Even though the official start of summer is June 20, for me, Memorial Day always signals the beginning! I suppose that’s because as I was growing up, Memorial Day was the first day our community pool was open! Summer would then stretch out a full three months until the day after Labor Day when school would resume for a new year! With this all in mind, I’d like to issue some challenges for myself, as well as for you.

This summer — walk — and then walk some more! Those who study aging report that physical activity plays an important role in living healthy lives. Gyms are helpful, but you don’t need a fully-equipped gym to exercise. Whatever form it takes, physical exercise can empower us to fully engage life — even as we age.

Secondly, this summer, read a book! When was the last time you actually sat down to read a book? For some, that may have been yesterday, but for many it’s been awhile. Exercising our bodies is vitally important, but engaging our minds is also essential to living well. Perhaps you could select a familiar book from years past. Or perhaps you

could turn to a book you’ve heard about, but never

quite found the time to pick up and read. Be adventurous! Try a book or books which challenge your experiences and opinions. Dare to step out of your comfort zone to become acquainted with life experiences which are different from your own — and then find someone with whom you can discuss your reactions and insights.

You would do well to turn to the books holy to your faith community. For Christians, the Bible itself is a library of inspired writings, and yet, it remains seldom read by many of us. So, a related challenge would be for you to select a book within the Bible which is unfamiliar to you and dig in. You might be surprised to find out how God may choose to speak to you through some lesser known books of Holy Scripture.

If all of us take these challenges seriously this summer of 2021, we’d become a healthier community — physically, intellectually and spiritually. This could serve to have a ripple effect as we’d be energized to connect with one another to improve the life of our community in so many ways. Would this not attract people who may be traveling to or through our town? Perhaps they’d even come to conclude that this would be a great place to call home!

Labor Day 2021 will come. What will you and I experience between now and then? It’s up to us! God bless you with the resolve to use these summer months to grow!

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