Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Lovin - Having a blast?

I love summer. I really do. My list of one thousand gifts fills easily in the summer. I don't know if it is the warmth, all that vitamin D flowing through my brain after time in the sun or lazy mornings. I love a lazy morning.

The move pushed back the start of summer for us. I think last week was the first full week we could really laze around each morning before finally making a plan for the day. Often that plan involved playing with friends or going to the playground for a picnic lunch. We live in a culdesac now and the kids, all three of them can ride their bikes safely in the street, which is a good thing since we don't have sidewalks in our part of town. My list of gratitude fills quickly with fresh strawberries from the farmer's market and late night blizzard runs with the kids. I love not having to worry about bedtimes and rushing out the door for school.

But summer can also be exhausting. The kids are always with me. ALWAYS. There is one week coming up when all three get to go to VBS together. That week would be marked with sparkly glitter pen and stickers if I actually kept a paper calendar. Because as much fun as we have in the summer, there is always a point in the day when everyone, me included is suddenly sent to their rooms for a little time alone. Sometimes it is quiet time. Often it is TIME OUT. As in, get away from me with all the whining and fighting. Somehow my ability to handle whining has been rapidly diminishing and now it just feels like nails on a chalkboard. My body has a visceral reaction to whining. And it is in those moments that I need eucharisteo. It is in those times of chaos, anger and frustration that I need to see God.

I loved what Ann Voskamp wrote in One Thousand Gifts about trying to be contemplative in the midst of her life.
How to be a contemplative here, seeing the fullness of God with the six children 24/7, the one farm, the six hundred sows, eight hundred piglets, only a whole a howl of craziness... In the messy, Jesus whispers, 'What do you want?' and in the ugly, I cry, 'I want to see - see You in these faces.' He speaks soft, 'Seek My face.' I want to answer with David, 'My heart says to you, 'Your face, LORD, do I seek' (Psalm 27:8 ESV) but I'm desperate to grab someone, anyone, and shake hard, 'How do I have the holy vision in this mess? How do I see grace, give thanks, find joy in this sin-stinking place?'
Summer can be so much fun. Freedom from schedules, freedom from routine. But sometimes all this freedom can be too much for us. Sometimes my little family needs to settle into a bit of routine to keep us all sane.

This morning I tried to instill some routine into our day. It is finally time to start that summer school work we had packed away in the moving boxes. Time for my kids to spend some time doing what they hate most in school, writing. Funny how what they hate is what makes me feel alive. I had asked the kids to turn off the video games and gave them a short list of chores along with their summer school work. I was amazed at how quickly everyone disappeared. And then I heard the sweet sounds of boys playing together in their rooms. Using their imagination to make up games and laugh together. Who knew all I needed to do to cure the "I'm Bored" whines was give them something to do. 

And so I add that to my list. 
  • Late mornings still in our pjs
  • Boys laughter coming from behind bedroom doors
  • Sun
  • Warmth
  • Flip flops and crocs
  • Play dates with friends
  • Sandboxes and swing sets
  • Blizzards, Frozen Yogurt and Fudgesicles
  • Good books to read
  • The Children's Library
  • Bike rides and soccer balls
  • Farmer's Market
  • Sunday Mornings 
  • God's hope for our lives shared by those who have lived the hard work
  • Last minute goals
  • Time to rest, time to think
  • Books in the mail
  • Books on hold at the library
  • Coffee and blogs to read
Life is good. Loving summer. We really are having a blast. 

What is your favorite part of summer? We are always looking for new ideas and adventures.

Have you read Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts yet? If not you really should. And while you are waiting for it to arrive head over to her website and read writers who are counting God's gifts grace in their lives.

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