what I learned – fall 2017

I recently started following the work and podcast of Emily P. Freeman with a lot more verve, and I’ve been inspired by her call to record 10 things you learned in the past season. Not only is this a good practice for the end of a season, but she commends this for helping you to notice what you’re going through in the next season. This is a very practical way to be more intentional – which is right up my alley.

Without further ado, 10 things I learned this fall:

1. Postpartum recovery is a doozy.

As many of you well know, I had a baby this fall! Adjusting to our little one has had a lot of unexpected surprises but the greatest one for me was probably what it was like for my body in the first few days after birth. I may write about it in another post but I think the essence of this was that I prepared so much for labour and delivery itself but didn’t bother to prepare for what might happen afterwards… essentially, a third degree tear had me in tears on our bed for a good week and I wish I had known a little more about what kind of pain to expect.

2. The Enneagram is super useful.

I recently recommended this test again, so I’ll just throw it out there: the Enneagram (click here to take a free online test!). This personality typing assessment has been very helpful for understanding myself and the people around me and I know I want to keep exploring it. I am a 6 on the Enneagram, the most common number, and typically known as “the Devil’s Advocate.” I can seem pessimistic because when I hear a new idea, I immediately spot errors or potential problems (sometimes without devising solutions). A healthy 6 has learned to manage their fears and even laugh at them, but an unhealthy 6 lives in perpetual fear (think George Constanza). For example, I often picture myself dropping Ambrose – the worst! Here is a cool visual Enneagram for my type:

Enneagram 6Where to start? I recommend this episode of the Liturgists on the Enneagram, which gives a helpful overview. Then move on to reading The Road Back to You by Ian Cron, or try his podcast called Typology.

3. This book from Tsh Oxenreider was inspiring:

Notes from a Blue Bike

My mom left a copy of Notes from a Blue Bike with me when she visited for the birth of Bébé Mortelliti, and I devoured it! While it may be simple, for me it was a refreshing call back to living intentionally, and prioritizing our time and money, etc. towards what really matters to us.

4. Pompons are easy to make.

I did not expect this. It started with an adorable Halloween costume, and then when I saw this Anthropologie wreath for $118, I threw in my cards and decided to make my own:

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Learn how to here.

5. Unfollow/unsubscribe.

These words from Shauna Niequist on Instagram rocked me recently:

We get to decide who to listen to, who to learn from, who to follow. And the voices you decide to listen to will shape you.

Question: are the people you’re following educating you in meaningful ways? Do you like the way they live/think/interact? Do you want to be like them?

I follow people who inspire me toward kindness, prayer and faithfulness, meaningful activism, generosity of spirit, creative and interesting and brave work.

I don’t follow people who stir up my own anger or anxiety or greed, who tap into shame, or who use words as weapons to wound.

One of the reasons I appreciate social media is because I want to learn: I intentionally follow people who are different from me—people who voted differently, people of different religions and ethnicities and sexualities, people who come from different parts of the world, people whose experiences are different from mine and therefore very instructive to me… [click here to read the full post]

6. Cities inspire me!

Many of you know that I live in Laval, QC, in Greater Montreal (Laval is actually the 3rd largest city in Quebec and 13th in all of Canada!). Living just 30 minutes from downtown Montreal, and really only 20 minutes from my favourite neighbourhoods – the Mile End and the Plateau – is a huge source of joy to me. When I get into Montreal, with bagel shops and murals and creative boutiques, my energy soars and I return home grateful (and with a million photos on my phone, attesting to my tank being filled.) While I know that living in the city would likely be tough, visiting every so often is important for me.

7. This recipe yields far too many Buckeyes.

But half it, and you’ll enjoy adding these sweet treats to holiday platters. So easy and no bake!

8. There is no “I” in “TEAM.”


My husband Matteo and I have been finding the arrival of baby to have solidified what we’ve been learning over the course of our marriage about being a team. He wrote about it beautifully and helpfully here.

9. Editing makes my heart sing.

This is really more of a re-learning, but I just recently signed up for a course in January to continue my editing certification at Simon Fraser University, and picking up an old book from that course made me so excited.

For the love of grammar

(And no, editing is NOT about pointing out all my little pet peeves, like the above, with a big red pen. It’s about helping writers reach their audience with the least possible amount of barriers in terms of style, structure, word choice… and yes, grammar, of course.)

10. I am so grateful for the180 Church.

Many of you who have followed along on our journey know that Matteo and I moved to Quebec in March 2016 to be part of a new church plant taking root in this province, one with a rich religious heritage but with many who are suspicious of institutions including church. The past year and a half have certainly been a wild ride and we’ve seen God make Himself known in crazy ways. Our first baptism service this past Sunday was a testament to how Jesus is calling people to not just to believe but to follow Him into a new way of life.

Sitting at a restaurant for our Christmas staff party last night made me so grateful for the amazing team we serve alongside. We are so fortunate to be on our own learning journey alongside so many people.

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This restaurant is called “Porco” on Monkland Avenue in Montreal. You must go!

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