Drink The Wild Air…An Ode To Summer!

Drink The Wild Air…An Ode To Summer!

I love living where I can experience all four seasons…but summertime definitely seems to bring its own brand of unique energy to everyday life…we always seem to find ourselves in that perfect juxtaposition between taking advantage of the flurry of activities that are available this time of year and enjoying some leisure time while still maintaining a little daily structure too!  Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best…

Emerson's summer quote.
Summer days will be here and gone before you know it, so as much as we might love to throw caution to the wind and let summer evolve with carefree abandon…here’s a few suggestions that might help us each make the best use of our time while still allowing for plenty of fun!

Sun symbol.

 

Make a plan…but be flexible!

Kids…and mom’s deserve to sleep in a little and be a bit lazy the first few days of summer vacation, but after that, I think making a loose schedule is a good idea so you don’t find yourself in pajamas eating cereal every afternoon!  When our children were young, my husband and I liked to get their input on some of the things they wanted to do during the summer and write them down so they could check the list throughout the summer and see what was planned and when we planned on doing them–looking forward to something is good motivation for getting your daily routines accomplished. (ie. reading, jobs, practicing, etc.)  We also made it clear that depending on weather, work and other obligations, we might have to change things up on occasion, but that’s what makes summer so much fun…and a bit unpredictable.  While you may choose to be more flexible on some of your normal rules and routines, the mom/nurse in me always liked to maintain enough structure to ensure that my children were getting the nutrition, exercise and sleep they all needed.

Planning a summer schedule.

“Summertime is always the best of what might be…if you make a few plans!”  Charles Bowden

Sun symbol.

 

 Focus on quality time!

I worked part-time when my children were still home during the summer, so being more mindful of planning quality time together when I was home was very important to me.  You don’t have to go on a family vacation to make family time a priority.  Check your local Chamber of Commerce or city summer guides for unique things to do in the area where you live.  It’s amazing how many great adventures you can experience close to home–enjoying a ballgame, neon bowling, a fun water park, and hikes up local canyons were some of the things we loved to do…as well as reading a good book together, working in the yard, enjoying family game night, or trying some new places to eat out.  Connecting in these ways always seemed to create the perfect atmosphere for lively conversation and genuine appreciation for one another!  Lucky for me…I now get to do many of these same things with my fun grandchildren!

Mueller Park trail sign.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt!”  John Muir

Sun symbol.

 

Take the road less traveled!

If you’re planning a family trip during the peak vacations months of summer and you want to avoid the follies of Chevy Chase and his family in National Lampoon’s “Vacation” movie, it might be a good idea to travel to a destination that’s a little less known but still packed with a lot of fun activities and great experiences.  We had a boat growing up and we often planned trips to lesser known lakes and marina’s during the peak summer months, allowing for calmer waterskiing water and a lot more choices when it came to picking a camping spot.  If a popular amusement park is on the agenda, going during the middle of the week obviously helps you avoid longer lines and wait times.  I’ve also found that planning a vacation before or after peak holiday weeks, like the 4th of July, usually makes any travel destination less crowded.  I recently joined an online travel guide group that gives suggestions for unusual things to do in each state–I can’t wait to visit some of them!  Even if your vacation spot is a well-known tourist site, browse the internet or a good travel book for some “off the beaten path” exploits!  I’ve listed a few other great travel tips in this post.

Off the beaten path ode to summer!

“You must be a little fearless to take the road less traveled!”  Lailah Gifty Akita

Sun symbol.

 

Try something new!

As parents, I think we all want to provide an assortment of new experiences for our children so they can try their hand at various activities that could become a fun new hobby or talent, but let’s not forget to get in on the fun ourselves–you just never know when you might discover something that helps define a new chapter of your life…and summer seems to be one of the best times to do that.  My husband believes that we shouldn’t just be observers of our children’s summer fun, instead, we should experience it with them!

An Ode to Summer! Biking Signs!

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the human race!”  H. G. Wells 

I’ve started doing a little biking in the last few years, and while I don’t feel the urge to do it competitively like my husband when he does triathlon sprints, I find it’s fun exercise and a neat way to see our hometown from a different perspective.

An Ode To Summer! Tennis Lessons!

Signing your children up for classes with your city’s recreation programs is a great way to let them try a new sport without having to invest a lot of money until you see if they like it.  On a whim, my daughter had her girls try tennis lessons; not only did they love playing, they seemed to have a natural knack for it too!!

Sun symbol.

 

Keep it simple!

