5 Things I Learned in September

I’ve pretty much sworn off linkups, but the lovely Emily Freeman hosts a fun one each month. She asks her friends to share some of the things they’ve learned, and so I’m joining in the fun!

1. I will miss my weekend day trips to Raleigh.

If you are new to my site, you might be interested in the phone call that changed my summer. My recent Hokie grad is in PT and making good progress, but he’s still unable to drive. Which means I’m still making 8-hour day trips most Fridays and Sundays. Yes, those days are long (and Monday is my “crash” day), but there is NOTHING better than long drives with my kids. Since they’re both fairly chatty like their mama, we have some interesting convos.

And I will seriously miss the beautiful drives through the VA-NC countryside, which include such fun sights as this:

Rt 86 in Caswell County NC

2. To-Do lists can also inspire.

taking notesI don’t know if turning 50 did it to me or if all the blonde highlights have seeped through my scalp and made me ditzy, butI can barely remember anything if I don’t write it down.

I found a bunch of old half-used notepads and decided to write my to-do list on one side and verses on the other. I usually read from a couple of devotionals, plus random assorted verses my friends post.

And while I’m praying, I should probably pray for my Hokies, seeing as how they’re off to another less-than-stellar season. πŸ™

3. Time in the Word makes you timeless.

It’s not every day you get to be in a small group setting with Kay Arthur. We tried to contain our enthusiasm, but it’s clear from the big smiles that Monica and I were quite giddy after our visit with her. In case you wondered, she’s one of the most gracious people you’ll ever meet and she spends time WITH YOU. She doesn’t take herself too seriously, but she does take the Word seriously.

Monica Kay Arthur and me

My sister Monica, Kay Arthur and me

Kay is as passionate as ever, and makes no secret that she’s closing in on her 80th birthday. She quotes from 2 TimothyΒ quite a bit, and you can hear Paul’s sense of urgency in her voice. She’s committed to training up reliable teachers who can be entrusted with the message of the Gospel (2 Tim 2:2). I don’t want to let her OR the Lord down, so I’m studying to show myself approved (2 Tim 2:15)!

4. Sometimes you need a big choir anthem.

Our choir and orchestra performed “The Light of That City” last Sunday, and it was all I could do to stay in my seat. I dare you to watch the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and not get teary.

Is the hair standing up on your arms? I thought so. You’re welcome.

5. He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

This is the “without faith it’s impossible to please God” verse, but theΒ Holy Spirit keeps bringing the last phrase of Hebrews 11:6Β to my mind. Specifically in the King James Version. Not sure whassup with that, but I’ve been mulling it all month long. And diligently seeking Him. I hope you have too!

One more thing: Fall in Virginia means APPLES.

Apple cider, apple butter, apple pie, apple crisp… Enjoy something apple-y today!

What have YOU learned in September?

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Things like a good jump scene in a movie or someone sneaking up behind me. And I have a special fondness for rowdy roller coasters.

My sonβ€”grown, out of college, and on his ownβ€”still delights in making his mama shriek. But Mama has a few scary tricks up her own sleeve.


What my fracture boot is teaching me about my walk

What my fracture boot is teaching me about my walk

I’m sporting a not-so-stylish accessory these days.

After spending the better part of 2013 searching for relief from my foot pain, I had surgery (Jan 9th). The first week was painful, but thankfully I’m on the mend and off my crutches.

The boot, I’m afraid, is here to stay for a while.

It’s all-good and will be worth it when I’m back to exercising in the spring, hopefully without pain. In the meantime, I’m schlepping this crazy boot. Believe it or not, this thing preaches to me.

The ER isn’t usually a funny place, but funny conversations happen there

The ER isn’t usually a funny place, but funny conversations happen there

I have a knack of turning something sobering into something silly.

I don’t mean to. Really. I know it’s important to be fully present and feel the weight of the moment, but for some reason my contemplative self passes the baton to my snarky self and off she goes.

One of the most sobering things of late has been my mom’s stroke. Few things upend your family’s world like a stroke does.

For years I recorded prayer requests of stroke victims and their families. And I prayed for them, but I had no idea what they went through.

Now I do.

Now I know some of the struggles and decisions and heartaches. I also know you can find joy where you least expect it. Like in the emergency room.

Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear from you!


  1. Kathleen Caron

    Those are beautiful lessons for September. Observations: Looking at that photo, I can’t believe you are 50! and I can’t believe Kay Arthur is 80! Amazing what clean living and a pure heart can do for someone. I do love fall, so much.

