Summer has its own rhythm and we just sail along with it the best we can . . . enjoying family vacations, “dutifully” following packing checklists for kids’ various camps, having lazy dinners out on the patio…letting each day unfold in its unique way.
Our Quiet Times might slip into a different timeslot as we try to get outside chores down in the early morning hours before the heat of the day.
We might snatch some devotional time during the afternoon lull when everyone has soaked up enough sun or we may experiment with late devotions when everyone is settled in for the night.
Dinner time may be a little different also. We eat later and “planning” is looser, typically more laidback. We might have more snack suppers or concoct some simple meals from what we find in the fridge. Breakfast dinners are always a win-win around here!
Occasionally, we’ll be motivated to do some batch cooking and stockpile some family favorites (i.e. chicken packets) that we can pull out at the end of a long summer day.
I don’t know about you, but it takes me a little while to ease in to a summer rhythm, letting go of the patterns that have nudged us along during the school year. Each week has a different flavor, depending on who might be visiting us or which one of the kids might be away at a camp. “Adaptability” is key. (at least that’s what I keep reminding myself when things are feeling a bit off-kilter)
So, we might be a little more sporadic sharing posts or offering workshops during this season. We’re allowing ourselves to “go with the flow” and give ourselves some margin for some spontaneous get-togethers along the way.
Understanding the connection my children need with social media tools…all of us diving into unchartered waters.
With Summer on the brink, and the craze of school year activities colliding, it is an interesting time for the mind to sort through it all. Young hearts wanting to run free into unstructured days, and grown-ups feeling compelled to occupy and fill voids with activity. I am purposeful in the things I do and the time I spend, but I am a dreamer too, and I want my children to have it all. Blow on the Dandelion and make lots of wishes.
After just watching my first nephew graduate from high school, and listening to the speech given to his class by a peer, it enlightened me on the generation my children are growing up in. So very different then my own; unchartered waters for all of us. They described the importance of electronics and all things digital as their known way of communication. The strong need for connection with friends and family that happens through social media networks.They tried to help my generation understand that this is all that they know, kids have nothing else to base socializing on as I do. It was insightful to hear the strong need for that connection of love, acceptance, self-esteem building, someone seeing them…it made me pause on my views of electronics. It made me lay down some of my guards and judgements on social media. I still feel that kids are losing true verbal skills and face-to-face conversation, but I am trying to understand the world they have been born into.
And so here we go with Summer!How to enter into it: With wild abandon? Caught off guard without a plan? Structure to the point of exhaustion?
I think my generation has an obligation, a very important one in making sure that we share the roots that we were planted and watered in. It is not so much about ripping them out of technology, but more about coming alongside them and learning how to navigate the new growing communication system; blending the old with the new.
I think about things like how much time I have and how many summers are left with the kids. I dream of places I want to show them in this world, and conversations I want us to share. I want the deep and the fluff of Summer to collide. I want to be purposeful in giving my children the sweet gift of communication in the form of live, very present conversation. They need to hear the sounds of laughter and not just an LOL typed out.They need to learn the tones of voices, inflections in words, quirky phrases passed down from grandparents that make us smile…and I think it’s vastly important that they hear what silence and quiet sound like; time uninterrupted by text, no words audibly, opportunity for the mind to explore and expand in imagination and sweet refreshment in the Lord.
The flip side of this is that I don’t want to always give a scowling face when my children ask for electronics. I want to come to a happy agreement together, and this requires me to step into unknown territory that they are much more familiar with. We need to not view one another’s path as negative, but learn to navigate them in a positive way together.
So this Summer will be a blend of carefree expanding for all of us. We will mingle good old fashion story-telling with root beer floats and flip-flops, and then we will share a new language of emojis and hashtags that can be a link to stay connected even when we aren’t face to face. It’s going to be a great Summer for all of us!
Be Joyful always, Pray continually, GiveThanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5:16-18
Last week began with a two-day stay at the hospital with my son for an unexpected procedure following a dramatic ER visit. This week started out with lovely spring weather and the chance to play in the dirt, planting pretty flowers.
From one week to the next it was quite a contrast and, boy, am I grateful to have it moving in a positive direction!
One end of my garden zone is full of shriveled plants, brittle vines, and cracked, dusty pots that have been neglected during the winter. The other end of my garden is beginning to show splashes of color amidst freshly turned soil and vibrant green starter veggies.
It’s a contrast between what has faded away and what is blossoming with hopeful growth.
Last fall we were eager to get the school routine in full swing again, fresh school supplies nestled into tidy backpacks. As the school year is now dwindling into mere weeks, the energy level for it is more sludgy than springy.
Final exams and long-term project deadlines loom overhead and students are slinking out the door as late as possible, ripped backpacks slung quickly over their shoulders.
The end of something is strikingly different from its fresh beginning.
Nature is full of contrasts and what pulls us in to wander about in different environments, stretching us beyond our familiar.
Life is punctuated with peaks and valleys; our energy levels ebb and flow throughout the various seasons of family life.
These contrasts give us dimension and help strengthen our resolve to push onward. Contrasting experiences help us see deeper perspectives, softening our rough edges. We have the opportunity to adjust our outlook throughout the intensity of the highs and lows, transforming ourselves in the gritty middle.
Contrasting opinions broaden our discussions, widening our cultural lens.
Contrast keeps boring at a distance.
