Six Things I learned this Autumn

Linking up with Emily Freeman to share some of this season's lessons, big and small!

1. I finally know why deadlines help my writing so much: I will always, always get to a point of revising where I think, "This is terrible." My gut reaction: start again at the beginning. A cycle forms, wherein I constantly revise and never finish, because I keep getting to that point. Deadlines force me to forge ahead to the point where I actually realize my giant problems could be easily fixed. (So thank  you, Pitch Wars and Joy McCullough-Carranza!)

2. Another great way to accomplish a creative project is to make sure you have at least two going at once. I blog more successfully when I'm avoiding a hard chapter in my book. I write better when I'm dreading pulling out all the paraphernalia to make soap. And I'm pretty sure the only time my house gets really scrubbed is during a bad case of writer's block.

3. We get much more accomplished in homeschooling when I plan less. Strange paradox, I know. But when I plan obsessively, we seem to spend all our time catching up and stressing. With only a starter book list and a framework of where I want the girls to be in their studies at certain points in the year, their self-motivated learning takes off. They're so far ahead in most of their studies that we're taking Advent off from regular work to focus on world holiday traditions, Scripture study, service projects, the math and science behind snowflakes...basically all the winter and Christmas-themed studies I always wanted to do and never felt I had the time for.

4. God has such a sense of humor. I know, I know, I knew this already. But it was recently emphasized when I prayed for grace to avoid raising my voice at my children. Two days later I caught the world's mildest cold and somehow ended up losing my voice entirely. I can still just speak above a whisper. Very funny, God. Could you maybe take this literal approach to my prayers about signing with an agent?

5. I learned how to make wine! I mean, I sort of knew how to make wine using techniques and equipment from the Middle Ages already, because you learn weird things as a writer. But now I know how to make it in a slightly more practical way. Fermenting is so much fun. Related: I have a tendency to opt for the more refined-sounding pronunciation of a word, and that can make me look like a total idiot. Our wine making instructions said to "Degas the wine" and I pronounced the first word like the name of the French painter. It was pretty embarrassing when I learned it meant to de-gas the wine, as in, get rid of the gas bubbles caused by fermentation.

6. Sumac is a spice. Obvious? I'm excited to try some Middle Eastern recipes with it, as it grows around here in abundance. New foraging knowledge is always a welcome lesson.

So what did you learn this fall? I want to hear about it!


  1. Making wine sounds so fun and pleasant.

  2. Hmmm. This fall I pays to hold off on purchases until Black Friday/Cyber Monday!

    Thanks for helping me remember that we're always learning something. :)

  3. WINE! That sounds so delightful. I came across your blog through Emily's site and I'm glad I did. Have you watched the Netflix series called "Cooked"? There's an episode about fermentation that has been so inspiring for me. Also, I totally read it like the painter at first too and laughed out loud when I read your words!

  4. What a busy and productive fall! I figured you knew how to make wine!! I still can't wait for the Withered Vine to be a BOOK!!!

    I learned to use FB. Doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment, but my kids and I have a private group to share pictures and such. I also learned that it's best to hunker down and pray during a storm. Seriously. I still can't get over how we were spared. V.


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