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I have heard it said Memorial Day kicks unofficially kicks off the summer season.
How will I approach this new season?
If the idea of a lot of projects overwhelms you, take a deep breath before you begin.
An Indoor Project
Our bathroom, painting the metal of a rusty school desk, changing a tablecloth, switching the curtains to something that doesn’t radiate heat when the setting sun pounds against the bay window.
Whether big or small, when the heat drives you indoors (in California) look around. Refresh, remodel or restore, put some love into your home, erase the thing that makes you cringe whenever you walk by. It need not be big, just new to the space.
2. An Outdoor Project
Flowers were my lifeline last year and I am holding fast to that. The more mixed up I get in being busy, in letting my mind work while my soul stifles, the less I observe the garden.
But it is there, waiting for me, to come and care for it.
Just as Minnesotans ought to spend time outdoors appreciative of the short season of tolerable weather, so Californians ought to grow things, in appreciation of the great gift we have in this climate (I will sing a different tune in August).
Buy a succulent or an herb at Trader Joe’s, give it a bigger pot and allow it to grow. Taking the time to tend is therapeutic, I’m learning. It is another step outside ourselves.
3. A Volunteer Project
This season it will be developing and implementing a brand identity for The Young Ladies’ Institute (YLI), based on the information I’ve learned from Fiona Humberstone’s How to Style Your Brand and Brand Brilliance. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, I can write up a “reveal” of the project, communicating the beauty that already exists within the organization, outside the organization.
There is a sentiment of lazy, hazy days of summer and it is true that the heat slows us down a bit, vacations come, the farm work slows down a bit before harvest. Let the slowness of the moment allow us the space to turn our gaze outward, from our to-do list to the to-do of the community, the wish list of the parish and the question of how can we give to others.
4. A Professional Project
I met my spring goal of submitting my manuscript before summer began. For a long, boring explanation of all my steps and plans there, email me.
This summer, I commit myself to completing my media kit, which will include info on speaking engagements, and to continue rolling around the contemplation stage of beginning heavy edits on a novella I wrote ages ago called “A Girl and Her King.”
If you have traditional employment, maybe your project is to unplug from work and its demands for a vacation or stay-cation or a stress-free meal with the family. If you are a homemaker with a side hustle it might be a project, a training or a night away from the family to dig deep into your work. If you are a homemaker without a side hustle, it might be taking a class to learn a new skill to make that home or experimenting with a new cookbook. Whatever the work of our day is, how can we step back, refocus and learn something new.
5. A Reading Project
Deep in The Once and Future King, a modern masterpiece by T. H. White, this is, by far, the most delicious project. We are participating in the Summer Reading Program through the County library.
Avid reader? Keep it up. Read intentionally and long and not in bed.
Use to read but never more? Try again. Pick up some fiction.
Never read? Take a movie you’ve enjoyed and check out the book from the library. Email me what you’re interested in and we’ll see if I can make a recommendation.
Living day by day intentionally, small projects act as benchmarks, goals act as light posts, guiding us along our way to live the life we hope to live, a life flourished, fulfilled and connected to others.