The One Thing I Learned This Summer

The One Thing I Learned This Summer

A lovely formal garden discovered on our summer travels
I’m joining Emily P. Freeman’s linkup sharing what I’ve learned this summer. 

Sometimes it’s okay to take a summer off!  I’m the queen of to-do lists.  Writing lists motivates me to get things done. Nothing’s more satisfying that to put a check mark by a completed task. 

But this summer, I took everything  off my to-do list. You might say I had a minimalist summer.  Instead of ramping up my daily agenda, I slowed down. While others (along with my internal voice) might judge this summer as unproductive, I experienced my best summer yet. 

Just like my Compaq laptop I had in grad school, I learned my brain needs defragmenting periodically for it to run faster and more efficiently.   Summer was the perfect time for me to pause and let my mind rest, reorganize information, refocus priorities and rid my brain of all the junk taking up space. 

I still did my normal summer thing. We travelled to the beach, hung out together, explored museums and historical locales in nearby cities and celebrated some amazing answers to prayers.

This painting really spoke to me!
Honestly, I thought I might never find any motivation again.  The floating, untethered laziness was uncomfortable at times. But then these words seized my soul as I read them late one night:

“A seed knows how to wait. A seed is alive while it waits. Every acorn on the ground is just as alive as the 300 year old tree that towers over it. Neither the seed nor the oak tree is growing; they are both waiting.” –Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Life is still inside me as I wait.  Resting and waiting does not kill the life in me but ignoring my need to rest and wait will. 

What have you learned this summer?  Share in the comments or link up to Emily’s post!

For Your Weekend | School’s Out Edition

For Your Weekend | School’s Out Edition

Sweet Summer is upon us!
 
Yes!!! Students shouted all across schools in the US as they finally reach the last day.  

Help!!

Almost simultaneously yelled by parents everywhere upon the reality that school’s out for summer!

Don’t panic…here’s a great linkup to help ease both you and your kids into summertime!

Enjoy the blue skies!
And, most importantly this summer, eat the cake!!! 

There is a scrumptious German chocolate cake underneath the whipped cream!!
      How to Enjoy and Challenge Yourself this June

      How to Enjoy and Challenge Yourself this June

      Hello, June…Hello, Summer!

      June is one of my favorite months!  Besides marking the halfway point of the year, June also just happens to be my birthday month!

      School’s over, Summer starts and the day’s rhythm changes. If I’m not careful, I’ll either tilt too far into inertia or over schedule my summer days. Neither is good. 

      Knowing myself, I’m creating and challenging myself with a June Bucket List to try and balance these two extremes. On this list I’m challenging myself in following categories:

      • Resting
      • Creating
      • Listening
      • Reading
      • Giving

      I like these categories because each provides a space for an area in my life I need pay and give attention to. While bucket lists are fun, I find it sometimes stresses me out to create and check off all the “fun” activities. 

          June Bucket List

          1. Resting| Unplug at the Beach

            Sea, Salt Water & Sunrises

            We travel a lot, but this trip is special because once we get to the beach, we unplug and chill for the week. No outlet mall shopping, no amusement park or mini golf games, just a stack of books, grilling meals and walks to the pier and back. 

            2. Creating | #LetteritJune Challenge

            So much fun to practice and see other’s work!

            Have you noticed you become better at a skill the more you practice it?  I love calligraphy and Jenny Highsmith  provides a monthly lettering prompt for all to join and practice their skills. 

            I love seeing others’ interpretation of a quote or phrase and I love trying out new styles or techniques. You can follow Jenny here on her InstaGram and you track my #letteritjune progress here on Oak Grove Social’s InstaGram. 

            3.  Listening | 7 Days of Still Moments

            image via emilypfreeman.com

            If you’ve read any of my posts it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan girl of author Emily P. Freeman. 

            Emily recently published on her blog this post and her thoughts and feeling about hearing God’s Word read aloud during worship resonates deeply with me. 

            I miss hearing God’s Word during the more contemporary worship service I attend. Emily is offering a free 7 Day Still Moments audio that comes into your email box. 

            In these 7 still moments Emily invites the listener to intentionally listen and then reflect on the questions. You can sign up to receive the 7 audio files here

            After finishing this 7 day still moments, I plan to continue to read aloud Scripture and then spend time reflecting on the Scripture for the rest of June. 

            4. Reading | June Library Haul

            Recommended by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy

            Poolside and beach reading are the ultimate indulgence!  I’ve already shared the Summer Reading Guide link here and am challenged to read my way through this stack in June!

            5.  Giving | A Surprise

            Strawberries are the best!
            It’s my birthday month and I’ve been given so much that this year I’d like to give. During June I’ll be giving in small ways to others.  

            I won’t be sharing it here, but it will be a daily focus on giving to others in celebration of my birthday!  It’s so much fun to do random acts of kindness as well as just give someone an unexpected gift of time, food or something handmade. 

            How do you celebrate June and Summer?  Do you have summer bucket list?  I’d love to know what you’re planning on accomplishing this month!  Join me in the comments!


            A Summer Break Prayer

             


            We’ve just returned from the beach, and easing (or more like ramping up) into our often hectic summer break rhythm.

            Summer’s significantly shorter with our school calendar and so we cram lots of traveling and fun experiences while we have the chance!  But, the fast pace can lead to a diminishing of joy during a summer break!  Odd, huh?

            So, here’s prayer to pray while you’re cramming wonderful summer life experiences during the break!

            Our Father,

            Thank You for this season of sun, new daily rhythms and exploring Your world and connecting with friends and family!

            Help us to enjoy these days, taking pleasure in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. 

            Let us make the most in the waiting (airport gates, interstate traffic, amusement park lines, ballgame traffic) and find joy in the now, with our tribe, our people. 

            Help us find a quiet spot in the hustle of summer where we can hear Your voice, see Your beauty, and taste Your goodness in this season!

            Help us love more deeply and make the most of the time with our children, the silly and the serious, the easy and the tough. 

            Help us to celebrate each day and savor these days of summer.

            Let us be administrators of Your grace and give freely and often!

            Amen