Here in North Carolina, the July days are long, the air is heavy and despite the fact that I’ve got some serious reading to do (serious in the sense of topic as well as quantity) I’ve been having trouble keeping my eyes open. These are, indeed, the lazy, hazy days of summer, so I’ll keep this week’s post a little shorter! Here are my three things to help you enjoy your summer…
1. Make some memories
The BLT’s. The corn on the cob. And the watermelon. (Personally, I believe God created watermelons to help us endure the scorching heat.)
I know, I know… you’re watching your weight; it’s swimsuit season, I get it. Me. Too. But I’m not saying you should binge. (I may or may not have done that last summer and gained ten pounds.) If you’re prone to over-indulge (like me) one word… moderation.
It’s not about the food. What I really want to encourage you to do is to take a big ol’ bite out of summer. Sink your teeth into all it has to offer! I thought about all this stuff this morning as I read Psalm 34:8:
“O, taste and see that the Lord is good!”
The word ‘taste’ means ‘to try the flavor; to perceive.’ God is good and He gives good gifts to His children. Be wise. Steward your health. But enjoy the bounty of the season. Celebrate with your people.
With that in mind, I finally purchased an ice cream maker. My old one (the kind that you have to use rock salt) died eight years ago and I had never replaced it, despite the fact that every summer my oldest granddaughter complained that we never made homemade ice cream anymore. I don’t even know why I put off buying a new one; they’re not that expensive. This time I bought one of the fancy ones that do all the work for you.
Oh. my. word.
Soooo good! And so easy. Why on earth did I wait so long?! My procrastination cost our family so much deliciousness and so many memories.
Speaking of memories…
Our new ice cream maker got us to reminiscing about “the good old days,” and my husband shared with me that when he was a kid, his family made ice cream with a hand cranked machine. It was his job to turn the crank. It was hard work and he hated it but his eyes lit up as he recalled the memory of that delicious ice cream.
Maybe ice cream isn’t your summer thing. For you, it might be a morning at the lake all by yourself or with your best friend. A quiet corner at the public library to read a romance novel. Mid-week matinees. Picking up that craft project you decided you didn’t have time for. Whatever floats your boat – go on and get in that boat and row, girl! Delight yourself in the gift of summer.
Make some memories.
2. Try something new
I have a new spiritual practice. It’s nothing, really. Literally… nothing, but wow; it’s really something!
Actually, it’s not really new, just new to me. Summer Gross, my friend and spiritual director, calls it, “10 minutes of stillness.”
Ten glorious minutes where you turn off the phone (after you set the timer) and then you practice (and it takes practice) stillness. Summer describes it as, “a simple tool tool to take us into the summertime. It’s a mini-sabbath for your brain, an invitation to sit with the I AM, a vacation within a vacation.”
I need all the tools I can get to help me enjoy summer, so I jumped on this.
Here’s the ten minute practice:
Open and focus on one sense at a time. No judging or making meaning, just receive and notice.
6. Engage all five senses at once
9-10. Practicing His Presence – recognizing that God is here.
If you have a difficult time turning off all the “should’s and could’s and gotta’s,” which prevent you from being present, this is for you.
What have you got to lose? Why not give it a try right now; ready, set, go!
Meet you back here in ten.
3. Open your eyes
First, a story.
A young newlywed had decided to attempt cooking her first ham. She had her mom’s recipe but was puzzled by the instructions so she called her and asked, “Mom, why do the instructions say to cut the ham in half?” Her mother answered, “I don’t know, really. That’s just how grandma always made it.”
So she called grandma and asked, “Why do you always cut the ham in half before you roast it?”
Grandma replied, “I’ve never had a pan big enough for the whole ham.”
But this week I realized I was guilty of the same kind of nonsensical action. Mine had to do with my ironing board. (Yes, I still iron. And weirdly, enjoy it.)
Ever since I was a young bride, I’ve covered my metal ironing board with an old sheet that I keep in place with safety pins. And when I say, ‘keep in place’ I mean I try, but no way does that sheet stay in place. It scoots around and makes whatever I’m ironing wrinkle. Also, it’s not thick enough, so the little circular perforations on the board leave indentations on whatever I’m attempting to press.
And yes, I do realize they make this thing called an ironing board cover, but Mom always used a sheet. So I always used a sheet. A sheet that was a total pain in the neck.
The other day, after listening to me complain for the millionth time, my husband said, “Will you please go and buy an ironing board cover?!”
So, I did.
Elasticized, so it doesn’t slip. Padded and teflon-coated, so the iron glides easily across the material. $9.99.
So, friends, I ask you; what’s your ironing board cover? Your 1/2 ham silliness that you haven’t or won’t address that would make life so much easier but you don’t do it because… mom didn’t do it that way? Takes too much effort? You’ve done it that way so long you don’t even realize how crazy it is?
That sheet I used for an ironing board cover irritated me for 47 years! Craaazy! One click on Amazon and I had a new one the next day. Easy, peasey.
It’s the little things.
One last thing…
Fall will be here before you know it. While it’s still summer, ask yourself:
Am I making memories that will sustain me when winter comes?
How long since I tried something new?
What am I still doing because that’s just how I’ve always done it?
Summer is short
Go ahead and make the ice cream and eat it without the guilt. (You can work it off later.)
Practice His Presence by learning to BE present.
Get rid of all the irritations you can.
Take all the time you can.
Now, go enjoy summer with your people!
Me? I gotta’ run; it’s lunchtime… BLT’s!!!