The way we live our days will be, after all, the way we live our life.

Concerning the Times and the Seasons–Summer 2020

Three Things I Learned this Summer

Sometime back in March, it seems all our learning curves took a drastic turn toward the vertical. Some of us are learning about resiliency, developing strategies for managing anxiety, or maybe discovering new ways to enjoy our families. At times, maybe we feel like the guy who was told on his first night in a monastery, “Here’s your room. If you need anything, be sure to tell us. We’ll teach you how to get along without it.”

With or without COVID-19, summer is a perfect season for self-discovery, and even in the midst of our busy days, it’s important to slow down and reflect on all that’s happening around us. As author Jan Johnson has so wisely said, “It’s not the experience that brings transformation. It’s our reflection on our experience.”

Here’s a quick list of three things I’ve been reflecting on.

1. Fun is actually a lot of work–and totally worth it.

In spite of all the gatherings that have been cancelled this summer, somehow things have been hopping here on my country hill. Our picnic table has welcomed a visit from some newly weds, and we’ve feasted on everything from burgers and dogs to lobster. The worn table was pretty active, too, during a visit from our son and his family in which most days there were nine Morins in residence here for meals, trips to the beach, and a couple of lake days.

It was a soul-gift to have our kids all together, grandkids along for the fun, and an extended time of togetherness. It was also a lot of work keeping up with food prep, clean up, and laundry. Just an observation: one trip to the beach reliably produces at least one load of laundry.

Was it worth it? Absolutely? The work of home is a matter of being willing to welcome others into “our place.”  Gathered around the welcome of a prepared meal, no matter how simple, the table is a symbol of our hospitable heart.  And is it not God’s way to spread a feast before His people?  We meet around a table and the feast preaches the gospel to our hungry and thirsty heart.

2. Outside church is a summer miracle, but I really miss Sunday School.

Eleven weeks of sunny (or at least dry and reasonably warm) Sundays in a row have enabled us to gather in lawn chairs, to sing hymns to the whole neighborhood, and to be the church gathered, “the fullness of him who fills all in all,” with glorious Ephesians 1 gusto.

My calling is a support role, a faithful truth-giving so that a growing relationship with God will be based upon knowledge of his ways.
It’s been almost six months since my rowdy little 4’s and 5’s (who are fast becoming 5’s and 6’s!) gathered in these blue chairs. I miss the chaos and the chatter over goldfish crackers. I even miss cutting out the blasted flannelgraph figures.
What is your church doing about Christian education in these days of socially distant church?

3. One word can make all the difference in my day.

Along with my morning Bible time, I’ve added a little book by Marilyn McEntyre. Word by Word: A Daily Spiritual Practice challenges me to spend a few minutes pondering just one word for an entire week:  Listen. Receive. Enjoy. Watch. Accept.  Each word becomes a little grace fountain as I dwell on it–and in it.  Even a word like “resist,” negative on the surface, invites me to embrace good habits, to stand strong against temptation, and to lean into truth.

What spiritual practices are you leaning into in this season? 
Do you find that different seasons of the year invite you into different habits of holiness?

What’s something you’ve learned this summer?

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47 thoughts on “Concerning the Times and the Seasons–Summer 2020”

  1. So happy to hear that you’ve been able to enjoy somewhat of a “normal” summer with all that’s going on. Yes, I’ve found these months to be more reflective for me in many ways. I do miss meeting together for church, and I’m not sure when ours will open. Online will have to do for now!
    Blessings, Michele!

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  2. Like you, I have found that to best enjoy these summer days has also meant much hard work. But it has so been worth every effort! To see my family laugh and enjoy one another has filled my heart with such joy. May we not grow weary in these hard seasons and endure.

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  3. I loved hearing how your summer went and so thankful you are finding joy in the midst of all. We are, too. I have been thinking how precious it has been to lay aside the busyness and spend so much time together with the ones I love most. I don’t want certain things to ever go back to “normal” because those things needed to change. I think it is just wonderful that your church is singing outside and who knows who is hearing that who needs to – (whew, my grammar needs help on that one!) Great to catch up with you today, Michele!

