We relish the summer at our house. We lean into the rhythm of the heat which means early morning trips to the park, afternoons at the pool or the library and evenings walking the neighborhood. We read, we work in the garden, we meet up with friends, we move intentionally slow.
Don’t get me wrong, we are not a “work hard, play hard” kind of family. We maintain a balance year round that does not ask us to worship at the altar of “busy.” We decidedly try NOT to be busy. However, we live in the world and we have passions and interests that we individually and collectively pursue and we try to show up and support one another, so summer does provide a rhythm that leans itself towards rest.
In the Christian tradition (and others as well) the rhythm of rest is holy. That’s what sabbath means, holy rest. It is a way of trusting in God, letting all creating things rest so that rejuvenation can happen. Here are a five practices we use to create an intentionally slow summer:
Stay at Home Days
We have designated days where we stay home all day. These are days where “I’m bored” is met with “what a wonderful opportunity to be creative.” Don’t worry, the second “I’m bored” earns you a chore which means we always opt for creativity! Art supplies and found items are up for grabs, you can hang the hammock between the trees and read. We don’t do screens on these days but we DO do 80’s pop dance mix on our music streaming stations. The point is to lounge, to read, to make, to play. We join our kids and don’t make these days for tackling to do lists or cleaning. We join them because our adult souls need play and because we teach by modeling.
Grab the sunscreen and the bug repellent and plenty of water! We love creating outdoor days. Often early in the morning we will pack the sandwiches and water and tennis shoes and find a trail to hike or a park to explore. In Texas the summer can be HOT so we plan these adventures for early Saturday morning. Is it hard to wake up? Yes! Is it totally worth it submerge yourself in God’s creation before it’s brain melting hot? YES!
One of the resources we utilize to plan our adventures in the All Trails App. It shows you trails near you, rates them based on challenge level, shares features and ratings. You can also save trails so you don’t forget what’s near you and plan out trips.
As any pastor will tell you, summer is a time when people travel and allow their worship attendance to shift to a less reliable pattern. But for our family part of our commitment to slow down is to make it to weekly worship together. To sit in the presence of God, to connect with our community, to pack lunches and invite church friends to the park after worship. It is all part of our spiritual discipline to be intentional with our time together. Also, some of the best sermon series your pastor preaches happen in the summer and they delight in seeing you and your family making worship a priority.
Public Library Trips
We love to read at our house, we sign up for all the summer reading challenges offered in our area. But if you buy books (even used) it can get pricey when the people in your house plow through books faster than a bag of chips! So we utilize our public library. During the school year we really take advantage of checking out audiobooks we can listen to while driving or at bedtime but in the summer we love grabbing a reusable tote and heading to the public library. We love to pick a section we normally wouldn’t choose and browse for books that are outside our comfort zone! Books about bats? Sure, why not! Normally obsessed with Pinkalicious? Instead we check out the Fancy Nancy books! We also use this time to ask our librarian questions like “We love the Dragon Masters series, what would you recommend if we read all of those books?” And our public library has some amazing summer programs–Critterman brings all sorts of animals for the kids to see, there are author visits, writing workshops for kids and themed family activity nights. And it’s all free!
The side affect of choosing to go to the library in the summer is that everyone in the house gets excited about reading!
Summer is also a season where our friends lives slow down and we fully take advantage of building connection and making memories. We meet at the pool, invite people to grill out, meet up at the local burger place with a playground. We connect and we model friendship to our kids and make their friendships a priority. We let bedtimes slip by as the kids run around in the twilight and the grown ups laugh and swap stories of work and parenthood and life. It is delicious and precious and sacred.
What are some of the ways that you choose slow and intentional practices in the summer?
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