Summer is still going strong here in my little corner of the world (and the internet): with record-breaking heat outside and breezy content here on the blog, not to mention completely off-kilter sleeping and eating schedules for my kiddos, we are experiencing summer at its most intense—and, blessedly, its sweetest too (minus lingering summer colds and a few too many tantrums for my taste). Here’s a look at some of this month’s standout moments and discoveries.
// READING LATELY //
I’m not always great about reading “in season,” but I did squeeze in two very summery books this month—this fun family story and this incredible nod to Huckleberry Finn. Other fiction titles included this mystery that was a miss for me, this exciting World War II story, this creatively told saga, and a handful of middle grade titles (I LOVED this and this). As for nonfiction, I listened to books about the Church and politics and two very different takes on the nature of language and speech. I also inhaled this book about time that I simply can’t stop thinking and talking about.
// LISTENING LATELY //
A sampling of some podcasts that inspired, informed, and intrigued me this month.
The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast 507: Chris Bail on the Truth about Algorithms and Echo Chambers, the Miserable Social Life of Internet Trolls, and How 6% of Users Generate 73% of Extreme Online Content
// MONTHLY KID-ISMS //
My kids were a crackup this month, with Charleston taking the lead once again for the most funny comments. Sully came in with a strong second, with Kali sliding in third—though she won out for the less quotable hilarious moments, like eating mouthfuls of dirt and dog food, giving Daniel Tiger-like monologues to herself in the mirror, surreptitiously smuggling treasures (usually shoes) into her crib at naptime, and performing abstract dances in the nude. These three tots of mine sure do keep me on my toes!
+ When he asked (and I explained) the meaning of the word literally: “Who knew there were so many ways to say you’re telling the truth? There’s, like, literally so many ways!”
+ In a conversation about introversion and extroversion and discussion about whether Charlie is an introvert or an extrovert: “I think I’m a time-o-vert. Some times I like to be around other people, and some times I like to be by myself.”
+ After asking and learning how Luke and I had met (online). “No offense, but that doesn’t really sound like a very Godly way to meet.”
+ Found using our ipad to take videos of Arlo: “Well, we need something to show at Arlo’s funeral.” (For the record, Arlo is in perfectly fine health with no plans of dying any time soon.)
+ After reading a parable in the Bible: “I like how Jesus said that. I mean, it’s not how I would have said it, but I like it. I think He did a good job.”
+ “You know something? I have a feeling when Jesus comes back it will be when I’m still alive. It’s just a feeling. It doesn’t mean I trust the feeling.”
+ Kali, to Charlie: “I’m TALKING to you. Say yes, ma’am!” Me, to Kali: “Kalinda, you don’t need to tell Charlie that. You’re not his boss.” Sully, who had been quietly observing this conversation, pipes up: “No. . . I’M his boss!”
+ Me: “Did you make any new friends at church today?” Sully: “No, Kalinda is my friend. She’s my favorite.”
+ “Oh, Kalinda pulled me! She’s gonna breaked me. We don’t want to break me ’cause Jesus made me!”
+ Pointing to an inflamed pimple on my chin: “Mom, you have a new freckle on your face. It’s a red freckle. Red like my airplane.”
+ “My fingers are dirty. You need to put ’em in the washing machine, don’t ya?”
+ At the splash pad when a little boy came up and said I was his mom, Kali put a protective hand on my leg and waggled her head: “No, she’s not your mama. She’s ALL of our mama!” (Then Sully piped up: “Yeah, she’s all of our mama. But . . . she’s not his mama. Where’s HIS mama?”)
+ “We’re going to Oma and Opa’s house! I’ll love Oma, and you can love Opa, okay?”
// HAPPENINGS & HIGHLIGHTS //
I sure do love our country and with each passing year I grow more thankful to live in this land of the free, and for the chance to celebrate those freedoms each July 4th. We kept our Independence Day celebrations low-key but fun. The afternoon was spent at my in-laws’ house where we barbecued and did some small fireworks and sparklers in the driveway.
That evening all of us (six adults and five kids) went to the nearby town of Marble Falls, where my in-laws had reserved a patio table at a restaurant overlooking Lake Buchanan. We enjoyed a leisurely dinner (the kids did surprisingly well given the late hour and restaurant setting), then oohed and awed our way through an awesome firework show over the water. The show was spectacular, but my favorite sight was my kids’ faces as they took in the scene. Kali was especially enthusiastic about the fireworks, asking to leave off her “ears” (headphones) to get the FULL experience and commenting on each and every firework—”I don’t like that one” (for every non-pink firework) and “Oooh, that’s a good one!” (for every one that was pink. . . the girl knows what she likes!).
For the second summer in a row, our family hosted a backyard VBS-style camp (Camp 75)! Hosting for this is pretty simple: we invite neighbors and friends, then open up our yard for four evenings of songs, games, and stories led by youth from our church. For us, the hardest part is inviting, but I was so proud of Charleston for going door-to-door passing out invites and talking with neighbors we’ve never met. His enthusiasm was off the charts: he created signs to advertise the camp, made checklists of what we needed to do to prepare, and when it came to pass out the invitations he decked out his Hot Wheels Car with “promotional materials” and donned his vest for easy invite storage and access.
