis are the social media form of Hieroglyphics and I won’t be surprised if someday emojis are permissible in school assignments (which would be a terrible idea #whatisthisworldcomingto).



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8. You can save any Instagram post to your Instagram account.  If you do not know about this, it is so helpful!  It’s like Pinterest for Instagram, but so much better because you don’t get distracted by everyone else’s pins.  I find this helpful in several ways:

  1. I save posts that inspire me and pictures that are pretty.  Home decor, fashion, flowers, etc.
  2. I save images that include blog posts or articles I want to go back and read later.  So often I’m scrolling through Instagram but don’t have time to read everything that I’d like to.  A quick save and I can go back later without having to search for that person’s feed.
  3. I save posts that include recipes.  There are so many great ones and the images of food are amazing.


If you weren’t aware of this, here’s how to do it.  You will see a little bookmark icon underneath any post in your feed.  If you just click on that it will save it (pin it) to the saved images part of your profile (see picture above).


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Image above is from Bri McKoy, one of my new favorite Instagram feeds to follow.


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And this one, above, is from Annie Barnett, who is sketching photos throughout the year and each one is so fun!


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9. Five out of seven days (at least) I wear this pair of earrings.  My friend Sarah sent them to me about two years ago and they’ve been my favorite ever since.  If you’d like your own pair, they’re the Calypso Earrings from Noonday Collection.


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10. Playing the piano is like riding a bike and also it’s not like riding a bike.  On a regular basis I play on the worship team at church with a band, and it’s usually with a chord arrangement, not a piano score.  This is how I’ve primarily played the piano for about 13 years and it comes fairly easily.  However, during Advent there was a lot of choral arrangements to learn and y’all, it was hard.  I was trained to play classically and my job in college was to accompany vocal students, so I played like this for many years.  But getting back into this style of playing had me nervous, sweaty, my hands and feet would shake (sometimes uncontrollably) and I had to spend a lot of time practicing.  I enjoyed it, but whew, it took a lot of effort.


11. I get things done when someone else gives me a deadline.  I use a bullet journal and I create monthly goals, daily tasks, and other to-do’s.  But frequently items roll over to the next day or month.  Telling myself to do something by a certain time isn’t always effective.  However, if someone else requires something from me by a certain time I will without a doubt have it done.  I like to be my own boss, but I’m not always good at following my own orders.  I’m not sure how to change this, but it was enlightening to realize.


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12. Thirty-five is not so bad and I think it’s going to be my best year yet.  It feels strange to be so close to forty, and for the first time a medical professional started talking to me about issues I will most likely face in my forties.  The realities of getting older are sinking in, but I also feel like I’m just beginning to realize and embrace some of the ways that God has wired me.  It’s confirming and freeing to lean into the gifts I think he’s given me and walk into unknown yet exciting waters.


What did you learn this winter?

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  • Reply Aimee Kollmansberger

    Yes to house plants and yes to different shoes for different tasks!
    Running shoes keep me house-productive.
    TOMS/loafers/flats/casual shoes are for my errands.
    And slippers are for slow + simple days.

    March 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm
  • Reply Sydni

    Re: number 11 – I am the same way!! I think I’m going to start asking Whit to act as my boss so I can actually get work done for my thesis!

    March 1, 2017 at 12:36 pm
    • Reply laurenwasher

      Let me know if it works! Maybe I should have Bradley do the same for me.

      March 10, 2017 at 6:46 am
  • Reply Kate

    Totally relating with you here: Just turned 35 also and having kind of a mid-life crises realizing I’m half way to 70. But at the same time beginning to feel I understand who I am and what life is about. I also didn’t know anything about Lady Gaga until the Superbowl… the fun fact I learned is that she is 5’1″ (super short for an entertainer, but that’s exactly my height!)

    March 5, 2017 at 11:34 pm
    • Reply laurenwasher

      Ugh, yes, halfway to 70! Life is too short. I would have never guessed she was that height!

      March 10, 2017 at 6:45 am
  • Reply Mary

    Number 11 about getting things done for other people’s deadlines but not your own probably means you’re an Obliger – see Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies at to know what I mean.
    I found your blog from Emily Freeman’s linkup 🙂 it’s so fun reading what others have learnt.

    March 9, 2017 at 4:29 am
    • Reply laurenwasher

      My sister said the same thing! I need to read that book!

      March 10, 2017 at 6:44 am
  • Reply Julie

    This is such a fun list! Thank you for sharing!!

    March 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm
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