12 Things I Learned In August

by | Aug 30, 2013 | Uncategorized


I’m joining Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky on the last Friday of each month. Today I’m sharing what I’ve learned in August. It’s officially become one of my favorite pieces to write. I’m so glad she started this. Now I realize how much I truly learn in a short time because I keep track of it. Oh, maybe that should be #1!

Some of these are random but nevertheless, let’s have some fun with it shall we? Here goes:

1) I bent my head back while standing on the shores of a dark, still lake at our cottage in Canada, counting shooting stars and roving satellites. Then my son pulled out his phone and showed me this. I had no idea how light pollution inhibits the beauty of what God creates in the night sky.

2) According to recent research by Indiana University, writing by hand activates areas of the brain that don’t get tapped during typing. Which brings me to . . .

3) Morning papers, writing your thoughts in a journal with a pen is like a magic trick for the stuff you publish. Really, you should try it sometime.


4) It seems I was ahead of the fashion police this summer when I read in Real Simple Magazine that green is the transition nail color from summer to fall. What evs.

5) Another helpful hint from Real Simple: All those pool noodles taking up awkward space in your garage? Cut them in half and tuck them into your winter boots. They keep your boots in shape, standing upright instead of slumping over. Um hm.

6) If you mention wanting a new bike during your birthday month while on vacation, you just might get it after you return home, and then some. Surprise! Isn’t it cute?


7) I learned that what I suspected is actually true about the current state of humanity. Loneliness is now an epidemic. Watch this, it explains everything. Prepare to sit quietly stunned afterward.

8) Are you a lefty? Well, you missed it. International Left Handers Day was August 12th. Put that on your calendar for next year and celebrate by giving out left handed scissors as a party gift. Righties will love that. Not.

9) I was enamored by watching children collect frogs underneath the boughs of upside down boats and rotting wood at our cottage. Until I learned some wild frogs are lethally toxic, the most deadly animals on the planet. And we thought their hoppy smallness was so cute.

10) Since #5 from my July list, I have learned that instead of paying $350 to fix a cracked, but still working screen on a brand new Galaxy S4, your husband can replace the glass for $15, while watching a YouTube tutorial under the full blowing force of two hairdryers and your prayers from the other room. *squee* I’m thinking this could move into a side business that pays for my daughter’s college tuition people.

11) And then you’ll post what your screen looked like on Instagram before it was fixed and people will call it artwork and beautiful. Which leads me to #12.


12) So much of life’s happiness is persuaded by our perspective isn’t it? We have a choice about how we see things.

From my family to yours, have a great Labor Day holiday friends!


I’m using my daughter’s artwork as a screen saver on my phone. Isn’t it fabulous? She just got accepted to SCAD today! We’re accepting donations in case  you were wondering. *wink*

What did you learn this month? I would love to know if any of these are an “ah ha” or a “yeah, I already knew that” for you.


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  1. Lori Harris

    Shelly- #3 is my favorite…only because I’ve begun to do this and I’ve learned 2 things.
    1. It absolutely helps me process the jumbled mess that is my thought process.
    2. I forgot how to write. With a pen. On paper. My handwriting is a mess!!!!!
    Love your list, lady! Haven’t decided if I’m in tomorrow…I’m needing to post a State of the Ministry, Family, and Blog post…(and I forgot to jot down what I learned all month!).
    Happy Weekend to you~

    • Shelly Miller

      Me too Lori, those morning pages are so helpful for me to sort out the myriad of things I’m thinking about. Praying for you and hope you have a restful weekend.

  2. Michele-Lyn

    I still write old school, paper and pencil! 🙂 not always a good idea because it fades, but I still love it! And are you a lefty?? I am. And we considered SCAD, too, for my eldest. We opted for a school closer, but she’s still majoring in Photography. 🙂 Love artists daughters! And sons, too, of course!

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m not a lefty but I have two in my house and a family full of them.
      I love the way SCAD assumes everyone is at the same place with their art the first year so they take the exact same classes as a freshman, it gives everyone an even playing field and makes the students feel cared for, for who they are, not what they do. And she can take classes in many fields to figure out where she wants to land. All good stuff. Love seeing you here Michele-Lyn, its been a while.

