The Back to School Blues (and reds, greens, yellows, oranges…!)


104 days of summer vaca

I love me some of that Phineas and Ferb theme song, don’t you?!

I’m not going to write all about the emotions of moms everywhere around the country right now regarding the age-old back to school sadness and drama. There are enough wonderful bloggers already doing that in one way or another, not the least of which include the wonderful Shauna Niequist, Emily Freeman,  our NEW FAVE Holley Gerth, and many other amazing voices.

It’s not that I don’t I struggle with it, too, because I do. I absolutely love having Ella home all summer! I love the relaxed routine it affords our family. I cherish every second that we’re not fighting over homework, searching high and low for a pair of matching uniform socks THREE seconds before we need to be out the door, or trying to unearth gym uniforms that should’ve been washed last week and swim suits that never got washed either and are still damp from swim class the week prior. (Don’t judge me – I’ve never been the house-keeping type.)

I crave (in a good way, of course) the hours and hours I get to spend with Elle in the summer, watching her in her “element” – which is truly just hanging out in our neighborhood with kids of all ages and from all different schools, and playing endless hours of games at dusty softball fields.

I love waking up not knowing what’s for breakfast that day, let alone dinner! I love having wine at night on the deck with Tim, popping open an iced cold Diet Coke from the cooler first thing in the morning, and sipping margaritas on the porch with neighbors (on a Tuesday, even!).

Margarita in a jar

So yes. I’ve got some not-so-happy emotions sitting in the pit of my tummy as we, here in our house, face returning to school on Thursday! But that’s not what I want to talk to you about today.

Instead, I want to focus on the endless possibilities and new beginnings this very thing brings!

I want to assure you that, just like every other back to school season you’ve experienced, this one will be full of chaos (just breathe…), surprises of all kinds, new friends, old reliable ones, and intriguing opportunities. It isn’t a negative, sister friends! Because no matter WHAT may feel like it’s “ending” in your life right now, I promise something else just as great (or even better) is about to begin. And I believe God wants you to embrace it!

Open up a brand-spankin’ new box of sharpened colored pencils and what do you see?! A carton bursting with colors just aching to be pulled out of the box and spilled out with delight onto a bright, white piece of paper! Each one joyfully begging, almost audibly, “Pick me! Pick me!” to the creator.

Romans 8 15 16

What if we saw ourselves as those pencils?! What if, when that new box is opened, we were the first ones to raise our hands, jump onto the paper, and let Him write our new story with complete trust that our colors would show, or even shine?! What if, instead of hiding in the box, we let Him lift us out of our comfortable, supported position next to the ones we’ve been stored with for a long time and let Him make something beautiful with us? Because He can and He will if we let Him!

Sure, we may need a little sharpening. Maybe we’re not as tall or perfect on the outside as we used to be. Maybe we have a couple “bite marks” from past use by someone who didn’t know quite how to take care of us. That’s not what matters because our God-given colors are still as bright and unique and perfect as they always were – and He knows how to coax them out from the dust and even fix any misuse of us in the past.

Every color is beautiful to someone.  Never ever forget that.

god colors

We urge our children to put themselves out there each school year. To raise their hands. To volunteer. To make new friends. To take chances. That no question is a dumb one. To notice those who may need help and step in. We tell them it’s okay to make mistakes; to give an incorrect answer; that falls happen and to get back up and try again.

As we begin this new school year season, whether you are sending your children to kindergarten (and, oh, may God bless you with plenty of Kleenex for that first day!), back to the same school or home school for a new year, off to a brand new school, or even off to college (and I pray for plenty of Kleenex for you, too!), listen to your own advice.

Be the color that someone else needs to see. Look for complementary colors to walk along side you. Raise your hand. Ask the Teacher to pick you – and then let Him create a beautiful picture for this new season. Don’t stay in the Crayola box, sweet friends. Jump out onto the paper and see what He does with you.  Then send me a copy of it!  I can’t wait to see it and relish in your beauty.

Can you believe we are on our second- to-last week of Pure Joy?! Next week, we close down the summer series! But as I said above, as one thing comes to an end, something amazing always seems to follow! But more on that in two weeks!!!

Until then, what’s on tap for Pure Joy THIS week?!

1. Memorize/rewrite our scripture of the week: Matthew 5:14, The Message.

2. Listen to our song for the week: “More” by Matthew West! (I hope I didn’t already pic this one already! But even if I did, it rocks!)

3. Finish up whatever you are reading and take some time to contemplate all you’ve learned this summer! Good for you!!! Aren’t you glad you did it?!

4. While we don’t have another Pure Joy dinner left to plan for, why not ask some neighbors or friends over for an end of summer recap, enjoying one another’s company?! See if they are interested in our Fall study! Consider running a Bible study of your OWN this fall!!! Email me for more information on how to do it!

5. Keep up with the Joy Dare! Such a great way to bring joy into everyday gifts and experiences!

That’s all for now! Have a great beginning to your week! And God bless you and all the families who head back to the classroom this week! I’m praying for you – will you pray for me?!

Up Thursday:   A little Peter Pan giggles to counteract to your back to school blues!

Peace, love, and JOY!


8 responses »

  1. Love this!
    My pencils are calling me today! While my favorite colors are black raspberry and limepeel because they create wonderful shadows I think I will concentrate on using lemon, sunburst and neon orange for the brilliant glow and shining light effect they produce.
    Staying in the light!
    Thanks for always sharing such relevant thoughts.

  2. Thanks, sweet Sister Friend! Perfect timing as always. Thanks for your wonderful message. You helped turn my morning thoughts from back to school blues to hope, intrigue and excitement of “What’s Next?”. Love you!

  3. I love the idea of being as excited and supportive of our own attempts to put ourselves out there as we are of our kids’! No need to make expectations different just cause it’s for yourself, right? Thanks!

  4. Thank you for the reminder to keep trying new things and to forgive ourselves when we don’t get the results we want as fast as we had hoped for.

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