What To Do When Summer Gets Thick

by | Jul 22, 2013 | Uncategorized


In the summer months, the air in my house gets thick with more of the same.

It’s why I’ve started a discipline of writing in a local coffee shop once a week. I learn to tune out the whir of the coffee grinder, the slam of the cash register door, the crinkle of dollar bills pulled from the pockets of sunburned tourists when I can’t avoid the yawn of my son in the adjacent room down the hall from my desk.

Seated alone at a round table for two, I notice a young girl wearing a bikini under a lavender t-shirt with fringe shifting over her tan stomach; her long locks swept up in a careless bun on the top of her head. She saunters to the counter in flip-flops; backpack slung over her shoulder, a drinking straw balanced on her lower lip, and orders a Caramel Macchiato. I’m transfixed by her confidence.

Obviously, I’m writing about it.

Write from where you are. It’s a phrase I’m mulling from Julia Cameron’s, Right to Write. It helps the words flow and gives permission to let go of things needing to be perfect. And perhaps it’s a good mantra for other things too like parenting, cooking, exercising, housekeeping, or even making new friends.

I’ve made a few friends sitting in this coffee shop. A young English mother taking time out from an office move.  Enjoying a coffee and clicking keys on a laptop, when her baby revolts from the carriage between us.  Our conversation leads to a discovery. We have mutual friends. In England.

I started writing this post surrounded by strangers in a coffee shop and finished it in between making breakfast for three teen boys and lobbing their wet swimsuits in plastic bags. On the back end of writing three blog posts because the word river was running swift.

I’m learning something perhaps you already know. If you find yourself in the same place navigating familiar circumstances for an extended period, you have a chalkboard full of your own thoughts that you would just as soon erase. It’s time for a change of perspective.

Begin from where you are and live like the world is an open invitation.

You don’t need to be in a fancy spot or sitting in the perfect nook to be inspired. He’s with you wherever you go, unfurling your tired map. The destination isn’t the point; it’s the one holding down the corners of adventure, waiting for you to make the first move.

How do you keep perspective in the summer?

I’m on vacation with my family this week, where my cell phone is turned off and the internet is nowhere to be found in our cottage. My response to your comments will be slow, but I’m thankful you joined me here. 


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  1. Laura Rath

    Shelly, I love this reminder to write from where we are. He is always with us, so while a change of scenery may inspire, He can inspire us anywhere at any time.

    • Shelly Miller

      He can, truly. On a bus, or a train or in the middle of a lake. He is always speaking and showing off His glory. Lovely to see you here Laura.

  2. Lynn Morrissey

    Shelly, you already know I love this book! 🙂 And I love you and your writing. And what I love about writing from where you are is that is it simply a starting place (especially when you don’t know where to start). You write from where you are because it’s what you know and what you see, but you don’t stay there (even if you do stay there–physically). Once you pick up your pen and let God take the lead, you never know where He will take your thoughts, your writing, and you. He’ll open up fresh vistas of insights and ideas and discoveries about Him, yourself, and His world. On the page-map, one thought-road leads to another and another and another, and you never know where you’ll end up traveling. That’s what I really love about writing. It’s truly both expressive and expansive. Writing *does* change your perspective and often, that’s a very healthy and exciting thing in summer or any season. I’m thinking that when you write in the “thick” of your life, God leads you to “thin” places, places where you can see straight through to truth that you didn’t even know you knew! I like how you trailblaze, Shelly! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Have a WONDERFUL (and wonder-filled!) vacation!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you so much for the book Lynn. I’m savoring and underlining. It’s daily encouragement to a writers soul. I’m having a great time on vacation, resting and filling up journals with inspiration. That book is coming along. Thanks for praying.

  3. Diane Bailey

    Ahhh, yes, a change of perspective. Wonderful advice! I hope your time at the cottage, bring you a refreshed mind and spirit.

    • Shelly Miller

      It always does Diane, that I can be sure of. Thanks for being here. Love you friend.

  4. DeanneMoore

    Loved how you were inspired by Julia’s book to change the scenery. I know the thickness well here in the Southern summer. I am praying for the air to be crisp up there by the lake, especially in the morning while you walk and pray. May God meet you under the pines, fill you with the fragrance for life.

    Wrote this this morning in a little notebook I received in the mail: “Even though I have words, they don’t become writing unless I put pen to paper. The same is true of many things that only take shape when they move from the abstract to the concrete. In particular, I am thinking of dreams…”

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, I’m doing that lots Dea. Putting pen to paper and lots of color on a brush as well. It’s been rich and full of inspiration being at the cottage. Thanks for praying. I’m praying for you every day.

  5. Megan Willome

    I love to write in a coffee shop. It’s just the right amount of noise, and none of it directed at me. Lately, though, it hasn’t been hot, so I’ve been enjoying my back porch with my puppies. They watch over me.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m in one now Megan. And loving it.

  6. Jean Wise

    Your writing is always such an inspiration. I need to try writing a different place to spark my creativity. That will be my goal for August. Have you heard about http://coffitivity.com. click on their web site. All it is the quiet sound of a coffee shop for background sounds. Supposed to enhance your creativity. kind of funny really.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thanks for your encouragement Jean. What a gift you are to me.

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