July is a Picnic – Except in a Heat Wave

Lauren Sparks

Heat Wave

It feels even hotter than a heat wave, but as this publishes, my family and I are on the tail end of a week’s vacation. Did we wing off to Europe, down to Mexico, someplace tropical or are we escaping this southern heat?  Nope.  It’s college visits for us this year.  We went to Montgomery, Alabama and toured Auburn, went to the Equal Justice Initiative‘s museum and memorial and hung out by the pool. Montgomery may not be flashy, but my best friend and her people live there so that’s enough reason for me to visit!

We then hopped over to Nashville to tour Belmont and do the whole music scene.  My 17 year old songbird wanted book time in a studio to record a song herself.  We also planned a double decker bus tour and a trip to the Grand Ole Opry with a backstage tour.  The plan is to let her sing in the famous circle there.  I say that’s the plan because I’m writing this all before we leave home.

But let’s back up and take a look at the month gone by:

We decided to go back to my in-laws lake house for Independence Day.  We can sit on their balcony or even in recliners in the air conditioning and watch the fireworks over Canyon Lake through a huge picture window.  It’s my 4th of July Favorite.  Shelby showed the enthusiasm of a toddler seeing the display for the first time.  She laughed joyfully, exclaiming “Yay!” over and over again – even though she’s seen fireworks many times before.  She made the whole thing so much more fun.

Upon returning home Allie had a day and a half before leaving for All-State Choir Camp at a nearby college.  We were able to attend a camp-ending concert which showcased how much these talented kids learned in 3 days time.  Then Allie was home for another day and a half before leaving for volunteer training at Camp Blessing.

I took Shelby to Camp Blessing (with the help of my good road tripping friend Terri) the day after Allie went.  This week was amazing and meaningful for both girls.  Camp Blessing is a Christian sleep-away camp for special needs kids and adults.  Shelby has gone for many years now and I cry every year when picking her up knowing that a young person gave away her time to care for my daughter.  And this year I not only had a camper, but one of those selfless volunteers as well.  What an indescribable gift.  Allie wants to go back as staff for multiple weeks next year!

Chuck and I took those kidless days to play a little.  We went to a dine in movie for date night, hosted a game night with friends at our house, and I had a day date to another movie with a girlfriend.  Fun = rest for me so this was good soul filling time.

Those movies I mentioned?  Thor:  Love and Thunder and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.  I found the first one funny (lots of slapstick that some critics are not loving) but not really in keeping with the MCU.  The later is so very charming.  I don’t know if you can still find it in the theaters, but go if you are able.  Especially if you like a period piece and don’t like the foul language and crassness of most modern movies.

At home the hubs and I started the series The West Wing.  We never watched it during its network TV run, but knew we would enjoy it since we liked Designated Survivor – another political drama.  Not finding The West Wing for free on any of our streaming services, we opted to kick it old school and check out the DVD’s from the library.  This worked great until we finished the first season and now wait as someone else has season two check out.  Old school problems, am I right?

To fill the time we started How I Met Your Mother on Hulu.  I enjoy a traditional sitcom and Chuck tolerates it until we can get back to our drama.  We side-tracked into the documentary Janet about Janet Jackson.  Originally on Lifetime, you can find it on Hulu or Prime now.  An interesting look into this show business family and the 2nd most successful sibling.

I tried the YA drama The Summer I Turned Pretty on Amazon Prime but bailed by the 3rd episode due to repeated F-bombs and other unsavory content.  We also checked out The Terminal List – also on Prime – after hearing good things but I couldn’t get past the language again.  I also heard it contained a lot of violence, but we didn’t get that far.

That about wraps up July for us.  I would love to hear what you have been doing with your summer – or if you have any TV or movie recs to help us pass the time until our next West Wing DVD.  Good grief! And as always I love you, I thank you, and I hope this heat wave does not extend to August.

Now for this week’s featured post from the link up!

Lynn J Simpson ministered to me this week with What I Know for Sure.  Her thoughts on dreams unrealized and resting in God’s plan felt like a balm to so much of what I’ve been dealing with.  Maybe her beautiful words will touch you, too.

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Lauren Sparks is a wife and mom of 2 daughters – one with special needs – and one bonus son. She lives, worships Jesus, and teaches yoga in Dallas, TX area. She is a contributing author on 3 devotional books, she shares her adventures, victories, and flub-ups from her laptop at

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