Monday, June 21, 2010

Streets of quiet

4:24 p.m. Today's project was to take an order of Mary Kay facial products to a sweet customer and friend, my daughter's mother-in-law. She's enjoying her first week of summer vacation from teaching, and looks forward to getting some projects done in their new home.

I well remember, in addition to taking the kids to the beach or making college visits, having a "task" assigned to each summer, like organizing all of our family photos into albums. Steve and I stripped and steamed off wallpaper in the family room and painted it a more modern taupe color, and covered the brick fireplace in clean white smooth stucco, along with making brick patio inserts; and I enjoyed re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia. I look back on that summer as highly productive--and I taught summer school 4 mornings a week! Teachers have to stay busy, I guess the upshot is!

The next two summers, Fridays were devoted to a summer Bible study I taught in a friend's home: Colossians, then the first three chapters of Ephesians. When the district got stingy with summer school positions, the Bible study was shifted to Thursdays for Ephesians 4-6, Galatians last year, and now I Samuel. That way, we all agreed, people can take off for trips on Fridays, like we did for our Yellowstone adventure last year. I'm not sure if we have much planned this year in the way of out-of-state travel because of Steve's condition, but an August trip to Shaver Lake is still on. We'll visit Steven in Fresno, bookending our camping stay. However, let's keep in mind that we need to quote James 4:15: "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."

Couldn't help but notice as I drove down Central Avenue to Palm, past the Riverside Plaza at about 3:45 p.m., how quiet the streets were! Normally, that's a very busy time at the Riverside Drive/Central intersection. After school time saw all the teachers, as well as parents who'd just picked up their kids, out on errands. That is certainly when you'd find me at Vons getting a nice caramel mocha frappucino at their Starbucks, unwinding after a stress-filled day, strolling down the aisles for a few items. I had no rush to get home, because Steve was still at work and the kids were on their own, working, attending college or both.

In this season, however, teachers and moms can do their errands throughout the day, not having to be tied to a bell schedule, just like I can since I retired last June! I remember as a teacher, pretending up until the last minute that I was a homemaker all the time, and that summer with my kids--or young adults--would never end!! But end it did, and I began to get excited to go to school and pick up my class list, see my colleagues, catch up on all the travel, wedding and baby news. then I'd begin to decorate my classroom. The flurry of activity would be echoed in my home, as college class registration, financial aid, book purchases and housing plans took center stage for our family.

I'm enjoying the calmer atmosphere here in Riverside, the kids out biking, skateboarding, or taking a first independent trip with a friend to the store. In the yard behind us, small children were having a little pool party. My daughter will be taking in the beach, Disneyland and Sea World once her teaching year ends. The siblings who work full time in other professions will be experiencing summer much like we are--not much change. But one day they will be parents of school kids too!

The garden is thriving, the heat is not bad yet, and Steve and I have plenty of projects to keep us busy. Peaceful days. But the peace I value most, whether the days are hectic or placid, is the "peace that surpasses all understanding," of Philippians 4:7, the peace that "will guard [my] heart and mind in Christ Jesus!"

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