About the Author

Becky loves serving as (in)courage’s Community Manager. She is a speaker and author of No Better Mom for the Job. Becky is a huge fan of Voxer, Sunday naps, and championing women. She lives near Los Angeles and loves hiking shady trails with her husband and three spirited sons.

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  1. Oh, my goodness, this post is like a trip down memory lane for me, the mum of four boys. Spending summer days with tiny tornadoes, I always made such elaborate plans, but came to the end of the summer with very few check marks. Now, with the youngest in high school and everyone else a towering man, they reminisce about crazy fun, and it’s always the spontaneous and creative self-made stuff that they laugh about. I loved sharing in your summer memories this morning, Becky.

  2. Love this! My oldest starts high school next week and spent 3 weeks of her summer away from us (2 weeks at camps and 1 week with a friend who lives in another state). As a teacher, I used to see summer as a time to complete tasks on my to do list that I dont have time for during the school year. But as my kids get older, I am realizing soon they won’t be around and I should savor our “lazy” crazy days of summer. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your years as a mom of elementary age kids. Fun times

  3. Becky,
    Reading about what you DID do, I’d say you aced summer!! Oh how our “great expectations” can be our own undoing. So thankful for a God who is able to fill in the gaps. I know I’ve shared this before, but my 24 year old little boy’s favorite childhood memory is when we’d both take our lawn chairs (mine large, his pint-sized) out to the end of the driveway and simply sit and “watch the world go by.” We’d look for cloud formations, tell silly stories, make faces at each other, and wave at passers by. No one would make a Hallmark movie about that….but that was OUR Hallmark movie and, in my son’s mind, definitely memory worthy. Sometimes simple, like painting rocks, makes the best memories! Loved this!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev, I LOVE that! Just sitting side by side, watching the world go by. When we slow long enough to enter into the imaginative worlds of children, it’s one of the sweetest gifts. Thanks for your encouragement.

  4. “I’ll take stock of each blessing. Count every gift. Not to convince myself that I measure up…” Great reminder to count our blessing in whatever form it is.

  5. Amen and amen. As a teacher I had summers off. At the end of the summer I could only see the unfinished projects. One summer I decided to record what I did each day, not the every day chores but the extras I fit in. At the end of the summer I still had the “undone” list but the list of what had gotten done was huge. Cured the woeful self castigation about my supposedly unproductive summer. So glad you had a summer in review in your camera!

    • I love that idea, Kathy. It’s so easy to cling to our perceived shortcomings instead of celebrating our triumphs. And yes, I’m thankful for captured moments, too! Blessings.

  6. Becky, you certainly have a way with words. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. You made me feel as if I was right there among your tribe and left me with a heartwarming reminder to appreciate the smaller moments. Thank you for being transparent. What a gift you are to your boys.

  7. Doesn’t sound like failure to me! Making special memories, capturing them on camera — a wonderful summer….and there’s always next year for the other “to-do’s”!

    • Absolutely, Angela! Thank you! And you’re right…this was actually a look back on two summers ago, and this summer some of those undone things did get done! We went to the library several times and all three of my boys learned to swim. A sweet reminder to embrace each season and know that in time, the important things will come.

  8. Wonderful ideas – not only with the pictures you took, but also the thanksgivings you listed everyday. How exciting to look back and see what God did all summer long!

  9. What a wonderful post! My two sons are much older now (each “adults” living at home and attending college), but I can still relate to the feeling of wondering if we’re doing it “good enough”, feeling the constant pressure of the “to-do” list trying to squeeze joy out of my days, and starting to feel like we missed summer.

    Thank-you for helping me to remember to focus on the good (even if not perfect), and to enjoy our last weeks of summer to the full…..no matter how they turn out. (We in the north with college students have a few more weeks.)

    Blessings as you finish summer and start another school year with your family!

    • Thank you so much! Yes, I suspect slowing down, savoring, and giving thanks is a challenge and necessity in every season of life. Blessing to you and your boys too.

  10. Your post is a lovely way to start my week as I sit on my deck feeling grateful for the sun, blue skies and warm temperatures. In fact it prompted me to count the blessings of my summer with family and friends. It was a busy one, with lots of entertaining, but had so many happy memories! Also, To me, a mom of boys who are long gone, your summer definitely sounds perfect. Your hours together are what memories are all about, and that’s what is important. What a great mom you are! ❤

    • Susan, I can just picture you there on your deck. How that must warm God’s heart too, to hear you giving thanks for His good gifts. …and you’re right, when my sons are grown I can’t imagine looking back and wishing for less time together. The small moments really do add up to a life big with blessings.

  11. Oh how I loved this! Don’t we all fail to measure up to the ideals we have in our minds for. . .well . . .everything!!! Beautiful and spot on piece this morning!

  12. We did not do many educational things (in that sense) either this summer. Having fun, relaxing and adventuring were our cup of tea. I really enjoyed reading this. I saw myself in so many of your words. Thank you for sharing!

  13. This abandoned recall is such a poignant reminder that the days of memories made together easily in comfort, messy yet wild and free do change over time. The littles grow up and summers are filled with plans to be with peers, at work, preparing to move on…be independent. Cherish every moment even in the changes because soon you return to the quiet of life as they need you less and you as a mom wish they would always need you more. Thank you for these reminders. Blessings

    • Corena, such wise words. I know the season you speak of will come…even if in hard moments of mothering littles it feels like an eternity away. I’m hard set on savoring each stage with my boys and soaking up every gift. Thank you!

