Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Back to School

Last week I had to tell my 9-year-old girl her best friend from school wasn’t coming back this year. This summer, they’ve written some letters, gone to camp and VBS together, and looked forward to the new school year as fourth-graders together. And then sometimes life changes unexpectedly, and it hurts.

Cate processes life much like I do so I knew this was going to be a conversation we’d have to have more than once. I knew the news would well up in her heart at random moments. So I pulled her aside while we were on vacation and everyone else was occupied. We talked and cried and sat in silence.

Later that day, cousins were swimming in the pool at the beach house we were calling home for a week. With tears dried for the moment, Cate asked, “Is it really okay to do something happy when I’m sad?”

Y’all. It’s a question I asked when my father-in-law died unexpectedly more than six years ago. It’s a question I wrestled with while processing what God was doing in my heart and life after we returned from Guatemala last summer. It’s a question that rises up when I read headlines.

And it’s a question Jennifer Dukes Lee had me thinking about earlier this summer as I read “The Happiness Dare.” There in Hilton Head, where sand was in places it didn’t belong and my girl’s heart was aching, I got to share what God has taught me.

Yes, it’s okay to do something happy even when we’re sad. {Tweet that.}

“Pay attention. Savor the life God has given to you. Thank God for the good when life is beautiful. And fight hard to find the happy when life is brutal.”
–Jennifer Dukes Lee in “The Happiness Dare

This truth that happiness and sadness can co-exist is something I learned, thanks to “Inside Out,” “The Happiness Dare” and plenty of real-life experiences. Do you remember the movie “Inside Out”? It’s such a sweet story of Joy and Sadness realizing they’re best together.

On a slightly lighter note of two extremes coexisting, I’m never really ready for summer to end, but I’m craving routine. We’ve had a wild summer that involved moving, going on three trips, and squeezing in afternoons at the pool.

I will miss summer, but I appreciate the way God created seasons. {Tweet that.}

My fourth-grade girl who devours books has the same teacher as last year, which we are glad about. She has mixed emotions about getting up early and diving back into a routine, especially without her best friend.

My boy is starting first grade and he’s the one who entertains and makes friends easily. I’m never really sure what all he’s learned because he doesn’t like to recite on demand his newfound knowledge. His teacher has worked at the school for awhile and I’m glad one of my kids gets to have her.

I’m thinking about my own schedule that will involve volunteering at our local crisis pregnancy center one morning a week, hopefully settling into our still-new-to-us house, and, you know, chasing baby girl who turns 1 in less than two months and is pretty much into everything.

Summer has been full of adventure and life lessons. There’s been good books and slow mornings. Thanks for hanging with me here, where it’s been quieter. The longer days have gone quickly and we didn’t do everything I had hoped to do. But we enjoyed our break from routine yet are excited for the new routine to begin today.

I'm on "The Happiness Dare" launch team, so I got an advanced PDF copy of the book to read. But the way the message has seeped into my everyday life is real. I do recommend this book if you're needing some encouragement to find the happy. You can read my review here. 

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