Dear Summer

Dear Summer

IMG_6016Summer, you’re almost over, and you looked nothing like I thought you would. I imagined lazy mornings and naps in the afternoon. (Apparently, I was very tired come May. Apparently, I was also very delusional–lazy morning AND naps. Yeah, I’m not sure where I got such grandiose ideas.) Those things didn’t happen. Instead the summer sprinted along like one big run-on sentence. When I try to see the whole, it still looks like a big blur–like someone accidentally put her finger over the lens when she snapped the shutter. But when I slow it down and look frame by frame, I see life. I see laughter. I see adventure. I see beauty. Singing Amazing Grace to our Peach during the middle of the night at a hospital in Mobile, Alabama. My sweaty pacing around the kitchen island while my hands shook as I first heard about our baby girl. Pajama trips to Sonic. Water fights in the backyard and Lottie sneaking up on me. Sushi couch dates every Friday night while rewatching old episodes of West Wing. An acute case of pimento cheese cravings. (I blame the adoption.) Smiling at my big girl across the table at Swanky’s while realizing she’s becoming a young lady and that I truly enjoy her company–not just because she’s my daughter but because she’s a fun, intelligent, engaging person. Eating an oreo cake that is the stuff of dreams with girlfriends and eating pounds and pounds of sun-sweet peaches. Road trips and too many FedEx trips to count. Watching miracles happen and the honor of walking with friends through intense grief. Frame by frame, I play the movie of this summer back, and I smile. There were so many tears packed into these couple of months–the joy-filled kind and the gut-wrenching kind. But I can see the beauty in it all. Summer, you looked nothing like I expected. And you remind me (once again) to let go of my expectations and surrender to the adventure. I’m finding this life is richer, fuller, lovelier when I have open hands and an open heart. That’s a lot for a recovering control-freak to process, but God’s been at work on my heart.

A few weeks ago I finished the sweetest of fiction books, and I emailed myself this quote from it, “This was a girl who sought in every way she could to make the world beautiful, to give comfort when it was least expected and joy where it was most needed.” Isn’t that just the most lovely thing to be said of a person? I am surrounded by people just like that, and my tribe has been especially strong this summer. I know that we could focus all our time and attention on what’s wrong with this world, and certainly I believe it’s our calling to stand up for injustice and do something about it. But in all that standing, we must remember that beauty and pain can exist together. We can spend all our time ranting and raving or we can choose to make the world beautiful. To give comfort when least expected and joy where most needed. Summer, you’ve taught me much.

 

*The book quoted is The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriani Trigiani.

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

IMG_5189We have fallen right into our summer rhythm. Staying up late. Waking up late. (Except, no, just one of us does that. Apparently, five is the age to start sleeping in. Oh, what a glorious age.) Picking blackberries and hydrangeas and trying to keep the dogs from eating my sweet potato vines. The firecracker is usually in the sprinkler by 8:00, wet ringlets plastered beside her cornflower blue eyes by 8:02, and asking for her third “snack” by 8:06. There’s bike riding and scooter riding and weed pulling and baby giggling and late nights on the patio looking up at the patchwork of stars. There are tan lines on the girls’ backs and dirt under our fingernails and wet piles of clothes on the kitchen floor. These are my favorite kind of days.

A few recent favorites for summer…

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: I love Hannah’s writing, and this one might be my favorite of all her books. WWII novels are my thing, and this one has it all–characters you believe and writing you just want to devour.

Nobody’s Cuter than You by Melanie Shankle: Jess gave me this book on our trip to Florida to see Heather. I read it once we got back home, and all I could think about were all our memories from the trip and the friendship those two have given me. So, there was a lot of laughter and maybe a few tears when I finished this one.

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford: We gave Lyd this coloring book and her other one Enchanted Forest for her birthday, and I’m not sure who enjoys them more–her or her daddy and me. These are beautiful and fun to work on together.

Perler Beads: Another birthday favorite, these are taking it back old school style. I have memories of doing these at camp as a kid. You put the little plastic beads on a form and then iron it to melt them together. These make a great rainy day activity! (Tip: Lyd does hers on a cookie sheet with a rim, and that helps the beads not get on the floor.)

SRT Hymns EP: I bought this EP the other day, and I love it. Peach and I like to listen to it when I’m feeding her in the rocker. And I love to listen to it on my short runs as I watch the sun turn the sky into cotton candy colors. Ellie Holcomb’s “Amazing Grace” is my favorite.

Essie Pret-a-surfer nail polish: The only way I can get my girls to sit still and let me trim their nails is the promise of a mani/pedi. Charlotte has been asking for blue, so I grabbed this one at Target the other day. My toes look very summery!

EOS coconut milk lip balm: My girls keep stealing mine, so I feel like I have to hide this one. I love anything that smells like coconut because it reminds me of the beach. I got this from Target too.

Sweet Sweet Sabbath print from Lindsay Letters: A much-needed reminder for me. And it’s pink.

The past year and a half has been one long, run-on lesson about pace and rest and Sabbath. I’m learning more and more each day that those quiet (well, quieter) moments–the ones in the morning while I do my Bible study to the sound of wet squeals in the backyard or in the afternoon when I’m feeding Peach in the rocker or at night when Matt and I sit under the twinkly lights on the patio–are the ones that most feed my soul.

To summer and Sabbath and sitting with our Maker . . .

Life Before Lists

Life Before Lists

photo (54)Dear neighbors, we apologize. Our yard has been mowed on average once every 3.5 weeks. I would like you to notice there are no weeds, so at least it’s lush grass that’s growing a mile high.

Dear friend, thank you for not saying anything about the fur balls the size of Texas tumbleweed when you came over. Thank you also for ignoring that wet dog smell that was created by, well, wet, dirty dogs. {And wet, dirty kids.}

Dear family, please forgive me because I just found Lydia’s thank you notes from her birthday {which was in May} in a stack of papers. Also, in that stack–my driver’s license renewal form {semi-important} and hospital pre-registration forms that were supposed to be filled out in the first trimester {oops}.

So, as you can clearly see I’ve never been more on top of life. I’ve gotten almost nothing done on my to-do list this summer, but we have done a lot of living. Road trips, lake trips, beach trips, zoo trips–we’ve put some miles on Pearl {the Maxima}. We’ve been wet, dirty, salty, sandy, lake-y. We’ve danced and chased fireflies and eaten electric blue ice cream. And we’ve made the most of the moments we’ve been given.

Life before lists. This planner {recovering control-freak} is finding it’s a great way to live.

 

Summer is…

Summer is…

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Summer is stars & stripes, crisp red and blue and fireworks painted on an inky sky.

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Summer is flying high and clouds like little cotton candy puffs floating just out of reach. Summer is ladybugs and roly-polys that end up with names and a home on the dresser.

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Summer is piles of books while the orange glow of late afternoon sun spills across the pages. Summer is snuggles and staying up late.

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Summer is sticky hands and the psychedelic color scheme of sweet sno cones.

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Summer is the tiny hairs around her face curling up with little beads of sweat.

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Summer is green grass, wildflowers and eyes the color of a summer sky. Summer is sun up to sun down, making the most of every moment, however ordinary it might seem. And knowing that within each moment is a chance to soar, to dream, to fly, to savor a taste of summer.