Technically summer doesn't start until next week, but for all practical purposes, ours has started. School is finished. Grades are in. It is hot enough to swim and too hot to run in the middle of the day. I love summers. Being a teacher, summer gives me time to get caught up on projects around the house, exercise a bit more, practice language, and blog more consistently. The only problem is I have to do it. It is so easy to get up late, dawdle and not accomplish anything. This summer is slightly different for us. We are in the states until so those projects and language lessons have been put on the back burner. Since Mother's day, the kids and I have been nomads. We are in the middle of our third location with many more to come. So our normal summer is not so normal bringing some of the normal challenges of summer and some that are new to us. So what are our challenges?
1. Consistency in our daily times with God, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Isn't it ironic sometimes when you have more time, it seems harder to be disciplined to have those daily disciplines. Staying with friends makes it tempting to stay up later getting caught up rather than getting the sleep I need. Even worse, I have trouble sleeping when my DH and I are separated so I often find myself staying up late reading to get really tired. If I can stay in a good sleep routine, I find exercising and time with God easier to prioritise.
2. Balance. I don't think summer should be one big to do list but on the other hand I don't want us to be bums either. Sometimes it is easy to just let my kids watch TV or play on the wii. This summer I would like us to be more active and creative. So far, we have been blessed by being at homes that don't watch very much TV, and the kids haven't seemed to miss it. Hopefully, it will create some good habits for us since I can get sucked into watching too much TV with them. Betsy over at her blog Faith Spilling Over writes about Helping Our Kids Make the Most of Their Summer. Her suggestions are beneficial for anyone whether child, teen or adult.
3. Rest. I am learning more each year about rest. Rest isn't just about time off or even being lazy. Rest is finding out what recharges you so that you can continue to do what God has called you to do. For me, I am recharged when I have good conversations with friends, am learning something new, and long walks with worship music. Rest for me doesn't come from watching lots of TV or being busy even if it is a good busy.
4. Being a good guest. How can I be a help where I am staying? When should I offer to fix a meal and when should I just enjoy the hospitality of my host? Are we keeping the areas where we sleep tidy and not leaving things around the house? What is a good balance of space for them and us? If anyone has some good suggestions on being a good guest, I would love to hear them.
5. Being content with the summer God has given us and taking advantage of the opportunities God sends our way. So far this one has not been too hard. We were able to have Mother's day with Nana. In Iowa, we helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of the church I grew up in. Big D learned to drive an ATV and riding lawnmower. Now we are enjoying time with our Texas friends that we thought we wouldn't see for two more years. Yes, it is hard being separated as a family for some of the summer, but there are many blessings to be found.
6. Eating healthy. Everyone is so gracious and feeding us almost too well. We also seem to have a weakness for American ice cream. In addition, traveling can be challenging to not just indulge in fast food. So far, we have been packing our lunches for our road trips but splurging on a fun treat or drink along the way. We will see if we can keep this up. So far it has been a blessing that fast food has not sounded good to any of us with the exception of chick fi la.
What are some of your challenges for the summer? What helps you stay on track but balanced during the summer?