While we look forward to the opportunity to spend more time together as a family during the summer months, filling our days with the millions of options available to keep us busy and entertained, there is only so much parental energy–and our children’s congenial attitudes are not limitless.  I’ve found that if I didn’t over-complicate my life with things I thought I “should” be doing all summer, that my days naturally went smoother…besides, it’s good for kids to see that every minute of every day doesn’t need to be planned out and that the best summer memories are often those where they just enjoy some good old-fashioned leisure time.  I also tried to have some down-time after lunch when my kids were home.  They could read or play a quiet game in their rooms or perhaps watch a TV show for half an hour.  I’ll admit though, I’m happy that I raised my family before the great drawing force of the internet–my kids weren’t distracted by social media, living vicariously through their friend’s summer activities…instead they couldn’t wait to go outside and create their own adventures, letting their imaginations go wild!  (I’ll never forget the wedding they held in our garage, complete with dandelion bouquets and vanilla wafer refreshments!)  When my oldest daughter and her husband were looking for a place to settle down and raise their family, I loved it when she told me that she wanted to find a neighborhood where her kids could grow up just like she did…where they walk out the front door to friends who ride bikes, sell Kool-aid, run through the sprinklers, and play for hours on end using the simple creativity of their own minds!

Ode To Summer! Koolaid for sale!

“From here to there, and there to here, fun and funny things are everywhere!”  Dr. Suess

As parents we can often feel pressured to have everything Pinertest” perfect when it comes to entertaining our children…but their simple artistic efforts are what matter most when doing an activity; the stress levels are kept in check too.

When we get together as a family now, listening to my kids reminisce about their fun childhood summers fills my heart…those days have set a good foundation for all the wonderful times they enjoy now as they raise their young families!

Summer fun quote.

“Every summer has its own special story!”  Tribute Journal

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

I’d love to know how you balance your summer activities.  Do you have any summer traditions?

–Best summer wishes to you!  Mary

The Power Of Wow! Be Amazed Every Day!

The Power Of Wow!  Be Amazed Every Day!

The Easter season and the beauty of spring seems to beg for us to truly be amazed by all that this wonderful world has to offer.   One of the last pieces of advice my dad gave me before he left this mortal life was to always look around me and find something to be in awe of each day…the power of wow, he liked to call it.

The Power of Wow! Be Amazed Every Day

As grown-ups, we may not experience the innocent delight and awe of a child discovering nature for the first time, but we can certainly open up our hearts and be filled with the wonder and happiness that can be experienced when we take the opportunity to be amazed by the incredible gifts that are ours to enjoy–simply because of our existence here on earth!

The Power Of Wow! Be Amazed Everyday!

“Give each day the chance to become the most beautiful of your life!”  Mark Twain

Being More Mindful!

In trying harder to live each day with a more mindful approach, I’m reminded of a neat plaque that hung in the play area of a pediatric unit where I used to work:

“Be sure to explore the world with a fresh curiosity!”

Would you be surprised to learn that amazement is an instant stress reliever?  Dr. Rick Hanson of Psychology Today, even goes so far as to say that, “being amazed brings you into an enlightened relationship with the inherent mysteries and astounding bounties of the world you live in.”  We can often become preoccupied with our daily obligations, but I’ve found that the chance to be amazed is more likely to happen when I remember to allow myself the luxury of being wowed by the neat surprises that each day has to offer…when I do this–I feel energized and more grateful!

The Power Of Wow! Be amazed Every Day!

Today Is A Wonderful Gift!

I know that when I live more present-minded, I’m less likely to get stuck in my head–instead, I tend to focus more on savoring life and the people and things that make each day a wonderful gift.  Michael Kernis, a psychology professor at the University of Georgia, asserts that “when people are more mindful, they’re more likely to experience themselves as part of a greater good; it heightens their instincts and they are able to let go and focus more on the things that matter most.”  Living more mindfully doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn from the past and the life lessons that have made us stronger and helped shape who we are…I also believe in setting goals and having strategies in place to help us plan for the future so we can take advantage of every opportunity to build a more meaningful life.

Learn from the past, plan for the future but live for today!

“The past is behind us, learn from it.  The future is ahead, prepare for it.  The present is here.  Live it!”  Thomas S. Monson 

A Few Things Thant Amaze Me!

I’m amazed…when I see the world through the beautiful eyes of my grandchildren; it gives me hope in the future of this sometimes crazy world!

Seeing the world through a child's eyes!

