giveaways · motherhood · summer

Longing for Summer

Sunshine is streaming through the fingerprints on my front door and spilling all over the streaky floor.  The pool in the backyard is full of rain water, and the swings are stirring gently with the late August breeze that kindles memories of campfires and light sweaters.

Summer’s slowly sifting away bit by bit.

Two weeks ago I could hardly wait for it. For school and routine and structure and those few precious hours I can snatch between naptime and snacktime to work and enjoy the quiet.

But last night we stayed out a bit late and this morning the forecast is for mostly sunny and I wish more than I longed for routine that I could buckle them all into that van with its peeling paint and slip away on some hiking trail and emerge at a lakeside to dig our toes into the only sand they’ve seen all summer.

Why is it the longing never comes until I realize it’s over?  Why is it that I can’t ever seem to wrap my mind and heart around the slow pace and embrace it for all it’s worth because it’s so simple?

Why do I let activities and camps and far too many other good things crowd out all my days that could be spent in the woods or by the pool or on the back deck with popsicles and the water hose?

Why do I let tantrums and whining and frustrations over lost library books dampen my spirit so much that I forget how much I enjoy just having them all home and under my roof?

I don’t want to forget how much we need each summer.  How much we need lazy days and pajama days and ice cream for dinner.  So I’ve writing this to remind me and to remind you–

Each summer there’s beauty laced between meltdowns and fights and your mama exploding temper.  

Don’t wait until summer is over to find it.

Congratulations to Sheila Beck who won the Real Food for the Real Homemaker cookbook giveaway!  I hope you enjoy it and use it to make me something yummy if I ever make it over for a visit!  I wish everyone could win, but since that can’t happen, you can go here to order your own copy.  You’ll get a PDF file, a Kindle version, the recipe cards, and the excel spreadsheet to help you plan a frugal grocery trip and a simply homemade menu.  Enjoy!  

Linking up today with Gracelaced Mondays and The Better Mom.

linkups · Margin Mom · summer

When Overwhelmed, Just Jump in the Lake {My Search for Margin: Part 6}

It was just for a few hours, but it felt like more.  The water was cold, but the day was hot and the sun was glorious.  Waves rocked that old dock and the best way to the water will always be a flying leap.  
We loaded down that speed boat with children and lifejackets and squeals of summer.  Always, on the water, wind and sun in my face and white churned waves underfoot, can I find my space.
Now I just have to keep that feeling of lightness tucked away for those margin-less days when all I want to do is jump in the lake.
For all my other posts in this possibly never-ending series on how I’m aiming for more white space and less smudges in my life, click here.
I love what Kayse says about how she feels less overwhelmed when she’s said yes to the many things God’s called her to, rather than yes to the many things she thinks she’s supposed to do.  I’m mulling over that idea for fall when I have so many tasks on my plate that, truly, have all come to me at this time for this purpose.
Linking up with these lovely ladies…
GraceLaced Mondays · madelynne · motherhood · summer

What I Saw at Camp Pinnacle

We arrived at Camp Pinnacle on Friday after the “Colossal Coaster” ride of Vacation Bible School and after not a few meltdowns from this mama and those girls.  We were tired and I honestly didn’t believe I had the energy for a mother/daughter overnight camp.  Check-in complete, bags in the cabin (pretty nice lodging actually), chicken nugget supper (a cafeteria classic), and slowly I was starting to unwind a bit.  Slowly, I was starting to enjoy actually seeing my daughters.

I read this post the other day about how women fear becoming invisible.  It only makes sense to believe our daughters fear this too.  Until this weekend, I hadn’t realized how little time I actually spend seeing them, and how many moments I miss because I’m not tuned into their little moments.  I saw Annabelle grin delightfully and Madelynne watch me intently.  I saw the spark of joy that comes when they’re discovering a new talent,   realized how much they want me to focused on them as individuals and not just as the first and second sisters.

This weekend gave me an opportunity to do something I hardly ever do: play with my kids.  After a brief and fun introduction to worship, we all gathered on the lawn for Color Wars, those notorious camp relay games and my girls were so proud that their mommy was competing with them.  They were astounded to learn I could jump rope and super proud when I hopped to the cone with a ball between my knees.

After games, we went on a mission walk with our counselors and learned a little about the camp’s mission focus this summer, which is the city of Atlanta.  Madelynne volunteered to pray and Annabelle drew a picture of her cross necklace and wrote “God Loves You” and snuck a peek at me to see if I had noticed.  She’s finally started talking faith with us, and this week between VBS and camp, was the first time I can remember seeing her participate wholeheartedly as though the songs and messages meant more than she knows how to confess.

There was a classic camp bonfire with s’mores and songs and silliness and my girls tried to catch lightening bugs and were giddy that the time was well past bedtime.  We slept in bunks that rustled all night once the cabin of giggly girls settled down and were up again early for breakfast and quiet times to talk about putting on the armor of God.

 My best mom moment came when they observed I had put on my bathing suit: “Mama, you’re getting in the pool with us?  Really??”  I never swim with them.  I always watch from the sidelines, usually with the baby, on the very edges of their excitement.  But Saturday morning I shivered in the cool blue water and played Marco Polo and beat Madelynne in a swim race and cuddled with Annabelle when we were both covered in chillbumps.

On Saturday morning, I got to guide my daughter’s hands around a pottery wheel and learn from the other how to fire an arrow from a bow.  I got to sit in a swing by the lake and worship in a chapel filled with women of all ages.  I got to give thanks to God for giving me daughters and beg for mercy and guidance to raise them.

Thank goodness there was a place this weekend that helped me see them. · reflections · summer

The Balloon Ride

My youngest daughter perched herself on the edge of a rock bridge in an old field and dared me with her eyes to say no.  A trickle of a creek, muddy yet sparkling, ran under that tiny bridge and further down other children waded and ran shrieking up the bank.

The evening was summer dusk, warm and humid, but soft and inviting all the same.  Across the field, as if someone had sent a sudden signal, vehicles began to appear with bulk hidden under tarps and strapped to trailers.  Moments later, bright yards of fabric began to unfurl and billow in the slight breeze.  The people pressed closer to watch the spectacle unfurl.

And on a warm summer evening, they used fire to float those balloons.

What was once flat and wrapped tight swelled and soared and colored the sky all around.

She begged for a ride, and when we climbed into that basket and lifted high, all I could think was how it’s the fire that’s made us fly.

motherhood · summer

When It’s All Over

I need a last day of summer do-over.

But that’s what happens when we heap a mere 24 hours of our lives with expectations and to-do’s and won’t-this-be-fun-it-will-only-take-a-few-minutes.

We simply can’t do it all. So I need to stop trying to live like we can.

Their list of activities was long and unreasonable and expensive.

Gus’s list was short: cry so I can be nursed constantly. All morning long.

Makes for a hard day and hard choices.

In the end, we wound up at home doing #58 on Rachel’s list.

Now they are wearing their Christmas dresses and my high heels (I do have some, shocking, I know) and parading around.

Guess what? They’re happy.

They’re over the abandoned park, the impromptu stop to buy diapers, the frustration of our early morning.

 Maybe I won’t need a do-over after all.

Faithful readers, I have done it again.  Overscheduled my life.  Someday I will learn.  Until then, bear with the sporadic posting schedule, because once I make it through this brief season, I am praying for the ability to prioritize and focus more on this love of words.