Eight Things I Learned This Spring

Every season, a writer I respect and admire (Emily P. Freeman) writes a post about things she’s learned or observed, then invites other writers to collectively share their posts, as well. I’m a goal-setter, a self-reflecter, a tracker-of-progress kinda girl, so this opportunity always appeals to me…then I get nervous and chicken out, becoming a lurker instead of a participant. But yesterday Emily sent an email reminding us it was time to share, and her explanation of why she keeps her lists of what she learned resonated with me:

“Maybe you are in a season where what you thought you knew for sure is beginning to shift.

Maybe “shift” is too gentle a word for where you are right now – instead it feels more like a tsunami has washed all of your for sures completely out of your vocabulary.

Or maybe you are living your regular life today much the same as you were yesterday, but a year from now you don’t want to forget who you are, where you are, and what you’re learning.”

Good stuff, yes? Click over to Emily’s lovely corner of the internet and read her post, then visit a few new friends’ posts, take all that inspirational goodness you’re feeling, and share your own thoughts with us. Here’s what I’ve learned this spring:

1. I can take a break from social media and the world keeps on turning. It’s true. Recently I experienced some vertigo-like symptoms, and the dizziness increased the longer I scrolled through social media feeds. So I stepped away from the internet world. A brief respite from the mindless scrolling wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The break was refreshing, actually. Real life keeps happening whether I document it online or not. While being a writer requires an online presence, I learned that I use social media as a time waster,  or a way to escape reality. Then when I re-enter normal life, I’m overstimulated and grumpy. That’s not something I’m proud of, and I’d like to make a change. So I’ve deleted Facebook from my phone and limited my overall social media time to 30 minutes a day. Instagram is by far my happy place. If it’s yours, too, I’d love to connect with you there.

2. Voxer Terrifies Me. My {extroverted} writer friends have mentioned their affection for Voxer, the walkie-talkie messenger app, several times. I can’t even. Just the idea makes me curl up the in fetal position with my blankie.

3. I’m all about the low-key ‘coasters. Splash Mountain? Not so much. We made a quick stop at Magic Kingdom, our second visit as a family, but this was the first time our youngest could really participate. The boys and Steve started their day at Space Mountain. I people-watched. They did convince me to try Splash Mountain. Oy.  I won’t let that happen again. The combination of the dark tunnels, the unexpected dips and turns… no, thank you. I think I’ll stick with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, pictured here. It’s just right for a big chicken like me.

4. Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo is the best. My stylist introduced me to this product last year and it is a game-changer for my morning routine. Washing my hair every day is not good for my hair, and it’s labor-intensive. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But the oily, bedraggled look isn’t appealing, either. Then Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo walked into my life, and all is right with the world. Smells good, easy to use, and lets me go a day between washing/blow-drying.

5. Coloring makes me happy. At first I scoffed at the adult coloring book craze. Until I remembered how much I LOVED to color as a child. It’s still fun as a grown-up, too. A great way to brainstorm about the novel I’m working on, or keep my hands busy while listening to a podcast, and I feel like it relieves stress, too.

6. Friendships are difficult sometimes, and we’re not alone in our struggles. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Lisa-Jo Baker’s new book, Never Unfriended. I’ve been blessed with several wonderful friends over the years, and continue to value those relationships more with each new season of life. Let’s be honest, genuine connection with other women is hard. Perplexing. Sometimes painful. I’ve certainly experienced a handful of friendships falling apart, which seems to impact future relationships, as well. Occasionally I’ve retreated into isolation, discouraged and paralyzed by negative self-talk. If you can relate to anything I’m writing here, maybe this book is for you. It’s also available as a Bible Study, exploring how our relationship with Jesus is the authentic model for earthly friendships. More details about that here.

7. Disney cruises live up to the hype. We made an impulsive, somewhat last-minute decision to hop on our first Disney cruise. I’m so glad we did. It was a fantastic three-day getaway that ended much too soon. The customer service, attention to detail, entertainment, the food, Castaway Cay…I could go on and on. It’s a family vacation we’ll always remember. Our kids are growing up so fast, and Steve and I are grateful we ‘unplugged’ from the noise and chaos of real life and spent a weekend creating these memories with the boys.

