Summer’s here!

summer
summer
Image source: Google

Today is the first day of summer (you can get great summer deals today, including a free small blizzard at Dairy Queen), when it’s the longest day of the year in the U.S. and the shortest day of the year for people in Australia and residents south of the equator).

Heather, Andy, and their kids
Heather, Andy, and their kids

Our daughter Heather, her girls, her boyfriend Andy, and his kids, took off fast today for a much-needed break from work and a vacation in Branson, MO. It was a surprise for the kids.

There’s lots to do in Branson, although I joke to Ray that it’s “an old people’s place” with country hick singers and the entertainment shows (he loves it). However, Branson has beautiful scenery at Table Rock State Park and nice shopping and restaurants at Branson Landing.

Heather made a fun scavenger hunt at her house, where the kids looked for clues all over the house, until they got to the last clue which read that they were going on summer vacation in Branson. She is such a fun mom! The kids loved the scavenger hunt!

Me & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017
Me & Leah at our home

Today I went to lunch with our youngest daughter Leah. When she was still living at home, she and I would go to lunch every two weeks when Ray was paid.

This was our mom-daughter special time together. After she moved out, I wanted to continue the tradition. Leah now stays busy working, taking her violin lessons, drawing her art, and doing stuff with her friends. We still try to go out every couple of weeks for our “mom-daughter” time.

A Moment's Pause Art Print
A Moment’s Pause art print
Copyright 2018 Leah Jones

You can follow Leah on Instagram @leah.merae to see the art she’s working on recently from daily prompts. You can also check out and buy her art at her Society 6 online store (Leah Merae).

I try to do lunches with Heather, too, only she lives much further away (an hour), she works more than full-time hours, and she is constantly busy, but we see each other when we possibly can.

Eden & her family
Eden & her family

Our middle daughter Eden stays very busy too, working 3 jobs, but she and Ray regularly text and video chat. We drop by to see them at times, since they and Leah live down the street from us in Butler. 

Heather, Eden, and Leah
Heather, Eden, and Leah

While our three precious daughters stay on the go every day and live their own, busy lives, I’m still trying to adjust to the empty nest. (I digress from the first day of summer, but I’m going with the writing flow for now.)

I’m not going to lie. It’s hard. Real hard. The house feels so empty at times. (My marriage isn’t what it should be yet, though we are in Christian marriage counseling now.)

insomnia
woman with insomnia
Image source: Google

At night when things are often too quiet, I lay down, wrestling with insomnia again, and then the mom guilt attacks me. The regrets. The painful ache in my heart, missing their beautiful, sweet faces and their physical presence here.

The haunting, condemning thoughts of, “I should have done more fun things with them” or “I shouldn’t have yelled at them so much” or “Why was I so focused on a clean house instead of just enjoying my time with them more?” Sometimes I miss them so much.

These days I do stay busy with my speaking and writing books. When I’m in between books, I get so restless, and feel like I’m just going to absolutely come out of my skin from boredom and anxiety. Today at lunch, Leah wisely told me, “You need to find new hobbies, mom.”

burger & fries
burger & fries

“Like what?” I asked her in between bites of a juicy cheeseburger and french fries drowned in ketchup. 

Creative things like painting or playing a musical instrument. For example, right now I’m learning to make origami.

Nancy Wilson of Heart
Nancy Wilson of Heart
Image source: Google

I told her that while origami is cool, I don’t want to do that and that I don’t know how on earth to draw or to play an instrument. The only instrument I’ve ever wanted to learn how to play was piano (which I quit my lessons as a child) and the guitar, so I could pretend to be Heart’s musician Nancy Wilson.  But I wanted to play bass guitar, not rhythm. I never learned how, and now I have no desire to be a rock star.

“What else can I do?” I asked my child who is wise beyond her years.

Whatever I want, she said. And Leah thinks that anyone can learn to draw or to play an instrument, no matter what your age is. It’s not too late to learn something new!

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Image source: Google

Here are some things I DO want to do–this summer:

  • Spend time with God and our family;
  • Travel somewhere new;
  • Start my walking/jogging routine again (pray for my self-discipline, puh-leeze! I’ve gained all my weight back!)
  • Drink more water and continue healthy eating (cut carbs and sugar dramatically, more salads and fresh veggies);
  • Restore our marriage;
  • Possibly write a children’s book with Leah illustrating the art on the front cover (she’s thinking about it!);
  • De-clutter my office (tame the paper tiger!);
  • Go horseback riding somewhere;
  • Have some much needed down time at the beach, my place of rest and refilling;
  • Visit my family and friends in different states;
  • Go on another train ride;
  • Speak at a women’s conference (several times would be great!);
  • Lead at least one person to Christ, hopefully more;
  • See God moving in our family, drawing us closer to Him and one another;
  • Visit the mountains; 
  • Ride a hot air balloon ride with Ray, drinking champagne;
  • Have roses bloom in my home garden;
  • Grow more Christ-like, in the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Laugh more. 

