Clear Summer Days

Ah, the first weeks of summer vacation—a blissful time in the life of a mother and her children. Kids have finally finished the school year and moms have hung their chauffeur hats for a while. The Monday morning rush has come to a halt, the emails from school have completely ceased and at the end of the day, mothers across the country can finally stop asking, “Did you finish your homework? Did you study for your test?” 

The beginning of summer brings such sweet hopes. It gives mothers and children an opportunity to commit their time to each other. Mothers make endless promises of fun and the kids—especially teens—realize they want to do this thing called family. They embrace it and they know that the hurdles of homework, packing lunches and early rising in the morning will not disturb their endless summer. Everyone seems happy and carefree.
For moms, the summer produces fewer piles of dirty clothes. I don’t think I see a sock in my laundry room during this time, just flip-flops tossed all over the house. Beach towels hang outside along with a rainbow of bathing suits to dry. Jeans disappear and shorts show up to take their place. Less laundry means less ironing which brings rest to the weary mom who worked hard throughout the school year.
At mealtimes, grilled cheese sandwiches with thin slices of tomato accompany goldfish crackers and a bunch of grapes. For a kid, it’s the perfect lunch. For a mom, it’s the easiest meal to make. And forget using dishes, paper-plates work just fine! The dishwasher takes a siesta every afternoon and come to think of it, so does everyone one else.
Dessert in the summer comes in all shapes and sizes. For a kid, it’s a ride to the ice cream store with dad. It’s standing in front of sweet frozen treats and picking out the best flavor “in the whole wide world.” For a mom, it’s sticky red lips from popsicles that make their way to her cheek—smooch! Oh, how they love to hear, “This was the best day ever.”
Then it happens. Like a surprise thunderstorm in the midst of summer, dark clouds of boredom make their way over homes. Mothers worry as they search for activities for their kids. They hurriedly put on the chauffeur hats once more and they rush all over town. They start emailing friends for emergency play-dates and they constantly ask their kids, “What do you want to do now?”
As you begin your summer vacation take a minute and reflect on God’s purpose for you and your family. Think how many times you have taken on additional activities and planned a busy summer without thinking about the consequences. As a result, did you inadvertently make your summer a chaotic, stressed out time that kept your family too busy from sweet treats, siestas and time with God? 
Take a minute and pull your kids together and pray, “Lord, what are your priorities for our family this summer? What can we do as a family to glorify you?”
“Busyness rapes relationships. It substitutes shallow frenzy for deep friendship. It promises satisfying dreams, but delivers hollow nightmares. It feeds the ego, but starves the inner man. It fills the calendar, but fractures the family. It cultivates a program, but plows under priorities.”       ~Dr. Charles Swindoll, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life

Raquel Wroten (MAMC, Dallas Theological Seminary) was born in McAllen, Texas but has lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area most of her life. Raised by a single mother, Raquel grew up knowing the meaning of diversity, creativity, and chaos through her four brothers and three sisters. The greatest gift she ever received came from her mother who taught her that living as a believer doesn’t mean perfection, it means grace. Raquel met her husband Rick at a church retreat in Oklahoma on a cold November weekend. They dated for a year and got married in June 1992. A couple of years later, Rick graduated with his ThM, and they welcomed Joshua. . .then Abby. . .and surprise, it’s Anna! Intermixing their cultures, the Wrotens have established a variety of traditions along with interesting combinations of food. Raquel believes that ministry begins at home so she finds new ways of serving those she calls her own. Raquel serves as editor of DTS Magazine and enjoys writing (in English, Spanish and Spanglish), cooking, coffee, education and serving up a feast for her friends and family.