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A flock of geese landed on the surface of the pond, spraying water and splashing until they settled and headed straight for us. At the water’s edge, the geese strode onto the muddy bank, confident and swaggering. They nudged the quacking ducks out of their way and demanded their share of snacks.

My daughter and I tore bread and tossed chunks onto the mud at the birds’ feet. We spent many summer mornings at this pond, feeding the ducks that paddled on the water, and laughing at the bravado of the geese.

My favorite summer memories are of the simple moments I shared with my daughter. We didn’t have much money, so activities had to be inexpensive or free. We found simple entertainments: rollerblading to the park, browsing books at the library. I learned to find joy watching geese land on a pond and appreciating time with someone important to me. The simplest memories make summer special.

Of course, the internet is filled with frugal summer fun ideas. Click here or here for a few, or check out my summer fun board on Pinterest. I pray you enjoy a simple and fun summer!

Where will you go to spend time with special people this summer? What are your favorite summer memories?

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This week’s post is the continuation of a regular musing on my former blog: lizology101.

As I often do when facing a difficult decision, I called my old friend and mentor, Vivian. I explained the situation and described my uncomfortable feelings about it, detailing the sense of unease that had haunted me for weeks.

“If you are uncomfortable, listen to that feeling,” my friend advised. “You are hearing from God right now. That feeling is his Spirit telling you what decision to make.”

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

God speaks to us in many ways: through circumstances, closed doors or wide-open opportunities; through conversations, the advice of trusted friends and mentors; and sometimes through the emotions that guide our choices and direct our progress.

Hunches and gut feelings, nagging dissatisfaction or discontent can be God’s way of alerting us to make a necessary change. My misgivings and discomfort about the situation I faced told me it was time to alter my path. When we listen carefully to our emotions, we can identify the promptings God provides.

Discerning our feelings takes time and practice to develop. It is important to be aware of what our hearts are saying, evaluate the messages our emotions express, and consider carefully before making a choice. Listening to the language of our hearts is the way to hear God’s voice.

Today I pray you hear what your heart is telling you. Know that God is always speaking through his Spirit.

When have you known God was directing your steps? When did you hear God speak to your heart?

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I recently returned from a road trip through South Dakota. We explored the Black Hills on winding, tree-lined highways and snapped pictures of rock formations while I contemplated the lessons I learned from my travels.

What is built on rock endures. Gutzon Borglum carved Rushmore into the granite of a mountainside. The memorial to our nation’s leaders has endured decades of driving rain and lashing winds. God tells us when we build our lives on the rock of faith, we will endure the decades of life’s storms and challenges. We succeed by building our lives on truth, trust, and commitment -- the foundations that last.

It’s a long, hard walk to the top. We joined the Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Mountain and hiked almost six miles over rough terrain, struggled up steep mountain trails, and finally enjoyed the view from the outstretched arm of the Crazy Horse carving. Life is often like that climb: exhausting, difficult, and dangerous; but if we persevere, we are rewarded for our efforts with a greater view of God’s purpose.

 

Some mysteries will never be explained. At the Cosmos Mystery Area, trees lean sideways, cabin walls slant crookedly, tennis balls roll uphill, water defies gravity and pools in odd formations. No one can explain why this place is strange. No one can understand why some events occur. Only God knows the wisdom of his greater plan, and we will never comprehend all the mysteries of his ways.

Enjoy time with family and friends. The best part of any journey is exploring new roads and sharing experiences with our traveling companions. In South Dakota, I most enjoyed sitting with my family near the campfire at night, talking about our adventures of the day, and planning new excitement for the next. I am grateful for the people who share my life. I know I still have much to learn, and I’m looking forward to everything the road ahead reveals.

This summer, I pray you discover wonderful new vistas. Know God is always with you on your travels.

What have you learned on a trip or time away? What do you look forward to discovering in the future?

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