Hi. I’ve missed you, and writing, and writing for you, during my break this summer. Before going headlong into fall, though, I decided I would take a cue from writer Emily P. Freeman, who encourages her readers to “pause to reflect on the past season before we move ahead into the future.”
So here we are.
These are 7 Things I Learned This Summer, in no particular order.
1. The world keeps turning even when we unplug from social media, politics, and the news.
Obviously, I knew this at heart. But I didn’t realize how much I needed to be away from it all for most of the 18 days we were in Switzerland. We lived at a scout center with other adults and youth from around the world. We spent many days sightseeing in nearby towns or hiking in the Alps. And what a gift. My soul rejoiced not only at the beauty of the people and place surrounding me, but also at the opportunity to truly live in the present. I returned home physically tired and mentally renewed. As writer Anne Lamott says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” May you have the opportunity to experience this in the days ahead.
2. Wunderlist is a great app for planning meals, not just sharing grocery lists.
My in-laws visited for about 10 days this summer, bringing with them the usual change in dynamics when extra people are in the house. I knew from past experience that this was no time for making dinners on the fly (which, admittedly, is how I roll more often than not.) I used an app called Wunderlist, which is how Doug and I share our family grocery list with each other. In less than an hour, I thought through each day of their visit, wrote out a plan for each dinner including entrees and side dishes, and created a grocery list for those meals. Then I set a reminder to pop up at 9 a.m. every day, so I would remember to put something in the slow cooker or go pick up last-minute items at the store.
3. Churning and enjoying homemade ice cream with friends is worth all of the calories, carbs, and sugar that come with it.
4. A sandwich baggie makes it simple to pack nutritional supplements for a trip.
Thanks to a tip from my friend Judy, my stress over packing for 3+ weeks almost dissolved. Packing my clothes was one thing, but how was I going to make sure I had all the other essentials? I took a day’s worth of vitamins/minerals, energy and sports drink powders, tea bags, and probiotics and packed them together in a single plastic sandwich bag. I packed one of these for each of 24 days, which once overseas made it easy to grab what I might need for the day and toss it into my backpack. What I didn’t use that day, I put in a separate bag and brought home.
5. European bread is better than American bread.
I’m not sure how people with celiac disease or dairy intolerance live in Switzerland. I avoid both gluten and dairy in the United States, which helps reduce my allergies and improves my gut health. But I enjoyed both bread and dairy in Switzerland without ill effects. I think much of it comes down to the cows in the Berner Oberland being grass-fed, not corn-fed, and their wheat not being sprayed by glyphosate (Roundup) before harvest. Dr. Joanne Conaway talks about how these American practices affect our health in her book, “Why is America So Sick? Linking Digestive Health to Immunity and Hormonal Issues,” which I read this summer. I’m dismayed by what we’ve done to our food supply in the United States.
6. Sometimes my faith leaks out through my eyes.
Majestic mountains. Human interactions. People persevering and supporting each other. My child playing “It is Well With My Soul” as part of a string ensemble at church. And my other son, after we drove together for two full days – 1,250 miles – toward his university, driving away from me and the airport curb and finishing the rest of the trip alone. Frederick Buechner says, “Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.” God is good. All the time.
7. Even coaches need coaches.
This summer was full of opportunities for me to expand my comfort zone – tackling a high ropes/zipline course for the first time, then going indoor rock climbing. The first platform on the ropes course freaked me out. I wrote on my Instagram account about zipping past our fears, and how sometimes even coaches need coaches.
Now it’s your turn. What did you learn this summer? Comment below, or join my free, private “Faith and Sweat” Facebook group, where we can have a larger conversation.
Thanks for stopping by! I’m an integrative health coach, offering grace and space for a healthier you. I’d love to hear from you and get to know you better. If you’re new here and don’t want to miss a thing, be sure to CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter and updates.