One month into my summer semester and I have discovered again why I cherish it.
I have time for contemplation; my thoughts spin in long threads. My day is not quite as fragmented, because my teens are working, exploring, or otherwise employed; I am not constantly blipping them on my radar. In the morning before they rise, on long bike rides for exercise, or while pulling weeds in my perennials garden, I am thinking, carrying on a conversation about my reading.
I make time to read. During lunch hour I read from one of a stack of non-fiction, such as Beauty for Truth’s Sake, The Question, A Sheep Falls Out of a Tree, How Successful People Think. I read on a bench in the garden. I read during a break for tea. I’ll plan a day vacation and bring a book or two to a lake to read while the teens take out kayaks and canoes.
I have time for meaningful work. Thanks to books I have been reading on managing work (Getting Things Done, Eat That Frog) I have a happy order to my day and I am moving through my long To Do and Wish lists. Some of it won’t get done, but I count all my progress. Andrew Kern takes the pattern in Genesis 1 (Classical Academic Press catalog page 45) and shows how this applies to any creative act: state your intention, do the work, name it, assess it, bless it. So, I plan my work the night before. Since I have learned to “eat the frog” first thing, I get right to work on the hardest thing. Naming my progress or naming my failure (or sin) has made me more conscious of what I am doing. Assessing shows me what I did well or poorly (and what changes to make), and blessing it takes me to God, who is my strength and wisdom. I feel good about my work.
I take time for beauty. On my hour bike ride in the morning I am struck again and again how my lines have fallen in pleasant places. Every lovely view connects to memories of vacations in the country when I was growing up. Now I live in vacation land. Its loveliness feeds my soul; I find myself deeply relaxing into the beauty of this landscape. Every flower garden I pass delights me, because I find another kindred spirit–a gardener fighting back against the penury of winter with the lavish color of the living.
Summer is a different season in the life of the homeschooling mother. I want to make the most of it. I heartily concur with the author of Three Ways to Completely Screw Up Your Summer. Here’s another one, about taking time to behold Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
May your summer refresh you, bless you, and restore your soul.