A few random things I’ve learned in 2009:
- Elephant’s poop can be made into paper. Seriously. My sister-in-law bought a picture book for my daughter that described the process (and the reasoning behind it!) Makes sense, really. Elephants eat lots of fiber and what is paper made out of? Fiber. The process provides jobs in a paper-making plant, saves trees and elephants’ lives, and produces paper. I have to admire the creativity of those who came up with the idea. They saw a problem and used their God-given creativity to help fix it.
- I can get writer’s block after a writer’s conference. I went to the Harriette Austin Writer’s Conference this past summer, and couldn’t write for an entire month afterwards; I think it was because I talked so much about writing that I wasted the energy I would normally have spent writing. It’s all very well to talk about doing something, but all the talking in the world won’t replace actually DOING it.
- If you decide to tear up wall-to-wall carpeting and put in hardwoods, beware. It will inevitably lead to changing the tile in the kitchen, which leads to changing the paint color in the living room, which leads to changing the wallpaper in the kitchen. Before I knew it, what was supposed to take a few weeks took months. . . . Think marathon, not sprint. Change takes a long time, whether it is a change in home decor, habits or attitudes.
- I can read a map, but somehow still get lost and overwhelmed when I take a wrong turn. (Applies to both road trips and my life journey.)
- There’s a lot about the world that I don’t know. I just finished reading The Kite Runner and realized how little I know about Afghanistan. (Did you know that many people in Afghanistan rejoiced when the Taliban took over? They apparently looked great compared with the Soviets. First impressions can be deceiving, and that deception can lead to tragedy.) Ditto with Enemies of the People by Kati Marton: I didn’t realize how brutal the communist regime was in Hungary. I highly recommend both books.
- People will watch evil things occur and do nothing. Indifference, fear, depravity: all can lead to inertia. It takes both courage and conscience to act when others do nothing. I want my life to be characterized by the latter and not the former.
What did you learn?