An Invitation to Enjoy a Vintage Summer

June is a special month for Echoes of Grace. Each week I’ve invited one of my friends to share their words with you. Each has a unique way of communicating; each has a special message. Janet starts off the month with a wonderful invitation that I hope you’ll accept as you journey through this summer.

I remember rolling down the window as soon as we turned into the driveway. Everyone in our family hoped to discover the aroma of my Mamaw’s shrimp gumbo as we tumbled out of the car, only a little restless from our drive from Houston to Port Arthur, TX. This was our summer ritual.  My sister and I spent two weeks every summer in Port Arthur – sharing time in the homes of both sets of our grandparents.

Life moved at a different pace for us during those two weeks. True to her generation, Mamaw  enjoyed the hours it took to slowly stir the roux for her gumbo. Gardening, painting, and golf with her friends were given the time they needed too. One of our Papaws was a carpenter – building almost anything: their house, boats of all sizes, and furniture of many styles.  Papaw’s hobby was fishing. Carpentry is a trade of patience, like the hobbies of fishing, golf, painting, gardening, cooking, canning, and sewing. During our visits, my sister and I moved at their patient pace. It was good.

We did what my grandparents did. We cooked – or at least watched – while Mamaw and Momee worked their craft.  We learned the tedious task of pulling weeds side by side with them in their gardens. In his carpenter shop, we swept sawdust, and watched Papaw build. At Mamaw’s, we played Yahtzee every night after dinner; at Momee’s we shelled peas or pecans while listening to the Astro’s game on the radio with Papaw.

As I write this story, I wonder… how old do you think I am?  Summer routines have changed.

The speed of life in summer now resembles the speed of life in the other seasons. Some families enjoy extended bedtimes and “no alarm” mornings.  But once every one is awake,  the clamor for entertainment awakens, too. That “E” word.  Entertainment.

As an occasional guest, entertainment offers the needed laughter, silliness, and the right dose of adrenaline.

But just like any guest, entertainment can make itself too much at home, out-stay its welcome, and change the speed of summer.

Summer longs to offer rest and restoration experiencing most days on “leisure” speed.  Our very souls ache to dance to summer’s slow songs.

Our bodies fight the deceleration.  We’re used to running on adrenaline – and the cortisol cocktail that third degree stress requires as we keep up with the pace of overcrowded schedules. Slowing down creates an unfamiliar tension.

Responding to this tension, we’ll either order from the menu of Entertainment, or we’ll trust and lean in and pick a lighter summer entree’ from the Leisure menu. We love entertainment, and we long to enjoy leisure. Do you recognize yourself?

It’s part of being created in the image of God. Jesus enjoyed weddings, dinner parties, and being the featured speaker of The Hillside Sermon on the Mount.

Many mornings, He lingered alone with His Father.  Many evenings, he lounged at the table with good friends, long after the meal was a memory. He was a carpenter too; a trade of patience.

I’m 54.  Maybe our generation can help re-calibrate the speed of summer.  What if our homes offer the aroma of leisure, simmering like gumbo in a family-size pot on very low heat; or what if restless babies are comforted in the arms of caregivers whose pulse invites them to a calm and quiet rhythm.

I’m comforted in the lap of my Father who invites me to a calm and quiet rhythm.

May it be well with your soul, this summer.

“He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.”
Psalm 23:2, Amplified

A self-proclaimed graceologist, Janet Newberry and her husband Doug are dedicated to a marriage that is a relationship of trust and an intimate community of grace.  Their deepest desire is to see other families delight in the real life, love, and freedom grace offers.

Janet writes regularly at


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