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  4. It is surprising what I have learned during these times in our world. When you take a step back and examine it, most of it can be good things coming out of soemthing not so great.

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  5. Michelle,
    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words!! I enjoyed this post because I can relate to what you have said here…I have enjoyed having our oldest son stay with us for a few months and now he comes every day for Dinner , ensuring us a sit down dinner daily…. I have enjoyed watching many Masses online including those at our former priests new parishes which I would not have been able to take part in before. And I choose a Word of the Month rather than one for the year like I sued to!!
    Thanks for sharing!!
    Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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  6. Hello,

    The summer has flown by, even with all the things being cancelled. The picnics sound nice, yummy food and great times with the family. Take care, enjoy your day!

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  7. We’ve just come off a busy 9 days of having family here, so the extra work of having people here is still fresh! But, as you said, so worth it. Our hearts are full with fellowship and memories.

    Word by Word sounds like a good resource. I like to combine reading larger swaths with a deeper focus on one verse or truth or thought.

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  8. We’ve been pretty busy here, too, despite the pandemic. I have my 3 yr old granddaughter quite a bit and I love it! We are definitely bonding. And, of course, our house is not empty with 6 adults living here, 2 inside cats and 3 outside dogs. Whew! I miss getting together with other family and church, but God is faithful to give fellowship online, too. I loved reading about your summer, Michele! I’ve been doing a lot more crocheting and a little bit of painting. There really is no end to all that I can do, even being stuck at home. 🙂 Blessings to you, Michele! xo

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  9. I had to smile as I read your first love of the summer, Michele. So true! Having fun is often hard work and completely worth it! Glad you had fun with your family and I have to admit I am drooling at the thought of fresh Maine lobst-ah!

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  10. Because I’m a lover of words, that book by Marilyn McEntyre sounds enticing! Another one for the list–will be prioritizing and ordering again soon. Hope you can rest, Michele, before the canning season begins! (Or has it already begun up there?) Here’s an idea: plan next summer’s reunion DURING the canning season–lots of hands to help–like the old husking bees!

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  11. Yep, fun has definitely been hard work this summer but so totally worth it. Glad you could spend time with family and have some kind of normality.

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  12. Michele, I love how you describe our learning curves as “taking a drastic turn for the vertical” during this strangest of all unexpected seasons. And what a blessing for you to be able to experience all that family love during the last few months. We’ve had a bit of it here too, and now we are getting used to new rhythms as a household of three. Interestingly, I find that I’m rather enjoying it. Probably because my college freshman is fully embracing the whole college experience and seems to adjusting well. So many answered prayers, and I am thankful.

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    1. That younger daughter is blessed to have you all to herself for a time. I really enjoyed the days with my youngest son, too. Isn’t it amazing how family dynamics shift as the years progress. It’s our challenge to find the good God has offered within each season.

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  13. I’m glad you and your church family and friends are making the most of those warm summer days in Maine, Michele. I know those are going to come to an end soon! I also can relate to how you’re missing the actual church gatherings each week, like Sunday School during this pandemic. I bet those precious children miss you too! Thanks for giving us a peek into the fun and fellowship you’ve been enjoying!

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  14. Michele,
    Like the guy in the monastery, I think we are all learning to live without a lot of things we thought were “necessary.” A couple of the blessings of this pandemic have been: I’ve enjoyed my garden tremendously. It’s like the perennials were competing with each other to see who could put on the most gorgeous display of color. I’ve enjoyed having my hubby working from home. Eating lunch together and taking midday walk breaks has been an unexpected blessing. So glad that folks have been able to find their way to your door!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  15. I guess I am very fortunate that the only thing covid did to my ‘lifestyle’ is keep me from grocery shopping for several weeks and have Hubby home for a few weeks. I did learn to pray for those who had great changes to deal with.

    I’m so excited to see you at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!! Thanks for linking.

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  16. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

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