Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Eight Things I Learned in July

Cousins walking through the Louisville Zoo on Sunday.

I'm sad July is over. It's not my favorite month, but it means the end of summer is approaching. My kids go back to school two weeks from today. I'm feeling a mixture of denial and mourning. I've always considered summer my favorite, and this one seemed to go by especially quickly. Didn't I just write Nine Things I Learned in June?!

Summer is like no other season. And it's filled with so many of my favorite things. Days that don't begin with an alarm. Swimming. The lake. Lunching at the park with friends. Grilled kabobs. Berries. Road trips. Did I mention swimming?

Now that I have a school-aged child who is getting ready to begin her second year of "real" school, summer has a different meaning. It's like a break from the routine. And, y'all, I really took a break from all things school. I didn't even participate in the summer reading program Cate's school organizes. I seriously hope she's not the only one who didn't earn points. She read. Really. Every night out loud to herself. Greg and I read "Beezus and Ramona" with her. She's read to Ben. She's read to me. She's read to Greg. She's read in the car. And she's stood over my shoulder and read whatever I was working on.

But I didn't write down a single book from the suggested reading list. Y'all, I don't even know what was on the suggested reading list.

So, with that. Eight things I learned in July, in no particular order ...

1. It's OK to say no and not participate in everything. Like your school's summer reading program, apparently. Oh, and, the one at the local library too. We had a few camps/Bible school weeks we wanted to do. They made it on the calendar. No other regular commitments did.

2. Dinner doesn't always have to be served at 5:30 p.m. One of my favorite summer afternoons/evenings went like this: Kids and I left the house to swim at the city pool at 3:30 p.m. I emailed my husband as I was walking out the door: We're going to embrace summer and swim. I have no idea what we're having for dinner. 

He responded: How about I come up there when I leave work? No hesitation from me: Yes! I'll leave your clean swim trunks out. {Because, you see, I may have slacked meal planning and preparing and executing, but, hey, I did laundry so my husband's swim trunks no longer had lake water on them. It's the little things, people.}

So we swam. Until 6 p.m. For kids that go to bed around 7:30 p.m., that's creeping into late-night dinner territory. But we came home, put on dry clothes, and loaded back up for Cracker Barrel because that's like a home-cooked meal, right?! AND THEN I really kept on with the "Let's embrace summer!" mentality and suggested Dairy Queen on the way home. We brought cones home and sat on the front porch eating them. {Well, OK, so mine wasn't actually cone. Mini Reese's Cup Blizzard for the win.}

AND THEN, more embracing summer. The kids rode bikes and scooters in the front yard and then I engaged my son in a game of chase in the front yard. It was past bedtime, which is admittedly looser in the summer, and everyone was so happy and content. I really had no idea what time it was.

3. I taught my husband Scrabble strategy too well. Really. I used to beat him. Years ago, I was on quite a streak when we sat down at the table and played the actual board game. Now, he wins. Of course, now we also sit next to each other on our iPhones, verbally nudging each other to take their next Words with Friends turn. Since the beginning of June, he's on a 22-3 streak.

{Do you wonder how I know the win streak? Oh, at the beginning of June I started a list on the phone. So, yes, if you've played Words with Friends with me since June 1, I've got our games tallied too. Oh, and, hey, if you want to play, my user name is KHT. I'm never one to turn down a game.}

4. My favorite passage of scripture contains encouragement for one of my constant struggles. OK, so, maybe, I didn't technically learn this this month, but it was brought to my attention in a new way, thanks to God-sized dreamer friend Mandy. I quote pieces of Philippians 4 regularly to friends having a hard day or myself throughout any given day. Yet, I realize I skip one crucial line about gentleness, which Mandy mentioned in our Voxer conversation.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. {Phil. 4:4-7}

{More on this later. I typed a bunch, but it was weighing down this post.}

5. God knows I learn by repetition. "Pray about Everything" is one of the songs from the "Kingdom Rocks" VBS my kids went to this summer at a friend's church. And we often have the CD playing in the minivan. This song taken from the New Living Translation of Phil. 4:6-7 is my favorite track. Of course, God.

