Last summer I had a list. It was hand-written on scrap paper. Prince Charming and I took stock of the need-to’s and want-to’s around our home and then posted the list on that illustrious place of honor relegated to family masterpieces—the refrigerator.
It nagged me. All. Summer. Long.
By August I was guilt-ridden. Little had been done to complete the tasks I deemed must-do’s. I ended the summer feeling unaccomplished.
So these hot months? This year? I refuse to list. Period. Instead?
I choose to meander. To stroll through the summer and breathe in the moments, holding them tight in my chest. To ramble. To roam. To wander. To close my eyes and listen to crickets in the dark. To let go and run through the puddles after the rain.
I don’t want to waste my summer.
Friends, I have files in piles around my house that have needed organization for over ten years. If our family has managed without that organization for this long? Well. I’m not wasting days of summer with my children to do it now. Nope.
Sure my grout in my tile hasn’t been cleaned since Ella was two. But in the last eight years the new color has kinda grown on me. So this summer? Using the latest Pinterest hack to accomplish grout cleaning? Not a chance. Instead?
I choose to meander.
Don’t worry. I haven’t left all responsibility behind. Clothes will be washed and meals, which may include a frozen pizza or two, will be prepared. Floors will be mopped and shelves dusted. But I want to live this summer feeling free to determine there are more important things in life than clean baseboards.
In recent weeks I have found myself attached to an excerpt from Tolken’s Lord of the Rings, “Not all those who wander are lost.” I’m allowing it to resonate. Simmer. While journeys across Middle Earth are not what I have in mind for my summer, walks with my children are.
To become the wanderer who lives in my soul, I’ve had to make choices. Hard choices. Like the one where I removed several apps from my phone that monopolize my time. Not because they’re evil. But because I have often chosen the apps over meandering, over my family, over my responsibilities.
Strangely, I don’t miss them.
I realized this summer I wanted to read. Not newsfeeds but books. Books which would challenge me—change me. I want to stop long enough to look into my husband’s eyes—deep and knowing.
With my children? I want to create random art projects. Play outside until after bedtime in the evenings. Eat Fro-yo dinners. Stay in our PJs all day. Watch movies late into the night.
I’m attempting to live unplanned and in-the-moment. I’ll be honest. It’s anything but easy. Guilt creeps in, pointing out all the things in my house that need care. When that happens? I’m learning to look past the things and see the humans in my home.
Prince Charming. My Princess and Court Jester. Me. We’re more important than spit-shined windows and never-ending lists.
To-do lists will never end. Summers with my children will.
Meandering restores something deep within my spirit. When I take the time to notice the small beauties of life, the significant nuances in a petal’s color, I am witnessing the very breath of God. Communing with Him.
In Him I find restoration.
In Him creativity is renewed.
In Him joy is profound.
I realize many people do not have the luxury of summers off, or any time off for that matter. But I’m learning there is always space in our lives for the meandering. Sometimes it simply happens. Other times we have to carve it into our days and the carving is always a removing of something.
I am learning to intentionally wander. If I’m not purposeful, I won’t stroll. If I don’t choose it, I’ll rush. If I never try, I’ll miss beautiful opportunities this summer to make memories.
And the best memories are found in the slow meandering.
So this summer? I choose to meander.
Dear friends, I simply must tell you the super-fun, nature canvas art was inspired by the blogger Flower Patch Farmgirl. She’s amazing and if you haven’t ever, you should check her out! I. just. love. her.