Can I just say how much I enjoy summer? I’m writing on my laptop with the windows open to the evening chorus of songbirds. It’s warm but not so hot we need the air conditioning.

On my way home from work around 3 p.m., I drove past my friend Sharon’s house and saw her sitting on her front porch. I pulled in and sat and chatted with her for an hour–during which another neighbor, Kathy, came by and also joined us. This kind of thing simply can’t happen in the winter in Chicago.


Now, I had things to get done at home. But I wanted to connect with Sharon, and it was a gorgeous summer day. We just sat and caught up on life, our kids. We discussed things both trivial and deep. I just enjoy spending time with her. So without much effort, I chose to spend part of my day connecting with someone who brings me joy and laughter. I got to hear about the fun things going on in her life, and the challenges her family is facing. I know how to pray for her better after our conversation, and she offered some wisdom about some things going on in my life.

It feeds my soul to sit on a front step and talk with a friend. We often think soul care consists in studying the Bible or long times of solitude—which can be very helpful. But Jesus said the most important thing is to love God and love your neighbor. How can you love your neighbors if you don’t really take some time to know what’s going on in their lives? and when you are loved on by your neighbors, that feeds your soul as well.

I’m lucky to live in this neighborhood, and to have lived here for 17 years. Sharon and I have sons the same age, we were at their 8th grade graduation two days ago. We volunteered in their kindergarden class together, and now they are going to high school. Long term friendships like that are no small gift, and its important to nurture them.

This summer, I have a lot of work on my plate–book projects, my part-time job, stuff at home and with my kids. But I want to slow down enough to enjoy the amazing women God has put in my life. I want to be a friend who has time to stop and visit, to find the joy in the everyday.  To slow down enough to let summer and it’s spontaneous joys feed my soul.