What I Learned This Summer

what I learned this summer

When I can, I love to dish about what I’ve learned at the end of each month. The Let’s Share What We Learned posts are hosted by Emily Freeman as a “monthly community link-up to share the fascinating, ridiculous, sacred, or small.” I haven’t done this since way back in October and I’ve missed it.

This month we’re invited to share what we learned over the whole Summer. Don’t worry, mine isn’t an exhaustive list. That’s because the heat of the southern summer and having all my people in the house 24/ 7 makes me dumb and I can barely remember what I’ve learned. To be honest, I am barely coherent by August 15th, but the kids go back to school tomorrow hashtag praise hands.

If you’d like to join in, just head over to Emily’s and link up.

In no particular order, here are 6 things I’ve learned this summer.


1. A change of scenery is good for the soul.


We didn’t do any fancy vacations, just our typical treks to the beach with my family and to my husband’s home-place in Michigan. We did, however, drive a different route through the midwest to Iowa, where we attended a my husband’s grandmother’s funeral and spent a couple of days with family we rarely see.

I couldn’t stop staring out the window and snapping photos of corn fields. Though we logged 2,300 miles in 8 days, getting out of my little town and inhaling a different part of the country was like a reset button for my soul. I forget how much this homebody craves a change of place.


2. The space bar on my computer works as a pause button when I’m watching Netflix.

My 15 year old showed me this, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. {More on the “Ministry of Netflix” in a later post.}


3. I DO have a “book type.”

I didn’t do tons of reading this summer like I’d hoped. But I’ve done lots of thinking about books and wrote this post on my 5 favorite literary novels of all time.

5 fave lit novels

Writing about my favorite literary novels showed me a pattern I’d never seen before and now I’m curious to know if my other favorite categories of books will have a pattern too.


4. We didn’t all have spectacular, enviable summers. Even though social media seems to convince us otherwise.

Way back in June I wrote about how to receive your own summer life. That’s because summer can sure mess with my inner peace. Even though our family’s summer is coming to an end, it’s easy to look back and see all of the things we didn’t do, all of the good intentions that gathered dust on a shelf, all of the awesomeness other families enjoyed while my kids partook of too much screen time.

Even at summer’s end, I’m still wrestling a little bit. And judging from the comments and e-mails from that post, I learned that I’m not the only one who struggles.

Here’s what I’m still learning the hard way. You can spend your seconds turned minutes turned years wishing for a life that isn’t yours, making yourself and everyone else miserable in the process. Or you can choose to receive the beauty, provision, and even heartache of your actual life. I have a million things to be grateful for. I simply forget. And so do you.


5. What happens in August, stays in August.

walking away

Yesterday I sent all of my kids to eat lunch on the porch because, even though I love them with all my heart, I just couldn’t handle the noise of them being people. And this was after I had already been to church and my heart was full of Jesus.

I texted with a friend last week and she confessed that she’d made her kids eat cereal on the deck that morning because she couldn’t deal with the noise of their spoons scraping against the bowls. She also visited the grocery store bakery three days in a row and ate cookie sandwiches in the parking lot just to get some peace and alone time.

This was the first summer in a long time that I wasn’t ready for school to start. I enjoyed my kids and our lazy schedules more than any summer ever. And then August showed up. August turns easy, laid-back, summer-loving Marian into Crazy-Person Marian. All of a sudden, I am smothered by the humans who live in my home and dreaming of ways to escape. I become the worst version of myself.

So if you too find yourself banishing your offspring because their breathing is too loud, I won’t tell. It’s just August coming around again and turning us into lunatics. Repeat this mantra, “What happens in August, stays in August.” Your self-esteem, sanity, and goodwill toward men will return in October.


6. Y’all are stressed about how to educate your kids.

I recently unveiled this little gift I’d been working on for a while.

school made simple freebie header

I got some of the sweetest e-mails from parents who are overwhelmed by the decision, parents who are switching from homeschool to public school, parents who know that their particular decision is for the best right now but it’s not what they’d planned or hoped for. So many of you are struggling with a low-grade grief or overwhelm over this issue of school.

