Things I’ve Learned

Well we made it through the first week of a new school year, which means summer is officially over. Summer seemed to f-l-y by this year, which was maybe a little bit of a blessing and a little bit of a curse.

I started the summer numb, if I’m being honest. School got out just 7 or 8 weeks after Corey died and that whole first couple months is still such a blur. The kids spent some time in Coeur d’Alene with Corey’s family right after school got out, which they do every summer, but driving home after dropping them off was a very quiet and surreal ride this year. Seeing Corey’s headstone in person when we visited the cemetery for the first time didn’t help matters.

Talk about feeling the finality of a thing.

Pleasant View Cemetery

As we were getting ready for school last week I began to reflect on this summer, on just how different it was, and on what my “new normal” is shaping up to look like. I took more time off work than I initially thought I would and was deeply moved by the kindness and compassion with which they responded to my request for more time after those first few weeks. There was a lot of freedom that came with that, and I was so very grateful, once again, for the people God has placed in my life.

I rested more than I really ever have this summer. My kids spent time with their grandparents in Coeur d’Alene and in California, they went to camps and clinics and a had a few activities here and there so I spent a lot of time alone. I had some special visitors from out of town and the time spent was sweet and reflective and healing.

I also worked my tail off around the house and yard on a whole list of projects I made after getting home from dropping the kids off that first day with their grandparents. Some of the projects I did myself; others could only be accomplished with a host of awesome people who worked their tails off too.

I experienced the whole gamut of human emotion – over and over and over. I laughed, I cried; I got mad and silently yelled inside my own head at times – things I’ll probably never say out loud to another living soul. I sat and I worked in silence a lot and I didn’t “people” very much. But along the way I learned a few things I wouldn’t trade for anything and overall I think it was a summer of forward progress and growth.

So here are a few of the things I’ve learned over the past hundred-and-something days of summer:

  • I’ve learned you can get all your steps in for the day without ever leaving your yard.
  • I’ve learned you can still order the free birthday dessert at a restaurant to celebrate someone special, even though he’s not there with you in person.
  • I’ve learned there are equal parts gratitude and satisfaction when your neighbors who’ve been caring for your yard for the past year turn the reins over to you – and your middle-schooler, who now knows how to run the new lawnmower, thanks to their guidance and support.
  • I’ve learned, with the help and direction of some awesomely green-thumbed people, that I actually enjoy working in the yard. McAuliffe’s Valley Nursery in Snohomish is now one of my favorite places to hang out. Who knew?!?!
  • I’ve learned that painting a ceiling is about the worst home improvement project one can tackle.
  • And I’ve learned that you should always use a drop cloth.
  • And that you really always do have to do the second coat.
  • I’ve learned that family members and friends who enjoy painting are to be treasured – and fed well.
  • I’ve learned how to run a saw and a drill and change out drill bits. Thanks, Dad.
  • I (re)discovered that refinishing furniture is as fun and satisfying as I remembered it being.
  • I’ve learned that things as simple as reorganizing your closets, cupboards, pantry and laundry room really simplify life – and make you smile every time you look at them.
  • I’ve learned that certain things really are worth the investment – of your “time, talent or treasure” as Pastor Rob always says.
  • I’ve learned the house is really quiet with the kids gone and I got a glimpse of what my empty-nester years are going to look like.
  • I’ve learned you can find out how to do almost anything on YouTube.
  • And I’ve learned the first name of a lot of the employees at ACE Hardware and Sherwin Williams in Lake Stevens.
  • I’ve learned there’s almost no mood a good long walk can’t fix – whether by yourself or with good company.
  • I’ve learned that sometimes it’s awesome to work on projects with your favorite Pandora station cranked up.
  • And that sometimes it’s better to work in silence.
  • I’ve learned that it’s freeingly satisfying to keep your phone in your purse and make real-life memories with real-life people and not feel the need to share it on social media – just to prove to yourself and everyone else that you’re “OK.”
  • I’ve learned that it’s OK not not know what “OK” means.
  • I’ve learned that it really does take a village – and that I have a pretty darn amazing one.

I hope that some of the lessons I learned over these past few sun-filled, slower-paced months will sustain me, ground me and bolster me in the months to come. I don’t know whether I’m ready for the school year, but it’s here so I guess it’s time to buckle up. So as we look toward a new season of learning, cheers to a season of things learned. May we all be better for it.

10 thoughts on “Things I’ve Learned

  1. Once again, Mindy, you have beautifully expressed thoughts that give us a glimpse of your new normal. You didn’t want it but it is what it is, as we learned after Brian died. You made me laugh, honey. Yes, you really should use s drop cloth. And yes, two coats. It was fun being there and helping. We pray for you and Jayden and Abbie regularly and are so thankful for the people the Lord has placed in your life. It’s hard for us to be so far away right now, but that helps. You’ve learned some amazing and hard lessons, but let me assure you, you are teaching them as well. I love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Impressive to hear the start of your journey of healing, it brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully written. Hang in there one day at at time. From grief to hope. Praying for your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This made me remember your little place in mid town for some reason and how I felt visiting you there. Thinking the way you felt living alone there may feel a bit like you did this summer 💜 Love ya sister

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is so good to hear from you and learn from you. Thanks again for your sharing your life with us. You and the kids are often in our thoughts and prayers.


  5. Thanks for the update! As always you put things so well. Definitely your mother’s daughter! You have her gift!
    Know that I’m here praying!
    Psalms 121:7-8 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tears and smiles. God really does give the strength to endure, huh? You inspire me Mindy. John and I continue to pray for you and the kids. Wish we lived closer, we would totally would have been in the mix of helping.
    Love you


  7. There is only One who truly hears and is capable of helping! Always here praying!
    Psalms 5:1-3 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.


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