May Newsletter – Advice for your best summer ever

Happy last day of May! Can you believe that summer is here already? I recently read something that made me a little sad, but also very motivated. As parents, we only get 18 summers with our children and this is one of them.

That means I am on number 13 with my oldest daughter and only have 5 childhood summers left with her. That breaks my heart in a good way because it motivates me to not waste one minute of these bright, sunshiny days with her and her younger sisters.

And while you may not be in the season where you have young children in the home, this summer is still special. Each day, each moment is significant because it is all we really have. Our past is, well, in the past. It is fleeting and gone. And I have learned in a very real way that our future is not promised. The present is all we can claim to own.

One of the women I follow on FaceBook and Instagram encourages people to think about the life that they want to have when they are 80 and to live today in a way that will create that future. Her mantras are that “it is okay to grow slow” and “progress over perfection.” I love this advice and have applied it when setting goals the past few years.

But since my husband’s heart attack, I have realized that while good, that advice can also be dangerous. Yes, it is good to live each day in light of the future that we want to create, but it can also lead us into a state of complacency and stagnation. It can be easy to feel like we have all the time in the world to achieve our goals, so we put off taking the baby steps we need to take today to get where we want to be tomorrow.

But what if there is no tomorrow? What if we don’t make it to 80? What if by being okay with slow growth, we miss out on the life we desperately want to live? And so, when making plans, I will still be asking, “Will this get me to where I want to be when I am 80?,” but I will be adding, “and will this help me to create the life I want to live today?”

In that light, we went to the movies as a family this past Monday to see the new Disney live-action adaptation of Aladdin. It was great, but what moved me the most was this line from the trailer for The Art of Racing in the Rain, “The best drivers don’t dwell on the future or the past. The best drivers focus only on the present. No one knows what curves life will throw at you, but if a driver has the courage to create his own conditions, then the rain is simply rain.”

My husband used to race cars before our children were born. He learned that as a driver, you have to be completely in the moment. All of your senses have to be focused on what is right in front of you. You can not be distracted by what just happened or what might happen around the next bend. 

My favorite race car driver

Now, that doesn’t mean that you don’t make plans for the future. A good driver also studies the track and decides which lines are the best ones to take to get him where he is going. He also makes adjustments based on past experience. But once the plans are made and he is in the car racing around the track his focus is trained on only what he can see right in front of him.

And so today, I challenge you to live like a good race car driver. Plan for the future. Learn from the past. Embrace the present.

Camp Willow Springs

What an amazing blessing it was to spend two weekends in May at Camp Willow Springs as the speaker for their mother-daughter retreats. I do believe I got more out of the experience than the ladies and little girls did! I was so nervous to leave my husband so soon after his heart attack, but when it came time to get in the car God truly granted me a peace that passes understanding. If you are looking for a summer camp for your children, I cannot recommend Camp Willow Springs and their sister site for older girls, Camp Willow Run enough.

I could have never imagined how God would use my seven years of pageant competition. I dreamed that it would culminate in winning the Miss MD crown, but He had far better plans. It was almost unbelievable to me that over 200 hundred moms and their daughters wore t-shirts with my message on them: Instead of chasing an earthly crown that will never tarnish, we should seek a heavenly crown that will never tarnish by being women who love God, love others, and who seek to become more like Jesus every day.

Free Lance-Star Columns

I write a bi-weekly religion column for my local newspaper. Here are May’s editions.

Coping with Life’s Ups and Downs Made Easier with Friends

We Too Can Be Superheroes in the Fight Against Evil and Injustice

Links from Around the Net

When Life Cracks Your Heart: With school being out and children being home more, gun safety becomes even more important. The gut-wrenching words of a mother whose three-year-old son accidentally shot and killed himself with the family gun will haunt me for a long time to come. Such an important read.

Naomi Scott, Compassion UK Ambassador: We have been fans of Naomi Scott since we saw her in the Disney Channel movie, Lemonade Mouth and we were so excited when we saw she had been cast as Jasmine in the recently released Aladdin. We are even bigger fans after reading about her work with Compassion International.

Thank you so much for all of your kind words and prayers after my husband’s recent heart attack. They have meant the world to us and have carried us through this difficult time. Please continue to pray for complete healing––body, mind, and soul.

PS – I am currently booking fall speaking engagements and would love to discuss the possibility of coming to your church or women’s ministry event. Send me a message through my contact page located on my blog and we can chat.

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