  14. Becky,
    Thank-you for your post, it was an absolute joy to read. It sounds like your Summer has been what it’s meant to be, filled with special memories, and not at all a fail. It’s the simplest of things that can have the most meaning…. A little neighbor brought me two rocks this Summer that he’d painted and I was deeply touched. I let him set them in the garden where he thought they belonged. The Lady Bug Tic Tac Toe the kids and I painted has lasted forever. And the rocks painted as a family over time are still tucked in the garden.

    Have a blessed day all,

    Penny

  15. Becky ,
    Although my one and only child , ( daughter ) is in her Internship , I still often feel like I failed in many seasons throughout her childhood and still today .But , as you mention , when we think about the simple little blessings in those seasons and today , we should be amazed at our lives , what we have shared with our kids and know we are loved by God and not judged.
    I was diagnosed when the a life- threatening illness when my daughter was 12 , so that makes me really judge and think of myself of a failure often , when I think back and feel I should have done more ! But then I realize when I read things like this , every little blessing and memory shows us that we did so our jobs as a Morher as best we could ( can ) . Just know that you got home on this one , you’re definitely not along with your thinking and God loves us all and knows how hard we try . Some days , just watching our kiddos and their excitement with the beauty of the nature He provides us is enough !
    Much love and have a great school year.!

  16. We put so much pressure on ourselves, don’t we? Sounds like your summer was exactly what it was supposed to be. 🙂 I think that we often stamp “perfect” on what is actually contrived. We deem it perfect, so we try to force it. But, in a little boy world, they just want freedom to explore and someone to look into their eyes. May our definitions of perfect become more like those of free little ones. — My three little boys are now 22, 19, and 15 and oh for another day of painting rocks and bedtime stories. — Sounds to me like you chose the better thing. ((Hug))

  17. As a Mom of four kids, I could really relate to this post. There were so many things I wanted to do this summer with my kids but didn’t get to. I loved the reminder to focus on what we did do. Thanks for sharing!

  18. When my boys were abut the ages yours are now, at the end of month, I would ask each of them, what was the most fun thing we did this month. I would try to guess and most of the time I was wrong. Their answers were
    always the small simple things – like going for ice cream on the way home from school. Some of their answers, I had forgotten. All their answers told me what they enjoyed and reminded me that the simple and small things create the best memories.

  19. Becky, I just love your way with words! Thank you for not only giving us tools to show ourselves grace but showing us how to use them. Being thankful for how things really went down probably brings more glory to God than trying to fit into a box of (even realistic) expectations. Thank you so much for this!

  20. Oh thank you so much for this. This is my last summer before my first goes to kindergarten and I have felt failure on more occasions than I’d like. It’s also the first summer with my third and final newborn so all of those things I wanted to do with my first baby now going off to school I just didn’t manage to squeeze in. I feel like I’ve failed her more than anything. Prior summers were all go, go, go creating memories at the zoo, aquarium, library, you name it and all of that stuff took a back seat with a new baby in the house. I hope she had just as much fun being home with mom on maternity leave and creating memories at home but I really do feel like I’ve failed somehow.

  21. My daughters are grown and when I recall our precious summertime memories or look at vacation photos, there is not one cleaning photo in there at all.

    I do remember macaroni and rice art and making ice cream in a baggie. I remember bicycle rides and wet swim suits in the laundry room. I remember neighbor kids and play dough, barbie dolls and American Girl books and a million trips to the library.

    I think you reminded us all what summer is really about.

  22. Becky,

    People set their expectations very high. Sure doing some reading, learning to write would be good. All those guys really needed was fun time with mom & dad. There will be plenty of time to learn all that other stuff. Let summer have its fun. Don’t be hard on yourself-you all had fun & were there for the boys. Count your blessings! God will handle the rest!

    Blessings 🙂

  23. “Focusing on my shortcomings crowds out the memories of all the blessings.” That phrase hit me between the eyes. And yes, it sounds like you had a great summer. And like my husband says, “Showing up is half the battle.’ And that is what you did.

  24. This was SO SO good for me to read today! I’ve been feeling like I just let summer slip away – I had so many plans, and so many of them never came to pass, and the ones that did certainly didn’t live up to the plan in my mind. Such good perspective. I think I need to scroll through my photos before I go to sleep to remind me of the fun that we have had.

  25. As He says in Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Promise kept. You sought, and you found…the perfect summer. Blessings for an equally wonderful school year ahead. <3

  26. Well said! I loved every line and laughed at the images and reminder of days gone by. You chose wisely!

  27. Nope, not a failure! Remember OUR summers growing up as kids? Or, at least mine. Endless hours under the tree playing Laura Ingalls Wilder, running in for a tuna sandwich for lunch, running back and forth between my friends’ houses down the street, etc. Why, oh, why did summer become about a checklist?! And yet somehow we turned out ok. And our boys will, too. I have 3, ages 11-19. My oldest made it into UT, one of the toughest public schools to get into, in spite of not practicing his multiplication tables and completing a reading checklist every summer. (My youngest, the party animal, may go to vocational school and work the graveyard shift as a hospital orderly, but you know what? That is ok, too!) We have lots of fun memories of beach trips and movie dates and pajama days and yes, some I’m-really-tired-of-seeing-your-face-24/7 fighting days. Summer can be messy. Maybe the ones with airtight schedules and “productive” summer days end up on the therapist’s couch sooner than the rest of us! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!