August 18, 2014

Goodbye Summer... Part I

This summer can be best defined in one word. Intentional. So full of so many beautiful moments. I know God is always at work, but wow, those seasons where he lets you see the behind the curtain and get a glimpse at his handiwork... yeah... those moments. Where we get to see what something could be. That was this summer. There's no way to cover the immensity of the summer in one blog, so we'll do so in several. As the girls go back to school tomorrow, I am reflecting on my time with them so we'll start there. 

I love that intention can describe our summer, because it truly is one of the things God has been revealing to me this year. I am not very good at intentional living. I let things pass by, I get caught up in the now. I struggle for enough time in the day. It seems like there never is enough and yet God says there is more than enough to accomplish all that he Has set before us.

I struggle for quality time with my kids- being a working mom, when I am home there is a never ending mountain of clothes to be washed, meals to be prepared, tidying to be done.

Recently I have come to this conclusion that life, not lived intentional, will just happen. This is not a new discovery. The idea that "life will pass you by" is not new. But for me, this year, within my family this was a pretty big revelation. In order to have the life you want to have, you must make a series of daily intentional decisions. The conclusion is really just the beginning. The beginning of a new journey towards intentional living to achieve the life God has called us to. He wants more than just passive living.

One family experience that really made me smile recently, involved a quincinera. Here in the DR a Quincinera is like a sweet 16, but when your daughter turns 15. It's a big deal... Huge! Typically there is a big party, it's catered and you have your closest gal and guy pals as your quincinera party (think wedding party). They are in full party attire. There's a photographer, a cake, and typically the sweet birthday girl is in a white dress, yes like a wedding dress.  This summer our niece turned 15, and there wasn't a party, no guys and gals in matching outfits walking down an aisle to introduce her. There was no big cake, no fancy venue, no bright lights, and head splittingly loud music. But what there was, was magical.

Her parents and most of Alan's family had been all saving for awhile and the most of the family were able to take a special overnight trip to the beach at a resort to celebrate Lisbeth entering her 15th year of life. Lisbeth is a beautiful, vibrant, humble, 15 year old who thinks of others before herself and who even gave up several days a week of her summer break to come hang out with my girls while we were able to continue our mission work with GO.

Spending this one night with our family celebrating Lisbeth was beautiful. It reminded me of what is important. Time. Family. Love. Intentional living. Memories in the making. So much better than "stuff!"

John 13:35 says "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” There is no greater place to start loving one another well than by those very closest to us in our own families. 

This summer has been a beautiful time of intentional living. Intentional balancing. Living moments slow. Breathing in Jesus and in our best broken attempts, exhaling love.

Some of our favorite family/ministry memories this summer-

Sunday lunch dates with these 3 at our favorite "cupcake" place 

Sharing the magic and beauty of a place like the Hole with the girls

So much curiosity, wonder from these two

Participating in children's ministry in La Mosca with South Hills Team

One of our many summer picnics, chasing butterflies, running in the grass barefoot, and discovering new things about God's Creation.

Celebrating 4th of July (on the 5th!) with a BBQ/picnic!

Sweet friends and Sweet Frog!

beatin' the heat in the pool

And now as summer comes to a close, in rushes a new season... New beginnings, fresh start. School is upon us. Activities begin to fill our calendar... And the need for intentional living and intentional balancing has never been more clear.

How was your summer? We'd love to hear!

Next up, Part II: Bateys, South Hills and a summer of Redeeming, Renewing, and Restoring!

PS- Can you believe these two are off to PK-4 already?!

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