Summer Home.

We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes…
— Madeleine L’Engle, from The Rock That Is Higher

Summer comes to a close today. This summer for me was mostly a dream, partly a nightmare, partly déjà vu – like I had been through a season like this before but could only recall the feelings and not the outcome.

I’ve been trying to make sense of these last few months, and what I keep coming back to is that the season has felt like searching for home and finding pieces of it in the most surprising places. There’s the home that we build, the home that we find, and the one of which we only get glimpses.

The other day was one that started off sour. I was in a bad mood – I just wanted to get out of the house before noon, and all I could think about was what was undone, both literally and emotionally, and the clutter everywhere. Then, after we set up our towels and umbrella at the beach, after I had coffee and a burger – because truly, is there anything scarier than a hangry and undercaffeinated pregnant woman? – I watched my boys dance around the in the sand and felt the baby kick in my stomach. We ate mud pie on the pier and watched the surfers and the waves. There was sunshine and sea breeze, and the day turned out to be all kinds of perfect.

For five years, it was just Ruth and Dave, two kids who chose to grow up together, who chose love when it felt alternately inevitable and impossible. For a season, we lived across the world and only had each other.  Now, nine years into marriage, we’re a family of four, with one of the way.

My preschooler, Noah, told me the other night, “I’m so lucky. I get to snuggle you and hold your hand.” In a season of distraction – where it felt like my heart, mind, and body were all wandering around in different places – moments like these were and are the greatest gifts.

There is no substitute for showing up to the life that you’ve built.

What I’ve learned, also, is that there are pieces of home in the friendships that I’ve invested in – relationships where I’ve found parts of myself or seen traits that I didn’t know I had reflected back to me. There are relationships that make us feel known and loved, that point us in the right direction, the ones where we feel safe even at our most vulnerable. These connections aren’t perfect – because we’re human – but I’m grateful for them nonetheless.

This season was both surprising and familiar, disconcerting and sweet, heartbreaking and nostalgic. I’ve learned that it’s ok to feel the tension between two disparate states of being. The tension is a reminder that there is a home that we can’t quite grasp – one that we can sense but feels just out of reach. It’s ok to mourn not only for what we have lost, but also for what was never ours. There are things that we want that are not for this lifetime. Or maybe they are, and we just can’t see the way to them from where we stand.

Seasons are porous, especially in California. One day, you can drive with all your windows rolled down because of the chill in the air, and then the next day, it’s melting hot. Summer and fall bleed into each other like watercolors, like the sand on a shore, washing in and then out again.

Tomorrow: fall, with its birthdays and celebrations and Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow: apple orchards, cider, and all things pumpkin. But I’ll carry with me this summer and what it taught me about home.

Summer: Refresh

It’s not officially fall yet, but I do love the back-to-school season. After the emotionally intense month that August was, I’m more ready than ever for September.

Throwback to last year's Oak Glen day when I wasn't a million weeks pregnant.

Throwback to last year's Oak Glen day when I wasn't a million weeks pregnant.

A list to kick off the summer/fall transition:


  • I'm starting off the month with a pregnancy massage (here, for all you OC locals) and a Sephora shopping date (see my picks for the VIB sale below).
  • Labor Day weekend means that the apple orchards at Oak Glen are officially open! Los Rios Rancho is our go-to – their apple cider, cinnamon crumble apple pies, and caramel apples are unrivaled, and on the weekends, they smoke tri-tip. We've never tried the cider donuts further down the hill, but maybe we will this year.
  • My work leadership retreat is on a Hornblower yacht, which means I'll get to spend the afternoon in Newport Beach and finally try the new Tanoshi Hour at Nobu. Speaking of Lido Marina Village...
Vintage wagons in front of the Lido House Hotel. DREAM.

Vintage wagons in front of the Lido House Hotel. DREAM.


  • ... how cute is this vintage wagon in front of the Lido House Hotel? All the cool California vibes. Reminds me of this art piece from McGee & Co (15% off for Labor Day!). I'm looking at art for our downstairs powder room and am currently debating getting this photo printed and framed or purchasing the McGee piece.
  • The 2019 Day Designer planners launch on September 5! The printed covers are my "pop of color" in my workspace.
  • So many Labor Day sales! Linking my favorite purchases and my September beauty shopping list:


