What are all those summer lists doing to you?

You know it's not really even summer yet, technically. Right? We've been "done" with formal schooling for a month now so it seems like we had a jump on things and the ball should've been rolling, but I've done zero summering so far. I have lists ready and goals all set to go, but there have been a few major events that had to be taken care of first.

For instance, our daughter graduated from homeschool and we hosted a big party on her behalf. Cue all the sympathy, because 1) I'm done teaching my first child, 2) I'm peopled-out, and 3) I'm done teaching my first child.

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Of course I'm not really done—I have years of wisdom left to give her. And, truth be told, she's been mostly teaching herself for a few years now. But this milestone is an exhausting mix of we did it! and now what?  and did we do it right?  Add to that the fact that our home has been full of people for the last month and you get one exhausted little introvert.

All the goodness piles up and I'm buried somewhere deep.

So the summer lists have yet to be broached, the camping trip hasn't even been planned, and I know it's only the beginning of June but I also know that time can whip your neck right around and all you have is a reminiscing, a vague remembrance that it was summer once.

This is a year of milestones for our family, a year of setting up remembrances and looking back over all the goodness God has shown us. Our daughter turned 18 and graduated. I turned 40. Next week we'll celebrate 20 years of marriage. God is good to give us memory, and since there is so much I've forgotten I'm sure there's also so much I never noticed in the first place.

What did we do with the time? How do we notice the gift of years?

And then I see the lists. What to Read this Summer, What to Cook, Where to Go, What to Wear... I love the lists and I want to tackle the lists and I have lists of my own but really?

All the summer lists need to be a buffet, not a strict diet. We need help remembering and marking the milestones, but we can lose the Everest-sized expectations.

I can see that there are great things to do and read and eat. I can hope that summer is a time to gather in some of the goodness, but "The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.” and yet, we're not.

We're busy and disappointed and hot, sweaty and sticky, and the summer lists might be making us grumpy.

Maybe you don't even get a change of pace for the summer. Maybe while everyone is talking about vacations and camps and school-free days with their kids, you're still plugging away like you were in November. Only it's hot.

Here's what we can do about summer lists, before the summer lists undo us. We can choose our own adventure. We can mark a milestone. We can remember all the goodness summer offers and plan for more, and we can relax in our present circumstances. If our eyes are open, we're not going to miss anything.

And if you still need a list to feel like you've accomplished "summer", here you go:

  • eat fresh strawberries (grow them, buy them, get them from your neighbor)
  • bring in fresh flowers (grow them, buy them, get them from your neighbor)
  • take a nap in the shade
  • open the windows early
  • barbecue your dinner
  • swim
  • read ONE good book

Not everyone is tackling lists this summer. All hands up for sampling the goodness of the season, no strings (or lists) attached.