How to Stretch Summer Long

Photo credit
At seven am this morning, loud electronic chirping echoed
through our house. Narrowing it down to the fire alarm near the kitchen, my
husband perched on rickety wooden chair, pushing buttons, searching for a
battery plate, and unwired it from the wall. Nothing worked and he eventually
had to race off to worship practice, with the issue unsolved.
We ignored it through breakfast and showers, extracted bikes
from the garage, and biked away to church, leaving the repetitious chirps
At church, my teen daughter and I cared for three babies and
toddlers in a nursery room filled with plastic foods, naked dolls, and race
cars. In pink shorts and sleeveless shirt, one curly-haired preschooler fed
imaginary applesauce to her baby brother. He instinctively opened his mouth
each time the empty plastic spoon approached his lips. Her brother was
expectantly obedient each time, and she was delighted with her live baby doll. My
daughter and I watched this interaction and laughed, while sipping imaginary
soup from yellow plastic cups. 
After church over parmesan ravioli and corn on the cob, we
perched on wooden chairs again, pulling wires, hunting fire alarms throughout
the house, trying new batteries, and flipping fuses. An hour later, we solved
the mystery and dissolved into laughter at a nearby carbon monoxide detector –
the culprit hidden away and guilty. 
The afternoon stretched deliciously long, summer shadows
stretching lean across crisp yellow grass. Friends came and went, the driveway
full of cars parked haphazardly, and new players were dealt in. Spaghetti spread
on plates stacked high, and towering young men bowed heads low in prayer. Laughter and hours flew by. 

Later, my niece, son, husband and I grabbed terry cloth
towels to sit around the fire pit. Juicy cherries spilled sweetness; marshmallows
roasted caramel and melted chocolate squares; and son pulled guitar close,
sprawling paper lyrics wide. “Choose the songs,” he said. “They’re alphabetical.
Just keep the wood coming, please, Mom, so I can see.” 
I snapped twigs, and the three of us sang. 
“When the music fades
And all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the ways things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
All about You, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath…”

-chances to serve Jesus clothed in toddler pink and in
baby angst
-calm laughter through hours of electronic beeping and
-family, friends, laughter, friendly game-competition
-long summer afternoons
-shared suppers
-evening bonfires, cherries sweet, marshmallows golden
-worship from my family’s throats
Song credit to Matt Redman. 

Hello friends, what are you thankful for today? Or, what was one delicious thing you ate this weekend? 

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  1. Muddy Toes on September 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I am thankful for a nearby auntie for my girl…a warm place of comfort and fellowship…and hearts that understand. Thanks for being there this week!

  2. Muddy Toes on September 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I am thankful for a nearby auntie for my girl…a warm place of comfort and fellowship…and hearts that understand. Thanks for being there this week!

  3. Jennifer Dougan on September 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Danke, Muddy Toes!

    My pleasure, for sure.


  4. LOLITA on September 4, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Yes, lovely time to be thankful. I am thanking God for unspoken words that would surely break another (esp. the hubby). For the gentleness still a babe and new yest coming for sure. For being able to do some needed assistance and errands. For gifts unexpected which ticks the hour and for shared dinner. For a job long been pined for for my partner in life. For a new job first for my son. And for shared confidences and prayers.

    I owe them to Him, all of them.

    What a wonderful list you have, Jen. Blessings and continue to shine among your parsonage ladies and their babes.

  5. Glenda Parker Fiction Writer on September 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Wow what a great weekend you had.
    Saturday my granddaughter was attcked by a fellow student from high school as he beat her and kicked her he told her how much he loved her. The police stayed late at our home that night. The boy was arrested and sent to a mental hospital for evaluation. It was a hard weekend for us but God was there and she did get away before he could he rape her or do serious damage. God is good even in those days that should be wonerful. God bless you guys.

    Glenda Parker

  6. Anonymous on September 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    What a lovely thought, "How to Stretch Summer Long" — I'm working on it! Thanks for sharing your Sunday morning and afternoon with your readers. I'm visiting from Ann's today and loved reading your list, especially "Jesus dressed in toddler pink." 🙂

  7. Jennifer Dougan on September 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm


    I am so sorry about your daughter! That is horrible. I am thankful she was rescued and is recuperating.


  8. Denise on September 5, 2012 at 3:15 am

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend.

  9. AmyAlves on September 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    What a lovely re-cap sister! I enjoyed reading along… p.s. Praying for great successes and learning on the first day of school today! 🙂 ~ Love from Maine, Amy

  10. Jennifer Dougan on September 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm


    I am so thrilled for your good news! I popped over to your site to talk more…


  11. Jennifer Dougan on September 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm


    Thanks for stopping by and counting God's gifts with me. The "Jesus dressed in toddler pink" was a fun thought for me too — thank you.

    I look forward to getting to know you more.

    Jennifer Dougan

  12. Dolly@Soulstops on September 6, 2012 at 5:43 am

    what a blessing to share a meal and singing with friends…thanks for sharing, Jennifer 🙂

  13. on September 8, 2012 at 4:45 am

    I am thankful for being with my son for his first ride on a rollercoaster. Hearing his laughter and joy all through the day as he chatted and joked with his friends. 🙂

  14. Jennifer Dougan on September 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm


    What a treat to be able to sit beside your son on his first roller coaster ride to hear him shriek and laugh. 🙂

    Grinning with you,
    Jennifer Dougan

  15. Jennifer Dougan on September 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm


    Always nice to see your name on my screen… thank you.

    Jennifer Dougan

  16. Jennifer Dougan on September 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Denise and Amy,

    Thank you.

    Jennifer Dougan

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