    • Susan

      Isn’t Kay amazing? We were so impressed with how passionate and youthful she still is. What a fabulous and GODLY role model! And you’re right, Kathleen — living for the Lord is the best advice for aging well πŸ˜€

  2. Kristi

    LOVED worshipping with you today!!! Oh how thankful I am that our sweet, loving God brought you into my life! You bless me more than words can say!! Thanks for being a friend that makes me better! I love you dearly!

    • Susan

      I knew you’d love that song, Kristi! And you are DEFINITELY one of my iron-sharpening-iron friends. SO grateful for you and hope to see you SOON! Love and hugs!

  3. Dawn

    Ooh how I love these types of posts and I love everyone of these things too! See you soon πŸ˜‰

    • Susan

      YES, Dawn — can’t wait for the Guatemala Girls reunion πŸ˜€
      Counting down… TWO WEEKS!

  4. Vonda Skelton

    Beautiful message in word and song! And I’ll admit, as I get older, I’m realizing I can’t do it all…and I don’t have to. πŸ™‚

    • Susan

      AMEN, Vonda — I don’t think I’ve finished a list yet! But I love carrying the Word around in my pocket all day πŸ™‚

  5. Diane W. Bailey

    I love that I have been able to walk with you seeing all of these beautiful treasures of September …. well, except the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, until today! And to see the heaven to come, we will see, we will see!

    • Susan

      I think that’s why I love that song so much, Di. “On that day we will sing Holy Holy!” I can’t wait πŸ™‚

  6. Jamie Britt

    I love this. You talk about how you can barely remember something unless it’s written down. I have that same problem…if you want me to do something for you, give me a deadline. You can most likely forget about it otherwise because I’ll forget it. I loved the song you posted-we did it last Sunday too! The only thing that would make our services better is if you were there! πŸ™‚ Love you, my precious friend!

    • Susan

      You forget things too. as young as you are? That makes me feel better, Jamie! And I’ll bet you were in tears during that song. It’s SO powerful!

  7. Sandi nieto

    While I’m loving September…..I’m wondering where August went! We DID have an August, right? But yes, oh yes, I am ready for fall leaves and pumpkin pie. I am at this moment enjoying the fall weather in Wyoming, but will go back to some heat in AZ. I am thankful for a diagnosis to my fainting, and am thankful my son wasn’t on his motorcycle when it was hit by the drunk lady. And most of all I am thankful for my friendship with my friends….and that includes YOU!!

    • Susan

      Well of course we had August, or else I wouldn’t have had another birthday! Oh wait — if we SKIPPED it, then… πŸ˜‰

      I’m glad for your vaso-diagnosis too, Sandi. Although we’re still not exactly sure whassup. Hopefully you’ll learn to manage it. And YES — that wreck was so weird, and I’m glad Bret watched it from up above. How scary! For now, enjoy those beautiful WY mountains!

  8. Claudia

    I love the insights you share, and the occasional glimpses of Monica. WOW, small group with Kay Arthur? I’m going to have to ask Monica about that one. And, yes, NC and VA are spectacular in the fall. I think I’ll go for a drive.

    • Susan

      Yes, Claudia — we were so impressed with Kay. She was so warm and gracious. Thank you so much for taking time to read and comment. Glad you’re taking time to enjoy the beautiful NC piedmont πŸ™‚

  9. Kirsten Holmberg

    Nice list, Susan! I agree: time in the car is one of the greatest opportunities for conversation. My hubby and I have had some fantastic dialog over hours and miles during road trips. And I’ve been thankful for the years that school required me to drive the kids when bussing wasn’t available. Good to be reminded that even the ‘chores’ are an opportunity to meet God, bless others and be blessed in the process. Thanks!

    • Susan

      Thank you, Kirsten! I actually love long drives. My family can’t believe that, when I’m by myself, I can drive for hours in silence. I always enjoy having someone to talk with, but if I’m alone I just listen to the wheels hum on the pavement. And talk to the Lord πŸ™‚

  10. Hester Christensen

    Great list Susan . . . and may I say I’m just a teeny bit jealous that you had the blessing to meet Kay Arthur! πŸ˜‰ Oh, what a delight that would be! πŸ˜‰ Started her study yesterday at church and it was a great launch day – women are excited to go deeper. πŸ˜‰

    Studying to be approved,
    Much love, Hester πŸ˜‰

    • Susan

      I’m still giddy, Hester πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you’re doing inductive studies. They are the BEST and your ladies are in for such a blessing.
      I’m right there beside you, our noses in the Word πŸ™‚

  11. Cathy Baker

    I love this, Susan!!!! So glad you decided to join in the fun.

