Monday, July 11, 2011

Content in My Tent

Nice toes, huh?  I only paint my toenails during the summer.  Most of the year I am pretty unconcerned about my appearance.  I usually dress in jeans, a t-shirt, and hiking boots.  But something happens in the summertime.  As the sun comes out and the days lengthen, I really want to live into the joy of being alive.  Perhaps it is because my birthday falls in the middle of July, and I want to make the season special.  For me that involves taking a little extra time to attend to small details that usually I ignore.  It's like for these three months out of the year life slows down enough that I can notice what it feels like to live in this skin,  appreciating the gift of being alive by adding splashes of color to my normally mundane routine.   To a small degree it is a celebration of the vessel God gave me to house my heart, mind, and soul.  I remind myself with gratitude:  this is the body that gave me the joy of my heart; even with all its scars and aging, this is the body that made me a mother.  And so this is the time of year that I take a little extra care, saying thank you to it and to God for another year of life.  And in just a few days, this body will take me into a whole new year again.  As I celebrate turning another year older and living boldly into the joy of walking a new path, I thought I would share some other things I love about summer time.

Things I love about summertime:

painting my toenails

eating grilled corn on the cob

playing outside with the boys

getting to spend extra time with my wonderful hubby

wearing sandals

trading in make-up for the sun-kissed look with just a touch of lipstick

sleeping in

dressing up and looking pretty

long morning runs

playing kickball in the front yard

making homemade banana bread

enjoying impromptu visits with friends

going hiking with my sweet husband

backyard barbeques

sherbert in an ice-cream cone

camping out in the living room

dancing with my boys

dinner around the kitchen table

sweaty hugs and kisses

The apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:11 "I have learned to be content with whatever I have."  Summertime for me is the best time to practice this.  With a slower than usual schedule I am no longer distracted by busyness.  It is like my family is given the rare opportunity to learn to enjoy just being together again, without the rush.  And for me, I am learning to enjoy being in my own skin, to treat this temple of the Holy with care, dignity, and love.  I am learning to be content in my earthly tent, to accept it as one of God's gifts to me.  I guess this is my birthday present to myself:  to live this season as if I truly like being the girly girl that I am, the woman God made me to be.  It seems like to be an American woman one must criticize and blame, punish and control the body she lives in.  But for this season I choose to be care-full rather than critical, to trade in my complaints for simple complements, and to be at home in the skin I'm in.  For the rest of summer anyway, this is my road less traveled.

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