Permission to say NO

upset man on phone call

Please, no! Not another friend asking me to be on a committee!

Most of us are overcommitted. We juggle work, kids, household chores, hobbies, volunteer positions, etc. and maybe we’d be better off if we cut out some of those activities.  But which ones do we cut? And which ones do we avoid in future? That is the question, isn’t it? Continue reading

Fighting the Safety First! Mentality

boy jumping over fire

Would you let your child do something this dangerous?

The other day my brother-in-law told me how much fun he and his family had on vacation. They discovered  a thrill-ride involving a rope swing, a cliff and a thirty-foot drop into the water. They also discovered another, higher cliff from which they leapt off into a river below. These risky, adrenaline-pumping activities were clearly highlights of his trip. Continue reading

Reaching the Finish Line, or Why Is It So Hard to Finish What You Start?

girls running a race

Do you every grow weary before you reach the finish line?

Have you ever noticed it is easier to start projects than to finish them?

We all have memories of the comic book we started drawing (the first six pages were brilliant), or the vegetable garden we started digging (who knew turning over 200 sq. ft. of sod took so much work?), or those photos we started pasting in that album. (This is what one did with photos before the days of digital cameras and Shutterfly.) Continue reading

Surviving August

caution sign reading summer ends soon

“Summer has set in with its usual severity.” ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Or, if I may rephrase it,

“August has set in with its usual frenzy.”

I love summer. I look forward to it every year. But by August, summer and I have developed something of a love-hate relationship.

August always does this to me. I turn the calendar and suddenly realize that summer will be over in a few weeks and I haven’t accomplished half the things I hoped to do — and so I try to squeeze in a summer’s worth of fun activities and home improvement projects while at the same time trying to juggle dentist and doctor appointments, the processing of excess garden produce, and two books from the summer reading list that need to be read before next week’s book club meeting.

This year, on top of the normal madness brought on by the arrival of August, both sons were home for a brief stretch. (Their visits overlapped for just ten days.) So, instead of coming up with brilliant and insightful blog posts or completing a brief  history of the church for the upcoming fortieth anniversary celebration, I went to the beach, sat in the living room talking until midnight, enjoyed a backyard campfire, shared meals with friends and family, baked cookies, and generally tried to soak in these brief moments. Being productive can wait until next week.

park bench in summer

If you think this means we have dawdled our way through the month, you are not taking into account the construction projects, laundry, shopping and back-to-school decisions (ie How are we going to finance this semester? Are you going to switch meal plans? Is the monthly parking permit really the best option?) Not to mention all those discussions about cell phone upgrades, car maintenance and goals for next semester that we’ve been putting off all summer. Nothing like the imminence of leaving for college to bring important topics back to mind. (So Dad, about my cracked cell phone…)

Anyway, it’s been busy around here. But son  #2 left yesterday (after a whirlwind of last-minute laundry, packing, and tying-up of loose ends) and son #1 leaves this weekend.

to do list (800x538)

Next week the house will be empty.

Next week I can get back to work.

And back to my Things-I-haven’t-gotten-to-this-summer list.

What about you? Does late summer bring a burst of frantic activity or do feel like this:

 “Watching the summer close is like watching a good kid die for no apparent reason.” ― Darnell Lamont Walker

Whether you’re sad to see summer go, or are eagerly anticipating the cooler crispness of autumn, I hope you can savor these last days of August.

 “Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” -Henry James

I agree — even in August.

When Dreams Come True (After a Long, Long Wait)

Dreams don’t always turn out the way we imagined them

gazebo with picnic 1tables

A long-awaited visit to the Garden

My grandfather had a dream that the land he farmed would be appreciated by future generations. In 1971 he sold the land to the county, to become part of Cabin Settler’s Park. But that section was never developed and the land sat idle. My grandfather died before anything came of his dream. But the dream was not dead… Continue reading