Tag Archives: summer

How to #HAGS (Have a Good Summer ;) )


Happy First Tuesday, sweet sister friends! It’s FINALLY summer break!  I’m so, so happy about this for, like, a million and fifty-seven reasons. But Reason Number One is (drumroll please):  this beautiful family of mine needs a break.

Yours does, too? I thought so.

Don’t worry. We aren’t the only ones.  It’s been an issue for millennia.

mark 6

He knew we’d all need a break at times.  Thank you, LORD!

So here’s the practical application and importance of this – at least in my world.  For me, summer break means a break from the “control” of school days because it’s totally structured FOR us, but not necessarily BY us.  The school system decides when the kids will be in school.  The coaches and activity leaders decide when practices and games and recitals are held.  The tutors decide what hours they are available.  The teachers decide what homework is due and when.    The moms at pick up decide who is playing with whom afterschool and where…AHEM.

The order of our days is predetermined by the forces around us and, for the most part, we need to get in line with it in order for there to be order, if you know what I mean.

Graciously, summer dances to a different beat.

And so today, at the start of what is summer break for many of us, I am giving you a little advice on how to have a good summer. It goes something like this:



 Peony 1 Talmud

Is that awesome or what?! So often, we think of indulging in things we enjoy as something we will judged for.  But God (don’t you just LOVE Him?!) basically turns that thought on its ear and says, “Girl, if it’s permissible  –  and tons of amazing and fun things in this life are – you might as well enjoy it because I made it just for you.”

I don’t know what it looks like for you because He wired each of us so beautifully different. For me, it’s a big girl glass of wine on a starry night sitting by the outdoor fire.  Or maybe it’s just an extra half hour by myself at the pool with my Bible.  Or hey – it’s even ordering pizza two nights in a row just because I don’t feel like cooking.  But whatever allows you to have some seriously permissible fun this summer, I say GO FOR IT!

Bring Me Wine

(Photo from Pinterest)

Girlies, let’s shake things up for a couple months. Change your schedule and include something new you’ve been wanting to do.  Try taking after dinner walks with your spouse, or maybe early morning coffees on the deck.

Ask your boss if you can shift your work schedule to come in an hour earlier for a week or two so you can earn a little flex time and take a few extra days off to just kick around in your garden or in the city. Get creative with your time.

Let your kids “drive the boat”, so to speak. Have them choose activities that allow exploration of their passions and interests.  Let THEM choose their playmates and embrace their own choices and decisions (within reason 😉 ).  Consider ditching those dreaded “summer skills books” in favor of comic books and silly novels and even Netflix (did I just say that out loud?!). Volunteer at the food bank and make blankets to distribute to those in need when the cold weather returns (because  – SPOILER ALERT – no matter how hot it gets this summer, that Chiberian chill will be back).

Go get lost on a road trip. Swim in a lake. Wear cut-off overalls.  Go to a concert.  Call your college roomie. Hang out with your mom. Show up at your best friend’s house with some flowers and iced tea just because you can.  Talk a walk with Jesus.  Smooch a puppy on the lips (this one might be my favorite!)!

Have your own church service in the park. Eat a humongous cheeseburger, for Heaven’s sake, and wash it down with a cold beer or soda in a glass bottle.  Have a popsicle at breakfast and ride the Ferris wheel…three times in a row!  Eat sweet cherries and spit the pits on the ground.  Embrace simple things that bring mega-doses of joy.

Yeah. These are the things I wish for you AND for me this summer because even the smallest, simplest things reveal God’s great love for us.  And we are blessed to be able to experience them. Be aware of your gifts and use them to better this world.

I guess what I’m saying, love bugs, is that I wish you the happiest summer break ever. Like, EVER.

Stop making your summer bucket lists and just go do all the things you were going to put on them. Sometimes the spontaneous stuff is sooooo much better anyway.

Okay. Enough screen time.  Go on now. Get on out there.  The world is waiting.

What are you still doing here?!?!? I mean it – GO!  Get outta here!  I triple dog dare you.


Peace, love, and JOY!


PS – See you back here on July 4th for the next First Tuesday post…!

PPS – If you are local to the Chicagoland area, I encourage you to check out a great resource:  “Glen Ellyn Moms Village”!  They have awesome social media sites for ideas and inspiration for your summer… AND year-round!! Be sure to follow them so you can  keep updated about local happenings and musings regarding Glen Ellyn and the surrounding communities; the sites are run by one of my favorite sister friends!!!




Oh. Em. Weeeeeee!


I’m about to jump right outta my skin! I am giggling myself silly because the day has arrived! Time for the big reveal!


Pure Joy Beach Chair with text

How AWESOME is that?! (CLICK on the picture for a BIG version that might be more clear!!!)

This summer we are all about the joy – PURE JOY! The gift of the Holy Spirit that transcends happiness and creates within us the notion and “internal state of being” that every little thing is gonna be alright because HE has it covered! And who among us couldn’t use a little of that?!

I have told you these things so that my joy would be with you, and that your joy would be complete.” John 15:11.

