6 Things I Learned in July

july 15 learned

1. Jim Gaffigan is on Instagram.

This isn’t news but I just started following him. Think photos of food, Jim’s face made out of food, and the occasional family pic with hilarious captions one might expect from our favorite pale, McDonald’s-loving, Hot Pocket-lampooning comedian. {For the record, I also follow his wife, Jeannie Gaffigan.} #shamelessfan


2. Watching my boys play golf together swells my heart like nothing else.

golf brothers

I always envisioned myself as a boy mom. Even though I desperately hoped there would be a girl in the mix {and there is}, a house full of boys never seemed far-fetched to me. I don’t exactly have a house full but the males do outnumber the females in our home.

When the baby of our family was born, the youngest was already four. I worried that they wouldn’t be close as brothers because four years seemed like a hefty gap at that point. Even now, the older one will soon begin middle school while his baby brother is still in second grade.

Their personalities are nothing alike. But brotherhood seems to cover a multitude of differences.

They share a room and drive each other crazy yet neither one can bear the idea of not sleeping in the same room together. They also share a love of golf and have played until after dark many, many nights this summer.

On Monday, little brother officially caddied for big brother in a local JPGA tournament. Y’all, I couldn’t stop taking pics and smiling. I literally thought my heart would burst. I can’t tell you why this makes me happier than almost anything. I only know that it does. I hope that they always have each other’s back. Also? Seeing a tiny kid carry a set of clubs as tall as he is and advise big brother to either use his 7-iron or a hybrid is possibly the most adorable thing ever.


3. Primer is a girl’s best friend. Especially in the summer.

primer face

Makeup is still there!

So I’ve not worn makeup more than I’ve worn makeup this summer. Such is the life of a mom who has three kids, a house on the market, six showings in one week, and working from home. I know, I know. I was all about my Bobbi Brown makeup last month and I still am. I’m also just trying to survive and sometimes getting pretty doesn’t make the cut.

But on the rare occasion that I do get semi-gussied up, I’m all about the primer. Without it, makeup vanishes into thin air. These things happen when you’re over 40. My precisely applied eyeliner is all for naught. I tried some inexpensive primer way back when and it was okay but tended to turn into tiny gel beads on my face if I didn’t apply just right.

Recently I sampled some Smashbox primer at Sephora and my eyeliner stayed put! All day! So did everything else, even though I was walking around in the heat for hours. MIRACULOUS. I bought myself a trial size of this and this. A little goes a long way and I wanted to try it over time before I bought a full-size tube. I’ve heard there are other great primers out there so if you have a favorite, I’d love to know.


4. Having a writing companion is a game changer.

exercise ball

Starbucks and exercise ball / desk chairs are fine companions but they can’t take the place of an actual person.

Sometimes you become slowly acquainted with someone who’s at the same stage as you on just about everything — marriage, motherhood, work, writing. You have similar dreams, similar ways of seeing the world, similar obsessiveness with Anne Lamott. It’s a gift is what it is.

I met Kimberly Coyle two years ago at She Speaks. We got to hang out again last year at Allume. But my first introduction to Kimberly was many summers ago when we each wrote guest posts for Chatting at the Sky, Emily Freeman’s blog. I loved Kimberly’s writing style {and may have envied her life abroad.}

Not so long ago we embarked on a little journey to spur one another along in our writing endeavors. I wish I’d started sooner. Regular emails with my writing friend feels like having a grown-up pen pal. Knowing that she’ll check in encourages me to keep writing in the midst of self-doubt and laundry and busy-ness and tiny humans who start fighting as soon as I sit down to write.


5. Starbucks iced coffee in the grocery store.



Get some today. Pour over ice and add a splash of half and half. Your afternoon will thank you.


6. When my outer world swirls crazy, my inner world follows suit. The well-spun words of others can be a gift in times like this.

See above comment about kids and summer and house-selling. Stuff is finally happening with our home but there are a thousand unknowns. I’m giddy one minute and devastated the next. I’ll tell you all about it later. Let’s just say that good sleep eludes me and soul rest sometimes feels like a joke.

I’m thankful for writers. I’m supremely thankful for ancient writers who penned the bread and life words of Scripture. I’m also thankful for today’s writers who speak in relevant ways to age-old struggles that simply wear modern clothes. I’ve mentioned it before {and will again} but Simply Tuesday: Small Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World has been one of those books for me. I was gifted with the chance to read it early and the timing was perfect.


If you haven’t preordered your copy yet, I highly recommend that you do. {Choosing Rest by Sally Breedlove has been another timely companion for my anxious soul this summer.}


So there you go. Six things I learned in July.

What have YOU learned this summer? We can dish in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter. Or you can chime in with you own list and link up with Emily.

Subscribe in the box below for real encouragement in real time. {And of course you may unsubscribe whenever you like.}


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  1. Emily says

    Oh my word, the boys…can’t handle the sweetness of that picture and the mental image of the caddying taking place.

  2. says

    I love your list! I keep thinking about your trip to the makeup counter from last month, so no worries about repeating the makeup point :) My sister was just telling me about that iced coffee–maybe we’ll need to give it a try. And, I couldn’t agree more about Emily’s book! Her words in Simply Tuesday have drawn me closer to Jesus. She has a God-given gift and I’m so thankful she stewards it well.

    • Marian says

      Thanks for stopping by, Lauren! If we have makeup and iced coffee and Emily F. in common, we are already friends. : )

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