Summer Reminders

We need to stop looking too much into the future! This is not the time to wish our lives away.

Summer is not over! Don’t wish it away either. I believe that many of us have been looking too much towards the fall – whether that’s because of school uncertainty, election issues, or another upcoming shutdown, but we need to stop. We need to stop looking too much into the future! This is not the time to wish our lives away. In Wisconsin, we spent several months in a shutdown and now, instead of enjoying these warm months with our families, we are spending our days worrying about the future – a future that we have absolutely no control over. So, here are a few summertime reminders, because after all we have several weeks to enjoy this glorious weather!

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com
  1. Faith. It’s time to make extra time for God. Let’s dust off those devotional books, put aside some quiet moments for prayer, and place our trust back in God. Bask in the sunshine, enjoy the warmth, and give the control back to God. This isn’t easy, but true freedom.
  2. Family. Family time should be a priority, but sometimes we place this on the back-burner. Yes, we need to earn a living. Yes, we need to provide support to our community. But if our family isn’t coming first, then we are not making progress – we are only treading water with nowhere to swim. Stop treading and start living. It’s okay to stay home all day, clean bedrooms, read books, bake cookies, or watch an old movie with the family. These are the important moments. The down-days will ultimately bring us more joy than the days we spend running around trying to fulfill commitments and barely recognize that our children only want time with us, not big events, but big hugs instead.
  3. It’s Too Short. In the Midwest, summer is too short and winter is too long. Why are we wishing for time to speed up as we await announcements beyond our control? Stop worrying. Yes, that’s easier said than done. But it’s wasting time to dwell on the uncertainty. Thrive on the here and now. Don’t wish summer away, winter brings 9 long months of dark and cold.
  4. Commitments. If you can’t remember what you did last week or if the calendar fills too quickly beyond you’re control – stop! Limit the engagements. Life is not suppose to be a rat race. We tend to say “when things slow down”, but they won’t slow down without intention on our part. Many of us enjoyed the empty calendars, the slow days at home that were brought on by quarantine. There’s no reason our lives need to return back to an unending sea of engagements. Determine what is most important and eliminate the rest.
  5. Conserve. If anything, this time has not only taught me to trust more but that I need to conserve more. Maybe some of these recent events proved our over indulgence is quite unhealthy – whether that’s too many commitments, too many treats, too much shopping, or too much entertainment. I’d have to say that within just a few months, I have learned a lot and have also encountered my flaws. Let’s not fall back into bad habits of giving into our momentary desires. Time with our families is more important than hours on social media or shopping on Zulily. Yes, there’s a time and place for all of those things, but are we doing too many things in excess that should be more controlled?

Home Life: Bread and Butter

There’s nothing like fresh bread baking in the oven, butter from the local farm, and quality time with one’s family. It may sound cliche, but these are the small things that bring a family together. It can almost be guaranteed that if you bake a loaf of bread, little feet will soon come scurrying down the stairs asking what smells so good. This is family life – it brings everyone together without stress, anxiety, or expectations. What a simple, but memorable concept – sitting around a table enjoying homemade bread coated in fresh butter.

The sports may be canceled for the summer. The camps may be canceled for the summer. But your family is not canceled – it is here and ready. Your children are waiting for the simple things. They are ready to love, to grow, and to work together during a time when these qualities are not so easy to find in society. So, I have included one of my favorite homemade white bread recipes from Crazy for Crust. Take the time to bake as a family, enjoy food as a family, pray as a family, and love each other through the process.

The Importance of Family Time

Put your family as a priority and everything else will quickly fall into line.

As we reach summer, it is that time of year when we all need to take a step back and examine more than just our life, but the lives of those around us. The school supplies fill the store shelves, the emails are flood with clothing sales, the required school paperwork is due, and dates for fall activities must now be added to the calendar, but there is something even more important than all of this! We must covet and adjust our schedules to enjoy those last weeks of summer with those we love and devote our lives to our family.

Family dinners were always a huge part of my childhood. My brothers and I may have missed a few in high school, in exchange for our sports and after-school clubs, but looking back, I wish we hadn’t. At the time the sports, clubs, friends, and part-time jobs seemed important, but in the grander scheme of things, they were not. My mom always said, “Be kind to your brothers. Friends will come and go, but you will always have your siblings.” She was right. There is nothing greater than the bond of a family. There will always be moments of hardship and disagreement, but we cannot let those become the norm. Those times of suffering are natural to human life, but our focus should always remain in support of the family.

My husband and I strongly focus our attention on family time. This doesn’t mean we have to be together all the time, because this isn’t possible with a large family. We find time during the small moments: dinner, working together as a family while fixing the house or landscaping, or having meaningful conversations on the way to a sport practice. All of these make a difference. If we want to thrive and learn to bond as a family, we must put away the distractions – whether that’s homework, cell phones, or work papers. The distractions are different for every person, and should always take a back seat when it comes to family time.

For us, family time always includes Sundays. They are a God-given day of rest that we should all be thankful for and take advantage of them. Each Sunday may look a bit different, but overall, it is quality time spent with our children. Whether getting together with extended family for a game of soccer or baseball in the backyard, watching the Packers, taking naps after enjoying brunch, or reading a saint story before bed, these are the times the children will always remember. I have very fond memories of my Sundays as a child, and I hope to continue sharing the importance of this valuable time with my children.

This world is busy, but it up to the parents to find what keeps the family grounded. We know what our children need, and often it is spending time with the family to confirm love. It might be as simple as kneeling down to say the Rosary every evening after dinner. Venerable Patrick Peyton said, “A family that prays together, stays together.”

It’s important to love and learn from our family members. If we don’t know the members of our immediate family, then we aren’t truly living. These are the people who will be there for us through thick and thin, even if it takes a while to get over last year’s family reunion, they are still family.

I’d love to hear from you. How do you spend time together as a family? What has worked and what hasn’t when juggling busy schedules? How do you create an experience that not only allows, but forces you to understand and learn more about each other? Are you searching for a consistent family activity that will grow your bond?

It might take a while to find your family’s “thing,” and sometimes if you have been gifted with a friend who is like family then you are truly blessed to open your circle and to grow in love. Continue searching, and eventually you will find what brings your family joy and you won’t want to let it go. It will be worth giving up some of the parties, the overtime at work, lunches with friends, and even the addicting Instagram stories because your family is where you can be yourself and where you can rejuvenate for the upcoming week.

Put your family as a priority and everything else will quickly fall into line.

Originally published on August 9, 2019 on Catholicmom.com