Can you believe that summer is practically over?!  I know I am so sad. 😥  But wasn’t it a great summer though?  You can’t say yours was boring because earlier this summer I posted a list of 102 things you could do this summer.  Did you get a chance to do any of them?  Hopefully and I’d love to hear in the comments below what you did and how it went!  I did a few and am so glad I did.  I actually went over the list a few weeks ago and there were a couple I didn’t do, but wanted to and so made extra effort to complete them and I’m glad I did.  I wanted to share with you my experience and what I learned with a few of them.

73# Roll down the car windows and sing loud

I’m sure you have experienced in this day and age whenever the phrase “let it go” is said someone starts singing the song from Frozen (don’t sing it! 😉 ).  But in our family whenever someone says, “the windows are open” we immediately start singing the song “First Time in Forever” from Frozen which starts with the words: “the windows are open so is that door.”  As I’m sure you can guess, this situation happened when we were riding in the car with the windows down.  Everyone in my family starts singing … and hey why not take it to the maximum level?  Oh my gosh!  We were belting away down the road past some weird stares and it was blast!  We had a hard time singing from all the laughing.  We were so weird and I didn’t care.  I will never forget that moment and seeing the joy that comes from just embracing a silly me and not giving a second thought to the judgments of others.

67# Go on a scavenger hunt around town

My family greatly enjoys going on scavenger hunts and even more so scavenger hunt competitions with friends.  This summer we had a competition in the nearby city.  We had so much fun!  Except what made this time even more special than all the rest is we stayed laid back and charitable.  In the past we have fun, but get short and impatient with each other.  It can be hard to stay charitable when I’m so competitive, but this time I tried not to focus on winning, but on having fun and making memories with my family.  So for the first time I didn’t care whether we won and I had way more fun!  However  the ironic thing is we won!  Maybe it was God’s humorous way of rewarding charity and showing us that joy doesn’t come from winning the game, but winning the friendship of my siblings.  🙂

17# Play/Dance in the rain

The first time I danced in the rain I felt awkward and embarrassed.  But what was there to be embarrassed about?  Was I afraid of being judged and not having a childlike spirit?  I knew that was why and I needed to try it again.  So next time it rained my baby sister and I (perfect partner right? 😉 ) danced in the rain.  It was still a little awkward, and humbling, but I embraced the moment.  She loved it and I loved it.  It brings back smiles just thinking about it…
Children aren’t afraid to do anything.  They always have this joy about them and delight in the littlest things.  Dancing in the rain has taught me to become more childlike and not be afraid to do the little out-of-the-ordinary things.  Jesus told us we need to become like a child to go to heaven.  Yet He doesn’t mean to go back in time physically, but spiritually.  We are  called to see the world through the eyes and heart of a child: delighting over little acts of love, seeing only the good in people, loving each person because God loves them, appreciating the little beauties of every day, completely trusting our caregivers, and speaking with words of innocence, charity, and joy.  When you embrace life with the soul of a child it is then you will be able to embrace your Father with the love of a child: complete surrender and trust.

Because I made the extra effort to get off the couch and do these things this summer I learned the importance of charity, the joy of being me, and the beauty of becoming childlike.  “The times we live in do not call for young “couch potatoes” but for young people with shoes, or better, boots laced. It only takes players on the first string, and it has no room for bench-warmers. Today’s world demands that you be a protagonist of history because life is always beautiful when we choose to live it fully, when we choose to leave a mark.” (Pope Francis WYD Prayer Vigil 2016)

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