What I Love About Summer

Summer is…

 

  1. Splashes and giggles at the pool
  2. Not caring whose sunglasses you grabbed out of the pool bag
  3. Hide-n-seek outside after dinner when the sun shines low through the trees
  4. The kids singing at the top of their lungs
  5. Their sun-kissed cheeks smiling ear-to-ear
  6. The permanent smell of sunscreen as I kiss little heads goodnight
  7. Sleeping in and nowhere to rush off to
  8. Ice cream breaks
  9. Bare little piggies wiggling in the sand
  10. Coppertone-tan backsides in the bathtub
  11. Front-porch picnic lunches
  12. New freckles popping out to say hello
  13. Spontaneous trips to The Big City to visit cousins and swim in their new pool
  14. Diet Cherry Lime-ades at Sonic
  15. Windows open and fans on
  16. Trips to the grocery store for poolside snacks
  17. Giant yawns only a full summers day can bring
  18. Time: to think • dream • pray • write
  19. Temporary tattoos
  20. People you love, loving all these things with you

What do you love about summer?

Turns Out…She Was Right After All.

Growing up, there are certain things I remember my mom saying, doing or instilling in my brother and I that at the time didn’t make sense. Things that in my naive and young mind I either couldn’t comprehend, or disagreed with, or thought was just plain weird. But as I’m raising my own kids, I’m finding myself saying, doing and instilling the exact same things. And I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

Until this weekend.

I can’t remember the specifics…but I said something to Jaana about who-knows-what. (Espousing some mumbo-jumbo about something uber-important, I’m sure.) And she gave me this look. And I suddenly just knew it was the same look I gave my own mom about something when I was her age. It was that “you are totally weird” look. And it hit me like a ton of bricks — Jaana is me. And I am my mom.

And it turns out, my mom was actually right about a lot.

And now that I’ve caught my breath and my heart has settled from this realization, I have to give credit where credit is due. And say with sincerity — I’m sorry I gave you so much attitude about all of this. But rest assured, payback has hit. And it ain’t pretty.

Here are a few things my mom was dead-on about:

1. Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees. Jaana, and her blessed little eight year-old self has no concept of money. So as responsible parents, we’re trying to teach her that you can’t just “go buy stuff” any ol’ time you want to. She insisted on this special Pack-It lunchbox for school…you know the one, from the informercial? That keeps food cold for like 8 hours? So she has one, but has gotten very lazy about unpacking it when she gets home from school. And a lot of food has had to be thrown away, because we don’t find until the next morning the items that could have been refrigerated and saved. So now she has to pay me for those items. Not because she didn’t eat them, but because it went unopened straight into the garbage and wasted. The good news is that I’m up about $6.50 right now.

2. It’s Harder Making Friends as You Get Older. As I’m now almost 39, I realize that friendships are harder to make. Not necessarily because of a fear of investing in people…but for me at least, it’s because of time. We’re all busy with families and children and getting together to develop friendships is a lot harder than when I was single. There’s less time and money to just meet for lunch all the time. Or dinner. Or weekend get-togethers. And when I do have free time, I want more time with my husband or family.

3. Your Family Really Doesn’t Hear You. I honestly think they are all going deaf. I can speak and speak and speak and not a single person will acknowledge that I’m talking. I even am repeating myself to the dog. The dog. I stood in the kitchen the other day and threw a towel on the counter and said (to myself, naturally, ‘cuz no one was listening): “Really? You seriously didn’t just hear that. WHAT ABOUT NOW?? DO YOU HEAR THIS?!”

4. I Did Want to Stop Talking On the Phone. When I was 16, my mom told me that someday I wouldn’t want to talk on the phone anymore. I think I laughed like a hyena as my hormone-driven mind couldn’t fathom the concept. And when the phone would ring and my mom wouldn’t jump to answer it, I would stare, mouth agape and slack-jawed that she could just let it ring. Well, Jaana has mastered the mouth-agape-and-slack-jawed look and constantly tells me, “Mommy! Your phone’s ringing!” as if the ring itself didn’t alert me to that fact. And I let it ring. A lot. She’s shakes her head in amazement and disbelief. A lot.

