What I Learned This Fall


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Healthy Living is more than how you fill your plate. It includes your spiritual and emotional well being too. Inspired by Emily P. Freeman’s Podcast, Episode 61, on “How Reflection Can Help You Make Better Decisions,” I decided to look back over the last ninety days and share with you what I learned this fall.

1. I Love Aprons, Especially Vintage Ones

I am a vintage television junkie, particularly shows from the late 1950s to the late 1960s.  As crazy as this sounds, I pay close attention to the aprons the women wore in the shows.  I haven’t figured out why aprons fell out of favor with American women. If I had to guess, women began to associate aprons with housework? Even though donning an apron faded from the daily routine, housework did not so I am not sure if boycotting aprons really proved a worthy crusade for the first wave of feminists.

Aprons serve a practical and whimsical purpose. If you’ve been around here any length of time, you know that I like to cook, but I don’t particularly like walking around with pesto splattered on my blouse. Aprons shield my clothing from getting soiled which in turn reduces the amount of laundry I do. I am all for that!

All of my aprons have pockets to house my current favorite shade of lipstick. At the day’s end, when I empty the pockets of my apron, it’s a beautiful object summary of my day.


2. Giving Myself Time to Introvert

In my family, extroverts outnumber introverts. Yikes! My nest is nearly empty except for my extra-extroverted ginger caboose kid. After long days of being around people, I like to come home to a quietly recharge. I just recently learned that it is okay for me to request, gently of course, “mom is introverting right now, can you go extrovert in another room?”

This fall, I had a particularly busy few weeks involving lots of people. Eventually, the time came when I took a much needed different kind of Sabbath. As Robert Frost declares, “And that has made all the difference.” You can read about it here on my Instagram post.

3. I love All Things British, especially British Television

If I weren’t such an introvert, I might just try and fake a British accent now and again. I applaud British television for casting actors who look like the everyday people I pass in the aisles at Target. You know, real people, with imperfect teeth or janky hair like the rest of us.

Whenever I am home in the afternoon, I drink hot tea never southern sweet iced tea even though I live a stone’s throw from the Mason-Dixon line.

I know it’s utterly unamerican, but I would rather visit England than Disney. I frequent UK Airbnb and VRBO England websites for fun.

Sadly, our local Barnes & Noble informed me they will no longer carry the Country Living British Edition.

I read an reread James Harriet and Miss Read’s Village series to learn about the English village life.

4. Children Beat to Different Drums, so Listen for and Listen to Their Unique Rhythm

I can’t begin to tell you how valuable and liberating this tool has been in my parenting. Madeleine L’Engle expresses it best:

“I am encouraged as I look at some of those who have listened to their “different drum”: Einstein was hopeless at school math and commented wryly on his inadequacy in human relations. Winston Churchill was an abysmal failure in his early school years. Byron, that revolutionary student, had to compensate for a club foot; Demosthenes for a stutter; and Homer was blind.

Quietly observing the body language and facial expressions of my kids when they are in certain situations provides volumes about their distinctiveness. Embracing and cultivating the different drum within each of my children makes my mother-heart flutter.


5. Reading is both an Activity and an Art

The digital age induces cursory reading.  Because I am so accustomed to scrolling through digital reading material, more often than not, I find myself in the habit of scanning or speed reading.

I love words. I love how writers combine words that flow like a symphony sounds. Lately, though, scanning seems to make words read like a cacophony. Something had to change.

This fall I dusted off my weathered copy of Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren’s robust book How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading I am revisiting the different ways to read a book.


What Will I Do With What I Learned This Fall?

What I learned this fall will sustain me during the impending cold, bleak days of winter. Even when the lesson being learned revisits a familiar process like reading a book, we should take something new away from the experience. William Blake says it best, “In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”

Reflect back on this fall, and tell me what did you learn?

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  1. LydiaF1963 on December 1, 2018 at 3:51 pm
    I love British television, too! I binge watched/knitted Call the Midwife and Land Girls this summer.
    • Denise Sultenfuss on December 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm
      Lydia, I wish I were talented enough to knit and watch something at the same time! CTM is one of my faves! I will check out Land Girls. XO
  2. Cheryl Gerou on June 14, 2019 at 10:10 pm
    I am enjoying Emily P. Freeman's podcast too. It's a great podcast! I also am recording a lists of things I am learning each season. It is a good practice! It is so interesting to see all that I am learning. Thanks for sharing this!
    • Denise Sultenfuss on June 17, 2019 at 9:29 am
      What a great idea Cheryl. I capture what I am learning by the pen and paper method. Thank you for stopping by today.

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