Five Things I Learned This Summer

Summer's End SmallerThe Old Farmer’s Almanac claims that summer doesn’t end until September 22nd when the autumnal equinox signals the sun crossing the celestial equator. For me, summer ends when the Chautauqua season ends, which happened yesterday.

At our weekly Sunday evening service,  the end of the 2013 season was made official with a ceremonial three taps of a gavel. Of course it seemed official before that. Saturday night was the final concert  in the historical amphitheater (Amy Grant) and by then the crowd had thinned and seats were easily available. Children were already scarce this week as many of them had already gone back to school in their home communities. My husband is off sailing with friends because soon all the boats will be docked or stored for the winter. And while the fall colors aren’t yet in evidence, we’ll see them soon enough.

The summer was a good one here, although busy for us as we completed renovations and tried to literally put our house in order. The end of season heralded the return of contractors, and we’re now repairing my study ceiling and replacing floor that was damaged by a leaking air-conditioner. Time moves forward but before it does, I want to look backward just a little.

The passing of a season is a good time to assess a life. Maybe you’ll join me? What did your summer teach you?

  1. I learned that worrying about outcomes is a waste of time. Rather I should say I was reminded during renovation. Most things that go wrong can be fixed, like the ceiling in my study, and when they can’t, many times we can just move on. But worrying doesn’t change a thing except for the moments we spend when we could be more productive. I’ve gotten much better this summer about letting go and letting things unfold as they’re bound to.
  2. I learned that taking time for myself makes me more productive. I learned to stop feeling guilty if I’m not working every minute. I’m trying to set reasonable goals and give myself credit for meeting them. This isn’t easy when you work at home and you don’t punch a time clock. But it’s doable.
  3. I learned to be proud of my older books. As you know, this summer I’ve re-released some of the books I wrote in the 1980s as ebooks. I’ll confess I wasn’t sure I wanted them back in print, since what I write now is quite different. But as I read them, I realized how much I still loved these stories. Yes, were I writing them today, there might be  changes. But I immediately fell back in love with the characters and the settings, remembering the enthusiasm I’d had then and sharing in it again.That was a gift. After all if I don’t like my own writing, who will?
  4. I learned I can work under the craziest circumstances. This was another reminder. Let’s face it, I started my career with four young children in my house  It doesn’t get crazier than that. But it’s nice to remember that I can work when the ceiling is literally coming down on my head. That’s comforting, because sometimes that’s what it takes.
  5. I learned that now that the decision making is over, we’ve made great choices for our future. (See number one). In fact I learned just how lucky I am to be following this path, making new friends, falling in love with my new communities.

I’m looking forward to the seasons ahead. Seasons when books will be completed and new books started, seasons when I’ll get to know more of you as you post on my Facebook page or comment here or email with questions or comments.

So what did you learn this summer? Are you thinking about it? Please feel free to share.


  1. Lynn Ross on August 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I can’t say I learned anything new, but the summer did reinforce a lot of what I already know. The most important I think is the act of just putting one foot before the other and knowing deep within that all really is in Divine Order. Whatever needs to be done, we just do it. When I was a girl I read the following and have never forgotten it: “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” (Van Wilder) It’s easier said than done to live by that, and I confess that I have not yet perfected it! I am so happy that you have learned to appreciate your older books. There’s not a one that I don’t still love. May the fall and winter seasons teach you many new lessons that you can pass on to your readers, and all of them easy, please. <3

    • Emilie Richards on August 27, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      I love that saying, and don’t remember ever hearing it. If we could all picture that rocking chair. . .

  2. Kathy Neavill on August 28, 2013 at 12:10 am

    I really learned that life begins and life ends and we must learn to live in between the two. My great-grandson was born July 16 and my only sister died exactly one week after from breast cancer. On the day she died I was having a repeat mammogram and sonogram because of a suspicious spot on my earlier mammo. Thank God it was benign. And at the same time my husband was diagnosed with skin cancer on his head!I learned not to take life for granted and be thankful for the good.

    • Emilie Richards on August 28, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Kathy, there are lessons, then there are lessons. This was a big one for you, not new, I’m sure, but brought home with such power. I am so sorry about the loss of your sister. I’m glad your own scare with breast cancer turned out well, and hope your husband’s treatment is simple and final. I know the new great-grandson will be a comfort and a joy.

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