What I Learned This Summer

Today I am joining Emily P. Freeman to share what I learned this summer. This is a place to reflect on the past season before we move ahead into the next season. Maybe consider joining us?

Turku Castle

1. Be a tourist in your own country & city.

My family has always traveled a lot but we traveled abroad. Summers we spent at our summer cabin mostly. This summer, I decided to go on a road trip and sightsee some cities here in Finland. It was such a fun experience — and I got to see so much! Castles, old (even medieval!) churches, lookout towers, museums, glass & chocolate factories, and much more.

Those two weeks on the road gave me an opportunity to see — but also to think. This summer has held many changes and difficult things. And I found that it felt good to get away for a little bit, to give myself time to process through all that.

Later, though, I ended up being a tourist in my own city. And honestly? Being a tourist in your own city is a great idea, really. There are places I have been to many times. Places I have never seen before. Places that have changed since I last saw them. Seeing it all, always leaves me with the same thought: I really love my city.

So be a tourist in your own country, in your own city. Discover it all with a new perspective and allow yourself fall in love with places. It really is worth it.

Jyväskylä church

2. There is never a good time for cancer.

The week of Midsummer, I got a call. My great aunt had passed away after a long battle with cancer. The next week, I got another call. Mom told me she has breast cancer. Since then, things and emotions have all felt very complicated. At one point I thought, “this really is not a good time for cancer.” Then I almost laughed at myself because really, there is never a good time for cancer. It comes, and it takes over. For months.

So things are changing a lot here, as we adjust and support and cry and feel. The rest of this year will be hard. And there really is never a good time for cancer. But God can work in any and all situations, and that’s where my hopes and prayers are now.

Petäjävesi Old Church

3. It’s possible to fall in love with a church.

It’s possible to fall in love with the church buildings, yes, for sure. But also the people. These past months have held so many changes and hardships. I have been stressed. Got bad news. Good news, too. I have cried and laughed. I have organized things, failed at some things, suggested new things, and learned to be better at what I already do now. All this at church, with my people. And there are no words for the feeling of love I have towards these people.

And honestly? Church buildings can be wonderfully beautiful. (I am a big fan of old church buildings.) But when you have a church family living as a family, loving as a family? There aren’t really enough words for how beautiful and wonderful that is.

This summer

4. It’s okay to grieve over what you lost or didn’t get.

I am now in this season where God is answering prayers. Prayers that I’m lifting up for the first time but also prayers that I have been praying for years. To be honest, it can be quite overwhelming to see all these prayers answered. At times I don’t even quite believe, so the Lord has to point out to me that He is, truly, answering my prayers.

But with answered prayers has come sadness as well and it has surprised me. It’s this sadness about how different some things turned out to be than I thought they would. But now? God is showing me that it’s okay to grieve over the broken dreams and hopes. It’s okay to be sad about all the hurt I endured, all the wrongs that happened and the hardships I lived through. So I am learning now, and will be sharing more a little later.


  1. How delightful to find your blog again after losing touch for many years! I’m so sorry about your mom’s cancer. And I can relate to so many of the things you’re sharing. We definitely played tourist in our hometown this summer, and it was delightful.