Lessons Learned in January

lessons learned in JanuaryFive Things I Learned in January

1. I learned that having a word for the year makes life interesting. As in, God puts a word on your mind and suddenly a whole area of growth opens up. My word, constrain, means to both hold back and to compel. God is teaching me when to keep my mouth shut, and he’s also compelling me out of my comfort zone.

2. If you wonder where the money to buy new books will come from—wait, if you wonder where the money to buy food will come from because you spent half your food budget on books—you’ll want to sign up at NetGalley.com. So far, I’ve been approved to read two books And It Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-bye by Kara Tippetts and A Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson. You’ll need to poke around on the site and figure out how it works—most importantly, you’ll need to fill out your profile so that when you request a book the publisher can make an informed decision about whether or not to lend you the galley proofs (evidently, the books won’t stay on your Kindle shelf forever). In exchange, you agree to write an honest book review and post it on NetGalley and other sites (Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, etc.).

3. I’m a big chicken. I knew this. But I know it some more now. So, I’ll be brave. I’m writing a book proposal. It’s actually the second one I’ve written (I’ve been too afraid to actually DO anything with the first one). This month I’ve kept a calendar and a to do list, and so I’ve made progress. Please pray for me to keep working on it. I think it’s an important topic—mental illness in adolescents. I’m using our (mine, Sarah’s and Laura’s) Write 31 Day series as the bones, so you’d think it would be easy to just whip it into a book proposal. Not. If you’d like to help me out with things like the title, being a beta reader and helping me find influential people who might be willing to endorse the book, click here.

4. Red-tailed Hawks don’t like it when Great Horned Owls show up in their territory. Whilst out bird-nerding a few weeks ago, I came across this scene. Red-tailed hawk vs. Great Horned OwlNo one got injured, and it provided a magical moment for me to enjoy the wonders of creation (look at how the owl places himself where the hawk has a difficult time making a direct hit!).

5. Our baby will have a baby in August! Ok, we learned this amazing fact in December, but I couldn’t say anything about it until they had made their announcement. In December we got to go in with her for an ultrasound, and we saw the baby’s heartbeat (at 7 ½ weeks, there’s a heartbeat!). I’m pretty sure I don’t act old enough to be a grandma—or maybe I just want to be the kind of grandma who swings from grapevines in the jungle to entertain her grandchildren.

What about you?  Did you learn any cool lessons in January? 

I’m joining my friends over at Emily P. Freeman’s, where you can find all sorts of delightful lists of things people have learned!

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Thanks for sharing the good news about the budget saver. I will have to check it out, although I must say I do like a good book in hand. I don’t know why it is so hard for me to read ones on my iPad. Yippie I love little gifts from above aka babies, we are praying for another precious one now. My husband is praying for a girl this go around. I also didn’t know constraint also meant to compel, I will be interested to see how God uses this word in your life this year, and many prayers for your book proposal.

    • I used to love physical books more…and for some things, I still do (especially ones that I want to highlight and go back and peruse). But most of the fiction I read is on my iPhone or iPad. Congratulations on your next little one! God will bless you with just what your family needs :).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…And It Was Beautiful–A Book ReviewMy Profile

  • Love your word for the year, constrain. My word is brave girl. I think we are on similar paths. Sometimes I put my foot in my mouth. At other times, I feel a nudge from God and think, I don’t have anything profound to say. Hmmmm, if my words are coming from him, they will be profound. I love seeing the photos of birds, I have a passion for birds and watch from afar. I think I need to invest in a good camera. Thanks for sharing your newsy post, I love the layout!

    • Thanks, Nancy! I like your word :). Already I can see God working in me through the word that he gave me. I probably spend too much of my spare time photographing birds ;).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…And It Was Beautiful–A Book ReviewMy Profile

  • Hi Anita, Congrats on being a new grandma (I’m a newbie this year, too – it’s Grand!, as the name implies)! I love your picture of you as being a grandma swinging on vines in the jungle – please take a photo of any such ‘adventure grandmaing’ moments. Love your owl photo….amazing!

    • Thank you! I’m really looking forward to it (and I confess to purchasing some outfits already…a few boys ones and a few girl ones 😉 ). I expect to have lots of adventures with my grandkids!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Have You Had a Heavenly Head Slap Lately?My Profile

  • Nice things you’ve learned in a month. Always good to find cheap ways to read books. For some personal reasons I’ve put a hold on buying new books. So I’m planning to use my library card after a really long time! I would be interested in being your beta reader. Looking forward to what February will teach…

    • I would use my library card…but I can never get the books back on time. The free books on my kindle app have provided with with thousands of hours of good reading 🙂 (especially the classics–have you read The Scarlet Pimpernel?).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Have You Had a Heavenly Head Slap Lately?My Profile

  • Good lessons learned. I’ve been thinking about reviewing books so I can continue to read. I finally feel I am reading fast enough to get it done.
    Writing an actual book is further in the future. Trying to just blog on a regular basis right now.
    And congratulations on the grandma thing. I haven’t been able to get my kids married off yet. Ha! But a close friend of the family is expecting in August. She said I could be the grandma!
    GGMandy recently posted…What I Learned in JanuaryMy Profile

    • I’m glad you can have a surrogate grandchild ;). We’ve done a lot of baby-mentoring over the years so that we don’t forget how to take care of little ones ;). In God’s time, you’ll be ready for the tasks he has for you!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…And It Was Beautiful–A Book ReviewMy Profile

  • Girl, I’d say you are brave. VERY brave. Good for you!
    Debby recently posted…What I Learned: January 2016My Profile

  • I was 46 and 4 months when my Hannah girl was born; almost-53 when Simon was born; I have hung from trees, I have whitewater (ok, level: EZ) tubed with them, I have hiked mountains high, and canoed lakes low – YOU ARE GOING TO BE A PHENOMENAL GRANDMA, Abuelita. Other things we have done together: read cloud pictures, see Kudzu creatures, watch hawks and other miscellaneous critters in nature. I taught them how to butt-sled down sheets of ice and identify various critter footprints in the snow.
    You’re getting the picture I’m drawing, right????
    Mimzy aka Mimz…. (((xoxo)))
    Susan Shipe recently posted…what i learned in januaryMy Profile

  • I think the book proposal is so important. We need to tell more stories about mental health etc. That book website sounds so awesome. I need to check it out. But first I must finish the ever growing “to read” list. I am excited to read Kara’s book but it will probably be awhile. I have like 5 plus books to read yet!
    Tara recently posted…What I Learned in JanuaryMy Profile

    • Ha! I know about having lots of books on the burner…wait, that’s not a very good metaphor…books in the pile to read ;). I’m almost done with Theodore Rex and I’m starting Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder and then I have a few others I’m on the launch team for…
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…And It Was Beautiful–A Book ReviewMy Profile

  • Oh my goodness Anita! How exciting! I mean the other things you wrote were good…but becoming a Grandma makes all previous things disappear! 😉 Congratulations!

  • Good luck with your book! How exciting! My favorite writing teacher of all time once told us that a writer’s biggest enemy is their mailbox … we must be brave in our walk to the mailbox, open it, and mail that submission. Once the flag is up … or once that email’s sent, the rest is up to someone else. And your book sounds so important. Think of all those people you’ll help!

  • Congratulations on the expectant arrival! We just have one grandchild so far, but he has enriched our lives so much.

    The book proposal sounds really good.

    I’ll have to check out NetGalley. I tried reviewing for one company once but quit quickly because they sent 6 books a month – way too many — and without regard to personal preferences. This sounds like a better situation.
    Barbara H. recently posted…Book Review: The Bronte PlotMy Profile