What Helps Me When 2020 Kicks My Butt

For me yesterday, for all intents and purposes, was fall. Yep, it’s still warm and sticky here in central Illinois and very, very few trees have started to turn into their magnificent fall wardrobe. But for me the page has turned—two of the kids left Saturday to go back to school and work. We visited two others in July. And yesterday I started homeschool pre-K with our Grand #1. Summer activities are over and fall activities have started.

My daughter Kelsey and I recently talked about how surprised we were at the good summer we had—given the way it started. Like many of you we were very disappointed to have to cancel our summer vacation with the whole family. Many of our usual summer activities were cancelled and what few were open we crowded passed our level of comfort.

But we had a fun summer. I have talked about this previously, and it is still a real thing—we made the most of our moments. We took advantage of what we could do instead of focusing on what we couldn’t do.


~Made jam—with both Grands in the house!

~Tended the garden like never before. For the Grands it was a real adventure to pick whatever small amount of produce my sad little garden yielded. To them it was the best garden ever (second to their Daddy’s!).

~Both boys learned how to hit a baseball and throw it.

~Shucking corn was also a real event for them.

~We celebrated five family birthdays.

To say it simply—we made a big deal out of small, everyday things. And it was so fun.

My point in this rambling story—This has been a hard year. (Can I get an Amen!) And God continues to bless us and give us gifts. It’s up to us to be alert to them and grateful for them.

I truly hated to miss our family vacation. Yet we were able to see all the kids in a different way than usual. That was a sweet gift that I am forever thankful for.

I am sorry that it is not safe for Grand #1 to return to preschool this fall, but I am so honored to be a part of the team that gets to teach him—being one of his first teachers!

I am sorry my niece and nephew were not able to have a graduation ceremony with the whole family there. But the extra support and encouragement from family, friends, and the community has been heartwarming.

The thing I continually return to for peace and comfort this summer is gratitude. Gratitude reminds us that God is faithful. He is for us.

As fall creeps onto your calendar, join me in thinking about the gifts of the summer you might not have had in a normal year. Then let’s hold our hands open to God for whatever gifts He has for us this fall.



Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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