As the school year approaches, it seems that summer is already on its' way out the door. Despite the long days of heat and humidity and thunderstorms, August is almost here and school will be in session in a couple weeks, or a month for those of us returning to college. This means that it is now the time for ordering books, packing up all of the things at home, and making last minute plans for summer fun with old friends.

Actually, as I look back on my summer, I didn't do much besides work or write articles and read. I had so many things that I would have loved to do, but was never able to get things together with friends to do them. From water parks to hanging out with high school friends, I didn't do what I thought I would have been doing. Instead, I ended up ding a few new things that I had never really done before.

I taught in a class with kids older than I had ever worked with, 4- and 5-year-old children who were always a handful of new experiences and cute phrases. I learned a lot about how much a child understands even at that age, and how willingly they listen to reason or respond to honest communication. I had an amazing time playing with them, eating meals with them, and getting to know each of them a little better.

I watched someone else's pets for a day, and another couple's animals and house for nearly a week. I learned more about dogs that don't belong to me, what it's like being the only one around to care for an animal that relies on me and loves me unconditionally. While staying at home, I've also come to understand more about the puppies that my mom so adores and my dad couldn't resist. It's become part of the daily routine to make sure to say something to them whenever I'm in the same room, in the area.

Another new thing for me this summer was becoming a Sunday School teacher. Since the end of June, I've been in charge of some toddlers for early Sunday mornings and will continue this until I head off to college again. I've had some fun dealing with the children, some of whom go to school where I work, and figuring out how to schedule playtime, food, and a Bible story into the space of an hour.

Summer isn't over yet, so I'll be looking for more great things to do until school starts again. (Maybe I'll even get to hang out with all my friends for my upcoming birthday.) Too soon, it'll be time for me to pack up and say goodbye to my cat and the dogs, and head off to campus where the friends I haven't seen in way too long will also be moving in and recovering from the summer fun.