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May 31 – LivingRoom Lesson for YOUTH

Summertime, and the Livin’ Is … Well, Different

Greetings, friends!

This is our last LivingRoom Lesson before we take a little summer break. This week makes number 11! I never thought when we began this endeavor that we would still be meeting this way almost 3 months later. As Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Speaking of plans, I was thinking a lot about summer plans and how a lot of what we had planned for our family (and our church family) has been cancelled or postponed. In many ways, this summer isn’t shaping up to look like what I had planned at all and I haven’t been looking forward to it with the same anticipation and excitement as I usually would. Have you felt this way?

Feeling a little lackluster about the summer reminded me of being in 4th grade. Just before summer began, we were given the assignment to write about why we were looking forward to our summer vacation. (Inventive topic, right?) Well, I happened to be growing up on a dairy farm in South Georgia, and while many of my friends were looking forward to days sleeping in, sunning by the pool, and watching TV – my summer was going to look very different! My summer days would start by 5:00 a.m. and last until dark, and most all my time was spent working on my family’s farm – milking cows, feeding calves, cleaning cow lots, and countless other chores my parents could come up with. All in the miserable South Georgia heat and humidity! So, in a rare moment of rebellion, I wrote all about all of this in an essay titled “Why I Am NOT Looking Forward to My Summer Vacation.” I didn’t quite understand it at the time, but my teachers and my parents all thought it was hilarious! I was unamused.

Well, fast-forward to 30 years down the road, and I now look back on those summers with real fondness in my heart. All too soon, I would move on to college and adulthood and I would find myself feeling quite nostalgic for those farm summers. As an adult with children of my own, I can now see how being a part of a farm family was an invaluable part of my growing up – and oh, the stories I get to tell! In fact, I’ve said many times since that I would give anything to have my girls experience even just one summer like that. (Our family farm was sold about 12 years ago.)

So … why am I telling you all about this? Well, at the time, all I could think about was all the negative parts of working on the farm in summer … the heat, the bugs, and the yuck. Now, all I can think about are the family times, the memories, the fresh air, being able to earn my own money, and yes, the hard work. So, looking ahead to this summer that isn’t going to look the way I planned (or like I’d wanted), I wonder what I’ll be looking back on a few years down the road and remembering fondly? What will you remember about this time? 

I’ll tell you about a recent discovery of ours – we enjoy lake life and kayaking! With our city pools remaining closed, we’ve had to get creative. Abiella and Annalise have always wanted to visit Lake Peachtree and swim in the summer, but the pool always seemed simpler and more convenient. So, we always found reasons not to go to the lake. Now, we’ve already been twice just this week and found that our whole family loves it! We even purchased our own kayak!

Friends, as Christians, we are called to have peace, no matter our circumstances; and gratitude, no matter our disappointments. My prayer for all of us is that time will heal any disappointments we may have about this summer, and that simple joys and reasons to smile will give us moments of true thankfulness in the weeks ahead. Those will be the sweetest memories when we look back on this time.

Blessings to you all this summer – wherever it takes you! <3

– Karen

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