Yes. JOY! I going to find me some of that and I hope you are coming with me AND bringing a friend or two (or 50!) along for the ride!

So, how’s this thing going to work?! I’m so glad you asked!

Let’s break this down a little, shall we?! J.O.Y. Three little letters that create something BIG! We’ve probably all seen this before and frankly, I couldn’t find the original source, but here we go:

J – Jesus
O – Others
Y – Yourself

We’ll be hanging around these three letters all summer long and getting to know them really well! So ladies….START YOUR ENGINES!!!

J: First, we’ll be finding JOY in Jesus! How? By hearing from Him! Through scripture, great faith-focused books by amazing authors, awesome toe tappin’ songs, cool Christian blogs, etc.! We’ll be sharing up our favorite summer reads, tunes, blogs, social media sites, and more!

O: Second, we’ll be sharing and finding JOY in Others! This is a pretty darn fun one! We will be explaining how to host fun, funky, faith-filled dinner parties for you and your sister friends based on two books: Bread and Wine by Shauna Neiquist AND Table Life by Joanne Thompson. Both of these books flew into my life just recently at precisely the right time! Here in our sleepy little town of Glen Ellyn, Stringing Pearls with Wendie ministry team members will be hosting THREE of these awesome nights throughout the summer. We will give you the entire scoop you’ll need on how to attend one AND/OR host your own for you and your IRL (In Real Life) friends! You know who those sister friends are! They are the ones you “do” life with. That you break bread with. That you connect with on more than just a surface level. Why do this? Because this is exactly what we are called to do – share our faith with the ones we love.

Listen to this simple, yet completely profound quote from Joanne in Table Life:

“When Jesus came to live on earth in pursuit of our faraway hearts, he made a beeline to the kitchen table. Once upon many meals, Jesus – the strong man on a mission to redeem the world – took time to eat dinner…Across the table, hearts made for relationships came alive.” Joanne Thompson, Table Life, page 14-15.

Can you even stand it?!

And let us NOT forget my favorite sister friend verse of all time:

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12, NLT.

So grab yourselves at least 2 other sister friends and you got yourself a dinner party, girl!

Y: Yourself. Finally, we’ll be pursuing joy through gratitude in your own lives! Joy is born from gratitude and hope! Giving thanks to God always precedes a miracle (thank you for that nugget of truth, Ann Voskamp!). And speaking of Ann Voskamp, we’ll be using her “Joy Dare” as our vehicle for finding three (I’m lovin’ the repetition of threes here, are you?!) things each day to count as blessings/gifts of joy! She makes is very easy for us to do this by giving us a calendar and suggesting three things for each date to find! It’s so fun and so easy and quickly replaces hunger and dissatisfaction with the beautiful TRUTH that Jesus indeed came to give us life and give it ABUNDANTLY! We’ll be asking you to share these things via social media with us either through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, email, and even here on the blog through photos, quick words, or even videos! And don’t worry; we’ll walk you through every little step of it!

Now, we’re throwing a lot at your right now so before we break down each little JOY-ful letter into sweet details, how about we let this all sink in and get ourselves SUPER EXCITED about it?! Our goal is pursue JOY, not simple happiness, but JOY! And we want as many people in on this as possible!  So please share this information with your pals!

Next week, we will be distributing over 50 Pure Joy kits to our ministry participants here in Glen Ellyn and Wheaton! We are SO excited about it! They are chock-full of helpful tips, fun finds, and maybe even a CAR MAGNET with this super cute logo, to get those JOY ideas flowing! We are encouraging each and every one of those lucky kit recipients to then either pass along their kit to another sister friend OR contact us for a new kit to pass along. The kit has everything YOU need to dig deep into this summer series, start your own faith filled FUN dinner parties, find good reads and tunes to help you on your PURE JOY journey, and bask in the knowledge that Joy is HIS for the giving and YOURS for the receiving.

I’ll post a picture of this cool kit next week right here on the blog. If you leave a comment on the blog between now and next week and tell us you are JUMPING INTO THE PURE JOY SERIES with both feet right alongside us, you’ll have a chance at winning one of 5 Pure Joy kits we are saving to give out FOR FREE to our blog readers! We’ll notify you by email to get your mailing address and get them off to you ASAP so you can get the ball rolling in your own community!

Now, this is a SUMMER SERIES and while summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21st (or something like that!), we aren’t waiting THAT long! We’re goin’ old school and we are declaring summer starting on Memorial Day (May 27th) and wrapping it all up on Labor Day (September 2nd) in time for a whole new Stringing Pearls Series for Fall!

So, we’ve got a couple weeks to get ourselves up to speed on Pure Joy before the official kick off! I’ll be blogging between now and then about one of the letters (J,O, Y) with all the deets and ideas on how you can pump up the joy in that area of your life! And, for your reading pleasure, I just might have a couple guest bloggers lined up to get us pumped up, too!

I am SOOOOOOO excited and full of childlike anticipation for what adventures God has for us through this series! See you next week!!

Peace and JOY!