A few simple lessons

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I returned home from Milwaukee late Sunday night. My mom, sister-in-law Brittany, and I had met up with my sister Amy for a weekend training class on urban gardening at Growing Power.

I thought I'd share a few thoughts as I process my weekend.

1. It's good to take time to learn new things.

When I was done with college I vehemently stated that I was done with school. I had hated my public high school experience and, while I loved my first two years of college, getting married and trying to finish school were very difficult. I didn't think I'd ever want to go back.

Fast forward four years and I had a conversation about becoming an expert with Amy. Amy mentioned an article she'd read that said you should pick 5 or so things you are passionate about and become an expert. I really liked that idea so I chose food, fashion and interior/exterior design.

I started with fashion and food. And, three years after my conversation with Amy, I'm back in school, studying to become a homeopath.

It was so fun to take a break from my current studies and go learn more about food. I went to two sessions, one about growing mushrooms (surprisingly easy!) and another about compost and vermicompost (worms). We already try to compost, but I'm excited to put their ideas into practice. It felt good to stretch my brain in a different direction. It was a blatant confirmation about the other learning I've been doing and how important, and life-giving, continued learning can be.

Beautiful mushrooms at Growing Power

2. It's important to remember it's not always about you.

Our flight out was delayed 5 hours. My mom, Brittany and I had changed our flight earlier that week so we could arrive closer to the time Amy was landing. So, to then see our time slipping away made it even more frustrating.

I'm embarrassed to admit I found myself thinking, "Why God? Why is this happening to me? I see my sister so infrequently, please, just let us meet up soon so we have more time."

It was good to get the still small voice reminder that, I'm not the only one affected. I'm not the only one who might need to be learning something, gleaning something, gaining something from this. To just let it go and say, "well, I don't understand, but, it will be (is!) okay."

3. Hard conversations are worth it.

While meeting up, we had a few tough conversations. Things that needed to be addressed and that were better brought up face to face. Don't get me wrong, we also had a lot of lighthearted, easy-go-lucky talks as well. But, it was good to bring things up that needed to be addressed.

This is hard for me. I tend to know what I "want" to say, but shy away from speaking as boldly as needed. But, in the end, I felt progress was made and we were able to leave with a deeper understanding of the issues, and even ways of putting things to rest. We covered the weekend with prayer and the Lord was with us. Totally worth it.

4. Spending time with like-minded people is more refreshing than we realize.

Being around these people who were thinking about food--how to grow it, how to reuse through compost or vermicompost, how to use greenhouses to grow food all year round--was a jolt. It was shocking to be around a bunch of guys talking about growing lettuce in their aquaponic systems. So different from the group I am generally surrounded by. (Not a worse group, just very different!)

It reminded me of how important it is to find those connections with like-minded people. Whether it be fellow homeschoolers, people with the same taste in food production, or even just the weekly gathering of fellow believers, these times can be so encouraging. It reminds us what's out there, what we can still learn about, that we aren't alone in our walks of life. It's great to be different with others.

5. It really does make sense to pack all of those things "just in case."

I made a conscience decision to bring only a very light sweater, no jeans, and no tennis shoes. It had been in the 90s in Colorado, and, while the weather said low 70s in Milwaukee, I figured it would just feel good.

It didn't. I was freezing. Sitting in the airport: freezing. On the plane out: freezing. Every evening as we walked about: freezing.

So, take it from me, just pack those jeans. You really might want them.

Amy, Brittany and Me (You guessed it, I was freezing)

Until next time,

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