Tonight the kids will be staying up as late as they want to.
And tomorrow morning we will be sleeping in.
The craziness that has been our lives lately - lots of commitments, lots of driving here and there, late nights, early mornings - has finally ended, and it couldn't have ended on a better note. Today we attended our annual church picnic at the home of some friends and fellow church members who live on Hamlin Lake (a beautiful, popular inland lake, for my non-local readers). We had a pig roast, lots of great covered dishes and desserts, a wonderful outdoor service, and even a round of Kum-By-Ah. A group of us from Vacation Bible School sang a couple of songs from our "High Seas Expedition" week (during which I was too busy or too exhausted to take pictures - phooey), and the kids even got in a few minutes of fishing in the bayou before we left.
Other than Steve having to leave to go back to work in West Virginia after a wonderful visit - all 35 hours of it - it was a near perfect day.
This evening I sat down to take a break from cleaning house and started flipping through channels on the TV. I landed on Dateline. It was a special about how the recession has touched the lives of folks who were already poor, particularly in an area of southern Ohio.
I must have been overtired, because before long I was in tears.
I cried because I can't believe there are people going hungry in the United States of America. I cried because I understand the fear that comes with desperately seeking a job when there are none available, and wondering how long the food in the pantry and freezer will last. And then I cried happy tears because my family's life is so full and so blessed, and it was that way even in the midst of some pretty stormy times.
So while I am sad every time Steve has to leave again to go back to his job, and while I get a little sideways when I'm tired of parenting two children by myself (essentially), I praise God because we are blessed. We are fed and clothed and we have our home and each other. Our circumstances do not make life easy and perhaps are not ideal for a family, but we make it work. And while I feel overwhelmed at times when we have so much to do and so many places to go and people to see, I need to remember that it's much better than the alternative: having no one, or not being able to go and do and see.
This week will be a week of rest. The kids and I will be catching up on a few things around the house, but mostly we will be relaxing and enjoying each other (Ha! I can hope, right?) and I will be taking some time to reflect on the abundance of our lives.
Here's to enjoying the rest of the summer ... at a slower pace.