4 In Books/ Daily Living/ Just For Fun/ Travel/ What I Learned

Celebrate August (What I Learned, Loved, and Read)

Linking up, per usual, with Emily P. Freeman, and her tribe as we all press pause on time for a brief minute and celebrate the month we’ve just come through. I hope you’ll join us in this soul-keeping habit.

What I learned:

1. Food is awesome

I returned from thirty days of backpacking a ravenous beast. Every kind of food sounds good every hour of the day. And though I’m trying to practice self-control (and often failing), I don’t think my heightened appreciation for all tastes, flavors, textures and snacks is a bad thing. God created us to need food, and, blessedly, allows eating to be enjoyable. (So when is lunch?)

2. I love traveling by air

Just stepping into the airport makes me excited. I love the hustle to get to the gate and the diversity of the people you encounter on the way, I love the new perspective as you go above instead of through, I love going new places and getting coffee at every stop, and I LOVE the uninterrupted reading for hours as you fly through clouds.

3. The sweetest things are the simple things

I was away more than I was home this month, and there were only a few sweet days that both my husband and I were both at the house with nowhere to go. Now that we’re both back and settling into routine, all the normal, daily things (brewing a pot of coffee, washing the dishes in warm, sudsy water, taking hot showers, sitting on the couch after work) are a hundred times sweeter.

4. Avoid Coffee Shops in Amsterdam (stick with cafes)

Unless, of course, you’re looking for marijuana joints.

5. And don’t try to parallel park in Amsterdam

Because if parallel parking wasn’t stress-inducing enough, you now have the added pressure of not letting your car fall into a canal. I think I’ll just walk, thanks.

6. I am actually Team Logan

I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know if I had a team. But I’m wrapping up the end of season seven of Gilmore Girls, and without giving an spoilers for those few people in the world who are also a decade behind in pop culture, there was an episode that made me cry and that’s when I knew. (Also, there is bound to be an entire blog post when I get to the finale. I am putting it off, however, as finishing shows is the worst part of watching TV. Thank goodness there’s still the Netflix revival.)

7. I don’t transition well.

I think I’ve known this for a while, but it was confirmed for me this month as I went in and out of travel mode and regular life mode. It always feels bumpy and disorienting and throws my equilibrium for a spin. (Let’s talk about how I wandered dizzily from couch to fridge to bed for the first days home after our 30 day hike.) It helps to have a plan of action ahead of time to get me through the fog, but I think I primarily need to give myself the grace to wander around with sweat pants and let go of the expectation that I can be a high-performing, functional human in the midst of transition (big or little).


What I’m Loving

1. This Black Dress

I wear it to the park, I wear it to teach in, and I wore it to a wedding. I can wear it on hot summer days and I’ll be able to layer it up and wear it in the snow.  When your closet is two feet long you need to make sure every item can be multipurpose.

2. My front porch bench

I asked my husband to build me a bench for outside our front door, one that I can sit on and sip coffee in the morning, one that people can take their shoes off, one that we can store wet snow boots in. He complied, perfectly. Having a handy husband is the best.

3. Fried eggs

It’s taken me a long time to learn how to fry an egg but I have mastered the skill and I get so excited for my fried eggs on toast, my fried egg open-faced breakfast sandwich, fried eggs on top of sweet potato hash browns. Every option is delectable. (Again, food is awesome)

4. Jen Hatmaker’s podcast

I love her guests, I love her topics, I love her.


Books I read:

1. Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life by Shauna Niequist

I am all about noticing, savoring, and all-out celebrating the daily, the normal, the routine. My friends know this about me, I think, because I came home to this book on my front porch and a note from one of my dearest friends letting me know the second she read the introduction she knew she had to send this to me for my birthday. Shauna Niequist has been one of my people this summer and I loved reading this first book of hers.

2. Blue Like Jazz: Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller

I’ve known of this title for years, and have enjoyed several other titles by Miller, so when I saw a copy of this in the local Little Free Library I snagged it. I enjoy the style this book was written in, and I enjoy hearing anyone tell how they encounter and understand God so it was a good read. Good, but not great. I much preferred his most recent book Scary Close.

3. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

This book was delightful. A non-conventional romance wrapped up in email format with sincere and likable characters. It made a long road trip home from Minneapolis thoroughly enjoyable.

4. Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker

There are few people I enjoy reading as much as this author. I life and I cry and I do a lot of vigorous head nodding as I ferociously underline every sentence. I’m already looking forward to re-reading this.

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I saw this movie when it came out and before I headed to Amsterdam I went to pick this up from the library because half of it takes place there. It is a sweet story, and knowing the ending ahead of reading it didn’t keep me from fighting back violent sobs as I got to the end. What does it say about my personality that I think a mark of a good movie or book is whether or not it made me cry?

6. Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table by Shauna Niequist

Again, this lady is among my favorites. One of my goals this year is to stop eating like a college student (you know, cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and find some enjoyment in preparing and eating good food. This book has great recipes, but it also is grounded in the philosophy behind gathering at the table and has inspired me to be grown-up about food. (I’m doing great – I only had one bowl of cereal yesterday.)

7. Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy

This book is formatted within the rhythm of seasons and months, so I started this book last September and it has been my companion this entire year. I adore her dreamy writing, and her way of grounding herself (and so also me) in the season she is in, in the place she calls home. I think I’ll read it again this year.



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Linda Stoll
    August 31, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    How fun to bump into you at Emily’s just now, Greer. I love your writing and your online space …

    • Reply
      Greer Oharah
      August 31, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      Thank you, Linda! It is a pleasure to have you stop by!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2017 at 5:54 am

    I’ve been considering my transitioning habits lately so I appreciated your thoughts about and honesty about transition. Some of them, especially the ones between the seasons (both on the calendar and in life), I do pretty well. Others though, like moves, I rush and fail to give them the time they need and the time that I need.

    Your writing is energetic and encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Greer Oharah
      September 5, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Yes – those big transitions can often take much longer than expected, and I’m taken aback when things are still feeling bumpy months later. Let’s give ourselves grace for these!

      Thank you, Natalie, for your sweet words! I am so glad you stopped by.

    Leave a Reply