One of the ways I intentionally practice appreciating the beautiful but so-very-ordinary stuff of real life and regular days is by keeping track of what I’m learning.

My friend Emily is the mastermind behind this simple but meaningful practice. Since 2016, I’ve joined her by jotting down notes of the small, the sacred, the silly, and everything in between.

More than anything else, this helps me pay attention to what’s happening around me, what’s happening within me, and what surprises me along the way.


Six Things I Learned This Summer:


1. I need to quit more often.

“If you don’t take a Sabbath, something is wrong. You’re doing too much, you’re being too much in charge. You’ve got to quit, one day a week, and just watch what God is doing when you’re not doing anything.” – Eugene Patterson

2. Before alarm clocks, there were knocker-ups.

The @HistoryPhotographed Instagram account shared the following picture and caption on August 15th, and I’m still thinking about it. This is my new favorite fun fact, for sure.

Before alarm clocks were affordable, 'knocker-ups' were used to wake people early in the morning.

Before alarm clocks were affordable, ‘knocker-ups’ were used to wake people early in the morning. UK, around 1900

3. I’m not actually 5’7″

Okay, now that one seems weird — I admit. But you guys. YOU GUYS. My entire adult life I’ve believed that I was 5’7″ — because hello, this is what doctors have told me. This is on medical paperwork, on my license, etc. Alas, I have discovered that it is not true.

When I met Sarah Mae Hoover for the first time this summer, she loudly exclaimed “YOU ARE SO TALL! And hi, it’s so good to finally meet you in person.” It struck me as odd, because that’s often one of the first things I hear when I meet an online friend for the first time. “You’re taller than I thought you’d be.”

Well, turns out I’m taller than I thought I was, too. Bless it.

4. Purple may be “the color of Fall 2019” but the theme is one of rest, of less, of slowing down.

Three times each year, I put together a list of upcoming book releases that you won’t want to miss. And every time, a theme seems to emerge from the various titles. Because it usually takes two years between writing a book and seeing it in a bookstore, this fascinates me to no end. Somehow, approximately two years ago, several authors turned in manuscripts as publishing houses began designing covers and marketing materials for similar messages — all at the same time.

I can’t help but think God just knows what we need to hear, and so the Spirit breathes on several authors who end up at different publishing houses and the message spreads far and wide. He is so clever.

(The September-December releases list will be live here on the blog next week.)

5. At the very same time I was being prepared for surgery, someone else was watching the sun rise. And God was watching both.⁣

Sunrise in Florida

This summer, I stood at the water’s edge exactly 9 years to the day since my brain surgery, and with the waves crashing over my feet the truth resounded loud and clear: we are outrageously small and yet intimately known and seen and loved beyond anything we can imagine. All of us, at the very same time.

From an early morning July Instagram caption:

“I do this every morning even when you don’t show up to watch.” That’s what kept repeating in a loop as lavender turned to soft pink and then a bold orange, as waves crashed and seagulls flew low and a sharp fin slowly glided on by, the water reaching out to kiss my feet before pulling back, only to do it all over again in another seven seconds.

He does this whether I show up and watch or not, this “let me paint the sky-canvas something new today, just for the sheer delight of it” kind of God.

I’m here. At the water’s edge, ready. Eyes forward and fixed. Expectant. Watching to see what only He can do.

6. It comes down to this: you have been my people.

Last Friday marked 10 years of blogging. I’m shaking my head just writing that sentence, because how can that even be possible? I shared more on that milestone and all it means to me — the highs and lows you’ve walked with me through, the ways God has done abundantly more — right here. There’s also a free printable in the post, if you’d like to click over and download.

Ten Years Later: Thank You. (Let's Celebrate!)

All week long, we’ve celebrated 10 years with a daily giveaway over on Instagram. Brainstorming the prizes, preparing gifts for subscribers (oh, just y’all wait . . . there are so many things coming your way over the next few months), and organizing all the details was more work than I anticipated, but it was well worth every minute because this is the absolute truth:

When I finally took a deep breath and started to write the Ten Years Later post, I teared up just a few sentences in. Not because of the date on the calendar or the decade gone by, but because you’ve been there. You’ve been there. 10 years is incredible and I’m looking forward to many more, but this celebration isn’t actually about me. It’s about you, the readers and friends, and Him, the true Author of the Story. Here’s to the next chapter.

(P.s. If you haven’t already, you can click here to enter today’s giveaway.)

(For more fun facts + inspiration, visit Emily’s corner of the Internet or click here to look through any of my previous “What I Learned” posts.)