Yooo Hooo! I’ve missed hanging out here with you all summer. Let’s jump back in with a little summer recap. I’m linking up with Emily P. Freeman (my baby sister) and sharing What I Learned This Summer –you can share what you learned too!


I learned how to use my camera.

Notice I did not say I learned how to take amazing photos. That part will take a while. But I’ve had two different nice (DSLR– real grown up cameras with gizmos and fancy buttons) over the past nine years and never took them out of automatic/ghostbuster flash until June of this year.

I hired a photographer friend to spend the entire day with me and he taught me all the scary parts of my camera. I bought a tripod a new lens and a remote and I only wish I would have gotten help eight years ago.


Shortcut apple pie crusts.

Our family friend Sean made an apple pie for my parents with just apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon? it doesn’t matter, anyway my main point is, he used two crusts that came all ready shaped in the pie tins and just plopped one on top of the other pie full of pie stuff. I know you all do this all the time but removing the crust from a ready-made pie tin and using it for a top crust has never occurred to me.

Here’s mom and dad showing me how it’s done.

I’ve used those roll out pie crusts before but this makes it even easier!


Hopeful Melancholy.

Earlier this year at the Oscars, La La Land won an award (guys I cannot spend all of my time researching La La facts so that’s as specific as I can get) and one of the La La bosses/main dudes (still no time for this) mentioned how the music was hopeful but melancholy.

I could not stop thinking about the combination of those two words–hopeful and melancholy and over time I realized that 90% of the music I love is hopeful yet melancholy.

For example, my all time favorite band that split up and ruined my life: The Civil Wars….

I’ve recently found a new hopeful melancholist whose music I can’t stop listening to: Jess Ray. I’m obsessed with her song Water/Wind/Fire and had it on repeat last week while watching and praying for the Texas coast.


I’ve Never Regretting Making Food.

I’ve known for a long time that one of the things that can make or break my day is getting dinner on the table. Feeding people is life-giving for me. That doesn’t mean that I always look forward to it or skip through the grocery store. But I realized recently that I’ve never regretted the work that it takes to feed people. I’ve never regretted making dinner.

Realizing this has helped me prioritize meals even more at our house. This is on the menu for this week.


Waste my time and I’ll be annoyed.

I’m getting so old and grumpy. Can we talk about podcasts? I feel like podcasts are what blogs were 10 years ago. Everyone has one and most of them are boring according to this grouchy INTJ.

There are two podcasts that never waste my time. I don’t even listen to them on fast speed!

  1. The Next Right Thing — you will want to take notes and you’ll want to listen to every episode twice and you’ll come away feeling so SO encouraged! Plus, each episode is only 15 minutes long! iTunes // other
  2. The Popcast-– this is pure entertainment and I value anything that makes me laugh.


I have nature withdrawal syndrome.

I maybe just made that up but I’m not sure what to call it. We’ve been working on our backyard (our usual at-home outdoor hangout spot) for three forevers, we didn’t go on our usual outdoor centered family getaway this year and I had a working summer.

I wrote another book. And I’ve spent the last 8 months writing that book, taking photos for that book and editing that book (still have a few weeks left for that). I’ve been sitting at the computer a lot. The book will be great but I’m spent.

When you are doing one thing for a long time, the best way to re-calibrate is to do the opposite of that one thing. When I’ve been looking at the computer for too long, I know I need to balance that out by looking at sky or trees or water. Or kittens. Kittens work too.

I’ve got plans to stare at mountains soon. And I’m so happy that The Nest Fest is coming up so I can do some outdoor work again. Tickets go on sale September 15!


Live Life in the Midst of the Mess.

Don’t wait for done or finished or God forbid–perfect before you enjoy what you have. Celebrate anyway. Have the party now.

Our backyard has been a construction zone for almost six months. We’ve still hosted supper club, a going away party and an impromptu little fire outside in the driveway last night. It was so worth it to have people over in the midst of the mess.

PS, here’s the firepit, and outdoor sofas (I bought them with my redcard {save %5 more} during the Memorial Day sale–DO NOT pay full price, these go on sale all the time!).