Summer is my favorite season. There are so many things that I love about this time of year. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that I’m about 30 minutes away from some of the best beaches in the country, but that not why it’s my favorite. Summer symbolizes freedom. Summer is the time for family vacations, time off from work, no alarm clocks and so much more. I suppose my affection for summer started as a child. I loved school, but summer was full of exploration and wonder. All of the things that you just didn’t have time for during the school year. Even as an adult, it seems as though everything that I enjoy the most occurs during the summer season. Summer is normally a great time of year for our family. Schedules are typically more lax, and it seems like the days are longer and filled with fun. I always look forward to the summer season with my kids. Bedtimes are not enforced and we all look forward to family time without all the restrictions that are imposed during the school year.

This summer has been nothing like that. Our schedules have been overcrowded and have not allowed for our normally lazy days. The things that we all look forward to about summer have evaded us so far. I must admit this has been a challenge for me. I have found myself focusing on things that are beyond my control, and allowing myself to be consumed with a sense of longing for what used to be. It seems as though the carefree summers I’ve alway known are now a thing of the past. I can’t pinpoint why this year is different from any other. Is it because the kids are older and have schedules of their own? Is it because we work more and vacation less? I admit that this was not a change that I anticipated or that I was prepared for. All year long I look forward to summer, but this year I’m sad to say summer is not what I had hoped it would be.

Isn’t this true of so many things in our lives? When you enter into a season or circumstance that is not what you planned for how do you respond? Can you still find joy and contentment even when things are not what you expected?  We must be intentional about what we focus our energy and effort on. When I have times of distress or fear, I have always found that the best way to change my attitude is to change my focus. When you are weighed down with your own worries it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Encouraging others and lifting one another up never fails to give me the perspective that I need. Although trials may come, we as believers and followers of Christ are to focus on things that are eternal.

I don’t normally participate in challenges, but the timing for this particular challenge is right on time and this is one that I couldn’t pass up. Shanna Noel of Illustrated Faith recently launched a new card line with DaySpring. Here is a sneak preview of the card line below.

 

  

   

To celebrate the collaboration Shanna created the 30 Days of Happy Mail Challenge. Check out the video below for more information.  This is a 30-day challenge, which means every day for 30 days you send a card or letter to your friend, family member, neighbor etc! I don’t normally participate in challenges, but the timing couldn’t have been any better if I tried. The challenge officially began on July 1st, but it’s not too late to join in on the fun. I decided to partner up with a few other bloggers and I am looking forward to spreading the love. I thought this would be a great way to encourage myself while doing something for someone else. It doesn’t hurt that I have a love for all things related to cards and stationary! If you aren’t having the summer you hoped for, change your focus, and find a way you can bless someone else today. Share with me below how you like to encourage others and what encourages you!