5. You Really Should Wear Clean Underwear to Your Doctor’s Appointments.

6. I Have Mastered “The Look.” You know the one. Not the one you got at home when you did something wrong, but the one from the rear-view mirror of the car. When you’d be in the back seat and do or say something to completely aggravate your parents and drive them to want to run off the road? And suddenly these eyes would appear, larger than life in the rear-view mirror and give you a non-physical smack-down that shut you up completely? I can do that now. It’s awesome. (The only part I can’t do is the raising of one eyebrow like my mom can, which is sad. ‘Cuz that really drives it home, you know?)

7. No One Notices (or Cares) That You Really Have Spent All Day Cleaning. I’d come home from school (which felt like six of the longest most-excrutiating hours of my life) and ask my mom what she did that day. And she’d say “Clean.” And I’d be all, “But what about all the other hours of the day?” And she’d be all, “I cleaned, I took a shower, and now you’re home.” And I’d be all, “As if!” And she’d be all, “Watch your attitude, young lady!” And I’d be all, “Whatever!” followed by a door slam. And she’d be all, “You’re grounded!” But I totally, totally get it now. Like, totally.

8. There Really Are Starving Children in Africa.

9. It Does Matter How the Towels Are Folded. Or how the dishwasher is loaded, or how the pillows are arranged on the couch. The little things done my way make a difference.

10. You Truly Can’t Start the Day Without Coffee. I remember my parents downing a pot or two of coffee before even opening their eyes growing up, and it seemed so weird to me. But now the scales have been lifted. Praise the Lord.

And so, the circle of life continues.

What about you? What do you need to fess up to and admit your mom was right about?

Chasing Rainbows

The dog was barking. I was trying to clean up the kitchen after dinner, but the craziness of the dog assured me he indeed needed to get out. Now.

As soon as I got outside, raindrops began falling. And heavily. I looked to my right and the sky was dark as night. But to my left, the sun was shining as bright as it could be, casting glorious sun rays through the trees.

Perfect conditions for a rainbow.

I stared down those dark, gray clouds with all my might…looking for the slightest hint of color. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me…but sure enough, through the thick across the way, I saw hints of red, orange and yellow.

So I ran.

The farther I went, the brighter the colors became. When I got to the top of the hill, I could see the perfect arc of the rainbow. What took my breath away even more was not just the double rainbow that seemed to suddenly appear, but that the rainbow itself had a rainbow shadow. It looked like red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, violet…green, indigo, violet.

It was stunning.

I went to where I knew I could view the rainbow perched high over the lake, and I just sat soaking it in as long as it lasted.

And I thought.

I pondered about Noah and that first rainbow that God placed in the sky, and wondered if he chased it, trying to get a better view. And I wonder if Noah’s rainbow had a shadow, too.

I thought about how if I had just sent the dog out of the door instead of walking him myself, I would have missed the rainbow. Or if I would’ve been too focused on staying dry, how I would have missed the rainbow.

And I thought about how often in our daily lives, we miss rainbows all the time. Because we’re too lazy to get up and walk. Or we’re too concerned with avoiding the storm. And by how focusing on our circumstances keeps us from noticing how often the conditions are perfect for a rainbow.

We see the dark gray clouds to our right and feel the rain. But that’s all we see. We tend to so easily forget to look to our left and see the sun. And The Son. And how rainbows only occur through the blending of the the two.

We only get to see the truly glorious when we focus on Jesus in the midst of darkness, and not the darkness itself. And when we do, He strokes His hand across our circumstances leaving a lasting promise to remind us He will never leave us or forsake us.

A promise of how His love endures forever.

I later discovered that “rainbow shadow” I saw is known as a supernumerary rainbow. A highly infrequent phenomenon, that according to Atmospheric Optics, is “an intimation of the limitations of geometric optics for it is totally unable to explain them.” (Emphasis mine)

And isn’t the same true of our Jesus? How His miracles and blessings and grace and mercy are unable to be explained due to the limitations of our humanity?

Go. Ignore the chaos around you and get up and walk. Go dance in the rain. Search with all your might for a rainbow. And when you see one, be overwhelmed with the knowledge that He put it there just for you. Just for today. Just because.

Oh. How He loves us.

Selah.