What I Learned in August


h, August.  You are one of those unfortunate months near the end of a season. Your proximity to September brings thoughts of fall and yet it’s still 90 degrees outside and we have at least four more weeks of summer.

However, knowing that come February I would be longing for your heat, I made efforts to soak up all that you had to offer.  Even if I sweated profusely all the while.

August was spent recovering from vacations, harvesting crops (are 4 tomatoes crops?), dreaming of Scotland, and realizing that fall was just around the bend.  Here’s what I gleaned through all of that:

August’s Lessons Learned

1.) Gardening is actual work.

Beyond the initial planting, you apparently also have to tend to it on a somewhat regular basis in order to keep everything happy.  And then there’s the harvesting.

Harvesting has been minimal from my modest planter box, as I evidently chose to plant it in a swamp. But then I traipsed over to my friend’s massive plot and spent the better part of an hour picking green beans. And then another hour snapping, blanching, and freezer-bagging them.

Gardening is no joke. Mental note for next year.


2.) Being still is difficult but has surprising value.

Inspired by Michael Hyatt’s morning routine podcast,  I began starting my mornings on the porch with simply quieting my heart and mind.  No deep thinking, worrying, or even praying (except maybe this one) for a few still moments.

Frankly, I was amazed by the results: Once I finally settled down, it was as if I could better hear my heart–and in the quiet, I found anxiousness hidden in it.  I doubt I’d have noticed and dealt with it had I not been still for a bit.

I’m not great at slowing down, but I think I could benefit from a daily dose of stillness.

3.) Bun is technically a preschooler.

Totally caught me off-guard.  But there it is.  I guess we’ll do something preschool-ish this fall.


4.) Family vacations can still merit the word–if my expectations are realistic.

No, vacations with littles are not as restful as vacations without littles. But they can still be lovely–especially if babies sleep separately, mommy gets some alone time, and everyone takes in the bumps with a good attitude.  By everyone I guess I mean mommy.


5.) Homegrown tomatoes + olive oil + basil + salt & pepper (+ fresh mozzarella optional) = awesome.

That’s all.

6.) Twice is great.

Since I no longer live near a Buffalo Exchange, Twice is the next best thing. Quality brands, gently used, at good prices with free returns and free shipping over $50. Sweet.

7.) I want to go to Scotland. Badly.

Hubs will contend that since I’ve been to Ireland twice and he’s been to England, “we’ve pretty much seen the U.K.” But I beg to differ.

The more I read and see of this nook of the British Isles, the faster it rises to the top of my list of must-sees.

8.) I should make self-care more of a priority.

I nodded my way through this post; by the end, I realized the last year and a half had taken more of a toll on me than I’d thought.

I’m just beginning to think through what taking better care of myself will look like, but I do know this: counseling/long walks/intentional breaks for mommy now is a lot cheaper than lots of therapy for my kids later.


9.) Even under less-than-desirable circumstances, hospitality can bless others.

For one who preaches inviting others into your home regardless of its size/condition, you’d think I’d have been more convinced of this.  Let someone stay in your house with unpredictable animals and a guest room that wasn’t “finished?”  Surely not.

Well, I did it.  And the cats were bad.  But my weary friend was apparently blessed anyway–and I doubt she gave a second thought to the undecorated state of her quarters.

Turns out what I view as a huge hindrance to hospitality is often no matter at all.

10.) Seeing your kids love on one another is the greatest thing ever.

Buckaroo adores Bun and will try to comfort her when she’s having an emotional meltdown (so he gets lots of practice).  Bun’s favorite thing is to “make Rowan happy” (or “safe”–whatever the situation calls for).  I love it.


11.) Rising early has benefits like front-row seats to things like this:


Thank you, Charlotte A. Cavatica.

 What did you learn this August?

And, as always, linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky & all the other lovely people sharing what lessons the month has brought. Check them out!


About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • Yes to the tomatoes and fresh basil! Yes to siblings loving on each other! Yes for your adorable Bun. I kinda wish you could smuggle her in the suitcase but that wouldn’t be fair to put three little girls on Jared. 😉
    And as you know, YES to self care. Those mornings are the porch sound like heaven and I know I need to incorporate them into my new routine come fall. =)

    • I am smiling at the thought of what mischief those three girls would get into together :). (Or at least, how many times they’d change outfits–at least if Bun was running the show :)).

  • TJ

    Thanks for the podcast recommend. I am downloading that one and a few others for my road trip next week.

    • TJ, I’m a huge Michael Hyatt fan–his podcasts are great! I’ve also been listening to Simple Mom’s lately, especially those she’s done with The Nester. They always make me laugh :).

      Happy road tripping!

  • Lori Harris

    Hello there, Jenn~ love your list! Particularly #1 and #2. I don’t garden because, as you put it, it’s no joke! And the bit about self care- oh wow. The hubs just cleaned my calendar for September and gave me Thursday nights to myself, for this very thing- self care.
    And by the way- I really love your quiet space here- I feel very much like I’ve been loved upon, just by stopping by!

    • Lori, with six sweet kiddos, I’d say you need Thursday nights to yourself :).

      Thank you so much for your kind words about my little corner here–I’m often amazed at what can transpire over the internet :).

  • sleepingshouldbeeasy

    These are awesome, Jenn, and couldn’t agree with you any more, especially about gardening and the delicious caprese salad! I love mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes and basil! -Nina

  • Kelly

    Agreed – Siblings loving each other blesses me beyond expectation and so does waking up early and in the quiet. I love the way your word things and now I want to go to Scotland. Thank you for sharing. My take away is goign to try and be open this month to hospitality even though it is not really my strength!

    • Kelly, thanks for dropping a note! On the hospitality–go for it! 🙂 I have to remind myself that it doesn’t need to be a full meal and a bunch of prep–coffee and dessert (or just coffee!) can totally suffice. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

      • Kelly

        I think I just need to get it on the calendar so it happens! Thanks for the encouragement.

        • Totally. I have to get stuff on the calendar or it just doesn’t happen. I’m also realizing, though, that I can just be intentional to take advantage of opportunities that just spring up, too–simple things like running into a neighbor and inviting her over for coffee or asking a new friend to bring her kids over one morning to play.

  • Great list! Love what you have to say about hospitality. And I agree about gardening….I am just learning this year. I accidently got the wrong zucchini plant, and time will tell if it will be a happy surprise.

    • Ha, good luck with that zucchini. 🙂 We had it coming out of our ears for a while but now my last plant has died. :/

  • Christy

    Scotland is also 90 minutes from me and that would make me very happy to see you. Tell Hubs that “London” does not count as seeing the UK! It is our capitol and not our country (and Scotland is a different country anyways!) !

    And I know the best counselor ever if you ever want one and don’t mind that she is in St Louis and does Skype counseling for those a bit further away. 🙂