(For the podcast episode of this post, please click here.)
Wow, summer is upon us! And… (I don’t want to say this too loudly)…but might we get an actual summer this year? Like with people and doing stuff??? Because last year, summer was canceled, as we all recall, and if you’re like me, you are chomping at the bits to have a real summer this year!
While I am totally stoked for summer, I must admit, I’m also a little uncertain about it. Confession time: I am literally just now getting into some semblance of a daily routine that includes content creation, and I am terrified that I won’t have any real thinking time with my loquacious 8-year-old at home! Don’t bother looking up “loquacious;” it basically means that Grayson begins talking when his eyes open in the morning (around 7:00 am) and doesn’t stop until his eyes close in the evening (around 8:00 pm). Will headphones become my new best friend? We shall see.
What I absolutely, positively know for certain is that I do not want my summer to become one unintentional day melting into the next unintentional day for ten weeks. I know that a plan, in and of itself, is not the answer, but I believe that it is part of the answer. Another part would actually be doing the plan. And another part would also probably not having unrealistic expectations! Following are 4 simple goals that I have for this summer…
My 4 Simple Goals for This Summer
1. Be Intentional
I know that I bandy this word intentional around a lot. I guess it’s because I have a very bad habit of not being intentional! I despise stretches of days where I get up having a very little idea about what that day will look like. Instead of “seizing the day,” the day seizes me, grabs me by the throat, drags me around, throws in some fun emotions like guilt and irritation, and tosses me in the bed at night, exhausted and frustrated. I read recently something that went along the lines of “we’re all tired all of the time now because we are not mentally excited or engaged in our lives.” That statement feels very true.
And so, I know that ten weeks of at home with my sweet but talkative 8 year old could potentially be disastrous if I’m not careful to be intentional! Sound melodramatic? Perhaps, a bit. But I am truly anxious that if day-after-day-after-day of way too much screen time, no plan, no ideas, and just going with what strikes us each day will really make me feel very frustrated. Unfortunately, that frustration all too often spills over onto my son and my husband.
I want to value this time and use it well. To me, this begins with intentionality. Hence, this list.
2. Have a Plan for Each Day
In the spirit of Goal #1, my second goal is to have a plan for each day. Does this greatly perturb the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants people out there?! Now before you go to complaining on me that “it’s SUMMER” and it’s supposed to be laid back and fun, realize that I only said “have a plan.” I did not say that it had to be detailed, or organize every minute from dawn to dusk. I am a really weird personality mix of someone who thrives on organization and planning but who often also struggles to be organized and have a plan! Can anyone relate?? (Please say yes.)
I’m not really putting a rigid structure on this. I just want to wake up each summer day with some idea of what the day will look like.
Now, as I have been considering the summer for several weeks now, I do have many thoughts on what our days could hold:
- park time
- work on Grayson’s typing skills
- study Spanish together
- write together
- reading time each day
- work on some practical skills like tying shoes
- experiment with meals and cooking each week
- weekly playdate with a friend
- quiet time / screen time
Grayson is now 8 and he can do a lot! So, I have several ideas for things that we can do together over the summer. How each day is structured is still not hammered out, and I may not get a framework for that. I just know that each day will have a plan, even if the plan is only one thing.
I have a loose idea that we may have some quiet time most mornings (so that I can get some work done), and swimming in our new above ground pool will happen in the early afternoon (when the sun hits it the best). Everything else is yet unscripted.
I do also want to make the plan for each day the night before. I haven’t decided if Grayson will be involved in the planning or not, but I do know that I need to have a scheduled time to make the plan for each day, or it most likely will not happen!
3. Deepen my Relationship with My Son
I have noticed a lot of changes in Grayson, my son, this year. 8 is getting to be big time! I have watched him begin to edge toward the tween phase. He is no longer a small child.
I read somewhere years ago that it was important to win your child’s heart while they were young. That statement has really stayed with me. And, if I’m being honest, Grayson and I have had some rough patches this year. He is getting older and understanding so much more, and we’ve knocked heads a few times.
I don’t know why, but I just somehow feel like this is an important summer for us. Eight years old. In not too much longer, he will be bigger than I am. I want to make sure that I have his heart. I want to focus on him: laughing, having fun, making memories and appreciating who he is becoming.
I know the teenage years are just around the corner, and I still want to be an influential voice in his life. I can’t see how it can authentically happen any other way, than if I spend time with him and show him how much I love being with him. My husband, Jason, unfortunately, will still be working during the summer. But we have a few small family get-aways planned. I want to make them memorable!
Though we still desire adoption, we also still don’t know if that will be God’s ultimate plan for our family; so we are still waiting. I know adoption will change everything. So, for this span of time, perhaps, where Grayson is my only baby, I want to shower him with the love and attention that he really craves all of the time. I want to win his heart, and this summer seems like a good time to focus on it!
4. Keep Writing and Podcasting
I feel called to have a ministry through writing and podcasting, but I regularly still struggle with both! Maybe when you read these posts or listen to the podcast, you might think it comes easy. (That’s honestly what I think about the bloggers and podcasters I follow!) But if you’ve been around here any length of time, you know that I struggle with self-discipline. Every day, actually.
So while I feel compelled to minister others by being real about my own struggles, it is still so hard to make myself do it! Oh, the irony!
It would be easy to look at the other three goals that I have listed and say that they are more important. That’s probably true. However, what usually would follow that line of thinking would be “…so I should take a break from the other stuff.” But I can’t do that. I just can’t.
I’ve started and quit so many things, and it’s demoralizing. It’s hard to “be my own boss,” because I am so difficult to boss! Ha! My husband is wonderfully encouraging, but he’s also not questioning me every day with things like: “did you write today?” “How’s your next episode coming?” So, I’m really only accountable to myself at this point, and to God for the ministry that He has put in my heart.
So, again, I’m not putting too much of a structure around this goal. But it’s a goal. I have to keep moving forward and honing my craft. It’s not time for a break; my breaks usually end up lasting forever. So, it’s too risky with who I am and where I am at to “take a break.” Onward!
Practice Giving Grace
If you’re like me, and you fear the “endless days of summer,” then I encourage you to have a few simple goals and a simple, flexible plan. And I would remind all of us, guilt and beating ourselves up when we fall short helps no one. It just makes us want to give up even more. So, give yourself grace if you have a few days that are frustrating or unintentional. However, don’t wallow in it. Get up, dust yourself off, and make a simple plan for the next day. Maybe even tell a spouse or a friend about it. And if you miss it again, just think, “wow I sure am getting to practice giving myself a lot of grace!” And then practice it! And try again. It’s a journey, remember?
Give yourself grace, give your children grace, give your spouse grace, give your friends grace! Everybody gets grace! Hey, that could even be a summer goal! 🙂