10 Things I Learned in Summer '21
Rewind > Reflect > Learn > Grow
I'm gonna need everyone to stand to their feet and help me out...
Give me an "F"...
What does that spell?!! YES, finally! FALL is upon us!
As you can tell, I get all sorts of excited for this season. I happen to think the best time of the year (weather wise) is the last week of September and the first two weeks of October. Pay attention to those weeks this year and see if you agree. Maybe it's because in Texas and Oklahoma, fall is so short. It seems to go from sweltering heat to frigid temps in an instant.
If blog posts are absent those three weeks, you know I was outside and couldn't bring myself to come in.
Anyway, this practice of reflecting helps us practice the spiritual discipline of recognizing seasons in our own lives, even though they rarely align to the calendar patterns.
In reflecting on the change in our lives, I believe we can learn to embrace each season for what it offers and, in doing so, draw us into a place of gratitude and thus closer to God.
His Word says we enter His gates with thanksgiving. It's hard to experience His presence and see God in our midst if we're not intentional to seek gratitude.
So that's what this is all about - being grateful for the big and the small things, the good and the hard things, alike.
Thus, I'm excited to continue sharing my reflection with all of you. Without further ado, here's ten things (not all the things) but ten things I've learned this last season.
1. Good friends show up.
You know you have a good friend when they show up. Showing up can come in many different forms - a face-to-face visit, a phone call or text, a Post Mates smoothie delivery, a walk, and many behind-the-scenes prayers being prayed.
Thankful for the people God has placed in my life who continually show up for me and show me new depths of His love and care for me.
Let's be that person who shows up for people. Unexpected kindness comes in many forms. Be unexpectedly kind to someone today.
2. Find your cake.
I can't say I learned this but I did confirm this... Chantilly cake from Whole Foods is "my" cake. It's the cake that's perfect for every occasion.
The berries and the cream cheese frosting and the moist layers of cake...mmm. It's simple and light and classy, everything I like. Yeah, you need to try it. I think it might become your cake, too.
3. ...but I will.
Waking up one morning, I had a Psalm on my heart from the day before. It starts out as,
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! - Psalms 103:1
You know those times when circumstances aren't going as you expected? That was me this particular morning. My first thought was "Lord, I don't feel like blessing Your name today..." But before I spun into complaints, I said, "...but I will because I know if I knew everything You know, I'd ask for exactly what You've given me."
I don't know what is coming this Fall for you or for me, but I pray we will choose to bless the Lord with all that is within us no matter what comes - even if we have to give our soul a pep talk like David did in this Psalm or as Brandon sings in this song:
Come on, my soul Oh, don't you get shy on me Lift up your song 'Cause you've got a lion inside of those lungs Get up and praise the Lord... And I know it's not much But I've nothing else fit for a King Except for a heart singing hallelujah Hallelujah - Brandon Lake, Gratitude
4. You're never too old for a day at the park.
...Or a water balloon / summer snowball fight! Grab some silly sunglasses from the bargain store, a cooler of snowballs from the snow cone stand, a bucket of water balloons and your favorite people and get outside!
P.S. If soaking your nephew with a water balloon is wrong, I don't want to be right...
5. God is faithful.
Although I didn't "learn" this truth this summer, I saw it again and again and again. God's faithfulness was the rhythm of my summer.
It gives me so much hope to remember God only writes beautiful, redemptive stories. It's not just His specialty. It's the only kind He writes. So, we can be sure when we are walking with Him - no matter what we see or feel today - that the story He's writing for our lives is beautiful and redemptive and showcases His everlasting faithfulness.
What has been the rhythm of your summer? What beat are you moving to?
6. There are no Ubers along 30A.
THERE ARE NO UBERS ALONG 30A.
If you plan to visit any of the Florida beaches along 30A, just drive yourself there. We knew rental cars were nonexistent from the airport but assumed we'd just Uber when needed.
Nope. None. Nada.
7. Edible straws taste like ...Tums?
I'm convinced Panera changed the chicken in their Napa Almond Chicken Salad recipe. Why? Just whyyyy? In my mourning, I had to find a new go-to. Tropical Smoothie Cafe became just that.
One of their summer smoothies came with an edible straw. It was advertised as lime and so naturally I was excited to do my best Uncle Eddie impression with "Tastes like liiiiiiiiiiime," but turns out, edible straws taste more like ...Tums??
Sorry Uncle Eddie, maybe next time...
8. Intentional conversation - we need more of it.
Sit down and have a real conversation with the person next to you - at work, at church, and wherever you may find yourself. Go ahead and ask a few questions. Let's be intentional to learn something new about someone.
It's far too easy to be caught up in our own lives.
It's much harder to be present and intentional and focused on those around us.
What if those five minutes shared together is something they hold onto the next day and the next? What if it inspires them?
Connection, it's a powerful thing. Let's create more of that.
9. Watermelon can be sliced in 3 minutes!
Seriously. I'm a big fan of watermelon so I consider this a quality life hack. Don't just take my word for it - check it out for yourself!
It's been so fun hearing from some of you in how you have tried this! Keep 'em coming!
10. When I grow up, I want to be ...a dolphin trainer!
You know those moments when you think, "What am I doing with my life?," well, this was not one of them.
But after spending a morning at Destin's Gulfarium, I couldn't help but think if I had seen this show as a kid, 7-year-old Candace would have been set on becoming a dolphin trainer.
They were having so much fun. Spending your days playing volleyball and doing tricks with rescued dolphins...not a bad gig.
Looking Ahead - One to Grow On
Looking back helps us gain perspective as we look forward. Looking ahead, y'all already know...
I'm sooooooo excited for Fall! All of it.
Cooler temps, yes.
Long-sleeved t-shirts, yes.
Time outside with good friends, yes.
But mostly, I'm entering this next season prayerful and expecting to see God move. It's gonna be good. I hope and pray the same for you, friend.
That thing that's on your heart... Well, I believe if it's on your heart, it's on God's, too. Let's talk to Him about it and let's ask God to align our hearts and our minds with Him and what He is doing so we can experience more and more of Him.
Now, it's your turn. What have you learned through this last season?
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Let's find strength knowing we do not endure these seasons alone. Let's find joy knowing there is purpose for each season we walk. Let's find peace in reflecting on the lessons learned and accepting these circumstances, much like seasons, as temporary. Let's find rest as we cling to the eternal.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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