Growing up summer was my least favorite season. It’s hard to believe, but when you live in the suburbs with no beach or pool nearby, only your banana seat bike to get you around the neighborhood and mostly boys to hang out with, I would escape to our air conditioned living room with a pile of books to read as I laid on the couch. I looked forward to the times we would drive over an hour to get to the beach once or twice each summer and our family camping trips. But that was the pinnacle of my summer.
It's Porch Season
When I moved to our little beach town, summer soon became my favorite season. How could it not? Bike rides for ice cream, hikes among the dunes, picnics with music in the park, and lazy afternoons spent at the beach are some of my favorite activities. But my favorite place to hang out at home is no longer a couch, but our front porch. Morning coffee, afternoon work sessions, evening cocktails - all seem better when they are on our porch. It’s where our family eats dinner on summer evenings, where we watch thunderstorms roll in, where we watch the world go by and wave to neighbors. I love how our neighborhood is full of large front porches and how it brings a sense of community as people are out of their homes after being sequestered for so long.
Time to Gather
I love to gather friends on our front porch for impromptu dinners, where we quickly defrost something and throw it on the grill or for our Friday night pizza nights. We have even had people see us sitting and reading on a weekend afternoon and join us for drinks and even appetizers or dinner if we can talk them into staying.
Doesn't Matter Where
Summer to me is a time for gathering. Friends, family, even strangers who become friends. Even if you don’t have a front porch, you have a backyard, balcony or front stoop. It’s really not the gathering place that makes the difference, it’s the very act of gathering together that matters. It’s too easy for us to run through our weekly routines to get to the weekend, to get away from home for the weekend, work on the house, do more work or just crash in front of the TV and then start the week all over again.
Break Out of Routine
When do we break out of the routine and invite others into it? When we are purposeful and intentionally gather friends and family together, it just doesn’t have to be a big event or major undertaking. Sometimes the least amount of planning or most impromptu event makes for the most special. Leave a little room in your schedule and be intentional about sending an unexpected text asking friends to come over in an hour for dinner without having to bring a thing. It usually doesn't matter what we’re eating, someone can even pick up a pizza or takeout along the way, it’s just the fact that we are slowing down, catching up and enjoying a little time together out of our daily routines.
Gather those you love together this summer and see how much you add to their lives and yours.