the things learned in summer 2018

it has been one of the most frustrating yet one of the most surprisingly full summers that I can recall.

doing life without my mom has forever changed the tone of summer. and that has been apparent these last two years.

last summer was all about trying to process the heavy weight of grief.

trying to make it through each day, trying to process the space and the social isolation caused by leaving behind the community that crowded around you. suddenly, you’re adapting to empty halls, a silent kitchen, no longer having a calm voice checking in at the end of long days.

no longer distracted by all that is missing, you have to fight to recall and fight to process and fight to not let those memories consume. you have to fight to open up to the light all around you, to let yourself believe over and over again that the darkness will not win, it doesn’t get the last say.

this summer was all about trying to process a painful transition.

all my closest friends packed up boxes and loaded up cars to the brim and now live with different postcodes. everything I loved doing was changed, replaced, or just no longer part of my life. new responsibilities, new spaces, new uncertainties.

and it takes work to rebuild, to begin to imagine what the new will hold, to have a hopeful outlook towards the days ahead. often, I’m still trying to get there. but this summer started that and here’s what I learned in those months of june, july, and august.


summer is where healing begins, unfolding one slow moment at a time.

in the magical nights of endless sunset that stretch on forever in the best kind of haze.

in the neighborhood walks to force motion and thought.

in the sorting through of pictures and camera rolls and possessions that spark the good kind of painful memories.


summer is for honey lavender lattes and scheduling time in the coffee shop, because it’s one of the only spaces you feel like yourself anymore.

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for watching the words start to come out in that coffee shop corner, even if they scare you. because you can only keep the stories bottled up forever.

for wandering trader joe’s isles to discover new favorites + buy flowers as a reminder of growth, of the importance of finding beauty to fill our days.

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for local corner restaurants with the best pizza, twinkling lights artfully arranged, homemade ice cream, lingering conversations, and songs like Yellow being played live and all the while it makes you feel like you’re in a rom-com movie.

for clumsily rediscovering your way around the kitchen, reading cookbooks with recipes like stories late into the night hours, filling your head with podcasts as you chop and stir and measure. trying to bring something that reflects a bit of my mom, a bit of home and hospitality. and discovering that it is all so central to who we are.

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for rompers and being brave enough to try new things you had always dreamed of wearing.

for finding time to do what you love. over and over again, latching on to those things that feel like yourself, like home.

for realizing the importance of talking over the long, messy, rambling trails of ideas and emotions and hopes tangled tightly together within. not just internally recycling the same tracks, but bringing them outside, visible. so that others can help bring connections and illuminate those dark corners, the vague grays, the pieces you didn’t even know were missing. revealing dreams and patterns that push you forward.

for starting a new favorite practice, the full heart list. an end of the week reminder to appreciate all that has happened, to take notice of the details. to pay attention because this is your one life and there is always a reason for hope, for joy.

 

for snowcones on summer nights being ten levels of nostalgic. because they make you remember countless other nights with the sounds of summer in the background, dreaming with friends, spending priceless moments with mom, savoring that time.

for back to back weekends filled with friends and familiar, favorite places that help your heart find the courage to walk into this new chapter of unknown. remembering that you are loved. remembering the fears of adventures before. remembering just how far you’ve come.

for finding out that He always is more than enough, bringing just what your soul needs, precisely when you need it. and this is true no matter how far you run. or how much you try to bury the previous pain, bury yourself in layers of life and identity and things. He is there. He is with you. the nearness of Him is truly your only good.


summer, you’ve been good to me. here’s to all the things you were for and how those things shaped this new season. here’s to what comes next, building upon it in rich and revealing ways. here’s to trusting in a God who uses everything in our lives to remind our souls of what is true.

hannah-grace
p.s. these what I learned posts are a quarterly practice, stemming from what one of my favorite authors started. you can read more about it here & join in anytime.

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