  3. Lynn Morrissey

    OH congratulations to Murielle! Wow, Shelly! What a cool school. What is her major art emphasis? This search really went quickly for you all. How wonderful. With Sheridan we were down to the wire at the end of her sr. yr., and actually enrolled her in two schools, because it seemed like a toss-up. Then God opened wide the door to the one of His choice. I really like Emilie’s idea. It’s good to know that we are learning something and not just letting life pass us by. I do this at the end/beginning of each year, recording my “highlights” and “lowlights,” bullet points for the year in summary in my journal. Very effective. Of course, you already know I’m passionate about journaling — longhand. There is just something about cradling a journal that is like cradling your soul. What have I learned? For one, that what everyone told me when I was a young mother (when I rolled my eyes at them) is true! Time fleets and children grow up in a blink. Sheridan turned twenty-one this month, and her life blurred before my eyes. What a beautiful young woman she has become. And on the other end of the continuum, my English teacher turned one-hundred, and a number of her students (moi included) celebrated her centenary at a special luncheon. We still call her Miss Goff (cannot bring ourselves to call her Esther!), and I learned that there is no such thing as age when you live a vibrant life, filled with curiosity and a love for learning. I learned that you can really make a difference in a young person’s life. Miss Goff’s students still adore her, and we owe our successes to her and the love for language and learning she instilled in us. And I learned you are never too old to recite Shakespeare (as she did for us)!
    Great post, Shelly. I love lists–another great jouranling technique!

    • Shelly Miller

      Lynn, the great thing about SCAD is that you don’t have to declare going in. All freshman take the same curriculum which gives them an opportunity to take a few classes in all the areas for discovery. I know, where does the time go?

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Shelly, that is so neat. I can’t wait to share this with Sheridan. She was so thrilled to learn that you have a daughter interested in art. I”m so excited for her and you!

  4. pastordt

    I love this list! I’m gonna have to think about doing one of these. And your daughter’s art work is FAB. Now I’m linking over to see what the heck SCAD is. Congrats to her (and to you, too, Mama)

    • Shelly Miller

      I saw your post circulating on FB Diana, looks like you decided to join in. I’ll hop over and read what you learned in a few. Thanks for being here.

  5. Jean Wise

    What a delightful eclectic list. I love it. The screen saver is great but the photo of your phone made me wince. ouch. Aren’t hubbies wonderful at fixing things? Thanks for sharing!

    • Shelly Miller

      Jean, my husband has saved us so much money fixing things. He is truly wonderful.

  6. Kelly Greer

    You are such a fashionista! with those trendy green toes and all….and I love the family portrait by your daughter – adorable! The stars are amazing. Noodles are for giving. Frogs are too cute to make me scared no matter what they say about them. Writing by hand is revealing and therapeutic. I’m a righty with lefty and amby kids..there are all sorts of products available for left handers …saw them on TV – who knew? And the next time I drop my phone in the lake and kayak over to fish it out, I will send it your husband for repair in support of your very talented artist daughter’s college fund. Thanks for this fun post!

    • Lynn Morrissey

      Hey, Kelly, I’ve dropped my phone in the toilet twice. What does this tell you?! I doubt H would be interested in fixing mine! =]
      I love when you read your therapeutic (and beautiful) outpourings in journal class!
      Love you, girl!

    • Shelly Miller

      Kelly, my toes are now the color of my bike! Light green — its still fashionable right?

  7. Emma

    Love your list Shelly and I couldn’t agree more with #12 – it is all about perspective. I love doing these lists & linking with Emily too – such a fun thing to do each month & really I didn’t realise how much we learn. And to think the note keeping I do to remember what I learn is activating different parts of my brain from typing – well that I didn’t know!

    • Shelly Miller

      So glad you are joining in Emma, I’ll have to read yours too.

  8. Christie Purifoy

    Does your daughter take commissions? Love it! And congrats to her – Savannah is wonderful.
    Also, I think I have the same bike. Or very similar. Everything is better in turquoise. 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m sure she would Christie.
      I think turquoise should be the new black. I almost picked out some frames for my new glasses that had turquoise on the sides. But I’m far too practical. Have a great weekend friend. (Still thinking about your lovely post, oh my.)

  9. Diane Bailey

    Scad! How exciting!

    • Shelly Miller

      I know, it is!

  10. DeanneMoore

    I found out this August that noodles can be cut up and rigged to catch fish—like fishing with a jug (which to me is not really fishing.) I don’t fish often but learned this from family who do fish (or at least that’s what they call it.) So random!! Love your list. Very excited for Murielle about SCAD. So cool. Hold on sister, you’ll be moving her down there before you know it. Bet your list is going to be something else come next August!!!

