Saturday, June 21, 2014

My Summer BIG list (Before It's Gone) A yearly tradition...

Every year, summer vacation comes around. Although it has nothing to do with why I got into teaching, summer vacation is certainly a tradition that I’m happy my job affords me to continue, post college graduation. Every school year, by the last day, I feel spent and ready to reenter the world as a civilian while my super-teacher cape is tucked away for a few sun-drenched weeks. This year though, I was more depleted than most. This year, I knew going in, that I would need to focus on restoration in my 7 weeks of summer, in order to return fully recharged. So, as per tradition, at the end of my first summer weekend, I sat down to write out my summer bucket list. This year, I wanted to approach it with new intentionality. Of course, June is almost over, and some of my summer plans have been made months in advanced. I decided that instead of creating a list of things I want to squeeze into my 7 weeks of freedom, instead I was going to focus on HOW I was going to embrace the plans already made in a way that would be nourishing to my soul.

A friend of mine was going through a difficult time recently, and my advice to her was to find ways to nourish her hungry soul and restore her battered spirit. I told her to reflect on what those things are, list them out and then report back to me so that together, we could strategize ways of getting more nourishment into her busy life. I realized that I needed to take my own advice and do the same. For each of us, the list of things that nourish and nurture our souls are unique. To find them in our everyday lives, we need only to open our eyes and pay attention to the things that make our souls go “Mmmm”. The themes are easy to see once you’re looking for them. For me, my soul finds nourishment in the happiness of others. I am restored in being around the people who I love and who love me in return. I also find nourishment in solitude. In quiet moments, serene places, and a head full of words.

At the core, my soul finds nourishment and my spirit is restored by a hope that comes from this:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

So this year’s summer bucket list is: Do things that nourish your soul. And the plans I have so far include:

-I’m going to enjoy this marvelous place that I live. I’m going to visit restaurants I’ve been meaning to try, buy my goods at farmer’s markets and take long, leisurely walks after slow, deliberate brunches. I’m going to meet my husband for lunch. I’m going to plan & execute girls nights, and date-nights, and family times that get me out and about in the community where I live and those nearby. I’m going to count the freckles on my children’s noses and shoulders, and read them longer books and tell them more intentional stories under starry skies, next to a jar full of fireflies in our own backyard.

-I’m going to stay home. I’m going to take coffee and breakfast on the patio and listen to the birds, I’m going to write. I’m going to make s’mores with my kids and all their neighborhood friends, talk about cigars with my neighbor, and make Sunday dinners on whatever nights suit the framily best. I’m going to sleep in and stay up late and notice the ways that light pours in our windows and think back on all the memories we’ve made as we’ve evolved this house into a home, and sit back and enjoy the end result with a good book or a good movie or a glass of wine and some dark chocolate with sea salt. Yum.

-I’m going to move into a cottage on the lake for a few days. I’m going to put on my captain’s hat, get the boat out on the water and feel the wind in my hair and the warmth of summer in my lungs. I’m going to hold onto a tube and a partner for dear life while bouncing over the ripples, trailing behind the boat and laughing until my face hurts and my body goes hurling into the air. I’m going to put on my softest cotton dress and walk down to the dock and watch the boats come in and the musicians play and the children’s eyes get heavy. I’m going to write poetry in my mind that never finds its way to paper. I’m going to marvel at fireworks reflected on the surface of the lake. I’m going to dance until my head spins.

-I’m going to get in my new car and drive to New York with windows down and music blaring! I’m going to see my family, delight in making wedding plans, immerse myself in the energy and culture of the city. I’m going to do this more than once.

-I’m going to read books for pleasure and write stories for fun.

-I’m going to entertain my extended family here in my home, take them to my favorite places enjoy the full-circled nature of life: bringing the people you love and the life you’ve built together.

-I’m going to people-watch in the airport, and continue to teach my children that every part of traveling is fun, not just arriving.

-Im going to fly to the gulf coast and dream in a hammock and build a sand-something with my children and, let the sun kiss my skin with new freckles and then dive into the ocean fill my pockets with shells and my memory card with moments.

And then, after all of that, I’m going to pour my nourished soul into a new adventure. I’m going to plan for a new school year, organize a new classroom, learn a new curriculum, embrace a new opportunity, and I’m going to remember that summer comes around each year, but I don’t live my life in wait for it. I fill my days with people and things that I love all year, and when my soul gets hungry, I will stop to nourish it.

Originally posted: