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As my kids have been counting down the days to summer vacation, I have been counting them down too. As a teacher, I too look forward to the end of the year—a break from lesson plans, grading, and lectures. I look forward to three months of rest, rejuvenation, and refueling. Everyone has their favorite time of the year. Summer is definitely mine.


But wait… I have kids of my own…and they require my attention. Perhaps rest and relaxation will need to be redefined.


When my kids were young, I remember wondering how in the world I was going to keep the little cherubs busy for 15 hours a day, 12 weeks in a row. I set up an elaborate calendar of playdates, swim lessons, and activities to keep their minds and bodies active. I tried to make every day a fun adventure. I compiled a list each summer of places we’d visit on sunny days, and places we’d go on rainy days. I took trips to my parents’ cabin, trips to McDonalds, and trips to Daddy’s office—just to let him know how much fun we were having. My kids loved summer, and wanted it to last forever. And part of me loved it too. But by the beginning of August, I was praying for deliverance from my scheduled craziness and together time. The start of the school year felt like a vacation from my summer vacation. 


My kids are older now, a teen and a pre-teen. Summer feels different now, and I feel different too. As I look forward to the end of the school year and the start to the greatest 12 weeks of the year, I’ve been doing some planning. But this year’s planning does not involve a lot of the things it used to. This time I’ve made a list of what I’m not going to do. I tried to keep it to a top 5, but I somehow made it to a top 6. Feel free to add your own to the list.


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I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

Charles Swindoll


My hubby and I had trekked a good two or three miles on a trail in the Rocky Mountains, crossing streams, tackling ankle-twisting rocks and enjoying paths lined with smiley yellow Arnica’s, when we noticed a dark cloud formation off to the West. We had experienced quick moving thunderstorms in the mountains in the past and knew that if we didn’t turn around and head back that instant, we would get drenched.




So, we retraced our steps back through those mountain streams and over the ankle-twisting rocks as fast as we could. But, with every step, it seemed the dark ominous clouds were right on our heels. As we ran out from underneath the canopy of trees, the skies opened up; raindrops the size of quarters and hail the size of nickels pounded down upon us. We skidded and slid our way down the trail’s steep exit and made a mad dash for our car across the parking lot. We dove into our seats, slammed the doors shut behind us and let out a huge sigh of relief as the hail continued to pelt our car.


When we arrived back at our B&B, we waited a while for the rain to lighten, in order to make yet another mad dash for the door. But, there seemed to be no end in sight, so, we braved the weather again and made a beeline for the entrance. As we ran past the front garden, I noticed a figure crouched down in raingear and wellies weeding. It was Kendra, one of the owners of the B&B, but she paid us no mind and kept right on working.




After changing into some nice, dry clothes, I made my way down to the kitchen to make myself a hot cup of tea. That’s when I spotted her a second time, still firmly fixed on her knees, pulling weeds. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Despite the rain, sleet and hail, there she was...still at it. I, instead, went back to the comfort of my cozy room and read as the weather blustered outside the rest of the afternoon.


Later on, I decided to go sit by the roaring fire that was blazing in the big rock-faced fireplace in the living area to do a bit of journaling. It had been quite a while since I had last spied Kendra out weeding, so I thought to myself, “Surely she is inside by now,” as I stopped to look out the window.


I didn't see any sign of first. Then across the driveway I spotted her again. She had worked her way around to the other side of the garden. I marveled at her tenacious endurance to finish the task that she had set out to do, despite the deplorable conditions.


The next morning I asked her to sit down with us at the breakfast table. I told her how impressed I was at her gardening persistence, even when the storm blew in. She chuckled and said, “The garden has to be weeded every week, I can’t let a little thing like rain stop me.” “A little rain!!?? If that's what a little rain is,” I thought to myself, “I’d hate to experience a heavy rain.”


That cold blustery July thunderstorm had ruined our hiking plans for the me it was anything but little. But, to Kendra, it was just a nuisance to push through. Same storm, different perspectives.

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Tagged in: Attitude Tenacity