This week I have been blessed to get to feature writers from a group called Hope*Writers. Jessica Herberger is fellow writer I have had the privilege of getting to know through this group.
Isn't is amazing when we get to know people professionally that we can identify with! I love finding people who, even through we are separated by many states, we are still able to connect. It has been a blessing to get to ask her questions and learn from her.
Her instagram description says "On a joy mission!" This is my kind of friend! You can follow her @celebratejoyeveryday. She shares super encouraging words that will bring a smile to your day! And don't miss her website Celebrate Joy Everyday, what a blessing!
Get ready to be inspired as you read Jessica's post...I guarantee you will be making your own Rainy Day bag!
Preparing for a Rainy Day
I was blessed to spend my childhood summers in a haven on a beautiful lake in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY. Every good and wonderful memory of my summers come from this special place. It is a place my children now call their summer home as well, replicating my amazing childhood. Summers at the lake are spent in the water, on the beach, exploring the woods and mountains and, even in this modern age, our time is almost entirely unplugged by design.
It is as euphoric as it sounds. That is of course, until it rains. Rainy days at camp can be tricky. The lure of a good book and a comfy chair hold a child’s attention for just so long. While there is nothing quite like an Adirondack thunderstorm, it does create a certain amount of restlessness.
Enter the Rainy Day Bag.
This amazing and literal bag of tricks was my Mother’s invention. While she was decidedly a “go find something to do” Mom of the eighties, she was also incredibly intentional and resourceful. The Rainy Day Bag was stocked with special craft projects or science experiments that we could only access on those beautiful and long rainy days of summer. I remember with stunning detail the glee of realizing it was going to be a rainy day at the lake. There was such delight in delving into the bag to see what had been placed in there since the last storm, choosing my project carefully and with great anticipation, sitting down at the table on our screen porch to get to work.
The Rainy Day Bag would bring our friends from neighboring camps knocking on our door as the rain poured outside. Before too long our porch would be filled with children of all ages working earnestly on their projects.
The Rainy Day Bag became a staple, not just at our cabin, but at several cabins in the sweet and magical colony we called home each summer. As many of us have become mothers ourselves the Rainy Day Bag lives on for the next generation. My children anticipate with delight the items I might be squirrelling away for the Rainy Day Bag each summer.
Reflecting on this summer tradition I started to consider what made the Rainy Day Bag so special? Surely it’s magic went beyond the interesting projects and activities it contained. I‘ve realized that there are three main principals at work leading to the pure brilliance of the Rainy Day Bag.
The Power of Exclusivity. The exclusivity of the Rainy Day Bag is certainly a large part of it’s magic. The fact that the contents are only available at certain times creates an excitement that would be diminished if there was full access every day. There is value added simply by the exclusivity.
The Mix of Surprise and Expectation. I love a good surprise. I have found when we combine surprise or the unknown, with an existing anticipation, things start to feel exciting and memorable very quickly. The combination of expecting there to be something in the Rainy Day Bag but the surprise of not knowing what will be there is a large part of what makes it so special.
The Art of Celebrating During A Storm. Finding something to celebrate rather than complain about is an invaluable skill. Taking a grey, rainy day that could have been a bust and turning it upside down into a fun and joy-filled time is, I believe, the ultimate lesson of the Rainy Day Bag.
While I love the idea of Rainy Day Bags coming to life all over the country, I believe we can apply these lessons to our summer in many ways beyond our bags of tricks. What can you do for your family that becomes exclusive to a certain day of the week (or weather pattern?) How can you create a moment that couples surprise with expectation? What can you celebrate when the skies open up?
These skills can serve us all. Often times the “rainy days” we face are of the figurative variety. Even still we can look to the magic of the Rainy Day Bag for guidance. What specific song, verse, encouragement can you keep tucked away to use only when you have a rainy day? What bit of surprise can you bless someone with as they are in the middle of a storm? And of course the most pressing question…is your joy sustainable regardless of the weather? As you prepare for the storms of summer, both rainy and figurative, may the magic of the Rainy Day Bag bless and encourage you.
For additional tips and encouragement on celebrating a joyful summer I am happy to offer the Gathering Around readers my Joyful Summer Workbook! It is full of tips, tricks and strategies to help you have the most joyful summer yet!
You can check out Jessica's website at Celebrate Joy Everyday. You can head over to Instagram and find her @celebratejoyeveryday. And Jessica has a wonderful give away you can recieve called Joyful Summer Workbook http://bit.ly/CJEsummer
I loved her article called What Happens When I Drop All the Balls I Juggle.