Monday, August 31, 2009


Summer's coming to a close for me, which means time for some much-needed reflection. I have had this summer off, as I'm a substitute teacher now, and here's what I thought the summer would hold:

Spend time remodeling the house. Spend considerable time putting my feet up in the backyard and reading a good book. Visit every local park. Learn how to cook really good things. Visit with friends. Volunteer. Brush up on my Spanish. Brush up on my guitar. Brush up on all things teaching-related. Learn to play the drums. Spend time securing full-time employment for next year. Eradicate creeping charlie from the yard. Make those darn curtains that I bought the fabric for a year ago. Reupholster the couches. Give the house a really good, deep clean. Grow amazing things in the garden. Be superwife. Be superfriend. Be super.

Here's what the summer actually contained:

Laundry. Lots of laundry. Basic cleaning of the house, not nearly as frequently as I wanted to. Making lists of all the things I should do. Making new lists. Spending countless hours filling out online applications for teaching jobs. Trying to use up produce in the fridge before it went bad. Getting sucked into the computer (much like right now). Running errands around town. Going through the mail. Filling out paperwork. Picking up after myself. Mowing the lawn. Weeding the yard so the neighbors wouldn't be embarrassed to live next to us.

Sometimes when I look back over it all, I feel like a failure. I didn't do half the things I wanted to do. I wasn't very "productive" in my terms of productivity. I didn't do the things I set out to do. But I can't let my story stop there. I can't look at it this way, for my sake, and for the sake of the actual events that took place.

This summer wasn't nearly what I thought it would be, but I learned some major life lessons. I learned that I can still burn out without working at a full-time job. I get to doing too much and planning too much and I can still work myself into a migraine being at home.

I learned that I have poor time-management. Not that I don't do enough with the time I have, but I don't have a realistic idea of how long things are going to take, so I plan too much and feel discouraged when it doesn't all get done.

I was reminded that my worth doesn't come from how many things are checked off on the to-do list. My worth comes from being a child of God. I don't earn the love of friends and family, they give it to me freely, regardless of what I accomplish.

I have to fight for free time, sometimes that even means fighting myself and my busybody instincts.

I have to fight to truly live. Days can march by fairly mundane unless I make a point to seize the day in some wonderful adventure. Nobody is going to force me outside on a beautiful day; I must choose to sit in the sun before the snow covers the grass for another season.

AND, if I look back on the summer for what it actually was, here's what it was like:
Spent time weeding the yard and garden; have the satisfaction of enjoying the fresh produce, able to grow without the hindrance of weeds. Spent time with best friend and godson; godson now smiles when I drive up to their home. Spent time with friends in transition - those mourning the loss of a child and those celebrating the arrival of a baby. Spent time volunteering at old workplace; able to give back to a place that has given me much. Volunteered at church; now kids at church know me and come talk to me, also had the gift of holding little hands and seeing God through children's eyes. Spent two very memorable weeks with younger cousins; strengthened family bonds and came to love and appreciate them even more. Began paperwork for our adoption - what can be said about this except YES! That certainly was time well-spent and we can't wait for the reward on that one, to be able to hold our child in our arms. I DID get to read some books for fun, and really enjoyed that gift. I DID get to work on the house a little and make progress at remodeling. I DID make a touch of progress on the curtains; I bought more of the materials and have an idea of how to start. And I DID learn to cook new things -some were great, others I don't think I'll try again. :)

How can I sum up a whole summer? When I look back, it wasn't what I thought it would be, but it was truly wonderful for what it was. I loved being able to choose my own schedule. I loved having the days to myself (my introverted self really loved this). I loved being able to care for Zac by making most of our suppers and getting chores done so we'd have free time after dinner. I loved sitting next to a window. I loved no responsibility. I loved it.

Thank you, God, for a free summer. Thanks for time to reflect. Thanks for the things you taught me. Thanks for new adventures around the corner.

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