Make This Summer About Family and Friends by Jen Lawrence

Friends love through all kinds of weather,

    and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.

– Proverbs 17:17*

With the kids out of school and a few long weekends on the horizon, summer is the ideal time to strengthen the bonds with friends and family. Here are a few easy ways to reinvigorate your relationships:

  • Take a road trip. There is nothing that solidifies relationships better than to pile people into the car and head for parts unknown. One of the best bonding experiences I had with my kids was driving from Charlottown, PEI to Cape Enrage, New Brunswick with only a rental car, Visa card, and map. The key to a great road trip is a sense of adventure. On our journey, we saw a car owned by Elvis, ate at an old fashioned drive-in, and walked on the floor of the ocean. Sure, it was stressful when we got a bit lost and some of the plastic parts started to fall off the car, but we still talk about the fun and adventure.
  • Meet the neighbours. As a Canadian, I find that from October to May, we tend to hide in our offices, houses, and cars. In the summer, we finally have the chance to meet our neighbours. Take the opportunity to reach out to the hockey family across the street, who is finally sprung free from the arena. If you see your neighbours on their balcony or out doing yard work, invite them over for a drink. If you have a front porch, make it into your al fresco living room. Wave at neighbours out for a walk and invite them up for a coffee.
  • Attend community activities. This summer marks Canada’s 150th birthday and there are lots of free activities planned across the country. Whether you celebrate Canada Day, Independence Day, or other summer holidays, head to a street festival, or carnival, or fireworks display. It’s a great (and cheap!) way to entertain the family and you might bump into old (or new) friends.
  • Turn online relationships into IRL (in real life) ones. I am a long-time blogger and some of my favorite people were met online (one day I’ll share the story of how Melinda and I met!) Whenever I travel, I’ll meet up with fellow bloggers and Instagrammers (in a safe and public place of course!) so that our online connection becomes real.
  • Put your faith out there. Over the past few years, my faith walk has hit a few steep hills and, for a while, I did not know if the Christian life was for me. I’ve always been open about my faith and my doubts and it’s surprising how many people relate. By being open about my beliefs, I’ve connected with others who are coming back to the church and the process has deepened our friendships. And through my season of doubt, it was the faithful people whose steady friendship brought me back into the fold. Wherever you are in your walk with God, your faith can be a source of inspiration for others.

*The Message