I guess it goes without me saying, though it dawned on me I should say it, I’m taking a blogging break while my boys are home this summer. I will still blog, but much less frequently. Rather than 2-3 times a week, you might only hear from me once a week. Summer is for discarding a schedule (unless you have a job with a boss).
Last summer I felt a tension within myself that I did not want to experience again. A tension between my primary ministry (my family) and my writing ministry. I wanted to write, I had so much to write, yet finding the time felt impossible. No longer did I have napping children or children who went to bed at 7:00. I’d lost my pockets of writing time. So I tried squeezing it in while they were with me, but that only led to frustration when I found myself in the middle of a piece only to have to stop to break up a sibling battle or assist in a crisis moment. I found myself becoming frustrated and losing sight of my ultimate vision and goals. Sometimes when tensions mount, simplicity whispers that something must be loosened. Summer is for setting goals and accomplishing them in the simplest of ways.
I learned from my mistakes and decided this year I’d adjust my expectations. I expect to love on my family this summer, to invest in them, to encourage them to the best of my abilities, and pray that God will grant me those surprise moments of time to write (like right this very moment). Writing is such a time of connection for me with God. He knows I need it and desire it. But I have to keep it in the right order. Summer is for realigning priorities and goals. Why wait until January?
I already feel as if the summer is slipping away, but I keep reminding myself that many haven’t even started summer yet. We are in week 4 of 12, the honeymoon phase has ended, some sort of schedule is beginning to emerge, and we are fully invested in spending as much time together as we can.
Last week Jacob took a 14 hour trip with my dad to Missouri on a fishing trip. The memories he created are priceless. In particular is the 28 hours they spent together in the car. That is what he continues to remember. It’s all about time. Summer is for taking back time.
All the boys wrapped up their spring baseball season. Andrew’s first season of machine pitch ended with a championship win! Andrew is in the front row, dead center, 3rd from either side. Summer is for championing for our families and friends. For cheering and celebrating life.
We have logged a good 100 hours of audio books and hundreds and hundreds of pages read over endless hours. Trips to the pool, campfires in the backyard, Bible study with friends, weekend visits from good friends, a trip to Georgia twice.
Our dear friends from Virginia visited us over the weekend. This is their 5th annual visit to see us. We lived in Virginia for only 2 & 1/2 years, we’ve lived in North Carolina for 4 years. Our friends have visited us for twice as many years as they even knew us in Virginia. Summer is for friends. Summer is for simply investing in life-giving relationships.
A lot has been packed into 4 weeks, and we realized we haven’t even made our bucket list yet. While my kids love to make a bucket list, I prefer to make a simple moments list. The simple moments of summer end up becoming the memories that truly fill their tanks and mine. They don’t realize it, but I see it. Summer is for simple moments.
The bucket list items – the trips to the zoo, the trips hiking, the backyard campouts, boating – we love them, we want them, we take pictures of them and document them.
The simple moment items, they can happen spontaneously, they need no planning or at least very little planning, they are often free, they are easy to replicate repeatedly to carve deep memories in their hearts. The simple moments of summer are the ones that fill their daily love tanks. The simple moments of summer are the ones that I treasure most.
The simple moments of summer can pop up like a summer thunderstorm with little or no warning. Those are my favorites.
Here’s a few of my favorite simple moments:
sitting on the porch watching a storm, stopping in the middle of what I’m doing and playing checkers with one of my boys, catching one of the boys when they are sitting somewhere alone and joining them in their daydreams, taking a walk, cooking together, talking, talking, and more talking -about everything, hitting the tennis ball on the driveway, playing catch in the backyard, looking through photo albums, telling stories, watching the Braves play.
The list goes on and on. My day is packed full of opportunity if I see the opportunity. I don’t need money or extravagant trips and camps to give them a summer to remember forever. The simple moments will not wow our kids, but they tend to stack one on top of another burying into the deep parts of their souls. The simple moments remind them they are loved and cherished, accepted and known. The simple moments give space for grace to enter. The simple moments soothe the rush of the year. The simple moments provide the stability in a culture that attempts to pull them away. The simple moments are not to be discounted. Summer is for slowing down and simply being.
When my kids are asked if they’ve done anything super cool or exciting this summer, these simple moments won’t make the list. When they are asked what they’ve done this summer, they won’t say their favorite moment is listening to mom read on the screen porch or share embarrassing stories on long car rides, or taking evening runs together. But I know that when they are grown and they look back at their childhood summers, these simple moments will resurface.
These simple moments have power to bond families. Summer is both simple and complicated. Summer is both empty and full. Summer is for reclaiming time lost in the first half of the year and stocking up for the 2nd half.
Like all of life, summer is a gift.
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