*Inhale* …that summer breeze though!!! There are so many reasons why the Grove girls LOVE Summer. To be fair, we love something about each season. That’s the beauty of New England — four seasons! Each one brings a unique treasure. One of the sweetest seasons is a New England Summer!Usually the summers are so jam packed for Kendra & I (and our husbands) that there isn’t that much time to even enjoy the season. This year I have been extremely intentional in getting myself outside! Plus it helped that one of our normal summer work/ministry trips were rescheduled until Spring. For the first time in about ten years I am not traveling outside the state during the month of August! It feels weird but I’m very grateful to have a year where I can be home for this summery month and go to the beach, eat outside, and do outdoor activities and such. Kendra, however, does have a trip this month and is currently traveling. Right now she is on a missions trip to Guatemala to work with the Kitchen of Love, a nonprofit that takes care of the surrounding community by providing food and other needs.
Even without me traveling this month it has still been pretty much non stop. Yet, I’ve made sure that any time I can take my laptop, phone, or notebook to the beach — I can just work there!! It’s amazing these days how much work I can get done on my iPhone. So, I’ll pack a lunch and grab my blankets and head to the beach for some sun. Some of you know I also live with chronic illness (autoimmune related). The sun is one of the best things for me and is very healing. My husband is always saying “why don’t you lay out at the beach more?” And so this year I made sure to do just that! It’s great that I can make my health a priority and also feel productive down by the ocean. We even had two of our students ask my husband to baptize them down at the beach!
We are blessed to live right on the ocean, I can walk if I wanted. Even those days off where my husband and I can just walk and talk along the shoreline is so restorative for me. I’ve talked about my feelings about the beach before. There are a lot of other ways I have been attempting to enjoy the summer season as well. I’ve been going out on my deck and reading / working. I’ve been checking out all the different local farmers markets and farm stands. Even here in my urban city we have a summer farmers market! We also have a lovely community garden. The towns surrounding us are more suburban and have delightful farmers markets as well. Even just eating the summer foods has been fabulous! I’ve been getting corn on the cob, burgers, pomegranates, and watermelon.
I know a lot of you do the hiking / camping thing during the summer. And may I just say… the Lord bless you in that. The closest I get is bringing our students to summer camp. If you’re a more frequent 47 Grove reader you may know my husband and I are youth pastors, as are Kendra and Sterling! We take our students to an amazing “away” camp every summer that is truly an experience. I believe we run the best camp in New England! Clark, Kendra, Sterling and I spend about two weeks there helping to run this camp serving on the executive team. We’ve poured out many years of our lives going to these camps and making them what they are today. It’s a very proud moment when we get to bring our own students to a camp that was so life transforming for us as teenagers.
So, real camping is OUT for me. I can do those two weeks in New Hampshire – it’s “great” – and then I’m VERY done. I do it for the kids! I’m all set to spend the rest of my summer with beach walks and froyo. Speaking of froyo, the downtown area closest to my house is actually the next town over right on the ocean. Recently Clark and I went on a fabulous date to this new roof top restaurant there and a froyo place right across the street for dessert! The views at this place are unreal. It’s crazy to me that’s where I live!! It looks like a place people go on vacation!!
Heaven! I’m in heaven! Well, maybe not actual heaven but what a reprieve. Summer dates are the BEST! Come on people, admit it! Even if it’s a day date… there’s nothing like romance in the summer!
Another amazing summer afternoon/evening for me was last weekend when we went over to our friend’s house for summer BBQ, cornhole, and quality time! This family is very much like family to us so it was amazing to connect again and love on each other. They had just bought a new house as well so Clark and I went over as well as their son & daughter-in-law who were students in our youth group years ago – now wonderful friends! It was such a great feeling to just lounge, talk, and be open and real. Plus eat REALLY well! You may have seen a photo of this day I posted to our instagram…
One of my favorite new family traditions is our annual “end of the summer” lobstah fest! We cook up some lobsters and eat outdoors together on my parent’s patio and then have a firepit. This year we also adding Whale Watching to our lobstah-fest day! Thank you Groupon, LOL! We have incredibly whale watching tours here in New England… we go to a place in Gloucester that is rated top 5 in the nation! That’s coming up towards the end of the month and I’m sure we’ll post some photos to our instagram. It’s always such a nice feeling to get together just the six of us in our immediate family and sort of “debrief” from everything that we experienced during the summer. Plus spend some quality time together before our fall crazy schedules kick in.
The summer for us represents character building, learning, and traveling. We do serious kingdom work. Hard work. This particular summer I’ve also experienced moments that also fill me up, favorite beach memories, and some restful Monday’s – believe it or not. Each afternoon brings hope for me to get outside and experience the beauty of the ocean and restorative vibes to my soul. Thank you Lord! The ocean was God’s idea after all.
I hope each of you are finding something about this summer to glean from. Summer only comes around once a year. Don’t miss this one, they come and go to fast while we are looking down at our phones and schedules. Seek Jesus. Rest in His creation. Spend quality time with loved ones. What is better? For everything there is a season.
“And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Mark 6:31