I am looking down at 35 years,,..the older I get..the further I look back through the years.
On the ladder of life, my foot is poised to step on rung 36.
I can see summer from this altitude..
and she looks dazzling...all clothed in promise and adventure..
Today, I am writing a post on how I will celebrate 36 years of living...This summer I will venture off the beaten path...
I hope you will too...
I hope that this summer will be your year...The year of flourishing and beauty. A year where you find beauty and meaning and wonder.
...The year where you emerge from your cocoon of safety and discover that you had wings, all along.. I want this year to be filled with meaning, depth, and beauty.
I want the same for you.
Here are 36 ways to Make a Summer Meaningful and Great.
1. Pick something.
I live in the south. Blackberry season is nudging her pretty little head through the ground and soon the delicious little treats will be everywhere. If blackberries don't grow in your area..look up a local "pick your own" farm.
I heard about pick your own farms in the not too distant past. The idea of grabbing a bucket and strolling through a farm filling it with fresh fruit or vegetables sounded romantic. Peaches, apples, cherries, blueberries...If it grows from the ground, there may be a farm to pick it... Eat fresh fruit off the vine. Take the kids. Hold hands. Enjoy the quiet. Taste the natural. Make it meaningful.
Here is a link to "pick your own" farms. http://www.pickyourown.org/
2. Turn off the T.V..T.V takes time and eats it. You never get it back.Create your own story, instead of watching someone else's play out on screen. You are a character in the beautiful life you've been given. This summer, turn off the television..or at least limit the amount of television you and your family watch. Life is too short. Make memories. Ten years from now you will remember loving on someone. You will remember your meaningful summer. You will not remember the episode of American Idol. I promise.
3. Volunteer. This summer, take time to be a part of something. Make a difference. This year I volunteered for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.. I am a Big Sister to a lovely little girl named Alicelynn. Research ways to volunteer in your community. Give Back! Be a part of a child's life. Here's a link to Big Brothers/Big Sisters...http://www.bbbs.org/site/c.9iILI3NGKhK6F/b.5962335/k.BE16/Home.htm
4. Learn something new - Our local college offers leisure learning classes..Learn how to tango or play the guitar...learn that foreign language you've always wanted to learn. You don't have to spend a fortune to enhance your skillls. My sister-in-law leaned to crochet baby hats simply by watching a youtube video. My son is teaching himself to draw the same way.. Find your passion, and exlore it..Learn something new!
5. Pray together - There is nothing more beautiful and meaningful than a family that prays together. The most beautiful part of all is that God hears our prayers. This past year, I have truly been amazed at the specific ways that God has heard my prayers. He hears yours, too. How do we teach our children to pray? To pray for them..
6. Read. Curl up with a good book. Sit on the back porch with a cup of coffee. Try teechino. Google it. I finished "The Help" in the not too distant past..I'm not attempting Don Quixote. The book is always better than the movie. Read the Bible..some Bibles grow dusty on out of reach shelves. Take it down and study it.. Ask God to show you the Truth through His Word.. I have seen it come alive on more than one occassion.
7. Fellowship - Take time to get to know the neigbors. Bake some cookies and deliver them to people around the neighborhood. Take the time to love truly love those around you. Forgive those who have wronged you..and fellowship. It's what Jesus and His disciples did...Loved out loud.
8. Love anonymously- Don't let love be a game of bells and whistles..take the time to love someone anonymously. Leave random notes on strangers cars. Pay for the person's order in the car behind you at the drive through..leave flowers on a neighbors doorstep..saying, "Jesus loves you."
9. Travel - Travel isn't possible for all people..but take time to explore the beauty around you. Go to places you have never been. Walk through the forest or the park.. To me, traveling is simply to move..
10. Play in the rain- Let loose your inner child..on a rainy day..take the kids outsie and laugh. Get your toes wet..It's a memory you will have forever.
11. Create - Write, sing, photograph, craft...You were created to create. You may not think of yourself as creative, but there is something within you that is uniquely you. Let it come out.
12. Build something.... Build a lego structure, a swing set, a tree house, something that will make memories...memories are meaningful.
