Yes, it is now July, and I’m very late in getting after this. Somehow the summer days slip by, and I thought, ah well, better late than never.
My Favorite June Things
Jumping off docks at 8:00 in the morning is always a great thing.
We spent a few peaceful days at my parents’ lake cabin. Naturally the children wanted to swim all day. My only requirement was that they first eat breakfast and then wait that full hour before taking the plunge…yeah right. They shoveled in breakfast, scrambled into their suits, and literally ran off the end of the dock–end of story.
And how about me? Did I follow suit? Not a chance. I drank my coffee and read The Remnant on shore.
2. Catching Fish is a favorite for the boys.
The boys caught this thing off the end of the dock. Don’t ask me what kind of fish it was. I love to eat fish, but I hate to touch them.
3. Drinking wine on the deck with my husband and eating olives is a lovely way to spend an evening.
I think I could live off of wine, bread, cheese, and olives–in all their varieties of course. I’m pretty sure that all the food groups are present in the above list: fruit, grain, milk, vegetables… Well, what are olives anyway? Vegetables? Fruit? Meat? Somebody clue me in, for I’m too lazy to Google it.
4. I love fresh wild flowers from the backyard for my table every day.
The Little Girls supply me with fresh flowers for both the dining room and the breakfast-nook table every day. They just hike up our hill in the backyard and gather at will.
At our old place in North Dakota, the ditches were very obliging for these kinds of bouquets. We always found such things as alfalfa, aster, sunflowers or goldenrod.
Here, on the very edge of eastern Minnesota? I’m still figuring it out. We’ve got butterfly-weed, clover, fleabane, and what looks like daisies.
5. Corpus Christi Processions are definitely a June favorite.
Our Corpus Christi procession featured six Torch Bearers, two Acolytes, two Thurifers, a Cross-Bearer, an MC, four Laymen of Distinction carrying the canopy, our priest, and Jesus Christ King of the Universe. The rest of us trailed behind in gratitude and thanksgiving.
6. Another favorite? Campfires in the backyard with s’mores.
The boys built a fire pit in our backyard up on the hill. After dousing and sanctifying it and the surrounding area with Holy Water, we proceeded to enjoy a small blaze. Everyone had to have a bath afterwards.
7. Lastly, a DIY project. Who doesn’t need a white cross in their backyard?
In our neighborhood a couple of houses have erected large white crosses, which they lit up brilliantly during Lent and the Easter octave. (Given these dark times, perhaps we ought to keep them perpetually lit?)
Anyway, as we had some extra wood lying around, my husband put one together. And if you look closely at the photo, you’ll also see a small statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus off to the right. This is our children’s mini shrine.
DIY: Instructions on how to build your own Cross:
Rummage around the garage for some spare wood.
Get one of your sons to saw two pieces of wood to whatever lengths you desire, allowing extra length for the vertical beam to be buried.
Grab the spare can of white paint from the basement. If it’s not crusted and rusted over, and if it happens to be an exterior paint as well, paint your wood.
Use one stake and a couple of screws to affix the crossbeam to the vertical beam.
Get your husband to dig a deep hole. (Who are we kidding? In this household, my husband’s been doing all the work on this project already.)
Keep digging. You’ll need the hole to be deeper than you think. (Apparently 10% of the length of a transmission pole, plus an addition foot, is buried beneath the ground for stability, etc.)
Stand off from afar, as your husband holds the heavy cross, and say such things as, “A little to the left now. Oh, well, a little to the right. That’s it. No, now it’s crooked!”
Send a kid to the garage for the level to place on the crossbeam.
Fill in the hole, crack a bottle of wine, and enjoy it from a distance.
The children of their own accord made a little shrine in our trees the other day. (They affectionately call these trees, The Wildness.) They gathered lilacs and other flowers in bloom, made blue sashes with star badges, and used sticks for swords. They also made a little flag.
It was all in honor of Mary, Our lady, Star of the Sea. I have no idea why they chose this title, especially since we live nowhere near a sea. (Does the Missouri River count?)
After making all their preparations, they marched my husband and I outside and made us all stand in a line with the 5-year-old leading the way with the flag. Then, we sang their favorite Marian song, Regina Caeli, as we walked through the yard and Wildness to their prepared shrine. Once there, the boys made us walk through their swords, which were meant to be something like the Knights of Columbus, and we solemnly knelt down and prayed, asking for Mary’s intercession for our family.
It was sweet and beautiful.
But you know what? They wouldn’t have done this or had time for it, if we constantly shuffled them around from one activity to another.
Dear families, slow down.
Put the screens away. Let your children play and use their imaginations. If they complain of boredom, make them lie out on a blanket under a tree and stare at the leaves and the sky. Give them a notebook and make them write down 50 things they can see. Clouds? Bark? Ants? Blades of grass? Birds?