We are sitting pretty in the middle of the very best time of the year around these parts: summer. When you live in a four-season destination, the seasons themselves become verbs, universally understood and described by locals according to the activities we can and cannot do based on the weather. And right now, everyone summers: sprinklers, lakes, popsicles, baby sunscreen, red cheeks, s’mores, and 9:45pm sunsets. It’s all just dreamy. Ten months out of the year we more or less live our lives around school and work schedules. But summer in the Pacific Northwest rolls around and all of a sudden we work around our summer. The early, quiet, peaceful rhythm of the mornings makes the days feel welcome and full of potential; and the long-lasting sunsets have this beautiful way of helping me savor the day. When I really sit with all the goodness that fills this time of the year, it is impossible not to measure my gratitude in fresh ways.
And along with the change of pace, there is this new sense of possibility. The schedule-free weeks could be a time of rest, or a dedicated season of goal achieving; summer seems to offer whatever our souls need the most, doesn’t it? For me, the long-days are a mix of both: I read more, I write more, I see my people more in the summer. And yet, for the last two nights, I’ve poured myself a glass of Trader Joe’s sparkling limeade and taken a sunset bath after the kids are in bed. (I know, getting crazy around here!) I can count on one hand the amount of baths I have taken in the previous nine months. But once that blissful quiet of the post-bedtime hustle sets in over our home, and I look outside and see that the sun is still giving me permission to take in the day, I feel like I have to do something to honor it. So I do. We are in a really cool play all day, savor all evening cadence, and I like it.
This year, the gift of summer is refining me in so many ways. We have all adjusted well to my little guy’s therapy schedules, and we are learning, with the Lord’s help, to pan out on our perspective a bit more than we had been. It is certainly a day-to-day process, but progress is much more easily seen from start to finish, so we have to learn to hold both. Cannon is not saying more words than he was yesterday; but he is engaging with tasks and people 100 times more fully than he was two months ago. It’s always a battle for my faith, because I want to come home from each therapy session and say “He said two new words today!” But it is so much more encouraging to say, “He’s not in the same place he was when we started. He’s growing.” God continues to teach me more about Himself and his glory through my son than he ever has through anything else, and that’s not something I say lightly. It’s just true. And see? There’s that hustle then savor pattern showing up again right here, on this journey, too.
I’ve also been writing. A lot. I’m dreaming of a book and I’m actually walking in to that dream as best I know how to. I think most writers dream of the book they will one day write; I certainly have been my entire life. And yet, my efforts have always been stifled by the reality that anything I can say, someone else can say better. That, and I spent five years trying to force pretty words from my brain onto paper and I never got farther than a potential title. I once watched an interview with author Amber Haines, and she said of the book writing process, “Wait for the fire.” And right here, in the midst of motherhood that feels like it is drowning me some days, the embers are staying warm enough to slowly, but surely, grow. It has been the best thing for my heart to listen to Jesus every morning and feel my way towards him in words. And that’s what the book is shaping up to be about: Him, and the knowledge that he is unchanging and unspeakably beautiful even when life feels the opposite. This is the truth I am learning right now, so it’s the lesson I’m writing. (I must add that publishing and writing feel like two very different things to me. It’s all safe and controllable over here in the writing: me and my words, and a few sets of trusted eyes on them. It’s all vulnerable and unpredictable over there in the publishing, where thousands of writers offer their very best efforts every day, only to be told it’s not good enough. So, I don’t know what that looks like. I think I want to try, but when you write about Jesus you’re pretty much forced to measure success as a greater view of Him, and I already have that. So I guess I can say that this writing has been worth it, no matter where it ever goes.)
With two months of the best of the year still ahead of us, we are all looking forward to more of that summer list of sprinklers, lakes, popsicles, baby sunscreen, red cheeks, s’mores, and 9:45pm sunsets. And friends, lots and lots of friends. I’ve never been more inspired by and grateful for the people around me. Friends that are faithfully navigating hard marriages, thinking about returning to school, pursuing their own writing goals, raising precious babies and teaching them about Jesus, opening their homes and family to foster children; you name it, and I have people in my life doing it. It’s the best, seeing the body of Christ on display, doing the unique and beautiful things he has given each of us to do, learn, persevere through, pray for, and believe in.
Wishing you marshmallows, campfires, friends to ask good questions around them with, and the sweet cadence that only the summer can bring.