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A Summer in Review
Or, the one with all my favorites (and some fun news at the end!)
If you’ve been around this tiny corner of the internet for a while, you already know of my deep affection for the summer months, so you may expect this summer-in-review to be a piece with hints of a tough goodbye or a bit of sadness over what was.
But friends, truth be told, I am not having a tough time saying goodbye to summer this year.
We have had such a fun summer–The lake! The pools! The bike rides! Ziplining! Friends visiting!– but summer mom is still tired, and my kids don’t start school until after Labor Day, and there are six of them, and summer mom is still tired (did I already say that?), and the summer months also give way to my second favorite season of the year: college football. So au revoir, sweet PNW summer ☀️You’re still the best in the world.
And on that note, here’s the highlight reel:
I first heard about the Jennifer Aniston salad from my friend Laura, and while I know it has been floating around the internet for a while, it is for real, friends. I make it once a week at this point.
Demon Copperhead was the most powerful book I have read in years. Lots of trigger warnings for this one (addiction, language, abuse), but I read 500+ pages in about four days and that does not happen for me more than once a decade. Kingsolver gives a masterclass in character development and storytelling, and a really important story at that. Not for the minivan speakers, but definitely gets five stars from me.
Sports Documentaries: Alex and I have watched, among others, Quarterback, Hard Knocks, and Shaun White’s Last Run, and gosh, I just love athletes’ stories. There is so much criticism around college and professional sports lately, and much of it is merited. But behind all the powerful people making decisions that may or may not be in the best interest of the majority, there are still the athletes, real people, giving everything they have to their craft. I may be trying to relive my short stint in my athletic “glory days” but watching all of these stories inspired me to get a pull up bar. Stand by for updates. P.S. Doand I have matching Kirk Cousins fan-girl shirts? Yes we do. IFKYK.
I’ve been trying to eat gluten free since I “loosely” did Whole 30 in June, because I really do notice how much better I feel (I make an exception for the occasional slice of sourdough), and in light of such efforts I picked up these Spudsy Sweet Potato Puffs in the Cinnamon flavor on a whim. I have now declared them the greatest snack in all the earth.
Alex and I finally got to do that big triathlon we trained all summer for, and if you’ll indulge me a moment of pride, we got second place in the relay team category (!!!!) (There were only 14 teams but whatever). My legs felt like complete jello when I got off the bike after 25 miles and passed our timing chip on to Alex for the run, but it was the most exhilarating feeling I’ve had in years. And we did it together, on our 12th anniversary, and it’s all truly such a miracle.
I’ve been having the best time dabbling in more documentary photography. Capturing my life, as it really plays out from day to day, has been one of the sweetest parts of the summer. Photography has been such a beautiful complement to writing, a creative muscle that takes different exercise to work out and yet you feel the same sense of contentment, the same sense of this feels right, this making something beautiful thing, when you’re done. And while I don’t have any big dreams of becoming a famous wedding photographer, I would love to capture more of these moments: drinking from the hose, eating ice cream, jumping on the trampoline, mowing the lawn next to dad. These are the real graces in life, aren’t they?
I’m preparing a little “back to school” package for Cannon, complete with pictures of all of his favorite people and activities, an “all about me” sheet for his new teachers, and these. Because you know, The Yell™. Friends, sometimes a little sense of humor can cover a multitude of challenges.
Speaking of Cannon…life is always going to be unpredictable, swinging from one tough season to the next, but with lots of beautiful moments in between. The lump of scar tissue on his head is still growing from all of the frustrating moments he takes out on himself in that same spot, but he’s also talking more and more, even asking for simple things in complete sentences (“May I have one more cookie, please?” !!!!!!) greeting and saying goodbye unprompted. These are huge steps for him, steps I don’t take for granted. He still scripts from his favorite shows a lot, but his repertoire of such scripts is growing, too. My favorite: “This is for you, Your Majesty” (from The Bubble Guppies) as he presents me with a present he colored and cut out himself. We have thousands of these presents lying around the house, which means we are currently going through printer paper at a frightening pace, but he calls me “Your majesty” and you know, I don’t hate it 😉
Our favorite kid’s books of the summer: Because of Winn Dixie, God’s Smuggler: Brother Andrew’s Story, and my friend Hunter’s newest book, Amy Carmichael–an absolute treasure of a book that every child should read.
And last but certainly not least, some fun news I am so humbled to tell you about: I signed contracts this summer to write TWO books, a children’s book with B&H Publishing; and another book, a collection of essays, with Moody Publishing. Both of these projects are truly only God type of opportunities, both of the editors I am working with are a dream, and I could not be more thrilled to have the chance to work on these manuscripts. That’s about all I can tell you about the work for now, but I will say this: I would be a puddle on the ground without the encouraging support of readers like you. I keep every email. I have a photo album saved on my phone called “Writing Encouragement” where I screenshot and save the kind comments I see. Every time someone tells me my words mean something to them, I hold on to that forever, and I just want you to know that. My only goal as a writer is to tell you that the kindness of God is the best thing I have going for me. These two projects are, at the core, another opportunity for me to do that.
Alright friends, time for me to sign off. My seven-year-old has generously been hosting the most epic game of The Floor is Lava with the littles while I write, but their enthusiasm is starting to turn to arguing and it’s time for mama to pay attention again.
Happy football season!