So, I thought I could do everything this summer: church stuff, family travels, fun activities with my girls, housework, blog… What was I thinking? Obviously, the blog got left behind, and I don’t want to tell you what my house looks like right now… but we did accomplish a lot and had tons of fun just hanging out together this summer.
Here are a few things we did:
- We had a great week of VBS at our church. In the past I’ve always enjoyed directing VBS- planning the schedule & emphasis, leading & supporting the leaders, and promoting all the fun details that help the kids and workers get excited about this event. But in the last few years I’ve had to take a step back from leading and be content with following. I must say, it’s not been easy. But I’m learning to enjoy simply doing my part and focusing on the things God has given me to work with. This year I was able to lead the music portion of VBS, one of my favorite parts, and had lots of fun doing it. I was not only able to teach the songs and lessons to the little kids each night, I was also able to train my youth girls to be leaders in the music area. It was really cool watching my oldest daughter, Mykaela, come into her own as she stepped up and taught music to her class. She’s really becoming a strong leader.
- The week after VBS Mykaela went to youth camp in Missouri. They had a lot of fun and she bonded well with the others who went. As a mom, I was hoping this week at camp would be a life-changing event for her… you know, the kind of moment that she would look back on and see that God did something amazing in her life. That didn’t really happen as far as I could tell. It was a good week for her, though, and I’m thankful that God provided the funds for her to go on this trip!
- In order to keep us from going crazy being at home together all these days of summer, we added a few regular activities to our schedule. Mykaela volunteered at the library in town twice a week, and Kianna participated in a reading program at the same library. Both girls also played coach-pitch softball at the Baskett Recreation League. So, two evenings a week were spent at the ball field watching our girls play. Neither of their teams did very well, but we were guaranteed to get a bag of popcorn and a Sunkist at every game (thanks, Papaw!) so we had fun anyway. 🙂
- At the end of June we got to participate in the wedding of some friends of ours. I was the maid of honor and Jeff prayed a blessing over the couple. The wedding was long and included a full Catholic mass, so we were quite out of our element, but the experience was a good one overall and it let to some interesting conversations with our girls about what we believe and what makes Protestants and Catholics different. (It also led to some funny stories which I may have to share here later…but for now let’s just say it was…um…interesting!) 🙂
- July 4th is one of my favorite holidays. Growing up we always celebrated with lots of family and fireworks at my Pawpaw’s lake house. Since we’ve lived away it’s been more difficult to celebrate, but I think we’ve finally found a good tradition for this important holiday. A couple in our church, who also happen to be our friends and neighbors, host a gigantic 4th of July celebration at their house every year. They make over 20 gallons of homemade ice cream and invite the entire church, the whole neighborhood, all of their family, friends, co-workers, every waitress at Cracker Barrel, the gas station attendants, the cashiers at Wal-Mart, the police & fire department, and anyone else who wants to come. Everyone brings their own yard chairs and piles into Ray & JoAnn’s yard to feast on homemade strawberry, chocolate, banana or pineapple ice cream. The highlight of the evening is when it finally gets dark and the men set up the trailer and set off the most beautiful fireworks in town. We all oooh & ahhh after every explosion because we know that Ray is taking notes as to which ones get the most positive feedback so that he can get them again next year. 🙂
- One of my favorite events of the summer is when the World Changers come to town! Every year we supply our team with lunch every day while they are in town working on a construction or repair project. This year our team consisted of 16 high school students and 6 adults who came from Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, and Texas to replace the roof of an elderly lady in a low-income part of town. Every day during World Changer week a group of us meet at the church to slice watermelon, apples & oranges; make sandwiches, hamburgers or walking tacos; and organize chips, crackers, and cookies for this great group of workers. We set up a tent in the yard where they are working and bring them lunch every day. We stay and serve them their food and provide as much sweet tea as they can drink. This year they drank 25 gallons of sweet tea! (I was in charge of making all the tea, so I kept track… they had me worried that I was gonna have to go out and buy another 20lb bag of sugar just to get through the week!) 🙂
- Since Jeff has been training for the Ironman (more about that later), we knew we would not be able to take a “real” vacation this summer. All our extra time and money had to go towards the Ironman. But God provided rest for us anyway. A couple in our church offered our family the use of their lake house for several days. It was the most peaceful, relaxing, stress-free couple of days that we’ve had in a while. We swam, kayaked, jumped off the cliff, played board games, swung on the swing, and drank our coffee on the deck. It was such a blessing to us!
Looking back on it, I’d say we had a pretty great summer…even if it might be considered “uneventful” according to our standards. 🙂
The girls are now back in school (5th & 9th grades), the Ironman is over, and things are starting to get back into a groove at church. I’m looking forward to several exciting experiences in the next couple of weeks and trying to get my house in order so I can handle all the busyness without being too disorganized. I’m also excited about getting back into writing on this blog again. There’s so much I want to talk to you about! See you again soon!
PS: I would love to hear how your summer went! Anything exciting or relaxing happen these last couple of months?