I wait nine months out of the year for summer. While other people complain about how hot it is, I just smile. No complaints from me. You can't enjoy swimming unless it's a hot sunny day.

But I love summer for more than hot days that allow me to be in my pool.

Summer presents an amazing palette of color everywhere.

I couldn't begin to name all the beautiful shades of greens that abound. All winter long, I yearn for the greens of summer.

The wildflowers that grow in fields and meadows and those we plant in our yards provide brilliant splashes of color that appeases a certain spot in my soul.

Summer means wearing clothes of bright and happy hues compared to the darker more somber ones of winter.

Summer brings my favorite holiday, the Fourth of July. I love sharing the day with family and friends as we picnic, swim, play bean bags, and watch fireworks. I look forward to celebrating this wonderful country in which I am privileged to live in, which affords me freedoms I often take for granted, but never should.

Summer means playing miniature golf, taking long leisurely rides in the '64 Chevy, getting some much needed outdoor home improvements accomplished.

The possibilities of summer are endless.

I came across this article with a title of "Make Summer Count!" which led me to visiting a website for Focus on the Family's "Thriving Family" at www.ThrivingFamily.com. It encourages us to see every summer day as an opportunity to guide us in our faith while helping our children become more connected in faith in a meaningful way.

It is geared to activities to do with the kids but while reading it, I saw it could also expand my own ideas of how to make every summer day count.

July 3 wanted us to celebrate America's Godly heritage by showing our kids a few coins and paper bills from our wallet or purse and to look for the phrase "IN GOD WE TRUST" on each one. It's a great opportunity to talk about how America was founded and developed from Christian-Judeo values. Summertime is a great time to visit places like Philadelphia, Valley Forge, Boston and places that remind us how our country was formed.

July 4 it said we should hold our hands behind our backs and try to eat breakfast or get dressed this way, then discuss how it's easy to take our freedom for granted and pray for those who protect our freedom. Good for a laugh, too!

I liked the suggestion for Saturday, July 7 to enjoy our family's unique voices. We should record our kids reading poems, singing or impersonating characters. How fun would that be? They would become priceless to share again when they graduate or at weddings and birthdays in years to come. But I'd like to take it one step further. We should record not just our children but our parents and grandparents. We should ask them what is their favorite summer memory. We just might learn something about family members we never knew before and they too will become priceless recordings after they are gone.

On July 13 we should ask our children to help cook supper and set the table and explain what we enjoy most about preparing meals. Praise our kids for the tasks they perform. While doing this, it provides a wonderful opportunity to explain that God wants us to serve others so they may see His love through us. There are endless ways to volunteer, on our own and in various community organizations. If our children see us driving someone for their radiation treatments or preparing and taking a casserole to a family going through a crisis, hopefully it instills in them to do the same.

July 17 suggests when we put our children to bed, we should observe the shadows in the room. Some may look scary until you turn the light on and the shadows disappear. This teaches our children that there's nothing to be afraid of and we should thank God for His protection while we sleep. That made me remember one summer, my Uncle Bobby showed old home movies on a white sheet we put up outside and we had our own "drive-in movie" theater. It was great fun! And of course the kids got really creative with their finger and hand puppets in between each old reel of film. A great time was had by all!

July 18, plan a talent show. Prepare a stage, encourage everyone to put together a skit, read a poem, sing a song. Break out the karaoke machine and you've got an instant Broadway hit! After the show, talk about the skills and talents God has given each person. Discuss how our abilities glorify Him. Gosh, I remember how our daughter, Becky, put on a show for us every Sunday at my Mom and Dad's. She'd make tickets and show us to our seats and then perform. We cherish those memories to this day, especially of the ones she did in her Wonder Woman underwear! I'm thinking we should definitely do this one. It could be a real blast!

You get the gist.

Even if we can't get away for a vacation, we can find ways to make every day in summer count. If it's just sitting on the front porch appreciating the flight of a hummingbird, the antics of rabbits in the yard, the whisper of a soft breeze moving the lush green leaves and being entranced with the light show from fireflies, it's all good.