Saturday, July 20, 2013

Because I'm taking my summer back.

There's something so fantastic about summer.  I love the absence of routine, and the endless options of outdoor events.   Everyone seems to have a spring in their Sperry's, and I totally get it.  Summer brings us all back to our good old school days....when that last bell rang and we flew out of those front double doors, anticipating what the next twelve weeks of freedom held.

I fully embraced the beginning of summer. Like, with both arms and my legs.  I was ready for a change of pace.  I was also ready to karate kick our schedule in the face.  Sometime around May I started loathing all of our commitments.  Things like the fact that I had to take my daughter to school and that my kids had to brush their teeth.  I was annoyed that my children couldn't just run around in diapers and eat Cheetos all day.  The nerve.

So, when the beaches opened and the outdoor movie theaters lit up again, I was the first in line. Road trips? Four down, four to go.  I've made approximately 5934893 jello, potato and broccoli salads to accompany us to BBQ's.  My two year old makes a beeline at the farmers market to the tent that has the lollipops.  She knows the guys name.  My five year old wakes up asking, "Can I just get in the car in my pajamas this time?" Our summer has been a blur of sand in our suits, freeze pops, and belly laughter with those whom our hearts love.

Summer is magic.  For our family, the magic is in not keeping a schedule.  My girls roll out of bed, usually breathe on me and stare at me until I wake up (startled. every. time), and we snuggle, eat cereal out of the box while we watch Littlest Pet Shop and then try and decide what we'd like to conquer that day. Greg takes the girls to the beach after dinner at least twice a week, and sometime during the day, every day, we all end up on the couch, reading together.  It is lovely.

But somewhere between the fireworks and my tenth serving of beef brisket, I began to feel homesick.  At first I thought it was my sunburn talking.  But I also noticed the fine layer of dust collecting on my Bible. Then my scale chimed in.  And by chimed in I mean almost broke.  And when I looked at our calendar, I realized it had been WEEKS since we had worshiped with our church family. I realized that  I hadn't had my weekly check-ins with women who were so life-giving to me. I felt tired, anxious, and untethered.

And it karate kicked me in the face: Oh my word.  I want a schedule again. All this Yolo stuff is for the birds.  I MISS MY GOOGLE CALENDAR APP.

Some people can thrive when the confines of a schedule are lifted.  My husband is one of them. I, however, am just not that great at saying no to myself.  I am really, really good at saying yes. Yes to fun.  Yes to elephant ears.  Yes to Facebook.  Yes to cheesy television series on Netflix (Has anyone else ever been sucked into the vortex that is  Hart of Dixie?  No?) There really isn't such a thing as moderation for me.  My emotions be damned...they are my trump card.  So whatever I feel like doing is what gets done.  In the name of lazy summer-ness, I have lost sight of intentional living.

You don't even want to know what my laundry room looks like right now.

I've slowly come to realize that the things I value, the Things that God has placed on my heart, will not just happen to me.  I cannot just sit in my Snuggie with my eyeballs glued to the saga that is Dr. Zoe Hart's life and expect God to transform me. These are gifts and revelations that will take work, will take discipline, will take me saying no to myself more and yes to hard and holy things.  Even things I love, like writing, require that I sit my sunburned bottom in a chair and do work, son.

So. I'm taking my summer back.  I kind of feel like the throne room of heaven is a good place to start.  You know.  I'm cracking open my Bible, laying my precious summer minutes and hours at the feet of Jesus and going from there.  I'm going to say no to every other fun thing so that I can do more right and holy things.  Greg and I are committed to praying together every night, even if we have toothpicks in our eyelids and our retainers in.  So far we are 3 for 7, but that's a start.

When I am abiding in His steadfast love for me, I feel like I can take on the world.  And I can.  Cause it's not me.  And it's not about me.  Halleluyer.  I can get up at 4:45 to exercise.  I can sneak my oldest out of her "rest time" so that we can bake cookies, play My Little Ponies, and color until the cows come home.  I can check in with dear friends to know that they are loved and valued.  All things. Through Him.  His strength.  Amen.

While my love affair with summer is so not over, I am approaching the rest of my summer with both feet on the ground.  I'm not going to stop building sandcastles with my girls at our beach.  I will still be first in line for the double feature at our drive-in theater.  I will still sit outside with my love, a glass of Moscato in hand with our bonfire flames reaching the summer sky.  But I will also be giving my days over to Jesus more, and allowing Him to make them even more magical than I could ever imagine.

Because that sounds like a perfect summer to me.


  1. Oh my gosh, Rachel, I love your writings! This is the second time someone has posted a link on fb that I have clicked on and was captivated yet again by your words. I was trying to find an "about me" link as I was thinking who IS this amazing writer?! (and why only one post a month when she is so great at it?!) Then I see the tiny "posted by Rachel Hamann" at the bottom and wait - that darling but teeny photo with the gorgeous much-longer-than-last-time-I-saw-it hair is Rachel Baker! Thanks for sharing your thoughts outloud. Keep em coming! -Kim (Cook)

    1. Kim Cook! My long lost Riverwoods friend! Thank you for your encouraging really makes me want to write more knowing that others can relate and we can all fumble through the holy life together....even if it is via a computer screen. I got a quick update on your life from your brother a few months ago...I hope that all is well...I would love to see your smiling face sometime soon!

  2. hit the nail on the head...AGAIN!!! I so relate to your emotions, both up and down (and in between.) Jesus is still working on me, and I love that He sometimes uses you to help jump start me during emotional lows. After I write this, I am pulling out my Bible...and shutting off FB for awhile and Army Wives (started that after running out of Zoe Hart episodes, which was after Mr. Bates episodes.) You see...I also cannot do anything in if I am going to overdo freedom of grandkids all back to their homes, I will overdo Jesus. Love you my friend.

    1. Debbie, I love that you are always so honest and open with where your heart is at and where your life is at. I have a lot to learn from you! Also...I am glad I'm not the only one a little obsessed with Dr. Zoe Hart:) Love you!

  3. WOW! I am so glad you wrote this as it is what my heart and mind are screaming! I have been on vacation since Payson was born and I think that layer of dust on my Bible was beginning to look permanent! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for putting to words how I feel. Post Partum was starting to get ROUGH and it's because I am not entering into the presence of Jesus enough! Keep writing it's amazing how God is using it to speak and challenge and encourage!

    1. Kandy I love your heart. I read your comment and was like," Oh my goodness. The girl just had a baby. She deserves to relax and veg out." But then I remembered. Doy. Their is no peace with out the Presence of the Prince of I get it. Hence the blog. Praying that, this very day, you will get some time with Jesus. Thanks for the encouragement.