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, I don’t want to even think about my list next August Dea, it’ll surely be different. And fishing with pool noodles? I can’t wrap my brain around that. I’ll need to see a photo or something. Loves to you!

  11. SimplyDarlene

    i learned that when i ask to break my heart for Him, i shall not do it with ideas in my head of who and what and when and where and why and how — ’cause He’s gonna surprise me by knocking me flat down with His who/what/when/where/why/how

    (i adore that bike)


    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, yes. Amen to that Darlene. Humbling is what that’s called. I’ve been in that school room too many times to count. Thanks for being here.

  12. Nancy Ruegg

    The city skyscape photos remind me of 2004 and 2005 when we experienced three hurricanes. The first storm was the worst because we did not have a generator. No power, terrible heat and humidity, very limited food choices. BUT! The first night after the wind and rain stopped, we could see thousands of stars, because no city lights blotted them out. And for the first time in my life, I saw the Milky Way, magnificently stretched across the sky in a huge swath. The heavens declare the glory of God in ways I did not know until that night!

    • Shelly Miller

      Hurricanes do the same thing for me Nancy. Every one has actually turned out to be a gift of remembering what matters. And lovely quiet, that.

      • Nancy Ruegg

        Oh, yes. Time slowed almost to a stop, Steve and I enjoyed our little island of quiet togetherness, and rarely-seen neighbors became acquaintances. There were some delightful blessings amidst the woes!

  13. David Rupert

    I fixed an iPod myself this last week — and was pleasantly suprised at how easy and cheap it was. My daughter was thrilled!

    • David Rupert

      And i learned how to make refrigerator pickles from the cucumber bumper crop.

      • Shelly Miller

        My daughter is so used to her Dad coming to her rescue regarding fixing things, I’m not certain she knows the value of that gift yet. Yay to pickles and an abundant harvest. My grandfather used to make tomato jelly when he had riches in his garden. Not sure I’ve tasted it since. But what a wonderful memory.

  14. Megan Willome

    Congratulations to your daughter!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thanks Megan!

  15. Anne Bogel

    Those photos of the sky at night are incredible! And your new bike couldn’t be more adorable. I’ve heard so many good things about Sherry Turkle’s new(ish) book Alone; off to watch the video now. 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      Anne, I’m so glad you mentioned that book. I have never heard of it and it sounds interesting. Sorry for the terribly late response to your comment last week. Lovely to see you visit here, enjoyed snooping around your blog.

  16. TJ

    Love #2 and #3. I am also trying to write in my journal each morning to clear my thoughts and began my day. I also am a lefty and will put August 12th on my calendar for next year. Both my mom and sister are left handed as well as two of my nieces.

    • Shelly Miller

      I am amazed how much those morning papers clear the cobwebs and help me write better.
      We have two lefties in our home and both my mother and my mother-in-law are lefties as well. We’re surrounded!

  17. Karrilee Aggett

    I love everything on your list! LOVE that site that shows cities and skyscapes… the video was tragically disturbing… I find when I can’t write- I can always journal (which – magically turns into writing somehow!)… I love your cute toes and the adorable bike… I am a lefty and missed my holiday… I didn’t know that about frogs either, and your screen looked like my dd’s iPhone screen – in which she paid a friend $45 to make it look like new… how brave to let your hubby follow YouTube and give it a go! Your daughter is super talented (and congrats!) The only one I didn’t gain from is the whole noodle/boot deal… but that is because we don’t have a pool or pool toys, and I am sadly lacking boots for Fall… so I’d have to go buy noodles AND boots, but I am not saying that is not an option! Visiting from Emily’s today!

    • Shelly Miller

      I know Karrilee, we don’t use the noodles anymore. My kids are too cool for them now. Ha! I would have to go buy a few but I thought it was a great idea, right? Thanks for visiting, sorry about the delay in responding, I’m behind.

  18. Sarah Caldwell

    SO much goodness here! (I met you at the Jumping Tandem retreat- so lovely to read your blog 🙂 Your bike is so adorable, love the green nail polish, glad to know about ‘left handers day’ and love that you do Morning Pages too. I’m also watching that youtube video now – thanks for all of these beautiful tidbits!

    • Shelly Miller

      Sarah, thanks for reminding me about meeting you at the JT Retreat. Will you be at Allume? Come and say hello if you are there.

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