Where We Can More Clearly See – Summer Blessings

I think we might all agree that this summer has been particularly lovely.  Though we’ve had relatively cool temperatures, the days have still been warm enough for us to enjoy the finer things of the season.

Such as…

A delicious meal on the patio.


(And yes, we definitely consider the occasional hot dog off the grill a delicious meal.)

The finest offerings from our gardens.


Or a dip in the pool, a day on the boat…or even a cool down at the local “water park.”


(Fancy right?)

And I’m not sure if it’s because this past winter was the worst… (I know, I’m sorry, I said the “W” word.)…but I just don’t remember a time of feeling so overjoyed at the opportunity to get outside after being cooped up for so long…inside.

I felt as if the four walls of our home were closing in on me by January…yet alone March.

Perhaps it is because with two three-year-olds in the house, there is often so much stuff on the floor that the rooms really do lose functional living space.  And the noise (not that there is ever any noise at my house…ehem), but the noise just seems to swirl around and around, bouncing off the walls, amplifying those little but not-so-quiet voices on top of one another.  Even the sound has no place to go because it, too, is stuck inside.  And between the piles of toys on the floor, the piles of papers on the dining room table, and the piles of laundry…everywhere…life can just start to feel as if it’s closing in on you.

It’s easy to start to feel the weight of the season…the long drudging on of winter.  The stress.  The gloominess.  The mess…both inside and out.


I’ll be the first to admit, I grew especially weary this past winter.

For me, it can sometimes be harder to see the blessings under the all the piles.  Under the weight.  Under the gray-white gloom of the season.

Winter Slush

Which is why I have been so grateful for the simple things this summer.   And likely why I have truly felt God’s presence, and been more keenly aware of God’s beauty, literally, right outside my door.

On my patio,

Patio Chairs

where my husband and I have place to sit and relax and not see the piles and the to-do’s.

{They are still there…the piles.  We just don’t see them out here.}

In my garden,


where good fruits wait to be picked each day.

And definitely watching my kids play in the backyard,

Jake grass

Charlie Grass

where there is no longer the danger of stepping on a tractor or crashing into a table…but freedom run and roll and yell with joy…freedom to just – be –  a little boy.

To me, God is present in a soft, inviting red patio chair.  A deep breath of warm August air.  And the {relative} open space beyond my suburban white vinyl fence.


Away from the clutter where there is room to breathe.  Where it feels like there is more time to count my many blessings.  Where there is somehow an increased sense of clarity – to see the important things as they come into focus and stand out from all the…stuff…that gets in the way.


I know God is there in the clutter, too.  And I know there is beauty in the starkness of the winter.  Still, I can’t help but to feel that a simple mid-summer evening on the patio is one of God’s true masterpieces.

These are the memories of summer that will get us through the winter.

The good news is that summer isn’t over.  It’s only August.  If we’re lucky, we still have a month or so of warmth.  Of dinners on the patio and open windows and warm breezes that carry the laughter of neighborhood children.  And although winter will come (and a Chicago winter at that) it is only temporary – and necessary – to get us through to spring and summer and sunshine once more.


{This photo story was written for and shared with my church family as a contribution to the collaborative sermon, “God is Everywhere – Summer Adventures.”  It was an honor to be able to share where we felt God’s presence in our lives this summer.}


Speak Your Mind