8. Waiting is excruciating, yet God is ALWAYS faithful. Despite our pretty pictures and wonderful memories of our Disney vacation, this picture also summarizes what the last year of our daily life has felt like. Trudging through a storm, head down, more ‘bad’ weather blowing through the canyon…it is hard to press on and wait for the Lord to act. We humans pretty much stink at that. Yet God is always, always faithful. He has stretched us. Our faith in His goodness has grown exponentially in our struggles. We’ve railed against His timing, begged for relief from the uncertainty … yet He’s heaped blessing upon blessing upon us. No, the hard things aren’t all gone. I’m positive there’s more challenges ahead. But He remains by our side through it all, because He is a good, good Father.

Thank you for stopping by, friends. I hope you’ve learned something. Again, I encourage you to hop on over to Emily’s place and share your own post there.

Photo credit: Toby Mac, Heidi Blankenship, Mari Pi, Tim Tiedemann


  1. Linda Stoll:

    I love Toby Mac’s words right at the top, Heidi. Ain’t that the truth.

    And yes, please, to coloring. It’s this counselor’s favorite therapy!


    Good to run into you at Emily’s …


    • Heidi:

      Thanks for stopping by, Linda. 🙂


  2. Lilly:

    I’ve always wondered about Disney Cruises. I don’t like cruises in general, but does Disney Cruise live up to its hype? Glad to hear that you like it!

    And yes, “waiting is excruciating, yet God is ALWAYS faithful.” Amen. Thanks for sharing this. And the picture you have of the canyon is gorgeous.

    Great to “meet” you over at Emily’s.


    • Heidi:

      Thanks, Lilly. We’ve never cruised before, so this was our first experience. Obviously we had a blast. I’d go again, but probably just a 4-day. Seven or more feels like too long and too expensive. Thanks for the compliment on the canyon picture. I found that on Unsplash. Tim Tiedemann is the photographer. Take care.


  3. Laura Thomas:

    Hi there Heidi— so lovely to read about all the things you’ve learned this past season! Waiting is always the tough one, isn’t it? But yes upon yes, God is always faithful 🙂 Also, I’m so glad you seized the moment and went away with your guys… they grow up way too quickly. And I agree, Emily P. Freeman is wonderful! Your neighbour at #CoffeeForYourHeart


    • Heidi:

      Hi, Laura! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. So glad we’re neighbours this week. 🙂


  4. Sandra J:

    Heidi, So enjoyed your post! I love your quote from Toby Mac and I’m with you on the limiting social media – for a multitude of reasons! Instagram is my favorite media, too, I’ll follow you. I’m your nearly neighbor at Holley’s today.


    • Heidi:

      Hi, Sandra. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I did just follow you on Instagram and look forward to reading your blog post next. I’m glad we could connect. Blessings!


  5. Emma:

    I totally felt the same about Voxer, but now I am convinced that (as an introvert) it is the best thing! I find that I process my thoughts so much better when I’m not constantly gauging the other person’s micro facial movements and there is so much less pressure to be anything other than yourself… but that is just my experience of it! Love the picture of the pencils, and the Disney cruise sounds amazing.. if only they departed from somewhere in Australia 🙁


    • Heidi:

      Hi, Emma. Thanks for stopping by. Good to know Voxer has some redeeming qualities. 🙂 You’re right, not seeing facial expressions does relieve some of the pressure I feel to communicate flawlessly. That pencil picture impressed me, too. Unsplash is my source for all things stock photo. The Disney cruise was amazing. No, I don’t think they cruise from Australia. I was amazed by the great distances some of the other cruisers had traveled and what a huge vacation they were on. Definitely an international guest list and the cruise was just one leg of their journey. Some people had their weddings on board or while we were visiting the Bahamas. It was a fascinating people watching extravaganza.


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