About this time every summer, I go into a funk. Vacation is over. So is July 4th fun and my birthday. It’s too hot and humid to enjoy outdoor living. So I go into summer hibernation. I hunker down inside until the temperatures turn more livable.
But then I thought—I don’t want to live the rest of the summer in hibernation. I don’t want to waste a precious day just because it’s hot or we can’t do another vacation.
Then a quote from Erin French’s book, The Lost Kitchen Cookbook, popped into my brain. She writes, “In September, I always look back on how terribly short the summer was, wondering why it can’t last longer, and thinking about all the extra time I needed to accomplish everything that I had hoped to do and somehow never go to. . .It’s easy to contemplate all that we didn’t do, see, or make. Instead, whenever I feel frustrated, robbed of time, in desperate need of more of this season I love so much, I try to take a moment to remember all that I did do, all that I did see, and all that I did make.”*
I often use this quote as an examen looking back over my day, but why not use to guide the way I live the rest of the summer?
So I made a list of what I did want to do, want to see, and want to make before summer’s end.
It wasn’t profound, but little things that would help me experience and enjoy summer more fully up to the last day. Some things were a “one and done” thing. Some are things I can do often. Here are a few things from my list:
- Get the Grands a little pool for our deck.
- Make peach jam with Kelsey.
- Often cook and bake something new or special for the family or friends.
- Go for ice cream.
- Have a fire in the backyard.
In just a couple of weeks we have done many of the activities on the list. It didn’t take long to schedule and do them. The most important part was to take the first step and get it on the calendar.
This got me thinking—what else was important to me? What else did I want to have happen over the summer?
For the past four weeks at the beginning of the week I think about who or what is important to me and then asking myself—What do I want to happen this week?
We all know how a week can fly by and we think—What did I do this week? I can’t remember anything. This is in part the pace of our culture. But there is much we can do to take charge of our week. By asking myself what I want to happen this week, I am taking the first step in making this week in my life meaningful, purposeful., and being more fully me—the person God created me to be.
Next, I make a little list (of course, I did—I love lists!). On this list are things that are important to me but can be crowded out by busyness or the details of life. I include how many times I want to see The Grands and friends. Last week was Gene’s birthday so I included making sure he had a birthday that was special to him. I also include something from the what-I-want-to-do-this-summer list above. Then I look at the week and schedule as many of these things as I can.
As I said, this is the fourth week I have been doing this. And guess what?! It is working. I am accomplishing little projects that often get pushed to the side. I am seeing friends more often. And I am having more fun with the kids.
Summer is coming to a close but I will continue to live each day with intention, enjoying each one.
As fall starts I want to continue this practice. What special fall activities do we want to do? Maybe finally a backyard fire—so far the summer has been too hot for one. And I want to continue keeping my priorities a priority—including time with the people I love.
Looking at your week, what are one or two things you would like to see happen this week or next? Could you make a place for it on your schedule? Could you make a call or send a text to set time with someone you care about? Or maybe make the time to take care of yourself—quiet time, hair cut, manicure, doctor appointment?
What do you want to happen this week?
*The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and A Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine, Erin French, p.141.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.