Summer Summed Up

Not sure about you, but where the heck did the summer go? One minute the 4th of July was weeks away and all of a sudden, it feels like fall in Chicago.

But while many of you have went back or have sent kids back to school this week, I’m hanging on to summer for just a little longer because it was one of the best ones I’ve had in a long time. And because I learned some things I want to share. And because as much as I’m ready for boots and all things pumpkin spice, I want to talk about lake life and lazy days for five more minutes.

So here goes:

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Traveling is good great, but home is good for the heart.

In a random sequence of events, I traveled to 10 states this summer. That’s 20% of this great nation covered in three months. And while I loved every single minute, or most of them, about every trip, traveling can tire a girl out. Let’s be honest, that much traveling meant home became more of a pass-through than a destination. There were weeks where we were home long enough to unpack and repack the suitcase. Laundry became optional, and scrubbing the kitchen floor? It hasn’t been done since May. I did manage to stay on my weekly changing the sheets schedule, because priorities.

But home. Home has a comfort about it, un-scrubbed kitchen floor and all. Home means sleeping in your own bed and drinking tea on your own couch and eating meals at your own table. For me, home means routines and ease and the familiar.

So, while traveling is great, home is good for the heart.

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We all need our people. If you don’t have any, get some.

I am BLESSED. Abundantly BLESSED with a community that I call my people. I spent time with many of them this summer, and the memories: etched in my heart. We, humans, were made for community, we were meant to be part of a village.

Believe me, I understand not wanting to ask for help. However, my life forced me to a place of not only having to ask because it was a nice idea. Because it’s nice to do things that sound like “nice ideas,” isn’t it? It makes us feel like we’re doing the upright human-being thing. But when life means two meetings at the same time and a kid across town at a daycare that closes at 6:00, and there is one of you, then you have to ask for help. And do you know what my community does when I ask? They BLOW MY MIND. They take my requests and deliver with abundance. If I have to be out of town, my little girl is treated like a queen. If I need a babysitter, I come home to a house that’s spotless and a kid who is exhausted because she’s played all day. If I spend a Sunday afternoon leading a small group, I am sent home with a bouquet of flowers. I am SO LOVED by my people.

We do life – the fun parts, the hard parts, the crappy parts and exciting parts, together. When we are at the lake and we jump waves with the boat until it literally runs out of gas, then we jump in the lake, clothes on, and push together. When life is crazy and full of transitions that mean we all feel like we have two left feet and hands full of thumbs, we set aside time to laugh (and eat chips and guac, of course). Or we talk or we text or we dance (because a dance party can solve a world of hurts).

But mainly because we can only be loved to the extent we are known, we need to find our people and then let them know us – all of us.

And finally,

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Rest is necessary, but so are routines.

My happy place is the water. Bring me to a lake of any size (on some desperate days, a pond will do) or the beach, and my soul takes a big huge drink. I get it, for some of you, mountains are your place and others love the wide open spaces. I’m less concerned about where our specific places are and more concerned that we visit them…often.

This summer I took out a jet ski, raced in a kayak, got shredded by a tube, took a lap on a wakeboard and made it up on skis (see point number two about having an amazing village.) I drank coffee on the dock, took morning walks around the lake, measured time in sunrises and sunsets and forget about knowing what day of the week it was.

Rest. A break from routine. Our happy place. Our souls need that. I am a better mom, friend, colleague, mentor when I take real rest. ..and then get back into a routine.

Routine is good. Our world functions on routine: Seasons change; days, weeks and months go by; we schedule check-ups and car maintenance and home repairs on a schedule (or we know we should and it’s that nagging thing always in the back of our mind).

And so, as we settle into fall and out of summer, I feel rested, lived, and “summered,” ready for the routine of autumn and the predictability of our schedule. And just like the ebb and flow of the water onto the shore, I have learned again the need for both routine and rest.

So, with that off my chest, I hope summer has left you refreshed and ready to embrace the upcoming season.

While I used to refer to it as fall, I know it’s forevermore going to be referred to as “back to school” season for two reasons: One, Because every time I go to Target, there are no less than eight moms standing post at their respective carts while various school-aged children dash in and out of the school supply section adding loot to the cart. And two, because my five-year-old is going to KINDERGARTEN next week. More on that later.

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