Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Relishing Summer

When we found some local businesses with little cards on their counters
 for free games of bowling, the kids all wanted to go.

"Mom, why does summer go so fast and the school days so slow?"
asked my very observant one.

Isn't that the way it always is?
As much fun as we've had since January, and all the things we've been able to do,
to accomplish, to experience, it was a bit of a blur.
I'm trying to be more intentional about our lovely summer days this year.
Taking more time to unplug and just spend slow time
focused on each other.
Relishing the moments and enjoying each other's company.

I recently read a friend's conversation on social media about
 learning how to slow down.
Someone made this poignant statement,
"Saying no to others is a yes to my family."

Even Jesus promoted this idea of taking time to relish and rest.

"He {Jesus} said unto them {his inner circle of disciples},
'Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place,
and rest a while.'
for there were many coming and going, and they {the disciples}
had no leisure so much as to eat."
~Mark 6:31

Ever blasted through your day and realized you missed lunchtime?
I'm remembering a camp director in my not-so-distant past
who admonished us camp counselors to be intentional about resting
on the weekends.
"Come apart, before you come a part."

When it did ever become Biblical to "burn the candle at both ends?"
To "burn yourself into the ground" for Jesus?
To be so frenetically busy that you feel spiritually and emotionally exhausted?
I can't find anywhere in scripture where that idea is taught.
We're intentionally savoring the moments this summer,
because the fall and schooling is coming!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Free Day!

As a "Mom-of-Many" I'm always on the lookout for
fun opportunities for my children that are not going 
to break the bank!!
Recently, we found a whole day of fun activities that helped us beat the heat
as well as cost us nothing!!!

Maybe in your area, your local schools or libraries offer free lunches
to children of all ages during the summer months.
We have several facilities here in town that do that,
so we got out of the kitchen and helped ourselves to a free lunch.

On this day, our local slurpee joint was offering free slurpees all day,
so we stopped off there for dessert after lunch!

A couple hours later, we drove over to our amazing local library where
they offer incredible free educational programs every Tuesday afternoon 
during the months of June and July!
We have attended so many of these through the years
 and they are always a pleasure!
On this particular day, our local zoo brought a slew of small animals
 for the children to see and learn about!! 
 Aryn even got picked to go up front and have a hands-on
experience with a giant lizard!

After the library presentation, we hit a different slurpee store for free slurpee #2 with a friend!

Not to be left-out, the grown-ups had a free date night to our favorite
dinner spot because of a gift card my husband had received on Father's Day!!

Such a lovely, relaxing summer day!!
With a little planning, you can hunt down some budget-friendly
ways to get your family off the summer couch too!!!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

New York City Mission Trip 2017 {The Final Chapter}

Some closing thoughts on our final morning in New York City......

Last "goodbyes" until we meet again!
"Parting is such sweet sorrow!"

One last group photo with my roomies for the week!!
{Just for clarification: this is referring to the picture below!}

One last bite of New York Style (amazing!) pizza for lunch.

One least "Team Mom" shot on the very last row of our very last flight!

Thank you, New York City, for your generous hospitality of fitting
our whole group in to your already crowded spaces.
You very rarely complained and unfolded your arms to warmly embrace us!
I'll never forget the incredible diversity
 of your people, languages, food, and cultures.
I'll be praying that the "seeds" we planted this summer will take root
and draw "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse, the homeless, the tempest-tossed"
to the Light of World.....Jesus.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

New York City Mission Trip 2017 {Part 5}

On our final day in New York City, we raced through Manhattan
to see as much as we could see!
Our fearless leader literally dragged us from site to site,
and we had a blast!!
I think my step reader recorded over 7 miles or 17,000+ steps of walking!
That doesn't include the ferry ride to Staten Island and the train rides
to and from our hotel.
Such a wonderful day, and one that we will never forget!!

This was my team.
Our entire group was split up into teams with a teen boy as the "leader."
He was responsible for making sure we were all still together 
and that no one was left behind!!

One our ferry ride back to Manhattan from Staten Island,
we noticed this armed Coast Guard boat trailing us.
There was one on the other side of us too,
and as we traveled further along we realized that they were
escorting us the entire way. 
We never found out why (because they didn't do that on the way over!),
but it was really cool!!

Manhattan skyline with the Freedom Tower to the left.

World Trade Center Transportation Hub with the One World Trade Center in the background.

St. Paul's Chapel across the street from the 9/11 Memorial site
 where first responders met as a central command post on that fateful day.

We only ran by Little Italy on our way to Chinatown.

This magnificent balloon sits on the spot the giant Christmas Tree sits
every year in Rockefeller Center.

The Lego Store

Snapped as we emerged from the subway at the corner of Penn Station

Taco salad for dinner in NYC!!


 Times Square
Talk about sensory overload!!

The M & M story where we literally had 10 minutes to grab a souvenir and jump
in the checkout line before we had to leave. 

Team Mom exhausted on the train ride back!