{Hey, Mandy, the gentleness part there is a reminder to be considerate in all you do.}

6. Adding freelance writing work just as the busy lake house season was beginning may not have been the most logical strategy, but it worked for me. I'm a doer. In school, I wanted to write a paper, not prepare for a test. Anticipation for a presentation or an upcoming change was always harder on me than the actual event. I like to see results and progress. Had I spent too much time thinking about the timing of beginning freelance writing right as I would be managing two busy vacation rentals, I probably would have gotten overwhelmed and stressed before I even got started. But when it all sort of just happened, I was able to dive right in. Finding a balance between work and play was the hardest, but even that was alright, thanks to my kids making sure I figured out when we would swim.

7. The creators of The Bachelorette knew what they were doing by scheduling when most shows are taking a break. I tell myself I'm done, but I always get pulled back in. Really, though, is there a better show to have on while folding mounds of laundry? Not really. Yet if "Parenthood" or "The Good Wife" were on with new episodes this time of the year, I may have an easier time saying goodbye to "The Bachelorette."

So, yes, I'm watching this season. I was a Zak fan. Now I'm a Chris fan. I wasn't surprised Brooks broke her heard. {Am I the only one who saw that coming? Clearly Des didn't!}

8. I can make low-sugar, delicious strawberry lemonade at home. Jaclyn shared this recipe with me and you'll be thanking me that I'm sharing it with you.

2 cups Sprite Zero
1 package lemonade mix for a 16-ounce water bottle {I used Crystal Light}
8 frozen strawberries
2 packages of sweetener {I used Splenda. Packages are likes the ones at restaurants.}
6-10 ice cubes or 1 1/3 cup crushed ice
2/3 cup water

Put in blender and blend. I've been making two blenders full at a time because that fits in my plastic pitcher. And, trust me, you'll want more. 

I could probably go on, but I think I'll stop there. Goodbye, July. You were fun, but couldn't you have stayed around longer? Friends, what have you learned this month?

I'm linking my list up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky. Come join us! And, yes, you may have noticed the permalink is "seven things ..." I totally came back and added one. 

Want more stories? Like 152 Insights on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin'. Subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."


  1. Love your list. Thanks for the recipe.

    Stopping by from Emily's. :)

  2. KristinHillTaylor7/31/2013 4:55 PM

    See, you're already thanking me for the recipe. You'll have to let me know what you think. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. You were in Louisville??? Next time you visit message me, I would love to meet up!

    I love the picture you painted of embracing summer! I haven't had many of those days...but I think they are coming! I want to be free and just live!

  4. KristinHillTaylor7/31/2013 8:41 PM

    It was a crazy, quick trip. My husband had a meeting Monday in Hardin County, so we made a little trip out of it. My mom lives in Fern Creek and my brother and his family live in LaGrange. I could use a whole vacation to Louisville to see everyone I want to see. I'll message you one of these times! :)

  5. That sounds awesome!! Or maybe sometime we can plan a day trip to a lake or park halfway between us. How far are you from Louisville? It probably wouldn't be too bad!

  6. KristinHillTaylor7/31/2013 8:51 PM

    I'm 3 1/2 hours from Louisville. I'm sure we could find somewhere to meet. If I hadn't planned this last trip to Louisville so last minute, it would have been a great time. I'd love to meet!

  7. Maybe one day! That would be a joy!

  8. stacey29lincoln7/31/2013 10:21 PM

    YES! Embracing summer and jotting down the lemonade recipe! Yum!

  9. KristinHillTaylor7/31/2013 10:22 PM

    Enjoy it! :)

  10. Kristin, this is awesome! (See my list regarding that word choice;) Voxer and God-sized dreamers make an appearance too.) Your list is so fun, and I am grinning as I read it. Thanks for listing our verse and linking me:) I am eager to check that song out.

  11. KristinHillTaylor8/01/2013 8:55 AM

    I've thought about what you said about gentleness many, many times. Hope you're having a great week!

  12. christie elkins.8/01/2013 7:44 PM

    I love how we keep running into each other in various linkups! I always enjoy reading your blog!

  13. KristinHillTaylor8/01/2013 7:46 PM

    Thanks, Christie! Let's keep running into each other!

  14. Another great blog!! :)

  15. KristinHillTaylor8/02/2013 8:39 AM

    Thanks! :)