Seven Things I Learned This Summer

When I shared my Spring 2020 list, I wrote “Truthfully, I’m still figuring out what exactly I’m learning in the midst of *waves hands around* all of this. Putting words to, well, anything right now feels just about impossible. But I’m going to try anyway because one day, I just might be grateful to be able to look back and remember.”

Every word of that still rings true. I almost chose not to share this list today because it just doesn’t feel like much, like I’ve been looking and paying attention for three months but everything seems pretty much the same (unless, of course, when it seems worse) and I probably won’t know what I’ve learned until 2020 is in the rearview.

But — 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. And so this is my ordinary list of the small, the sacred, the silly and everything in between this summer, here in the year of our Lord 2020.

Honestly, who knew?! Stone fruit, Mary and Ted, and fast feelings.

Seven Things I Learned This Summer:

1. There is such thing as “stone fruit.”

I asked “what are you looking forward to this summer?” in one of the book launch teams I managed and over a dozen people mentioned stone fruit or stone fruit ice cream.

Cue: me googling “what is stone fruit?”

Google’s answer: “a fruit with flesh or pulp enclosing a stone, such as a peach, plum, or cherry.”

Totally makes sense . . . but until this summer, I had no idea.

2. Mary Steenburgen (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Elf, The Proposal) and Ted Danson (The Good Place, CSI, Cheers) are married.

3. Abraham had six more sons after Isaac and Ishmael were born.

It’s a small “fun fact” or “thing I learned” but my jaw for real dropped when I recently read Genesis 25. I’ve read the Bible through and even took a class in college that spent most of the semester focusing on Genesis, but if you had asked me “How many sons did Abraham have?” I would have replied “Two.”

And I would have been wrong.

Genesis 24 ends with the death of Sarah (Abraham’s wife). Genesis 25 begins with: Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.”

4. When it comes to embroidery, I relate more to the “backside.”

I have a blog post coming in September that was inspired by my new hobby: embroidery. I’ll keep this short since more words about art, messiness, unraveling and beauty are on the way . . . for now I’ll simply say: the slow and steady art of embroidery has been a life-giving creative outlet when everything else (work, Bible Study, church, FaceTime, conversations etc) revolves around a screen.

Pictured in the collage: the backside of the first attempt at embroidery. Pictured below: my current in-process hoop.

embroidery project

5. God is still in the business of mountain moving.

6. Starting something new doesn’t mean you have to keep at it forever.

For over a year, blog subscribers have written and asked for recommendations and more “favorites” outside of the monthly newsletter. I’ve played around with so many possible solutions but knew I didn’t want to a) start writing super short posts (blurbs, really) about a podcast here and a book there or b) send an email every time This That and The Other came to mind.

While that works for some people, that’s just not me. I don’t take it lightly when someone invites me into their inbox, and to start sending All The Things All The Time didn’t feel right.

This summer, I decided to try sending a weekly round-up email with a few things I’m currently loving, thinking about, reading, watching or just discovered. In other words . . . the things I would text a friend about. It sounded great and fun and do-able, a weekly commitment I really could make, but then I froze. Because what if I tried only to discover I hated it? Or what if, when the requested recommendations showed up weekly, they felt less like a gift and more like an annoyance?

And then it occurred to me that I could stop at any time. I could fully commit, show up and give my best, and then reevaluate. When I gave myself permission to stop after three months, after really giving it a fair shot, the feeling of being stuck or locked in disappeared. Two days later, I hit send on the first weekly round-up. It’s obvious, but it’s a lesson learned: knowing it would be okay to stop is what helped me begin.

The feedback has been really encouraging so far, but also? I really enjoy it. Maybe it isn’t forever, but I’m glad it’s for now.

If you’ve like to receive Thursday Things, click here or on the box below. I’ll send a gift your way after you confirm your email, and then Thursday Things will be in your inbox next week! (The last two emails included books, a celebration, a Instagram account I love, and my feelings about hard pants — aka jeans. Prepare yourself for randomness.)

7. I’m a fast feeler and a slow processor.

Okay, yes, I absolutely knew both of those things already. But I don’t think I put them together in that exact way until reading Emily’s words here. Something about it, as simple as it is, brought relief.

Here’s to learning new things, to trying to things, and to seeing old things in new ways.

(To see other lists, visit Emily’s corner of the Internet or click here to look through any of my previous “What I Learned” posts.)

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