The camp itself was so great! We had a lower turnout than last year, but I was thrilled to meet several new neighbors and make some new friends (for me and for the kids). The teens leading the camp did a great job; as always, I was impressed with their maturity and attentiveness to the younger campers. It was such a joy to see our yard being used for community, Gospel teaching, and genuine fun.
My friend Cara and her husband Dan were in town from South Dakota for a few days and we got to spend a long, fun Friday with them. They joined us for a morning at Little Land (Dan was such a trooper, being the only guy in a room full of kids and moms and using the time to bond with his new best bud Charleston). We had lunch at our house and spent the afternoon playing games. And that night my in-laws watched the kids so that Cara, Dan, Luke, and I could have a night on the town. Cara and I have been friends for more than half of our lives and I cherish every time we get to see each other. We never run out of things to talk about, and have that comfortable companionship that is built over decades of friendship. I love that our spouses and my kids have merged seamlessly into our relationship. Our time together was too short, but oh-so-special.
Our library’s Harry Potter-themed summer reading program was one of the biggest highlights of our summer. From the House Sorting and competing for reading points to the elaborate crafts and decor, we loved every minute. This past Saturday the library ended the summer with a fun Closing Ceremony where they announced the winning house, and Charleston was THRILLED that his team (Gryffindor) came in first! The kids had fun picking out prizes from the store using points earned from turning in reading logs, and we participated in some wild outdoor water play and indulged in snow cones. What an ending to a great summer of reading.
// THIS MONTH ON THE BLOG //
And last but not least, a roundup of posts from this month for your belated reading pleasure.
FAITH AND REFLECTIONS:
Land That I Love “I believe in the America imagined by our forefathers, and I continue to pledge my allegiance to this Republic under God. I feel honored to be an American citizen, and blessed to call the United States of America my home. Not my permanent home, of course; I still long for Heaven and its eternal fulfillment of the ideals to which our earthly nations can only aspire. As a temporary residence, though, The United States of America is a great place to be.“
Know-It-Alls “The men and women of history carried an eagerness to seek advice from the village elders. They held a willingness to believe something they could not prove with a virtual fact check. They possessed within them a faith in God (or at least in a Higher Power) who held authority over all. They were people endowed with wonder, and resilience, and interconnection, and faith.“
And When You Pray (Sermon on the Mount, Part 7) “When I pray, am I focused on God’s glory, or on my own eloquence? Those are tough questions to ask, but clearly they matter. They were implied in the very first instructions Jesus gave to His disciples when teaching them to pray, which tells us that the posture of our prayer is every bit as important as the words themselves.“
Charleston Michael // Half Way to Eight! Me: “Charleston, How are you different today than you were one year ago?” Charleston: “Huh, I’m one year older. I can’t think of anything else.”
JUST FOR FUN:
Chill Summer Thursday: So Glad You Asked! “You can file this one under ‘Know Yourself Better’ (because we’re big fans of some quality
navel-gazing introspection around here), or possibly ‘Know Your Friends/Family Better’ (if you choose to bring these questions to your next family dinner or poolside hangout), and definitely under ‘Know Kendra Better’ (as I couldn’t resist answering these myself).“
Chill Summer Thursdays: Happy (Obscure) Holidays! “August 9 is National Book Lovers Day. Prepare ahead with a trip to the library or a bookstore for everyone in the family to choose a book, then have an all-day read-a-thon. Provide plenty of snacks, background music, and comfy spots to read. End the day with book talks where each family member shares what they’ve read.“
FROM THE BOOK CORNER:
Quick Lit // July 2022 With full book reviews of the following books:
5 Stars: I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working (Shauna Niequist), Love & Saffron (Kim Fay), The Appeal (Janice Hallett)
4.5 Stars: Aggressively Happy: A Realist’s Guide to Believing in the Goodness of Life (Joy Marie Clarkson), A Place to Hang the Moon (Kate Albus)
4 Stars: Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Rights Movement (Katy Faust and Stacy Manning), Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Judy Blume), Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase (Carolyn Keene), The No-Show (Beth O’Leary)
3.75 Stars: Cover Story (Susan Rigetti)
Resilient: Restoring Your Weary Soul in These Turbulent Times (Wholehearted Book Series, Book 7) “Now, more than ever, maturity is not optional and ‘wholeheartedness is no longer something we can go without.’ Like the wilderness survivors whose stories introduce each chapter of the book, we must train for the journey and remain diligent in our pursuits.“
Find Your One “Must Read” Book of Summer 2022! I was honored to be included in Carol’s annual roundup of book recommendations from an international community of book reviewers. Check out the awesome roundup to find out which book I chose to recommend!
QUOTES OF THE MONTH:
“We honor our emotions by acknowledging them. We bridle our emotions by keeping them subject to truth.” ~ John Eldredge
“I believe in seeking out beauty absolutely every chance we get, as an act of prayer, as an act of worship, as an act of resistance.” ~ Shauna Niequist
“The authenticity that really matters is living in accordance with the genuine human being God is calling you to become.” ~ N.T. Wright
“I believe being alive is a precious gift, and the greatest crime is to squander it. I believe that there’s reason to hope. I know I can’t exactly prove these things, but in my experience, life is better when you live like they’re true.” ~ Joy Marie Clarkson
August is looking to be a big month for the Jernejcic Crew: a vacation to California to visit family, the start of Second Grade(!) for Charleston and me, and getting back into our school-year groove with a variety of group and ministry opportunities.
How about you: how was your July? What will August hold?