Episode 68: Our Summer Plans & Priorities

This is episode 68, and today I’m talking about our summer plans! I’ll share what each one of us has planned and how we’re making decisions on what our priorities need to be. With the world opening up, we have to be careful not to overextend ourselves in a rush to do all the things again! But we also want to enjoy summer as much as possible. Hopefully we can do both!

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May 10th – Our Summer Plans/Priorities

Hi friends, this is Self-Care and Soul Care for the Caregiver, and I’m your host Sandra Peoples. To us, self-care isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. We need to take better care of ourselves so we can care for those God has entrusted to us.

This is episode 68, and today I’m talking about our summer plans! I’ll share what each one of us has planned and how we’re making decisions on what our priorities need to be. With the world opening up, we have to be careful not to overextend ourselves in a rush to do all the things again! But we also want to enjoy summer as much as possible. Hopefully we can do both!

Before we jump in, I want to mention By the Brook, a virtual conference for special needs moms and female caregivers. It’s coming in June, and registration is already open. I’ll be speaking at it, along with Becky Davidson, Melanie Gomez, and Sandy Ramsey-Trayvick. Listen all the way to the end of the episode for more details.

Now back to today’s topic: I don’t know why I’m surprised each year when it feels like we’re making decisions about summer plans earlier and earlier. But especially for James’s activities, there are deadlines to meet and deposits to put down. Of course this summer we’re also thinking about what’s safest for our family (and that may be different for all of us based on our family’s needs). But it’s fun to hear what we all have planned for the summer, especially for those who have been stricter about safety measures who feel the world opening up to them again. I’m going to share what our family is up to this summer, what our church is up to, and what I’m up to. I hope it will be fun to listen in and plan your own summer adventures!

If this is one of your first episodes to listen to, let me tell you about our family. I have two boys who are 15 and 13. My husband is a pastor, and we live south of Houston. Our younger son James has autism, and comorbid diagnoses like OCD and bipolar. Summer is a tough time for him (and therefore for all of us) because he loves his routine and there isn’t as much of a routine in the summer months. Thankfully, he qualified for ESY, which is summer school for kids with disabilities, this year. We decided not to sign him up for anything extra and just do summer school since they have policies in place that have kept the kids safe all year long. He’ll go half days for two sessions, and hopefully he will enjoy it like he did last summer! If you follow me on Instagram, you know he likes to go swimming at a pool near our house. I’m sure we’ll be there most days. He also helps me in the garden during the summer months, watering a picking tomatoes when they are ready. We’ll try to create routines for him that will help lower his anxiety but still be fun!

David, our older son, is into theater, so he has signed up for a summer production of Matilda with the theater group he usually performs with. Our youth group at church is taking a small number of kids to camp, and he’s excited about that. He’ll also be doing some summer school since we homeschooled this year and didn’t get quite finish a couple subjects. David will turn 16 in the fall, so it kinda feels like the last summer we’ll have him home and not working a part time job or just off with friends most of the time. So I’m going to enjoy our time together as much as possible!

My husband Lee will also be in “summer school” so to speak. He’s working on certification in church revitalization at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX. He will either go up there for a couple days of class or they will do it over Zoom. But either way, he has reading and work to do for it. Thankfully, it’s all stuff he enjoys. He’ll have to take it pretty easy over the summer because he’s still dealing with issues from covid. He has appts with a pulmonologist and cardiologist to figure out what’s causing his continued chest pain and shortness of breath. It bothers him when he climbs stairs or preaches, so we’ll have to encourage him to go slow this summer and continue to give his body a chance to heal.

We are very excited about what’s happening at our church this summer, especially in disability ministry. We’re going to have a summer intern! You may remember episode 38 on managing your mental health with guest Gillian Marchenko. Her daughter is a college student up in Illinois, and she’ll be with us for two months this summer to serve in our special needs ministry and children’s ministry! On Sundays she’ll be focusing on kids who need extra help in our regular classes. She’ll also go to camp and VBS—two things I’m not able to do because I need to be home with James and keep working through the summer. We are also working toward opening a new class in the fall for teenagers and young adults with disabilities, so she’ll get to see the marketing and fundraising side of ministry as we grow. Her being here will be a huge help for me, because I always wish I could do more and feel guilty when I can’t. And it will be a blessing to our families at church whose kids can be more involved than ever before!

Ok, now on to what I have planned for the summer. Two big things really: I’ll keep doing my job as the special needs ministry consultant for our state convention and I’ll be working on a book proposal. I’m very excited about both, but of course with James just in summer school for half days, I’ll have half as much time to do my work. So I’ve decided for me, this will be a summer of no. Inspired by Becky Davidson of Rising Above who did a whole year of no and Diane Kim who took a sabbatical year last year, I’ll be saying no to anything and everything that falls outside of family, church, and job obligations. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, that will include pausing this podcast for a few months. It also means I won’t be answering as many emails or social media messages as usual. If I want to be more available for my family and friends, I have to say no to requests for my time from others.

In The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst, she writes “Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth the less.” That’s what I have to remember. It’s going to be hard to prioritize my time and energy, but it will be easier because I know it’s just for the summer! And it’s for the purpose of being present with my family and being available to the churches I serve throughout the state. Less time at my desk and more time at the pool. Less time on Zoom and more Sonic trips. Less emailing and more book proposal writing. Less scrolling and more eye contact. It’s going to be tough to break some habit and not fall back into people-pleasing mode, but that’s why I have to create these boundaries and make “no” my default answer.

Are there things you may need to say no to this summer in order to say yes to something else? I hope you’ll take some time before the calendar fills up to decide on what your priorities will be. Let’s pray and ask God for wisdom to do just that:

God, You give us so many good gifts. Sometimes we want to say yes to all the options because we don’t want to miss out on any opportunity. But when we overextend ourselves, we are reminded of our limitations. And those limitations are there for our good. As we look ahead to the coming summer months, give is wisdom on what our priorities should be. Give us strength to say no to anything that doesn’t align with Your purpose for us in this season. Thank you for being a God of abundance, not scarcity, so we know there will be time to say yes to everything that’s important enough to say yes to. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Before we’re done, I want to take a minute to tell you about something I said yes to right away because it’s so much fun! I’ll be speaking at By the Brook, a refreshing weekend just for moms, grandmothers, and female caregivers of individuals with special needs & chronic illness. This event includes encouragement, inspiration, dynamic worship, and powerful teaching—all while spending quality time with other moms who “get it.” You’ll experience amazing worship and have fun during special breakout sessions. You will leave Refreshed, Restored and Renewed! The retreat will be live online: Friday evening (7-9 pm cst) & Saturday (9am-2pm cst) on June 25-26, 2021. Tickets are $10. Visit risingaboveministries.org/bythebrook for more info and to register!

Friends, I want to say an extra special thank you for spending time with me today and for many of you, spending time with me each week for the last year and a half! I’m going to miss thinking about what message might encourage you every Monday. But of course I’m glad we can connect on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll meet you back here in August! Know that I’m praying for you as you abide in Christ and live out your calling.

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