These are just some of the things I’d love to do. What about you? Share your comments below.

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Happy Things

Happy Things
Happy things

Today I found this cute, flower weight for my desk. It reads, “Do more of what makes you happy.”

Summer is in full swing now with its 85-100 degree heat here in Missouri.

Many of us have to work, but it’s important to take time out to relax and have FUN! To do what makes you happy.

It might be getting some adorable, new heart socks like I bought today. (I’m a heart girl!)

Heart socks
Heart socks

Or some new, pretty journals to write your heart out—your dreams, goals, bucket list this summer.

Journals
Pretty journals

Or if you’re a mom like me, it’s spending time with your kids.

Our 3 beautiful daughters Heather, Eden, & Leah
Our 3 beautiful daughters Heather, Eden, & Leah

Or going away ALONE for the weekend with your hubby.

Ray & me
Ray & me

It might be something as simple as a hot bubble bath with deliciously scented candles.

bubble bath with candles
bubble bath with candles

Or a refreshing swim in the summer heat with your friends!

girls holding hands at beach
girls holding hands at beach

Maybe it’s a blissful beach getaway–just you and God!

Woman relaxing on beach
Woman relaxing on beach

Or getting fit and healthy this summer.

woman running
woman running

Or maybe you plan to just spend a lot of time reading good books.

stack of books
stack of books

Or writing one!

Asian woman writer
Asian woman writer

Or take a much needed vacation!

mountains
mountains

Or a much less expensive staycation, getting your home organized and things done!

folders
folders

But whatever you decide to do this summer, make sure it’s fun and makes you happy.

And make this summer count.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”–Unknown

hot air balloon
hot air balloon

 

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Summer Bucket List

84 degrees
84 degrees

Summer has definitely arrived. It’s 84 degrees today in the Kansas City, MO area. Today I texted my husband Ray, reminding him of the hot temperature and asking him why he uses the freaking electric blanket in the summer. Here’s my text:

 

My text to Ray today

He never answered the text.

In the summer time, I always freeze my family cranking the A-C, so that might explain it a little. I’m trying to stay cool drinking lots of water.

water

Recently I also discovered Sonic’s mango lemonade, which is very dangerous. I’m trying to avoid them, but they are so tempting! The medium size is almost as much as the large, so I just go for the large, with easy ice.

But if I want to hit my summer goal of losing _____ pounds (for me and God to know only!), I can’t do this very often! (Confession: I’m drinking one right now as I blog!)

I will tell you that the morning stop drinks are cheaper than the afternoon Happy Hour 1/2 off drinks! Some employees let you get the lemonades at the cheaper price in the morning, and some don’t.

Sonic's mango lemonade
Sonic’s mango lemonade

A lot of people plan family vacations for summer. Our family has rarely done this, due to cost, but a girl can dream, right? My place of peace and restoration is the ocean, and I want to go so bad!

I’ve written down a goal of going to Destin, Florida this year, the location that was the setting for my first fiction book, Storm Tossed.

Right now I’m writing the second book in this fiction series, called Afflicted, where the main character Rachel and her husband Jackson are kidnapped by extremists while on a mission trip in Africa. (Stay tuned for details!)

me on the beach, my place of peace & restoration
me on the beach, my place of peace & restoration

Ray’s dream vacation spot is Bora Bora in the French Polynesia Islands, and I fully intend on sending him there one day.

If you could go anywhere this summer, where would it be? Are you taking a family vacation this summer? Where? Leave your comments below!

Bora Bora
Bora Bora

Ray and I need prayer for this summer. Our landlord is selling the rental house where we live. We’re not sure what exactly is going to happen with our housing situation or where we’ll live, so please keep us in prayer for God’s leading, wisdom, and His provision.

But one thing I do know is that I’d like to do some FUN things with Ray, our kids, and our grandkids this summer. What’s on your summer bucket list? I’m busy making mine! I’d love to hear from you below!

Summer bucket list

 

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail