I don’t know about you, but our house typically hums with anticipation as summer begins. The air is thick with excitement as our kids make plans. The treehouse is already the dedicated centerpiece of 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 as they work towards personal goals and the little girls are utterly committed to wearing a swimsuit for twelve solid hours a day.
I love finding creative and inexpensive ways to cherish our time together, especially in these uncertain times. 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 (whatever that looks like these days), the ebb and flow of our summer help 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 consider adding them to your summer plans, too.
Read less. Every summer I resolve to read more and every year a new stack of books collect dust on a shelf. In this season of life, reading 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 that nourishes my spirit while serving the people I adore.
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. I went on to sell a few of my pieces and gifted others to friends and family. Two summers ago I planted my first vegetable garden and quickly came to the realization that I will forever buy my produce at the grocery store. This summer, I’ve downloaded an app that promises to teach me conversational French. My goal is to both surprise my husband and impress the owner of our favorite French bakery. It’s not about the end result but stepping out in faith because God created us to be passionate and creative people.
Date my spouse. This summer I’m investing in the most important relationship in my home. After twenty years of marriage, I’ve learned that sanctification can be found in the smallest moments together; a long walk after dinner or rocking on the deck at twilight. The time we set aside as a couple creates space to hear what’s not being said out loud during the rush of everyday life. They are moments we find the courage to speak openly and share the struggles and triumphs of the day. They are small, precious steps towards deeper intimacy.
This summer, I hope you are blessed with opportunities to not only have fun but grow in faith and in your relationships. Summer isn’t just for kids, oui?
You can follow April on FB at A Well Done Life.