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One of the best parts about marrying into the Grade family is the annual “Up North” tradition. It’s that week every summer of Tim’s entire life (and my life since being a Grade) when we hit the lake in northern Wisconsin. We exchange our 4G network for a spotty connection, and we trade in our busy schedules for lazy days with little planned on the lake. We leave all work clothes at home and we rely mainly on swimsuits, flip-flops and the same clothes over and over all week.  Our eyes stare at the lake for hours, rather than our screens and we get loads of time with some of the people we love most.  We find ourselves antsy for activity and hot with cabin fever by day 3 in our attempt to unplug from all the movement that is our daily lives.

This past week we’ve been up north and I’m reminded once again, as I am every year, that there is just something good about non-productivity and less self-striving. There is something strong birthed in quiet and staring into the beauty of nature – if you can push past the clatter within.

Most days this week during Russell’s nap I just sat on the boat or on the dock staring up at those tall, tall trees.  I watched and I reveled and I soaked in all that beauty of the rustling wind in the pines, the deer wandering by, and the water lapping up against the shore.  I found my heart singing for nothing in particular but just because I am here and God is here and we are here together.

I wish for you a moment, or many moments, like this, this summer. May we all better learn to trust that when God tells us to rest, he really does mean it and that there are non-flashy, undetectable, life-giving gifts lying wait for us there.