Things I discovered in March & April

One of my favorite bloggers, Emily Freeman, shares things she’s learned each month as a way to reflect on her time before moving on to the next month. I love this idea since I’m a fan of learning and reflecting on my days. Plus, it’s a simple, yet intentional practice that works well with my current season of life (i.e. I only have the time and energy for things that are easy. Really, really easy!). Emily suggests keeping a running list each month in your journal where you can jot down random things you notice and discover, whether they are serious, silly, sacred, or just plain useful. I’ve enjoyed looking at my lists and remembering what has gotten my attention or has me thinking on something new.

Time is a-flying by these days, so I’ve rolled two months into one list for March and April. Here are 7 things I’ve recently learned…

1. The Gmail app is super helpful on my iPhone.

I’m sure I’m a million years late to discovering the gmail app, but I saw it in a picture that another blogger posted and immediately wondered why I didn’t know about it. It allows me to organize my phone’s email inbox with tabs like Primary, Promotions (oh, hi millions of coupons), Updates, etc. in the same way that I use Gmail on my laptop. I used to get so behind with email because I didn’t like the standard Mail app on my phone, and I find that I don’t use my laptop every day as a stay-at-home mom. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the little red notification bubble on the Mail app said I had thousands of unopened emails. Sheesh. Every time I saw it, I felt overwhelmed. But now, the Gmail app lets me keep everything organized just the way I like it, and I set my notifications so that only emails from the Primary tab show as a little red bubble. I can pay attention to the important emails, and all those crazy coupons stay hidden and unopened until I go looking for one I need. It’s the best.

2. I have arrived at journal perfection.

I happened upon a Ban.do notebook a few weeks ago when we were at Barnes and Noble. {In case you’ve never heard of Barnes and Noble, it’s a bookstore, which is like Amazon in real life.} I love paper products, especially journals. And I have quite a list of expectations and desires when it’s time for me to get a new journal. The one I found makes me so happy because the line spacing is perfect, it’s (gold!) spiral bound so I can flip it over on itself, and it has a hardback cover and an interior pocket. Plus, it’s so pretty! Floral with a few black and white stripes! I die. It makes me smile every time I see it.

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3. Speaking of office supplies, lemme tell you about some pens I found. 

I love me a good pen. I’m probably not the craziest pen snob you’ve ever met, but I definitely play favorites. I follow a few instagram accounts that are all about planners, paper, and other nerdy office supplies (not joking- search for hashtags like #plannergirl and #plannernerd- it’s a whole thing), and someone posted about the Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens. People. These are great pens. The ink dries quickly, so you get the ease of writing with gel ink without the smeary, wet situation. They’re retractable and come in fun colors. And they’re available in fine point (0.5 mm), which is my preference because it makes my handwriting look better. =) Target carries the medium point version, and Amazon sells both the fine and medium point.

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4. Apparently I have a new pet peeve. 

I try not to blame too many things on pregnancy hormones, but I will say that I’ve been a tad more irritable in recent weeks. Particularly when I have to park next to someone that has backed his or her (let’s be honest… his) car into a parking spot. For some reason it happened a few times all within one week recently, and it drove me nuts. I see you Cool Guy who knows how to back up and play one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other in a lot full of cars all following the standard guidelines. Do what you want of course, and we can be friends forever still, but if you happen to back into a spot near me sometime, I’ll be rolling my eyes at you real hard when I drive away. Just kidding…well, not really. 😉

5. I found my go-to sandals for the summer.

I found these sandals at Target and I will probably be wearing them on the daily from now until they fall off of my feet. Super cute and comfortable! Here’s a little peek of them sticking out past my baby bump.

IMG_5815I liked the cognac colored ones so much that I went online and purchased them in black as well. There’s a buy one, get one 50% off deal at Target.com right now for women’s clothing and family shoes, which is good news and dangerous news all in one little sentence. Proceed wisely.

6. Not checking Facebook on my phone is a game changer.

I love Facebook for the connections it creates with friends, but I don’t like the way I can end up spending brainless minutes scrolling and scrolling for longer than is really necessary. I noticed that I enjoy Facebook more when I’m looking at it on my laptop, yet I continually kept looking at it on my phone and then later wondered where my precious free time had gone that day. So, I removed the Facebook app from my phone. That didn’t help for long though, because I just started going to Facebook.com through my internet browser. I had to figure out how to delete the ‘frequently visited’ links on the Safari app so I’d have to actually type in Facebook.com to get there. Turns out, that’s enough of a two second extra step that helps me remember I don’t want to check Facebook on my phone. Score! I still love being on my phone when I need some downtime (blogs and Instagram forever!), but I’m finding that I don’t end up in the bowels of the internet like I did when Facebook was my go-to.

