We are juuust entering into actual summer, school is almost out, the weather is finally consistently hot, I personally have tan lines, and my garden is sprouting new green goodness every day! The days of summer are long which makes it too easy to fill them with lotsa activities. Planning fun things for your kids to do and sneaking in an extra weekend getaway is necessary, especially if you live in places like Wisconsin or Minnesota where you really only get three good months out of the year, you gotta make ‘em count!
One of my favorite quotes is from Annie Dillard. She said, “The way we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
How often have you repeated the infamous phrase wow, I need a vacation from this vacation! or respond to the question “how are you?” with: busy. I mean, we’re good, just busy.
I think we too easily get sucked into the go-go-go culture that surrounds us, the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” and just-another-coffee-to-keep-me-awake kind of lifestyle. We weren’t created to be on-the-go 24/7, our body, our mind, our soul need rest. Our entire being functions better when there’s rhythm in our days.
Last year I deemed myself as Keeper of the Calendar. I bought a huuuge calendar for our family and we began to fill it in, beginning with the most important things (like date nights, our weekly Sabbath and special outings with the kids), then the scheduled items (like appointments and Bible study) and then we saw where we had room to be spontaneous or have margin in our days. This has been one of the most fruitful things we’ve done for our family. And this rhythm has now been going for an entire year (next month!).
To keep up with our schedule, and as Keeper of the Calendar, I declare a monthly and weekly meeting where Alexander and I sit down for a monthly overview and week-by-week check-in. The “meetings” are fun, we usually pour a glass of wine and make it a date-night-in. If you aren’t doing a “weekly check-in” with your spouse, I highly recommend it. We’ve been doing them now for 3 years, they keep us on track and in sync with one another. Our entire home functions better!
If we aren’t intentional with our time, it seems to slip away so quickly. Especially in the summer! So sit back and be inspired on the three ways we’re choosing to be intentional with our time this summer.
Before summer began I asked myself three questions:
- What do I want to invest in this summer?
- Who do I want to invest in this summer?
- Where do I want to invest my time?
All of these questions require discernment about how to spend precious resources: time and finances. And notice I used the word invest, as if I would gain something back from my response to these questions. Summer days can suck both of those resources from us very quickly! So I made my lists of activities I want our kids to enjoy, places we want to visit or already have plans to travel to, who else I want to spend time with over the next few months, and where will that time be spent.
I’ve sent these questions to a few friends because they’ve helped so much in my discernment on what I want to get done around my home, what I want to experience with my kids and Alexander. AND we have time and money to do all of it (and more)!
Instead of typing out all my lists, here’s a brief overview of where we’re choosing to invest our time this summer. Here are the three ways we are being intentional as a family:
- Daily Walks
Before Alexander begins work we usually plop the kids in the stroller or wagon and set off to stroll around the neighborhood together. It’s the perfect space and set aside time for Alexander and I to share our thoughts with one another or meals I have planned to make, to enjoy the morning sun (because it is SO good for your hormones and circadian rhythm), and begin our day together as a family.
- Weekly Sabbaths
This scheduled-in time to rest has been a game-changer. It’s not a day/time to run errands or spend money or squeeze another thing in our busy day, it’s simply a time to stop, to rest (literally take a nap!), remember that what we have is enough, and let our minds be inspired to worship God, which simultaneously inspires us to serve others. We turn off our phones, we take a nap, indulge in delicious food, we rest and play and simply enjoy. This day, that is in our schedule on a weekly basis, helps us to live and work from a place of rest, not work for rest (there’s a big difference). We enter into our week feeling rejuvenated instead of needing a weekend from our weekend. If you do anything for your family this summer, let this be it.
- Planned Activities
Since we look at our schedule often, I know ahead of time which days are booked up with family time, scheduled things or if we have margin to be flexible and available for spontaneous outings. I know which days we have available for playdates, for date nights, when we’re leaving for a trip, etc. This may seem obvious or pretty elementary but it helps to not feel overwhelmed, overbooked and overstimulated. I know what I can say yes to just as much as I know what I can say no to. If I’m spending my time in ways that deplete my energy, then I’m the one who needs to rethink how I’m spending my days because, of course, that is how I will end up spending my life.
Summer days are here, friends! They are just beginning. The excitement and the relaxation are here. I hope this inspired and empowered you for the summer months ahead! I’d love to hear what and who and where you’re investing your time this summer.