I remember summer as kid. The quiet of the house. The sun shining bright day after day after day. A promising change from winters colorless presence. The song of the birds and the buzz of fluffy bumble bees from the break of day until coyotes and mosquitoes took over the fields and forest.
We didn't have cable television and there wasn't any other kind of electronic entertainment available when I was young. We played and rested and just, were.
I remember endless card games around our dining room table, softball in the front yard, swinging on the wooden swing hung under the large oak tree. I can taste the blackcaps that grew in the sandy parts of our little world and will never forget the buckets of apples I collected and fed to my "favorite cow". (I'm sure the neighbors wondered why number 32 ran to the fence ahead of the rest every day.)
I can smell the clothes on the line and look back on how peaceful it was to hang those towels as I watched the bluebirds fly back and forth into the birdhouses my mom had built.
There was endless amounts of time to sprawl out on the hill facing the rarely traveled road to think. And hear. And breath in the summer air.
In the midst of all the lovely memories, I'm sure I said I was bored from time to time. I guarantee I had the occasional squabble with my siblings and I'd be lying if I didn't say I spent a day or two moping because I couldn't go swimming during a heat wave.
But looking back I see the beauty in those days. I understand the importance of a summer of quiet rest with less to do than our busy selves might like. I encourage thankful responses in my children when they feel "bored" and I teach as many card games as I can remember or discover afresh. I pick berries and lay on the cool grass without fear of wasted moments. I let my kids eat boxed macaroni and cheese more than normal and squeeze lemons into sugar water almost daily. I open windows so I can hear the hammock creak back and forth until dinner time and rinse off tiny dirt covered toes after shoveling sand into yellow Tonka trucks. I don't stop them when they roll down the hill or scoop buckets of water from the brook. Chances are I'll get those stains out anyway so why fuss about it.
ne build fires and watch the stars, catch fireflies and invent new smores. We swing on swings and rest on neatly made beds that seem to stay that way when it's extra hot at night. We eat fresh veggies and invest in more paper plates than I'd like to admit to. We live in an offbeat way from our routine driven school days and I think I like the variety best of all.
It's precious to be in this place in life, I'm aware of the quickly passing time.
I'll hold on to this summer as I know I'll hold on to the next. Thankful for the moments, the memories, the pouring of heart into heart knowing some will fade over the years and some will last a lifetime.
With Summer at full tilt I find myself gently summoned to begin thinking about school in the fall. Okay, so if it weren't for NY State law REQUIRING me to have it all together by August believe me, I'd be sitting by the pool in the back yard drinking lemonade while my cuties splashed about.
But in all honesty I thoroughly enjoy thumbing through homeschool catalogs and websites looking for the best curriculum to suit each individual learning style. There is little as exciting as the hope of sparking a love of learning in my children.
Inspiration. What a gift to be given the task of inspiring young minds! I feel overly blessed to be called to this mothering thing. This home teaching life. This daily mind and heart influence. It's as beautiful as it is daunting. It's easy to feel ill-equipped with such a full plate. And easier still to glance over at another's plate to see it more full AND more organized! My husband recently gave me some sound advice after my expressing my failures and disadvantages as a homeschooling mom. He said, "Em, when I talk to another lineman I realize I'm not the best lineman. And when I talk to another mechanic, I realize I'm not the best mechanic. The point isn't you being the best, the point is that you continue on the path God's placed before you with a passion."
The joy of cultivating the minds of my children is found when I focus on the unique ways God's furnished my heart and apply them to spur on the next generation. In this I'm using what was once called my disadvantage as the key to unlock their potential. Often times others glean the most where we lack the biggest. Maybe partly because our efforts are doubled in striving for greatness or possibly because we show true humility in our weaknesses that makes us shine.
In either case inspiration is born in the hearts of those who see our passion for living. When we share our excitement over a good book, a delicious recipe, a favorite hiking trail or a soul quenching soundtrack we trigger a chord in others to find where their heart hunger lies. We release the okay to be enthusiastic about something, to stand up for an injustice, to appreciate the creativity of nature and to look for the sweet aroma of God's love. We inspire simply by being inspired ourselves!
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more, learn more and become more, you are a leader."
-John Quincy Adams
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11