July & Fireflies

July is one of those months that always seems so hazy with heat. You can fan yourself half to death and still be hot. July breezes are more like being in a convection oven – they cook you faster. I don’t remember a July in my life that didn’t feel overwhelmed with heat in a fearful sort of way. Even torrential downpours haven’t cooled this little mountain oasis off in the last month.

I love to look back over the years and see how I celebrated July 4th, my favorite holiday. This year was incredible and one I will always remember. I had the opportunity to design some pretty great shirts for our crew at Chickfila that worked the Rome Braves game. I threw a t-shirt from the dugout to the 200s, which made me feel like a boss, and at one point we ditched the game for Cookout because the lines were too long. The fireworks were amazing as always, full of those weeping-willow ones and the super sparkly ones. I am in love with fireworks. Maybe I’m a slight pyromaniac, but I think it’s the light in darkness – the glimmer of hope in the midst of nothingness. A spark. I love them with the fascination of a child even at the age of 26.

I’d be lying if I said the rest of July wasn’t filled with coming up with ideas to escape the heat. It baffles me that I don’t know more people who have swimming pools.

I spent a couple sabbaths in Woodstock with my little nugget, Isaac, and his great parents that I love. Here’s a tiny glimpse at him because he is irresistible. I’m sorry in advance for what his little eyes will do to your heart:

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Somewhere in the last week of this hot month I finished my fourth list of 1000 Gifts and had a deep heart moment over the smallest little things in the last 8 months that have been reminders of God’s constant presence.. little grace notes everywhere. Friendships springing up out of empty wells and moments when He forced me to rest. Gratitude has trained my mind to whisper to my heart that this is enough. He is enough.

In the end, someone told me that my heart is that of a 90-year old; deeply rooted is the wisdom and scripture inside it. But I still have the brain of a 26-year old that has trouble keeping up with the heart knowledge of who God is sometimes. I feel like Mulan training to be a warrior, in the thick of learning so much about who I am and who I need to be, not strong enough but learning to be stronger and walk taller and push harder. It has been a Romans 5:4 season.

we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character,and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us…

We did manage to find a sweet place to dip our toes in this summer heat, a true mountain oasis, and it was wonderful. That’s how I spent the final day of this mid-year month: floating in mountain spring water with tiny fish all around (then we ate McDonald’s..so it wasn’t all Thoreau quotes and hipster photos and modern-day Little Mermaid).

There were some hard parts tucked in there, sandwiched between an adult decision or two, but it was such a wonderful month. And I learned that there is some kind of significance to the bitterness of wine taken during communion that grape juice just doesn’t convey. I could go on for days about Passover and broken bread and eucharisteo and poured out wine, but I won’t. I’m still mulling over this wine significance, but there’s something there, some shock to the senses that’s important.

Count it all joy, James says, because the trying of your faith produces patience or completeness or stronger character. It makes a thing happen that’s important. This month has been joy-filled, both in the hard moments and the bright ones. I’m still thankful for every moment spent laughing to tears and every moment learning from my mistakes.

Don’t tell summer, because I love it so, but I am so thrilled at the prospect of cool evenings and apple pie that will fly toward us in just a few short moments. I love summer and I recognize that fall is always so unbelievably packed full, but I anticipate it in a big way. I love the smells it brings and the deep hunter greens and rust reds. And what girl isn’t secretly waiting for pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin bread and everything else pumpkin you can imagine? But I digress. August has already proven itself an interesting month, full of surprises and sweet changes. I can’t wait to tell you what’s next.

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