We are in the midst of 87 days of summer around here with ice cream sandwiches, tan lines, and meals on the porch. Yet the highlight of this month certainly was our mission trip to Guatemala.
The week leading up to our mission trip, there were some highlights – perhaps, really, lowlights – that added to my anxiety as I prepared to leave for a foreign country that had recently had a major volcanic eruption. My washing machine was replaced, Ben had an abscessed drained and went on an antibiotic for the infection, and the mechanic insisted my brakes were fine despite the sound I could hear.
Despite all the chaos leading up to the mission trip, our week in Guatemala was smooth and productive. Our team and the missionaries were great to be around. And Rachel enjoyed all the attention and gifts from her grandmas.
(I shared some thoughts on “intentional sacrifices,” a theme I kept seeing in Guatemala. And there are more Guatemala-inspired posts to come.)
Since we’ve been back, the dryer stopped heating and I happened upon a great deal on the one that coordinates with my new washer. My laundry room is in a working order again, thankfully. Oh, and the sound coming from my minivan got worse, prompting Greg to take it back to the mechanic. Turns out all four brakes did indeed have to be replaced. Yes, I had thoughts of “told you so” running through my head so it’s probably good Greg handled that one.
We also had a two-day visit with my cousin-friend Mary and her kids. Clearing the calendar, cooking good meals, and chatting while we were in and around the pool seemed like a vacation. Perhaps we’ll call it a staycation. Whatever it’s called, I was happy she made the drive from Atlanta to be with us.
June, you were full of some surprises, but you were mostly fun. Even so, I’m hoping July involves fewer major purchases.
Ben Rector’s new album “Magic” – It’s been on repeat this week. I really love so many of the lyrics and texted a dear friend the video to “Old Friends.” The songs are nostalgic and have a good summer sound.
Folding utility wagon – Most of Ben’s baseball season, I hauled a wagon in my trunk, but then I found one that folds flat. It’s much easier to cart around in my trunk and works well for getting the chairs and my toddler from the van to the baseball field. I have plans to use it at the soccer fields too when that season is back upon us. (I bought ours at Sam’s, but it looks like Amazon has some similarly priced ones as well.)
From the bookshelf
“A Long Time Gone” by Karen White – I really loved this one. I had picked it up at a yard sale or library book sale some time ago, but I needed a paperback to read by – and sometimes in – my pool. The storytelling over generations and character development were excellent.
“Looking for Me” by Beth Hoffman – This was another one that had been sitting on my shelf after I picked it up at a yard sale or a used book sale. Hoffman is a fellow Kentuckian and part of this story is set in my home state. I thought some of the storytelling reflections back in time could have had smoother transitions into the present day story, but overall I really enjoyed the story. Plus I’m often drawn to books that take place in South Carolina, as this one does when the main character isn’t visiting her Bluegrass roots. I also loved the theme of making old things new, which was conveyed through furniture work, relationships, and letting go of a homestead.
“The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman – I don’t know why I waited so long to read this one. I found it for $3 at a consignment sale and started reading it that same day. I loved the lighthouse setting, the love story, the tension of doing what seemed right even when it was clearly wrong, and the characters.
“All the Breaking Waves” by Kerry Lonsdale – I really only finished this one to see how the story turned out. It was fine, but not nearly as good as those three I already mentioned.
“The Castaways” by Elin Hilderbrand – I love the Nantucket setting, especially in the summer, but this book was a little too much soap opera for me. I wanted to see how these characters ended up and whether there was any redemption to their choices, but this certainly wasn’t my favorite Elin Hilderbrand book.
My book list is always growing, but I shared recently what I’ve read (so far) this year.
On the screen
“I Can Only Imagine” – In preparation for a blog post, I finally watched this movie with Cate. We both enjoyed it. (You can still read my review, although the giveaway is closed now.)