7. I don’t want to live life from a place of fear.

I’ve been struggling with some anxiety and fear the past few months. I remember it happening when I was pregnant with Savannah, but it has seemed worse this time around. I’m not sleeping very well, and tired Laura tends to fixate on negative thoughts and outlandish possibilities in the wee hours of the morning. “But I mean, it could happen…” We live in a broken world, and sometimes that weighs heavily on my soul. Plus, I worry too much about what other people think of me. The fear of man takes on all sorts of lovely forms. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to deal with fear. Where should I go in my mind when I have a fearful thought? What should I do when I’m consumed with someone else’s opinion of me? A speaker I heard recently said that our brains can’t process thankfulness and fear at the same time. I haven’t verified that with any research, but it’s made me want to up my thankful game. And Fred Sanders gave a helpful sermon a few weeks ago and mentioned that fear of man can’t just be willed away, but instead must be driven out with a bigger and badder fear of God. I’m still thinking and praying through what that looks like for me.

What about you? Have you learned or discovered anything recently?

10 comments On Things I discovered in March & April

  • Kathryn Kuranaga

    Love this!

  • Oh Laura, the pens . . . I will have to look for those!

    On another topic, parking backward is A THING in Melbourne. Everyone does it. It’s on my (very short) list of things that drive me batty here!

    We understand one another. I like that. xx

  • Laura, I just love you! This is such a great blog post!
    1.) I think I need this app. I’ve struggled lately with my email. I wonder if there is one for hotmail because it seems I have so many junk emails coming in, that I miss the important things and it just overwhelms me.
    2.) Remember our conversations about planners? I bought one before the first of the year and I love it. I’m still training myself to use. Some weeks are better than others, but I’m trying and I guess that is the important thing. Do you journal by hand? I type my journals into an email to myself. I’m wondering if maybe a journal book would be better to look back on. Hmm…something to think about.
    3.) These pens look like fun! I’m a smearer, so these would be very good for me!
    4.) Chris does this and it drives me NUTTY! I comment each time, too….why? just why?
    5.) Gonna pretend like I didn’t see number 5 because as you know, these sandals are on my wish list, but they are not in the budget this week. They are so tempting though!!!
    6.) I deleted the FB app from my phone, too, a few weeks back and it has made all the difference, too! I really feel like I’m living in the moment more and trying to utilize my time better. I’ve also discovered books on audible.com, though I feel like it’s cheating. None the less, it has made a big impact, so I totally feel ya!
    7.) I never knew this about you, that you worry about what other people think? Really? Have you always felt this way? Everyone loves you! I struggle with this a ton, too. I’ve put myself in a depressed state at times. I’m trying so hard to focus on prayer and really giving it to God, but sometimes it over takes me. I’ll be praying for you and that peace will overtake you when fear or anxiety start to creep in.
    8.) Some things I’ve learned….I’ve learned lately that I’m more of an introvert than I thought. I crave alone time and really need it or I start to feel frazzled. I’ve learned to say no to over scheduling and that I actually enjoy being early (not just on-time) to places, except parties because the small talk overwhelms me. I recently discovered that writing thank you notes is better when it’s done outside (at least for me). And a friend and I were talking about texting and our love/hate for it and she said if it’s more than two bubbles, it’s time for a phone call. Ha! I totally agree and thought that was great advice!
    You are a beautiful, inside and out and I’m so thankful to call you family, Laura.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Kelly! Thanks for your encouraging words. Once again, I wish we got to hang out more often- so many things we can relate about! I am totally a recovering people pleaser- we’ll have to chat more about that sometime. I loved hearing about what you’re learning these days!

  • One word…Bujo The hip way of saying Bullet Journaling. Have a look. I’ve started using it and I like the freedom, flexibility, customization, creativity and organization it provides. I think there’s even a Facebook group, but I haven’t gone that addicted…yet.

    A book someone recommended to me, but I never finished (I actually lent it out…) is “When People are Big and God is Small” – it talks about when we view people higher than God and others’ opinions matter more than God’s. Might be a good one to check out at that Barnes N Nobles thing you mentioned 😉

    • I think Bullet Journaling is awesome! I still love my pre-made paper planner, mainly because it’s pretty and I like how the dates are already filled in for me. But I use some of the Bujo elements in my planner and journal. I have an index in my journal now, and I like using signifiers on lists I make. I’m glad you’re loving yours!

      And I’ll add that book to my list to check out! Thanks for the recommendation.

  • I think I learn more about you from your blogs then in person. Lol I am shocked to learn you are self conscious. You always have so much confidence about you and are a very accomplished woman. You have nothing to be fearful about. If we are being honest I am self conscious when I am around you because you exude such perfection in life when I feel like all I’m doing is failing. You are amazing and never think anything less.

    • Haha. So true! We probably both find it easier to share who we are online rather than at a family party when the kids are all running around. Thanks for your encouraging words and your honesty. I definitely struggle with insecurities a lot, but by God’s grace I’ve grown more confident as I’ve gotten older. If we’d known each other when I was in my early twenties, you’d be shocked at how different I am now! And I see so much strength and grace in you, Nikki. God is doing great things in your heart, even though it can often feel like we’re failing. Praise the Lord that he never fails.

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