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10 Things I Learned in Summer '22

Rewind > Reflect > Learn > Grow

Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.

The days leading up to summer I felt inundated with messages about resting. I thought, "Okay, God, I get it. You want me to rest."

I'm a pro-napper but only because I'm first a busy bee. I get stuff done and make time for a weekend nap. But, there was something different stirring inside me. I wasn't necessarily tired, but I intentionally cleared my schedule - even of good things God had led me to do in the last season - and guess what happened?

I was ushered into rest, and God filled my days with what He had for me.

Without further ado, here are ten things (not all the things but ten things) I've learned this last season.

1. Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster can tap!

It's been nearly two weeks since attending The Music Man on Broadway with my mom, and I stillllllll can't stop talking about it. If you find yourself in NYC, consider seeing this one. My chin was on the floor from the opening scene to the standing ovation. The sets, music, choreography and talent - 10/10, it's worth experiencing!

From getting caught mid-scene in laughter to yelling, "I'm on tonight!" in the final dance - Jackman led the entire cast with so much humility and fun!

2. If I lived in NYC, I'd choose the West side.

It's soooo charming! No wonder Nora Ephron chose this neighborhood for the setting of You've Got Mail. A friend of mine had stopped by Kathleen Kelly's apartment last Fall, so naturally, when planning a trip for me and my mom, I thought, "Let's Try That...NYC Rom-Com Walking Tour!"

Why? Rom-Com's are the movies I grew up with. Sunday afternoons - still to this day - are my favorite time of the week, largely because of the rhythms instilled in me as a child. After church, we'd have lunch and throw on some "comfy clothes" - sometimes borrow an oversized sweatshirt from mom's closet - and while the guys enjoyed golf or football, my mom, sister and I would jump into my parent's king size bed to curl up for a Rom-Com and some much needed downtime.

Without further ado, here are our notes from our NYC Rom-Com Tour listed in most efficient travel order. (Would you expect anything less from a self-proclaimed ef-ficionado?) I've even thrown in our favorite spots to grab a bite to eat!

Even a miniature Brinkley joined our walk!...

3. Lean in.

Over the holiday season of 2020, I wrote a book for my oldest niece. I felt really good about it, even received great feedback from a circle of friends. I thought it was "done." Events led me to revisit it again this last spring. There was a sense of importance and urgency around it for me, even space in my schedule to devote to it, though I couldn't tell you why at the time.

When one of my middle school girls asked if we could keep meeting through the summer, it all became clear. The conversations we had shared together as a group last spring tied directly to the book I had written the year before.

In clearing my schedule, God filled it with what He needed me to do: teach tween and teenage girls truths He had laid on my heart to help equip them for their next season.

When you feel the importance and urgency press upon your heart, lean in. God wants to use you in ways bigger than yourself.

4. I can care about some things, but I can't care about every thing.

This is something I told myself repeatedly as a teacher. Taking care of littles, you wear so many hats. It brought me so much peace when I chose to walk into a new school year with this mindset: I can care about some things, but I can't care about every thing.

The blistering heat of the Oklahoma sun this summer has brought this back to mind for me. A friend asked how my lawn was and I jokingly said, "Gosh, don't ask! Ya know, I've decided I can't care about every thing, but I can care about some things. This summer, I'm caring about my hydrangeas. If we make it through this heat with only my hydrangeas, we'll call it a win!"

But this goes deeper, too - even to the people around me. In case this is you, too, in one or more of these areas, hear me - it's okay to care about some things but caring about every little thing, oh, you were not built for that, friend.

Choose what you want to care about today. If you're like me, your hydrangeas and your mental health will thank you.

5. Sunflowers aren't just a southern thing.

A quick trip to South Dakota and I learned: the sunflowers are worth seeing and the mini donuts, well, you're gonna want your own bag.

Go ahead and add it to your summer bucket list of 2024. And while you're at it, jot down "dive-in movie." It is a blast!

6. "Leaders don't get the luxury of indulging their emotions."

A wise pastor of mine shared this in a recent message and I can't get it out of my head, nor do I want to. This truth, from my experience, can help pull us out of the spirals when we remember it's okay to have emotions but, as Christians, we are to steward our emotions well.

In short: Emotions - we can have them, but we shouldn't indulge them.

7. "A bad haircut is all personal opinion."

I owe this perspective to my brother after he had all of us bent-over in side-aching laughter in a text he sent of his youngest son from the night before.

You see, my nephew, who is 3, found a pair of scissors and decided to cut his bangs to his hairline. With the rest of his hair gracing the curve of his face, my brother accurately coined it the "Thomas Jefferson" haircut.

It was hysterical! Maybe even more hysterical is this little guy thought it looked good! Indeed, "a bad haircut is all personal opinion."

8. Pickin' peaches and writing blogs.

When I first thought of starting a blog, I feared I'd run out of stories to tell. Posting the first blog was met with incredible joy and the sweaty, panicked thought, "This just got real."

A blog every week?! That's a commitment!

It was a leap of faith to trust God would provide the stories and the messages He'd want me to tell.

And now, this is my 106th post. It's absolutely mind-blowing to me. God is so good and so faithful. I'm learning how to notice Him all around me, even when I'm picking peaches with the fam on a hot summer day.

No worries, this story will find it's way in a post one of these days.

9. "When you don't think you need grace, you aren't able to give it away."

A sweet friend wrote a book, and this summer she got PUBLISHED! That's a big deal in the writing world. And though her gift for pairing words always challenges me, couldn't she have left this sentence out?

I kid, of course.

It's one I've been replaying in my mind. Especially in those times when I feel annoyed or inconvenienced and I'd rather not give grace, I'm now trying to pause to think, "How is this person showing me grace that I don't even realize and may not even think I need?"

The book - Sweet Relief by Kaitlin Garrison!

10. "Gosh, only God could do that!"

Leaning in to rest and clearing my schedule, God once again filled my days with what He wanted me to do: I was asked to share my story in Sunday School.

As I prayed and thought about what God would have me share, I found myself in Colorado, staring at this majestic mountain in front of me. As I took in the perfectly crafted peaks and the valleys greening up below, the trees which stand tall on slanted ground and reach for the sun, I thought, "Gosh, only God could do that!"

Then, it hit me. It's the same with our stories. When others see the perfectly crafted peaks and the valleys which were so hard to endure but it's where we were watered and nourished and how we stand tall like the trees and reach for the Son - we reach for Jesus - though we find ourselves on uneven terrain in our circumstances, others will see this and say, "Gosh, only God could do that!"

And, that, my friend, is why it is so very important to share your story. Start with someone close to you and share three moments of impact. It doesn't have to be long. It can be five minutes top. Open up about what you've been through, how God has been faithful in your life and allow God to do the rest.

Looking Ahead

Looking back helps us gain perspective as we look forward. This fall, I'm soooooo looking forward to jumping back into The Bible 101 series with you.

As you may remember, we started the Old Testament last January and took four months off to symbolize the 400 years of silence between the events in Old Testament and the New Testament.

But now, it's time to turn the page and meet our Rescuer!

Now, it's your turn. What have you learned through this last season?

To help get you started, you can download your FREE printable in the Resources page. (Add your email below to gain access today!)

Let's find strength knowing we do not endure these seasons alone. Let's find joy knowing there is purpose for each season we walk. Let's find peace in reflecting on the lessons learned and accepting these circumstances, much like seasons, as temporary. Let's find rest as we cling to the eternal.

The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.

I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!

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