Welcome to What We Learned, where we pause to reflect on the past season before we move ahead into the future. At the end of this post, you’re invited to link up to your own list of what you learned this quarter – be it silly, serious, sacred, or just plain useful. I like to share a mix of all of those.

If you’re visiting for the first time from my podcast The Next Right Thing, welcome! We do this every quarter and will share our next list (What We Learned in Fall) on Friday, November 30. Grab your free printable list here to help you keep track and plan to share with us then. Now you can also share your list on Instagram using #wwlcommunity.

When I link to books, I use my affiliate links which, if you make a purchase means a tiny percentage helps support the work I do here at no extra cost to you. Now here are things I learned this summer in no particular order:

1. Making a To-Read list is my new stress reliever.

Because most of my reading is required reading right now, I have had to pause moving through my personal to-read list. But adding books to the list is comforting and gives hope that pleasure reading will come again!

I’ve linked to these books here in one of my Idea Lists.


2. Saying yes to collaboration just might lead you home.

Next week’s episode of The Next Right Thing is all about this (look for Episode 49: Collaborate coming September 4) but for now I’ll simply say collaboration doesn’t have to trigger memories of seventh grade group projects but can, in fact, help you become a more true and grounded version of yourself.

3. I know I’ve heard from God when I don’t feel ashamed and I’m not afraid.

Those are words are tweaked from Myrna Craig, as quoted on page 22 of Jan Johnson’s book, When the Soul Listens. Myrna actually said guilty instead of ashamed but I do think there’s an important distinction to make between guilt and shame. Guilt says I did wrong. Shame says I am wrong. So I changed the quote a bit to reflect that.

Still, I know that might not be exactly what we’ve grown up to believe about God.

But the more I walk with Jesus, the more I have come to believe that when he really wants me to know something, guilt and fear are not his way. His way may be corrective and disciplinary, but it’s always laced with the comfort of his love.


4. “There is enough for me and there is enough for you, too.”

My friend Jerome Daley said this at a workshop we hosted recently (you can learn more about Jerome here) and even though I’ve heard this sentence before, and even though I’ve said this sentence before, hearing him say it that Saturday morning when I was feeling particularly small and not in a good way, those words of abundance were just what I needed.


5. Thirty minute daily brainstorms are saving my life.

My idea brain hasn’t yet received the message that I’ve got stuff going on and I haven’t the time right now for new things. But it keeps generating ideas for every aspect of my work and I cannot possibly keep up.

Instead of slumping in discouragement with that constant feeling that things are falling through the cracks, I’ve decided to spend 30 minutes everyday to catch ideas on purpose. Here’s how:

  • Choose a notebook for ideas only
  • Pick one topic/aspect of work, for example Instagram stories, live events, collaborations, blog posts, podcast episodes, hope*writers, etc.
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes
  • Write down all ideas as they relate to the topic chosen
  • Just before the timer goes off, write a short list of next actions to take

It’s not a perfect system (yet!) but it’s given me some relief from feeling like I’m missing things.

6. If you have serious writing to do, pick the shop with great coffee and bad WiFi.

This is self-explanatory. And all God’s people said Amen.


I keep track of what I’m learning by using my seasonal reflection lists. You can get your own printable lists for tracking your reflections by signing up right here. If you’re new around here and want to know what, how, and tools to track what you’re learning, check out A New Page for Your Bullet Journal.

Some linking tips: 

  • Just use your name for the “link title” – it’s simpler
  • Be sure to link back here on  your post so your readers can join in!