“There’s a certain joy and wonder everywhere about you, when you see the world through a child’s eyes.”  Katrina Mayer

I’m amazed…by the arrival of each season–but spring is my favorite!

Be amazed!

“Spring brings out our optimism!”  Susan Bissonette

I’m amazed…by the talent and passion of people who take pride in their craft!

Be amazed!

“A good chef is like a sorceress who serves up magic and happiness!”  Elsa Schiaparelli

(If possible, take the opportunity to sit where the chef’s prepare your food at your favorite restaurant…and be amazed!  My husband and I like to do this at The Copper Onion in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.)

I’m amazed…and my spirits are lifted by a beautiful sunset when I leave work after a long, busy shift at the hospital!

Be amazed!

“At the end of the day, before you close your eyes…be content with what you’ve done and proud of who you are.”  Tribute Journal

Mostly I’m amazed…at God’s love and His kind hand in my life!

Have a beautiful life.

“When you rush through life…it becomes a race, but when you cherish each moment…it becomes a beautiful journey!”  Apoovre Debey

Please share how you stay amazed with the world around you?

–Love, Mary

Lessons Learned!

Lessons Learned!

As I get another year older…I’m so grateful that my parents were such good examples of teaching me how to love life in all its various stages.

Life Lessons Learned! Embrace the current season of your life quote.

We’ve all heard the saying, “with age comes wisdom” –however, I suppose that we have to be willing to learn in order to gain that wisdom!

Being An Avid Learner!

Celebrating another birthday seems like as good a time as any to reflect on a few of the life lessons I’ve learned over the years…although I hope to be an avid learner in the school of life, so to speak, for many years to come!

Small daily habits are important.   As a nurse, I often see people who don’t feel well because they haven’t taken very good care of themselves.  Sure, we all get sick once in a while, but if there is one life lesson I’ve learned that seems to compromise the outcome of other great lessons to be learned in this life, it’s taking our health for granted.  It’s never too late to make it a daily habit to look forward to each new day, pray, exercise, eat fresh food, brush our teeth and be more aware of all the little things that can help inspire us to live better!Life Lessons Learned. Aristotle quote.Be stronger than yesterday.  My parents grew up in what has been coined as “the greatest generation”having persevered during the tumultuous times marked by the historic economic downfall of the stock market in the 1930’s, followed by World War II.  At every turn in their lives, they taught me that personal duty, integrity and faith should be the defining characteristics in how I face challenges in my life.  My mom always had a quiet dignity about her, but she was fierce in teaching her children that every day was a good day to be stronger and make a difference!

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Change is inevitable.  When we hear this cliché, it seems to imply something bad…but if there’s one life lesson that is a persistent teacher, it’s that life is change!  Change can become one of our greatest life lessons and allows for the most personal growth if we allow ourselves the permission to step outside our comfort zone and learn from it.  As I’ve embraced change and impermanence in my life, surprisingly I have found more inner peace and contentment.  In fact, on those occasions when it seems my life has hit a plateau, so to speak, whether it’s in my relationships, my job, my health…I try to change things up a bit to keep things fresh and even a little unpredictable.

Life Lessons Learned! Change is inevitable.

• Deliberately choose the people you spend the most time with.  If we spend time with people who bring out our best personality traits, but at the same time challenge our fears and insecurities, chances are we’ll become the best version of ourselves.  Sometimes people come into our lives at a crucial time because something in us wants to learn–and they too want to learn from us…and a lovely friendship is formed.  I’m so grateful for all the incredible people in my life who love me unconditionally and teach me wonderful life lessons through their examples so that I can continue to cultivate my true potential!

Life Lessons Learned! Surround ourself with good people!

• Trust your heart.  I have found that if we stay true to ourselves, our hearts will never guide us wrong.  Throughout my life, I’ve often felt the pull between what other people think I should do (or what the accepted standard is) and what my heart discreetly and sincerely tries to tell me is right.  The world likes to bombard us with big promises, glorified acclamations and even false adulation, resulting in our egos getting in the way of what we know, deep down, is in our best interest.  Call it intuition or a small inner voice, it is essential for us to take a step back from our busy lives once in awhile, so we can honor our true feelings and trust that our hearts will help us make the decisions that will bring us genuine and lasting happiness.  Like anything else, this takes time and practice, but the reward for doing so will ultimately be what defines our personal legacy!

Life Lesson Learned! Trust your heart.

And finally, a few other important lessons I’m always trying to learn better…

Life Lessons Learned!

I’d love to know what life lesson or advice has helped you most in your life? 

–Mary