You learn that the people who love you do, in fact, love *you* – not what you do, not what you accomplish, not what you “do for God”… And so you are worth the relief of honesty. Take a deep breath. Speak your truth. Let the chips fall as they may. You will be far more grateful than you ever imagined.
— Sarah Bessey,
All I’m saying is, this boy loves that girl, and that girl loves this boy, so much that perfect strangers can see it from their living room window. That’s the kind of love I’m going to keep believing in.
— Ashley Brooks,
You are to pay special attention to those who, by accident of time, or place, or circumstance, are brought into closer connection with you.
— Augustine
  • Rise Together Podcast with Chris Heuertz – The Sacred Enneagram was one of my favorite reads this summer, and I loved hearing Chris Heuertz talk about the Enneagram in this podcast, particularly about 3’s (which I identify with) and 9’s and the relationship between those two types. I especially related to this about 3's: “They look into the relationship they value… and they see what’s missing – and it’s on the subconscious level – they volunteer themselves, they say, “I’ll fill that space. I’ll take on another role.” Attending a grounding retreat (the schedule is up for their September session) at the Gravity Center which he and his wife lead is on my bucket list for 2019. 
  • Streak: What I Learned From Running Every Day for a Year by Laura Vanderkam – I’m not a runner, but I do have a Peloton (find me @ruthiegyll) that makes it insanely easy to exercise. My new goal from now until baby comes: ride everyday – even if the ride is only 10 minutes. As long as I don't go into labor super early, I should be able to hit a 60-day streak at minimum.

Any tips for the end of summer season? I'd love to know!

Summer: Rhythm

We’re officially in the throes of summer. When July 1st rolled around, it might as well have been January 1st in my book, with all the excitement of a fresh start for the second half of the year.


I’m deeply grateful for how my year has looked so far. I’m thankful for how I’ve spent my time – from the drawn-out mornings to the nighttime rituals. I’ve accomplished fewer concrete things, but I’ve established better habits, which really, has been the goal all along.

In books that I read and messages that I listen to, I’m reminded over and over to number my days. We have approximately 1,000 weeks with each of our children before they’re grown, and as scary as that sounds – I haven’t even calculated the weeks that have already passed with my littles ones – there’s magic that happens over time, the magic of a “strong, regular, repeated pattern.” Rhythm is the pattern that happens over time, like a house built with bricks laid one on top of the other.

Rhythms change by the season. Summer doesn’t carry with it the allegro of fall or the adagio of winter. It’s speed is just right – a happy andante like the continuous lapping of ocean waves or the steady, circular pedal strokes on a bike.

The rhythm isn’t the color of our days, but the bones. Our habits and routines are the steady drum, the beat that holds constant so that the melody can sing.

In this season, I’ve found that my rhythm looks like this:

Daily, I find that the best mornings are the ones where I’m up an hour or two before my crew, and I have some time to be myself before I’m mom and wife. I try to start the day off with coffee, a few books, Scripture reading, journaling about goals, and 5 minutes or so of centering prayer. This self-care time is so crucial in helping me be fully present and attentive to my family's needs. I aim for at least 40 minutes of creative time like writing or putting together design boards and no more than 30 minutes of personal housekeeping – ordering groceries, scheduling appointments, or checking in on our finances on Mint.

Sunday mornings are my absolute favorite. I try to wake up around 5 or 6 (if I’m not already awake thanks to my pregnancy insomnia) to have the quiet time needed to write out my plans for the week. Practically speaking, I use Moglea’s letterpress notepads and a ultra fine-point Sharpie for my brainstorm list, then transfer the priorities for the week to my Passion Planner. I’ve just started using the Passion Planner (it was gifted), but it seems to be great for connecting the week’s work with the month’s goals and giving space to reflect upon priorities and lessons learned. I’m never without my Day Designer for the day-to-day, and I’ve found their Intentional Living Worksheet and the Goal-Setting Worksheet to be enormously helpful as well.

I make a pot of coffee, and we eat a lazy breakfast at home. We put on music, strip the bed, and tidy the house. It feels so good to start off the new week with a (relatively) clean house. We head to church at 10:30, and then take it easy for the rest of the day.

Weekly, I aim for three workouts a week (Intervals & Arms on the Peloton is my go-to), ideally first thing in the morning before the boys wake up. Planning a date with my husband was on my weekly list for the first half of the year, but I’ve since removed date-planning from my to-do list, and now it’s on Dave’s! Mama has enough extra weight to carry, you know? I bullet out a few meal ideas for the week, usually on Monday, and make sure that the boys’ weekly calendar is populated.

Monthly, I’ve found that the month feels just the right amount of full when it includes a girls’ night, a dinner party, a lunch or coffee date with work friends, a dedicated beach day, and a family adventure day (for July, we’re heading to a butterfly farm!). We make time to stroll the farmer’s market and peruse the library at least a few times a month.

In her latest book, Off the Clock, Laura Vanderkam writes that people who feel like they have enough time “let go expectations of perfection and big results in the short run. Instead, they decide that good enough is good enough, knowing that steady progress over the long run is unstoppable.”

I’m learning that establishing a healthy rhythm takes the burden off of individual days – I can offer myself grace when I sleep in that one day after a few combined late nights and early mornings. I can say yes to rest, knowing that I’m playing the long game. I still pay attention to whether I’ve hit my day’s priorities, but more importantly, I’m moving to my beat.