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Endless Summer

"Summer 2020 is going to be a summer like NO other."  

You can choose to see that statement one of two ways; wonderful or dreadful.  This summer comes amid a global pandemic, stay-at-home orders, distance learning with lots of tears (and that's just us parents), an earthquake, hard conversations, and somewhere in the middle we ran out of toilet paper and waited for giant angry hornets to swarm us.  Wipe your brow, we dodged that one!  Now breathe.  We're rounding the corner into July and it is officially summer!
 
Our cities are opening back up slowly.  There is still looming uncertainty and hesitation to get back to normal--or normal as we know it post-quarantine.  I saw a sign that read: It is tiring babysitting my mom’s grandchildren.  Would someone tell her to come get them?  You HAVE to laugh at that!  I know some of us may not have a loved one to take the kids for a weekend (month??), but I do believe there are simple opportunities for us to make the most of this time we have, seemingly endless or not.
 
Here's what I remember most about my summers as a little girl.  Hot sun, sprinklers, sliding down our driveway slicked with dish soap and hose water (sorry mom), water balloons, frozen juice pops, ice cream cones, homemade popcorn, drive-in movies, watermelon stained shirts, making my mom read ALL the Dr. Seuss books over and over, chasing my dad around the house looking for candy in his back pocket; just to name a few.  This is only my story.  You have yours.  What you did last summer verses today may not be the same, or seem ideal, but there is still FUN to be had!
 
Here are some helpful tips for you to ponder.  I'll list some of my family's favorite local spots to visit at the bottom of the page:
 
For the Traveler: 
  1. Determine what you are willing and able to do right now.  This will be different for everyone!  You may feel pressured by what you see or hear "everyone" else doing but, I promise you, whatever you decide is okay. So, is it a staycation or are you hittin' the road full steam ahead?  
  2. Have a Plan B.  As cities open back up there may be fewer options and some of your desired destinations may not be back in business just yet, or their status may change in the coming weeks.  Talk this out together as a family.  Jot down a few different things you would all like to do.
  3. Research what to expect.  Visit the websites of places you intend to travel to see their current policies.  You may also check out the county website to find out what type of restrictions they have…for example, wearing masks, taking temperatures, distancing, handicap access, etc.  It just feels good to be prepared and will likely create a smoother experience for all.  

For the Couch Surfer: 
  1. The dollar store is your friend.  Crafts supplies, water balloons, snacks, and water toys, Oh my!!!  Be prepared to keep those little hands busy!
  2. Take advantage of the free stuff!  Some parks and museums are open and there are plenty with free entry right in your neighborhood or free online virtual tours from home.  Look for neighborhood "pop-up" libraries and grab some free books for your kids.  Stop by our Free Market on Thursday evenings for free groceries.  Grab free summer lunches offered by different local organizations.
  3. Do some DIY house projects.  This isn't for everyone, but when we decided to paint our bedroom, my kids could not wait to help!  It was mostly fun and something they still talk about as a proud accomplishment.
 
We can do this!  What I want you to remember in all this is that summer will, in fact, come to an end.  This season in all our lives will come to an end!  Our kids really desire our presence over our perfection.  That sounds a lot like our relationship with Jesus, doesn't it?  Let's pray over this time we have been given with them and may we see it with fresh eyes.  I imagine Jesus, right now, delighting in whatever we do.

Brockway Local Favorites:
  • Big Rock Creek (campground closed but other spots open to spend the day)
  • Charlie Brown Farms: gift shop, restaurant, experience
  • The Bluebrary:  community book exchange at 42014 Tiffany St., Lancaster  
  • MOAH: Lancaster Museum of Art & History
  • FloraDonna's Cakery: check out their "$2 Tuesdays!"  when small cupcakes are just $2 and they're heavenly 
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