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Crashing into Reality

Vacations end. We come crashing into reality. What do we do with all that stress?

Don’t you just love vacations? We get to cast our cares aside, just be present in the moment with our family. We know it ends, crashing into reality, but we hold onto vacation as long as we can. Vacations views are clear and bright at the beach.

This year we were blessed by a decadent beach getaway with my in-laws. We had this tremendous view everyday from the covered porch.

Packing clothes was a waste of time. We spent 90% of the time in swimsuits, damp and sun-baked, but we loved every second.

Even bad weather was more exciting. Our family spent an afternoon watching water spouts, but happily they just hovered on the horizon, far away, nothing to worry about, a bit like real life seems while we’re on vacation.Storms of life in the distance during vacation before we come crashing into reality.

We were driving home sandy and tired, but joyful. Family time had been the priority the entire week. Even phones got put down. We had literally done not much more than eat and swim for a week.

I was singing along to the radio, asking the kids about their favorite memories from the week, trying to hold onto the joy and lightness as long as possible, but I didn’t even make it home before reality invaded our vacation high.

*CRACK*! My husband and I flinched. Something had hit the car.

Quickly, we saw our brand new windshield had cracked, worse than the damage we had initially repaired just days before leaving for vacation.

Vacations end. We come crashing into reality. What do we do with all that stress? And just like that I was crashing into reality:

  • a second $250 deductible in 2 wks
  • $120 we just spent replacing a new tire weeks ago
  • a $400 for yearly termite treatment I had forgotten
  • $500 surgery for our dog (that might not even save her life) after the $350 vet bill
  • a $700 bill for our home warranty
  • plus added expenses of summer vacation/ having the boys right after I unexpectedly lost my job.

My emotions started into hyper-drive, but I knew this was an opportunity to reflect Christ or the world. If I trust that every good thing comes from God, and He can use everything to my good (Romans 8:28), then I have to trust even this is good whether I know His reasoning or not.

James 1:2-3 ESV “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

I felt like this moment was a test, so I held my tongue until I could control it. Tears welled behind my sunglasses, but I kept silent. I had a chance to demonstrate my trust in God. I took a deep breath and prayed instead of panicked, remembering –

Matthew 6:28-30 ESV “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

A few miles down the road, I commented how it was frustrating, but not worth getting upset about, held my husband’s hand, and turned up the radio.

God has provided for us in everything so faithfully.

Last year, some vandals left our outdoor spigot running for several days before we realized it. Our bill was about $120 more than normal. I prayed for peace. In the mail the next day was a refund from an old rental insurance policy, for $122, almost the exact amount felt like a gift from God even if the check said USAA.

We’ve never been in such dire need that we couldn’t meet our obligations. He has sent blessings through others when we needed some extra loving financially and emotionally.

I don’t know yet how God will provide, or what lesson He is teaching, or direction He is pointing. I don’t even know if my family even noticed my refusal to freak out, but I know I was obedient in that moment.

Reality tried to crash my party, but my trust in God didn’t let it. Life is tough. Expecting it to be easy is folly, especially as a Christian.

1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”

God didn’t promise me that I would always have a pantry full of organic groceries. He didn’t promise me a brand new window every time it gets dinged. He doesn’t even promise us safety or security, only that every trial will refine us and lasting joy in his kingdom, the kind that doesn’t fade when the vacation bubble bursts.

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Celebrating the Days of Summer

On a budget? But want to make the most of your summer? Summers days fly by too quickly. An easy way to make each one special. Heaven Not Harvard

Looking for ways to make summer fun without breaking the bank? Us too, all the time! Even an outing to the movies can cost upwards of $100 with a family of five for all the bells and whistles, never mind the cost of an amusement park or out-of-town vacation.

Our income dropped in half when we moved here and decided I would stay home. We had to find different ways to make the summer days fun for our family without spending a small fortune.

Food seems to be the center of many family celebrations, so when I came across this idea, I knew I’d found a winner. We are celebrating the days of summer! Summers days fly by too quickly. An easy way to make each one special. Heaven Not Harvard

Everyday is a food holiday (see the Nibble’s list here). Yep, everyday. In fact some days are more than one. July 20 is hot dog day, lollipop day, fortune cookie day and ice cream soda day.

While we simply can’t do them all, we certainly are giving it our best shot. So far, we’ve celebrated holidays for strawberry shortcake, fudge, black cows (coke floats), cherry tarts, picnic day, vanilla milkshakes, peaches & cream, onion rings, pecan sandies, strawberry parfait, chocolate pudding, ice cream sodas (which gets celebrated several days a summer in various forms), creative ice cream flavor day (we made banana peanut butter chocolate ice cream from scratch), ginger snaps, chocolate wafers, BBQ ribs, apple turnovers, fried chicken day, strawberry sundaes, chocolate with almonds, pick blueberry day, blueberry muffin day, french fries, and beans&franks day, and tapioca pudding day last night for dessert.

We start the day the boys arrive for the summer and try to celebrate as many as we can. If there is a day that we can’t celebrate like alcoholic beverages or lobster which was not in our budget, we either finish off the leftovers of previous days or pick a day’s celebration that we will miss after they leave.

I usually grocery shop with the week’s holidays in mind, but don’t tell the kids the coming holidays so that they can be surprised each day as we prepare the treat for dessert or dinner.

Looking for ways to make every summer day fun? Try celebrating the "Days" of summer.Blueberry picking day came with an outing to a local orchard. It was hot and sweaty work, but that blueberry pie was so much sweeter when we picked those berries ourselves.

I have found different sites have slightly different lists. Foodimentary’s list is a little different than the Nibble’s, which might vary from another site.

Who cares if these are really real or really official? The fun is in making each treat. We can prep and cook as a family. This sneaky momma teaches cooking, measuring, and kitchen skills while they’re busy having fun.

I try to use a different list every summer for some variety. We have other traditions and summer activities, but celebrating all the days of summer is one way we make summer feel like one long holiday.