I have lived most of my life in Southern California, and even though I have been in Austin, Texas for 14 years now, some days I still feel like a fish out of water. The beach is just where I belong. With the ocean to the right of me and my problems far behind me, as a teen, I would drive as fast as I could, as often as I could, straight to the beach. This place feels like home. It feels like Jesus, big and overwhelming, familiar and safe, peaceful and calm. A place where I could breathe and think and make sense of my world.
My brother used to say He felt God in the waves. I tend to agree with him.
I have a soft spot for summer.
Summer feels like freedom and health. I love warm tan skin, popsicles, salty air and the ocean. Sand in my toes and in my car. The smell of oil and gasoline mixed together either from boats or my own VW bug. Young summer love and fireworks. Slurpies and watermelon and nectarines and camp fires.
I love that I met my husband in the summer and we married two summers later. Summer feels like God’s gift to me.
Did I mention I love summer?
Somewhere along the way though, I had to become a grown-up, get a job and work. It felt like the death of my lifeline and freedom. Then eventually I moved away from the beach with my hubby where I learned first hand what summer looks like “not in California!” It made me sad and depressed and I felt another small death of my childhood summer bliss. The thought of a water park or community pool made me confused and anxious and left me longing for the beaches of California. Thankfully my parents still live near the beach and we can visit whenever we want. Every summer please!
Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s just California summers that I loved but we needed no camps or boredom busting Pin pages. Summer was just a way of life, an art form of sorts in my childhood home. I am certain my children will have different memories and connections regarding summer but never the less, I want to bring back the art form of embracing summer and it’s limitless freedom and possibilities. Already in my home you can see and hear glimpses of summer. Little boys with tan backs and bed head eat cereal in sleepy silence awaiting what the day has for them. Later I can hear the basketball methodically bouncing against the driveway and backboard and see late night TV marathons going on way past my bed time. Ahhh, the sounds of my Texas summer.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18
I came up with a schedule of loose structure this year. A guided set of suggestions to show them how you might order your day.
It dawned on me that I need this too. So when I tell the kids to read, I will too! Perhaps by the pool or by the window or on the boat. When I tell them to be spiritual, I will too!
Be active? me too.
I think I will get a bike and ride with my boys. Perhaps all the way to the yogurt shop!
YES! We are going to LIVE LIFE this summer!
Even this fish out of water is going to rock it. This may sound like hard work but the alternative is harder. Managing and ignoring boredom and listening to whining and discontentment for three months sounds horrible. I push them away, me in the kitchen, them in their boredom like there is a partition between us. The fact of the matter is sometimes I am bored too. Painfully bored.I say let’s surrender our plans for chatty lunches, clean houses, and peace and quiet for a few months and say “Yes!” to some good ole fashion quality time and summer adventure! Practice saying, “Yes!” to your kids when they ask you to play a game with them or get in the pool. Do a cannon ball for crying out loud! Explore the town you live in! Bake a cake for no reason, smoosh a bit it in their faces and eat what’s left on the porch with your feet up. LAUGH!!!!
The Bubbas are at that age where I am still their whole world. I am fiercely in love with them. And my tall beauties are practically out the door and I feel time slipping away. It’s hard to mix the two groups, I feel like I want to be four places at once. But God sees and knows and I trust Him with my summer. I give Him my summer. Heart and soul! Write on the squares of my calendar Lord even if it just says, “Eat cake on the porch.” Please don’t leave one blank, or sadly regrettable. I will surrender my plans and ideas for a season and embrace summer like I am one of the kids. This is my thing! Summer is my thing!
It will look different than my summers in Southern California. So simple, so easy, so peaceful. Just what I needed. My family is different and needs something different. We are going in search of that. What does your family need this summer. I challenge you to dive in, go after it, and find out.