Maybe this describes you. For years it definitely described me.

If you need a pep talk so that you can walk with more freedom and peace along whatever educational path your family has chosen {either by design or default}, this little resource is for you.

Click here to get yours! 


I’m curious, what did you learn this summer?

You can find me in the comments section, on the blog’s Facebook page, or on Twitter. We can also hang out on Instagram!



Are you stressed about how to educate your kids? Let me help.

school made simple freebie header

It’s the first week of August and Target has me all heart-eye emoji over back-to-school supplies. Is it just me or do school supplies get cuter every year?

Getting everything in order for a new school year ushers in its own sort of angst for me as a parent. But that’s the easy stuff compared to the deeper fears, dilemmas, and second-guessing about getting school “right” for our kids. It’s the sort of dilemma that most of our parents didn’t struggle with and that probably wasn’t even on our grandparents’ radar.


Because in this land of opportunity, we have more educational options than ever before. And while the vast majority of families still send their kids to the local public school, we all know families who are choosing to do things differently, whether it’s homeschool, charter school, private school, or online school.

Our motivations for doing it “differently” are as varied as our families:

  • Your kids having the best education possible so that they have access to the best opportunities possible. 
  • Choosing a more personal path for a child who has learning disabilities or who may be exceptionally gifted.
  • A passion to be involved in the public schools for the sake of a better community. 
  • The best sports program or a charter school geared toward the creative arts.
  • Providing a faith-based foundation for learning.
  • Protection from unsavory peer influences. 


And that’s just the beginning.

I’ve been thinking and writing about this topic of finding freedom in our educational decisions for several years now because I’ve been living through the ups and downs of this dilemma since I had my first child 15+ years ago.

Our overwhelm as parents has only intensified because our options are more abundant than ever.

If you’re stressed and uncertain about how to educate your kids, I wish we could sit down on my screen porch and visit. I’d listen to your worry and tell you it’s going to be okay. But my screen porch isn’t big enough for all of you so I’m offering something else.

“Is it like the Sorting Hat from Hogwarts?” you may ask.

I wish.

“You’re to be homeschooled! You’re perfect for your local public school! You were destined for the early college charter school!”

Alas, we’re not as lucky as Harry, Ron, and Hermione and I don’t have any magic.

But I have created a free resource that’s all yours — to download, to print, to share with your spouse.

It’s called “School Made Simple: FIVE Essential Questions to Help Your Family Walk the Path of Educational Freedom”

Why the 5 questions? Why not just give you answers and expertise and best practices.

Because we’re not robots.


I’ve walked the hard road of my own story and I’d like to be a gentle guide who helps you walk yours with freedom and grace.

“How do I receive this free resource?”

school made simple freebie header

I’m glad you asked.

All you have to do is subscribe in the box at the bottom of this post and you’ll receive a link to download “School Made Simple.”

And if you’re already a subscriber, don’t worry. You’ll automatically receive a separate e-mail {later today} with your link to the download. It’s my way of saying thank you for being part of this space.

As a subscriber, you’ll receive posts no more than twice a week that are all about helping you recapture the possibility of your right-now life — whether it’s the ongoing dilemma over school, real talk about faith, the struggle of pursuing your hoped-for work in the midst of your right-now life, encouragement for realistic parenting, and even the challenges of prettying up a room {or your tired outfits} on a minimal budget. Plus you’ll be the first to know about new freebies, resources, and other insider scoop!

Don’t worry, this isn’t a lifetime commitment. Feel free to unsubscribe anytime you like. You can always hop back in if it works for you down the road.


I’d love to have your feedback over this issue of school.

  • What are your personal fears, dilemmas, questions?
  • What has made the decision difficult {or easy} for you?


Knowing your struggles and concerns helps me create fresh content that meets you right where you are. You can chime in on the Facebook page, via Instagram, in the blog’s comment section, or by sending an email to marianvischer at gmail dot com.

I can’t thank you enough for your continued support and community here. It’s been nine years since I began writing online and I’m more grateful than ever for the gift of kindred spirits and for this place to unwrap possibility together.

Love, Marian


P.S. Let’s hang out on Instagram!