Photographers seek it; architects nurture it.
When we pause to appreciate the contrasts of the human experience, our inward reflections deepen and our connections with others can become more fully saturated as we see richer hues in those around us.
Perhaps we can glimpse a sparkle of hope where we had only previously seen darkness.
The raggedness of grief may slowly slip into sweet reminiscence.
Maybe we see the blossoming of a child as they overcome a personal struggle.
As graduation looms around the corner for many families, we’ll be struck by the contrast of our young, confident adults tackling their last days of school while we’re remembering their little faces on the first day of school.
They will be on the tippy toes of a new adventure while we’re clinging to their childhood for just a sliver longer. We’ll walk through the contrasting emotions of pride and loss; hope and disbelief . . . letting go and hugging just a little bit tighter. Parents will ponder, “how did this happen so fast?” while their kiddos wonder “will the last day evvver get here?”
Contrast highlights what’s important.
It sharpens our focus on details that matter.
It awakens our souls to pay attention.
Let’s embrace the contrasts that enrich our lives and weave us together ~~ God’s beautiful tapestry unfolding around us.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8
Small steps of obedience can lead to paths that unfold broadly before you, encompassing more than seems possible when you’re in the midst of day-to-day details, diligently pushing through the immediate tasks at hand.
Our Bible Quilt® journey has been a series of small steps of faith that has yielded a wide variety of experiences that neither of us expected.
We just keep adapting to new opportunities as the Lord places them before us…one small step at a time.
Retreats.Road trips.Bible Study groups.Girls’ birthday parties. Youth groups.Senior centers…
We love how Bible Quilting connects people, drawing them closer together through the Word of God.
Sometimes it feels like sacred ground.
—///— We’re weaving Bible Quilting into the patchwork of our lives. —///—
My Bible Study group is using a 1-page version to summarize all of our verses for the year. It’s been fun to watch it grow throughout the year.
As we’ve shared the Bible Quilt® with a variety of women’s groups, these circles are beginning to overlap. The Lord’s design emerges beautifully in these moments.
We are humbled to see how God is tugging at hearts through His scripture and thrilled to see women getting revitalized in His word.
Our Kids Club version arose to meet the desire of young kiddos that wanted to be doing what their moms were enjoying so much in their devotional time.
When our craft tables are filled with girls navigating through the awkward days of middle school or the pressures of high school, we’re grateful to be offering them a creative tool to ground them in their walk with the Lord. Laughter and scripture are a great combo!
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A year ago we formed our business and dove head-first into the trademark process. We waded into the world of accounting and became fierce prayer warriors for all sorts of new logistics and number-crunching. We cherished the moments of creativity and collaboration that offset the business-y side of things.
I’ve become familiar with nervous bravery…you know that tingly feeling that can be excitement or near-the-line panic? I keep reframing it as energy to push forward and cling to my verse:
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.” Isaiah 41:10
During the ongoing commotion of life, we often craved solitude and slipped away to Bible Quilt.
Our Newton friends can be assured, we were furiously “Chasing Quiet” as we faced the challenges of a newbie business!
God’s timing is so gracious. During the week of the 1st-year anniversary of our business, we received the first batch of our printed Bible Quilt® journal. Take a closer peek in our shop!We’re carrying it around like a newborn, showing it off to our treasured supporters and dear mentors in faith.
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During that same anniversary week, we were blessed to receive a real quilt from some lovely women who beautifully handcrafted our Bible Quilt® logo into it.
How sweet is that!
Our hearts are full on this journey, walking out in faith one tentative step at a time.
We invite you in to join us…wherever you are on your spiritual journey.
I noticed this while driving down the street one day and I bet you can relate:
Gray Day, Gray Skies, Driving a Gray Car, the streets are Gray, Weariness even feels like the Color. I looked down and I am wearing all Gray!! Did I fall into this day?!
Gray does not have to be bad.
There will always be a scattering of gray days for all of us. Wouldn’t the enemy love to take those gray days and pin us down, entangle us, or spiral us deeper and deeper into lost hope and despair…forlorn when the sunshine seems no more. What if we look at those gray days not as a detriment to our living, but as an opportunity to get tighter to the Lord? To cling to Him on the gray, windy days, and then learn how to infuse color into them. What if we take those gray days and ask the Lord to bubble up Joy from within us, and show us others that are immersed too deep in the gray day…
Gray days can teach us many things.
So here I am, driving the boys to school on another random gray day, and my nine-year old makes a statement that I think is quite profound:
“No matter the weather, we get to choose the forecast of each day.”
I was speechless for a moment as I thought about those words. He threw them out so loosely, but I found myself grasping for them to digest further. How many gray days of my life have I tossed to the side of the road trying just to get them over with? My son’s statement snapped me back to a reality that each day is a precious gift; none are a waste. We might have to search a little more for the Joy in our gray days; but lessons taught to us like: perseverance, resilience, overcoming, speaking Life over a situation…all end up breaking through those gray days and eventually shine light onto them. We can take the darkest day, or the sunniest, and choose to fill it with the most potential possible for us and those around us. Attitude really is everything sometimes. Beautiful things can transpire out of the Gray.
Gray will never probably be one of my favorite colors, but I’m learning the use of it when it shows up in the weather forecast now…
“So we do not lose heart… our inner self is being renewed day by day. For the light momentary affliction is preparing for us eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison , as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18