    One thing I’ve learned in September is that I’m doing fix-ups for the next owners of our home than I did for myself in 9 years. There’s a blog post in there somewhere and once the paint fumes clear from my brain, I’ll write it. πŸ™‚

    Blessings to you my friend!

    • Susan

      Oh wow, Cathy. I know this is bittersweet for you and Brian. You’re right — there are a couple of posts in there, and also a poem or two! I’ll be on the look out πŸ˜‰
      Love you!

  12. Julia Tomiak

    You’ll like this: I’ve learned where to find the Huckleberry Trail! I’ve also learned that I need to relearn that To Do lists aren’t everything! I hope you have a great week!

    • Susan

      Yes, Julia — I love that you’ve found the Huckleberry Trail! I also love that your swimmer sports Hokie colors πŸ™‚ I sure hope that at least ONE of them goes to Tech πŸ™‚

  13. MarisaShadrick

    I just got back from a wonderful women’s retreat. What did I learn? As you’ve done in this blog post, it’s good to reflect on what God has done. Sometimes His promises seem too big, to incredible, too generous, and then I remember. I remember His goodness. I remember how He loved me when I was unlovable, rebellious, and self-reliant. I remember His tender mercies and suddenly I leak out a WooooHooo! “God, you are so amazing!” Faith is stirred, work continues, and I patiently wait for His return. Here’s to a great October!

    • Susan

      Amen to ALL of that, Marisa! I’m waiting alongside you. Maranatha!

  14. Dolly@Soulstops

    I loved your list…and you look so young….and I love that Kay takes God’s word seriously, but not herself…yes, what a great example…glad you made it safely back …prayed for your driving, and I am happy you had great conversations with your son πŸ™‚

    • Susan

      You’re sweet, Dolly. I FEEL young, and it’s clear that Kay does too. I think we can make a case that the Word is better than Botox. Or at least extensive plastic surgery πŸ˜‰
      Can’t wait to see you in Guatemala!

  15. Glenda Mills

    I learned my favorite bible study teacher and mentor Kay Arthur is coming to Pittsburg next April!! I want to be there. Love this lady standing beside you in your picture. She’s a lifesaver. I’m doing 1 Peter this fall, just a friend and I, but we are connected with the Precept group in PA that I was priveleged to be a part of for so many years. Last week we celebrated 25 years!
    Thanks for all you shared Susan. By the way, at 50 you’re still a young chick, even if you need lists to help you remember!

    • Susan

      YAY for meeting Kay, Glenda! Aren’t PUP studies just the best things ever? The older I get, the more I love them. And thanks for thinking I’m a young chick. Young IS as young FEELS πŸ˜‰
      Hugs up the mountains to you!

  16. Cyn Rogalski

    September this year was a bust for me, including, but limited to, a forgotten birthday(mine). So I lift hopeful eyes to October, to see what the Lord has in store for me.
    His Mercies are new EVERY morning!

    • Susan

      A hearty HALLELUJAH to new mercies every morning, Cyn. I’m so sorry that September was a bust. Praying expectantly for Him to bless your socks off in October πŸ™‚

  17. Beth

    I need to get by here more often Susan. I do love these “what I learned” posts. Even here you encourage. Praying for your son’s continued healing. God bless.

    • Susan

      Thank you so much for your prayers, Beth! For some crazy reason, you dropped off my Feedly. Off to fix that!

  18. Beth

    Oh and what did I learn in September? God is teaching me over and over again to slow down and appreciate the small moments…savor the moments I have with my husband.

    • Susan

      I just saw that he’s back! YAY — this is me doing the happy dance with you! Thanks so much for taking time to read and comment πŸ™‚

  19. Dave Arnold

    VA & NC is very beautiful – especially in the fall. I grew up in the DC area; and I loved to visit the mountains of VA & the beavehes of NC. God bless you!

    • Susan

      Ahh Dave — are you from nova? I went to VT and over half the student population was from your neck of the woods! There really is nothing like our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. They sing home to my soul πŸ™‚

  20. Cara Strickland

    I so enjoyed your list! Engaging and fresh and lots to think about!
    What I love about this particular exercise is that I pay attention, not just the way I do day by day or even week by week, but I look back over a month and see what God has done, and often it is vast.

    • Susan

      You’re so right, Cara. Even when we think things are pretty boring, God is always up to something.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  21. Stacey Thacker

    “Time in the Word makes you timeless.” – oh that is so good! Love Kay and she LOOKS amazing.
    I can’t imagine the opportunity to spend that kind of time with her. I know you will be blessed continually from it!

    • Susan

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Stacey! Yes, time with Kay is a blessing that’ll keep on giving πŸ˜€