13. Take a day to write handwritten letters in leiu of "liking" a friend's facebook post. I love facebook, but nothing compares to real human interaction. I love my facebook friends but nothing compares to someone taking the time to acknowlege you. Write a letter to someone instead of simply "liking" them. It's more meaningful.
14. Take a pinterest day where you make a recipe or craft from pinterest - Try that recipe for eggplant parm that you have always wanted to make.. or make the cool sandwich for you child.."the one that looks like mickey mouse." Get off of the computer and make something :) If you have children, let them help out. It builds thier confidence and lets them know how much you love them.
15. Hug. Nothing compares to a wam, gentle hug. Take a day and make it point to hug everyone around you.
16. Encourage - Words can build up or tear down. Cease to speak negatively. Instead, pratice being an encouragement to those around you.
17. Give something away...Go through you closets. Give away clothes you don't wear. Give away clothes you do wear. Give away items you don't need, and help someone who truly doesn need them. There is nothing more soul satisfying than loving on God and helping His children.
18. Think Missions - Go on a mission trip. I found a really cool one that I would like to go to on Compassion International's website. I've noticed that many of the major charities offer mission trip opportunites. Some are rather costly..but some sites offer trips to places in the United States..Here is a link to a few of the trips offered by Compassion. http://www.compassion.com/get-involved/trips-visits.htm
19. Improve your eating habits -It's important to feel good, so try to improve your eating habits. This is something that I truly need to work on...so maybe I have no right to even right about this subject matter...but I do like the idea of feeling healthy and vibrant. I want to feel confident in my eating habits. I want you to feel confident, as well.
20. Be the diva that you are. You are beautiful. Take a day to remind yourself. Get a massage. Get your nails done and treat yourself to something new. Be the diva that you are.
21. Exemplify patience. It's easy to allow stress to hinder your day. It's easy to resort to yelling and fussing. Pray and ask for greater patience. Everyone around you will soon begin to see a difference and life will soon look more lovely.
22. Find your passion. Ever wanted to try your hand at cooking? or learn the tango? Do it..discover new things that you love.
23. Give God the glory. Thank Him for each and every day...thank Him for every sunrise and sunset. Sometimes we simply don't thank Him enough.
24. Photograph - I love capturing moments. This summer, carry your camera with you. Be creative..capture different angles, viewpoints... do a little online research and just have fun...
25. Be the Spark- You are the light of the world. Let it shine. Be the candle in someone else's life. Hold the door open for a stranger. Do something whimsical and unexpectedly kind. Be That person.
26. Read the Bible. Learn about Jesus and let Him be an example to live by..
27. Road Trip - enough said...
28. Listen to music that inspires
29. Be a tourist in your own hometown -go to your local tourist office and see your town with different eyes. We often take for granted the wonders around us..
30. One word: Gratitude..In the Bible, God urges us to not want more,but to simply be thankful for all that we have. Peace comes when we learn to appreciate the small, quiet moments. Beauty comes when we learn to let go and simply learn to appreciate what is right in front of us.
31. Host a meteor shower party - in our family, we have started a tradition..we have meteor shower parties.We gather up family and food and lots of chairs ..we build a bonfire and we watch the stars fall from the sky. It creates wonderful memories and it's fun.
32. Be childlike! Is there anything more lovely than being childlike? Lay in the grass, stare up at the sky and find shapes in the clouds. Fly a kite. Go for a bike ride or roller skate..
33. have a front porch, sweet tea kind of summer - sometimes, the best thing one can do,,, is to sit in the stillness and the silence. this summer doesn't have to be busy. Aim for quiet often.
34. Reconcile and apologize - Meaning can often be found by simply saying, Sorry.. It's a hard thing to do sometimes, but it allows you to let go of a lot of hurt and baggage.
35. Love. There is no greater purpose on this earth than to love those around us. We often get so heavily involved in our worries, fears, work..and even technology ..that we miss wonderful opportunites to love.
36...well, i'm tired..so I am simply going to suggest rest. Take a break. Rest. Don't do anything. Relish it.