What I Learned in July

Gratitude Day 311

Wed., July 31, 2019

Luke 21:30 – When their leaves appear, you know that summer is near.

It seems like a couple days ago, it was July 4th. But here it is … the end of the month of July. And here are a few thoughts about what I’ve learned this last month.

Make Time for Fun in the Summer

I’m not always very good with leisure. Or, I don’t build into my life the right kind of restful and relaxing leisure. In July, I wanted to be more intentional about spending time doing things that refresh my soul.

Last summer, we bought two kayaks. And this summer, we are using them! No, not every day. But almost weekly. Last weekend, Rick wanted to go fishing. This just isn’t my thing. So, I took along a kayak and exercised in my own way while he tried to catch us supper. Instead, we stopped for a bite to eat on the way home.

When I think of Summer, I think of the County Fair

Truly, for as long as I can remember, July has always been county fair month. Growing up, my siblings and I exhibited animals and other projects at our local fair. This summer, Hubby Rick and I watched our grandson Waylan show beef cattle at his fair. Last week, I spent time with my nephew at his county fair. This is also the fair where his friend Grant made a wonderful donation to a classmate who is going through brain cancer.

I am so glad that I was able to participate in 4-H, FFA and other youth organizations. Why? Because I learned so many valuable lessons. The statistics are real. Kids who participate in 4-H and FFA are more likely to give back to their local communities as adults. They learn parliamentary procedure and how to run a meeting. They develop leadership skills early on. They learn responsibility, teamwork and how to lose gracefully.

I know that 4-H and FFA may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But I will say this. The lessons and friendships I developed through these groups last a lifetime.

While at the county fair where I exhibited as a youth, I ran into two high school friends, Pam and Rita. We sat for an hour at a picnic table and just visited. Growing up, our families all attended the same church. Rita and I also spent lots of time together in 4-H. Now, she was at the fair to watch her niece show animals, just as I was there to watch my nephew.

If we want our kids and grandkids to develop into adults that contribute to our communities and understand the importance of giving to others, we need to help them develop these values now. Encourage them to become involved in organizations that will foster these lifelong skills.

Make Time for Relationships

As fun as it was to visit with Pam and Rita, I also spent time with some college friends as well. It was just a couple hours. But every time I meet up with these ladies, I feel like no time as passed. It’s easy and fun to catch up with each other’s lives. We laugh, we share and sometimes, we get onto topics that are hard to explore.

It’s difficult to get a group of friends together these days. So, when we can get even just a few, it’s a great day. Think of someone who you haven’t had contact with for a while and make a date to do something fun together. I know you won’t regret it.

Fun Summer Book

If you are looking for a lovely novel to read this summer while sitting on your porch or in a swing or while on vacation, consider Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly. It is the story of four women during World War I. Three are Russian and one is an American. It’s an excellent historical fiction novel that gives a perspective of what happened in Russia when the Russian imperial family was removed from power and the Bolshevik’s come to power. I love to listen to books on tape while in my car. This one held my attention and sometimes, I was sad to reach my destination versus continuing the book.

Let’s Not Wish Away these Last Wonderful Days of Summer

I know it will soon be time to start thinking and planning for fall. But let’s not become so focused on what’s to come that we fail to enjoy the here and now. Every single day is a gift. Enjoy every last day of summer. Make time to sit by a fire, kayak and watch the sun go down, go for a walk where you can truly enjoy the flowers of the season and take in a local celebration. These days are special days. Let’s make the most of them!

Being able to love every day of this summer, I am grateful.

Almighty God – It’s sometimes so difficult to imagine how You continue to love us, even when we make it difficult to be loved. Yet, you never stop loving and caring for us. May we deeply desire to be true agents of love rather than hurt, disappointment and self-centeredness. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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