Five things Friday roundup: Summer is coming

straw hat, camera, sunglasses, jeans and a coconut with a straw in it, against a white boardwalk background — veerasantinithi (นิธิ วีระสันติ) on Pixabay
As the school year winds down here in Kansas (my child has only six days left), I’m starting to feel like I need to make sure all our summer plans are in place! With any change in season and change in routine, we have an opportunity to reevaluate how we spend our resources of time, money, energy and more. Here are some of the ways or categories I’m thinking about as I reevaluate my summer expenditures.
1. Summer reading
Of course, I love reading (no surprise there). Most public libraries (also many bookstores and some other places) offer summer reading programs for all ages. As Sarah Clarkson writes in Book Girl: a Journey through the Treasures & Transforming Power of a Reading Life, books can broaden your world, shape your story, stir you to action, cultivate the imagination, foster community, open your eyes to wonder, deepen your soul and impart hope. I hope to be more intentional in my reading choices this summer so that books can do all these things in my life, and not just provide an escape. What kind of summer reading do you need this year?
2. Summer lunch programs
Many community groups offer free meals to community kids. Food insecurity is real, and without school lunches, more kids are hungry over the summer. Some of these programs offer activities or free passes to the local pool or other attractions as well as food. These programs are essential for the children they serve and transformative for the adults who volunteer or work them. Perhaps you have time or financial means to support one of these programs. Check with local congregations, schools or groups to find out what is happening in your community and how you can offer your support.
3. Connecting with neighbors
Warmer weather provides a good opportunity to sit on the front porch and visit with folks getting exercise as they walk through the neighborhood. It’s also grilling weather, and sharing a meal is a great way to connect and build community. Who lives near you and would welcome an hour of fellowship away from their empty (or very full) house? Who lives near you that you do not know as well? How can you show love to those near to you?
4. Bible study
Life seems so full that I will confess Bible study often takes a place further down on the “to-do” list. Between family devotions, teaching Sunday school and working in church-related jobs, it seems that there would be ample opportunity to engage with God. I’ve come to recognize, however, that dedicated time spent actually reading more than a verse or two doesn’t happen very often. If I’m going to allow God’s Word to shape my life, I need to spend time savoring it. As the seasons change and our family’s routines change, summer is the perfect time to make this change.
5. Faith formation at home
I’ve been thinking recently about the ways in which my family can all grow in faith together. Those who know us best and see us every day are sometimes the best to challenge our spiritual growth and give us the opportunity to practice patience, love and selflessness. In addition to these less formal opportunities, how can we also provide intentional opportunities, no matter what our household make-up and life stage? For households with young ones, Building Faith/Construyendo Fe is a great Anabaptist resource from Mennonite Early Childhood Network that delivers an email link to the newest Building Faith concept every month, straight to caregivers’ inboxes. Another fun resource for households with kids of all ages (or households with children at heart) is the Follow the Peace Path card deck from Shine Curriculum/MennoMedia. This summer’s card deck is focused on Peace with Creation, and the deck includes games, prayer practices, discussion questions and so much more! For households made up of individuals with more life wisdom, there are great resources like the daily devotional Rejoice! Folks can also check out other resources that can be utilized intentionally together.

Jennie Wintermote

Jennie Wintermote splits her day-time hours between the Western District Conference Resource Library in North Newton, Kansas and Anabaptist World. Read More

Anabaptist World

Anabaptist World Inc. (AW) is an independent journalistic ministry serving the global Anabaptist movement. We seek to inform, inspire and Read More

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