The Wonder of Summer & Family Bonding Challenge, Post #32

Yesterday kicked off 100 glorious days of the summer season. The productive sounds of lawn mowers, joyful children laughing and splashing in nearby pools, the fragrant aroma of meat cooking on the grill,  the lulling sound of katydids chirping at night, the sweet sight of beautiful plants and flowers…my senses are overstimulated with the wonder of summer.

I love that most of our churches, para-church organizations and non-profits curb the meetings and activities during the summer, providing extra time for our intentional rest, recreation, and relaxation.  Before you make your “Summer To Do List,” let’s talk about family reunions.

Does your extended family get together as a reunion, or just for weddings and funerals? Perhaps, with your leadership, this summer will be different.

You might be thinking, “I don’t really like being around my big family. I enjoy hanging out with my friends more.”  Beloved, yes, we get to choose our friends and not our family. No family is perfect. As I heard someone I greatly respect say, “Each family puts the ‘FUN’ in ‘dysFUNction.'” Please focus on the good attributes of each family member and remember that we share the same bloodline. Let’s look in the mirror and remember we all have flaws.

Perhaps plan some activity around some of the interests your family share. For example, my Mom’s family likes to dance, so we plan to have beach music playing and a makeshift dance floor available.

When you get together, please plan to reminisce and capture those priceless family stories, especially from the more senior members of the family. With the easy video-recording on Smartphones these days, it’s a wonderful way to record your family’s memories of your history and “the way things were.”  How did your grandparents/parents meet? What was it like when they were growing up?

This summer, I encourage you to reach out to your grandparents, parents, children, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and organize a casual, low-key family reunion. Please know it doesn’t have to be fancy, formal, or even cost much money.  It can be in a family member’s backyard or a church fellowship hall. If family is coming from out-of-town, you can have several options available for staying with nearby family or nearby hotels rooms blocked. Some may want to rent a beach-house or mountain home.

Each day is a gift; that’s why it’s called “the present.”  Savor every moment of this summer. Please make the first step to spend some intentional time with your family.  One piece of advice a mentor told me once: “Always treat your friends like family, and your family like friends.”

Reflect:

–What will you do to bring some of your family together this summer? Please comment.

–What are some of the activities you do together as an extended family?

Renew:

–“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” –Psalm 68:5-6 NIV84.

–“Jesus…said, ‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.'” –Mark 5:19 NIV84

–“Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” –1 Timothy 5:3-4 NIV84

Recharge:

–This week, please plan to call or contact at least three family members you haven’t spoken to in a long time.

–How did you feel after you called them?

Resource:

In 2006, we organized 30 of my Mom’s family in the majestic NC mountains in Valle Crucis at the Valle Crucis Conference Center. We all stayed in a lovely 1920’s old dormitory, complete with huge stone fireplace downstairs, and perfect hardwood floors for dancing. (only about $60 per person for accommodations and all three daily meals–easy and beautiful 1920s old school dormitory, including rocking chairs on the porch)

http://www.highsouth.com/vallecrucis/

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  1. onalee Avinger says:

    Another wonderful Blog!!!

  2. We usually all go to a beach house and wonder who will show up and where we will all sleep. It is WONDERFUL, multigenerational, exhausting, and just fun. This year, I’m committed to driving 6 hours to pick up my mother to bring her to our house so she doesn’t have to worry about driving. I recently realized that she frets about driving and would like the company. I never thought she would agree to this arrangement of having someone else drive her, but she is practically packed and ready to go for a trip in July! I like the idea of spending intentional time together away from holidays like Christmas—just coming together to be in each other’s presence without presents!

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