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"Fragrance as a comforting summertime routine" by Tiffany Walsh (CatholicMom.com) Pixabay (2017), CC0 Public Domain[/caption] During the summer, I often feel out of sorts. Our normal routine has gone to pieces, replaced by something different each morning.  As a college professor, my husband’s work schedule changes throughout the summertime, and the kids are off from school, wanting to sleep in and play games during the day. Sometimes they head to my in-laws', sometimes my husband is home with them, and sometimes I stay home with them. Everything is much more relaxed in the mornings, to be sure, as we do not need to rush as much, but the fact that it is so different throws me every single year. There are also the other distractions that summertime brings: vacations and road trips, plenty of weekend parties and other celebrations, patriotic holiday gatherings, and lots of outdoor community events. It’s all wonderful; it just takes me some time to adjust. I suppose that routine, even a rushed one, comforts me in its own way. Lacking that in the summer means that I need to find a daily, and stable, source of comfort somewhere else. Here on Catholic Mom, I am certain that we all seek daily comfort from our Lord in prayer, and there is no doubt that He is the ultimate source of stability! There are other things that can bring a sense of structure and ritual to our days, though, and these also bring joy to our changed routine. For me, one of those things is fragrance. I enjoy scented wax – those little cakes or cubes you place into a small decorative appliance called a warmer, which slowly heats the wax and releases the fragrance. Scent is very evocative for me – I associate various memories with different scents. For memories that are happy ones, I think that I am like most people in that I want to bottle them up and hold a piece of them in my mind and heart forever. Scent helps me to do that. If I feel like I need a hug from my mom, I can pop in a cube scented like pumpkin pie, because that’s what she and I always baked together the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. If I need to escape a stressful moment at work, I want to turn on my office warmer and put in a cube of a citrus wax that makes me think of sitting outside and drinking lemonade, while reading a book, on a lovely spring afternoon. On a hot summer day during which I’m longing for the coolness of autumn, I may hunt up some wax that has notes of cinnamon and other spices in it. "Fragrance as a comforting summertime routine" by Tiffany Walsh (CatholicMom.com) Pixabay (2012), CC0 Public Domain[/caption] Each day, turning on my warmer and selecting wax is a ritual that brings me peace and serenity amidst the host of changes summer inevitably brings. When summer is over, my babies move up to a new grade at school, and that brings its own share of emotional challenges! Holding on to something that stays the same year 'round grounds me and makes me feel in control of my own happiness. Although we are not in control of so many things in our lives, our happiness is a state of mind. The Lord gives us many small joys to sustain us throughout the challenges that will accompany us on our life journey, and I endeavor to treasure and enjoy all of them to the fullest.

What types of things help to ground you amidst changing routines in your family? Do you have small rituals in your summer mornings that bring you joy? I would love to hear about them in the comments!

Copyright 2018 Tiffany Walsh