I don’t know about your house, but the final days leading up to the end of the school year hum with anticipation. The air is thick with excitement as our kids make plans. The tree house is already the dedicated centerpiece in an epic saga. There are requests for a new Slip N’ Slide and a reminder (ahem) that this is the year we put a swing set in the yard. The big kids are devising a fitness plan together as they work towards personal goals and the little girls are utterly committed to wearing a swimsuit for a solid twelve hours a day.
In summers past, like most parents, my focus is the kids. I love finding creative and inexpensive ways to cherish our time together. I even enjoy watching them huff and puff and gnash their teeth with boredom, only to create an elaborate stick fort in the woods behind our house. Without the rigors of a school schedule, the ebb and flow of our summer helps immerse them in the serious work of being children. And while they laugh and wander and live out their summer in bare feet and bicycle helmets, I am reminded that it’s not just their summer. It’s mine, too.
This year, I’m adding three things to my routine I hope will strengthen my heart, mind, and marriage. I hope you’ll join me!
Read less. Every summer I resolve to read more and every year a new stack of books collect dust on a shelf. I long to sit and reflect on God’s Word but in this season of life, sitting down to read uninterrupted is a luxury I do not have. This summer I’m going totally audio! My favorite authors and Bible teachers have audiobooks available for download and I can listen to sermons through my church’s free app or podcast. I won’t need a free hand to hold a book while juggling a baby or making dinner. I can enjoy something I love and receive encouragement while actively serving my family.
Learn one new thing. I believe learning a new skill or hobby is soul food. Five summers ago I learned to crochet from watching videos online and excelled. Two summers ago I planted my first vegetable garden and learned I will forever buy my produce at a grocery store. This summer I’ve downloaded an app that promises to teach me conversational French. My goal is to surprise my husband and impress the owner of our favorite French bakery. It can go either way… Too often we believe the lie that taking time for ourselves equates to depriving our family. God created us to be passionate, creative and curious people. Oftentimes, when a desire to learn something new stirs in our spirit, it is a gift God intends to use in the future. Take a leap of faith and commit to learning one new thing this summer, oui?
Date your spouse. This summer I’m investing in the most important relationship in my home. After twenty years of marriage, I’ve learned that the greatest lessons in sanctification can be found in the smallest moments together; a long walk after dinner or rocking on the back deck at twilight. The time we set aside to spend together as a couple is when we hear what’s not being said out loud. It’s when we find the courage to speak openly and share the struggles and triumphs of the day. They are precious steps towards greater intimacy and a deeper friendship.
Wishing you many blessings as you find your summer rhythm,
You can find April on Facebook at A Well Done Life