Summer Time

Summer Time

Summer Time. Is there any season sweeter, shorter, easier, more relaxed than summer?

I feel like I’m just catching up with myself to find I am in the height of the summer season. Officially, we are only a few weeks into the season of summer but it always feels so short. July is the height of it all, August we can start to see the days shorten as back-to-school ads inundate us every moment, and then September it is back to routines, school, work schedules — a chill comes into the air and we are already hunkering down for the fall and winter to come.

But here we are at the epitome of summer. Do you feel these are easy days? It seems that routines are let go of, people are out and about in nature, vacations are being taken, and it’s a good day to take a dip in a pond or pool. Who wants to turn on the oven? Now the grills are fired up and salads and no cook options are on the menu. It all feels different.

What are your plans? For me, I am just seeking to savor the moments. You may be like me with a stack of books to read — get one of those out, pour yourself a favorite drink, and enjoy reading an actual book. There are a lot of fun, light movies and shows to watch — give in and see them. Don’t forget to check out free movies, concerts, and plays in your community — a great way to have an evening out with the beautiful weather without breaking the bank.

Go on a vacation — even a day trip if that is all that is possible. Vacations don’t have to be fancy — often a walk in the woods or a park can be a vacation all on its own. I think the theme of a vacation is to get away from the normal settings you live in and be curious about a place that is new or revisit to find something new. Get away — become refreshed.

Leave your screens behind. It’s all most people do anymore, ie to look down at their phones and off they go for hours at a time. Be mindful of your time on the phone and be intentional about putting it away when on vacation or limit it during these short days so you can be as fully present in the summer days as possible. Just an idea — I know an often dreaded one.

The last thing I want for myself is to wake up the day after Labor Day and say to myself, “Where did it go?” Of course, I most likely will be asking myself this no matter what, but I guess it is the response that counts. It went and I made the MOST of it.

Now is the time to be in summer and let summer be in you. Have fun!

Creativity Burst: Fun Clothes

Fun Clothes

I always loved this T-shirt. A friend gave it to my husband years ago and it gave us both a good laugh. It’s summer. The living is easy. It may just be fun to find some fun, happy clothes to don and share a good laugh.

Even better? Make your own fun (and/or funny) clothes. T-shirts where you use fabric markers to make your own would be a great way to get the creative juices flowing. All you need is some plain white T-shirts (or another solid color) and fabric markers — and, of course, some of your own inspiration to make it a fun activity.

Now another part of this project is finding out what makes it fun. Is it the color? Is it the saying? Is it a combination? I remember when tie dye was all the rage. There were no words, just psychedelic colors that you could use to turn your t-shirt into a wild print. Fun! The process of tie dye was really fun – especially with friends.

Your kids could outfit their dogs and cats too. Finding funny sayings and creating an animal shirt to put on the family cat and dog would also be a fun way to create something new. I think the laughs you may get from your family and others when your pet walks around in his funny T-shirt may also boost creative fun. Whether or not your pet will find it funny is another story.

If creating fun clothes is not exciting for you, then how about heading to your closet and shopping it to create fun new outfits. Perhaps the colors clash or two pieces simplyy don’t go together. Now is the time to try and see what new combinations you come up with that are fun, not necessarily ones that you would wear out in all seriousness. Being outrageous with your wardrobe can spark new ideas and ways to use them. Be open and create some fun fashion statements.

Whether creating funny T-shirts for you or your pets or reimagining your clothes into new outfits that may be outrageous, you are leaning into a creative exercise that will spark more ideas of bringing the new to the old and actually lightening up and having fun. It doesn’t take much to get a creative burst of energy.

Welcome Summer

Welcome Summer
Raspberries on the Vine

The summer solstice occurred little over a week ago — does that mean we are already losing light each day?

I suppose it does, and given how short this season always feels, it is wonderful to get outside and enjoy each moment this summer. We have been cooped up in quarantine for months across the nation. There is still every reason to be cautious, but being able to get outdoors and enjoy this beautiful season — with a mask on and social distance in place — feels particularly special this year.

Even when I walk around my own neighborhood, I see the wonderful summer flowers in bloom and many raspberries on the vine ripening as well. Oh, is there anything that says summer like berries on the vine? In the Pacific NW, it is one of the many marvels we have each summer season. And I don’t even need to go anywhere special to find them. Just walk out my door and notice.

There is much upset and unrest in our lives and communities right now. This is why it is even more important to notice summer. To take time to breathe in her beauty and be present to all that is being offered to all of us at this moment. If we don’t notice, we miss it.

Be Present and Welcome Summer.

Book Review: All Adults Here

All Adults Here Book

All Adults Here is the title — but perhaps its all the children in the adults that are here.

It is summer! Well, not officially, but unofficially in my book this sweet little season has arrived. And with that, I find my reading mind craving bright, easy books that take me away from any cares and into the world of relationships that feel quirky, frothy, yet still give me something to ponder over. Even our beach reads offer us a look at relationships that hold our interest — perhaps we’ll even take away a nugget of something that is meaningful. Sometimes, it is just a sweet, quick read that breezes on by.

All Adults Here by Emma Straub is a novel that is a contemporary look at a family, through the 68 year old’s matriarch’s eyes regarding her children and how she sees each of them and their struggles — to the extent that any parent can see her progeny and try and set some things right for herself and for them. As you can guess, things are going to get complicated fast.

However, it is an interesting family that threads multiple story lines across the generations and how each has its own particular struggles and yet holds together across the entirety of the family system. As one who enjoys looking at how families function through the generations of families, even a fiction family has something to offer me to grow further understanding of myself, my own family, and other families.

It’s a fast read — very now. It feels like a perfect read to kick off the summer season. All Adults Here offers the idea that we are all adults, yes, but we are also all children who grew to be adults. Together, we can find the children inside ourselves and our families long past age says otherwise.

Creativity Burst: Forest Walk

Forest Walk
Time for a Forest Walk

A forest walk. For me, this conjures up the lovely surroundings around the Emerald City, the very one I live in these days, Seattle. In the Pacific Northwest in America, we are fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful forests of evergreen trees that seem to breathe in and out their beauty throughout the entire year. They never lose their leaves but seem to form an eternal canopy that visitors to our nearby forests can enjoy year-round.

It was Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial kick-off to the summer season. It has not been much of a spring with pretty strict shelter in place orders in place this spring, but a few weeks ago our Governor opened up the trails and parks for all of us to get out and explore once again. Although it felt like a very long time since I had been out there, it was still all there waiting for me when I returned.

I want to encourage you to take your own forest walk in the woods that surround you sometime soon. And when you do take that walk, get creative and be there in that moment. Really see the green on the trees, the moss too, and the leaves. Have your kids count as many leaves as they can.

Breathe in green. That’s right — once you are on your forest walk, shut your eyes and call to mind the glorious color of green and mark in your mind all the green you have taken in so far on your walk. Breathe in and out slow and deep as you recall the green living energy that surrounds you. The trees are living, breathing creatures. Seek to attune to their breath in their space. My guess is a sense of expansiveness will fill you.

It is a wonderful time to get back to the forest, to nature, to spend these long days, which still feel somewhat curtailed, in their beauty. Allow nature to give you her own creative burst of energy to charge your day and self to a place of calm but also growth like the green forests surrounding yourself.

Another thought is to revisit this same spot over the next few months. Do you notice any changes in the surroundings? How about in yourself? Is it easier to breathe green? Marking time by returning to the same forest spot a few times can not only track time, but also yourself in nature and its time and rhythm.

In the Pacific Northwest, most of our emerald gems will not shed their leaves, but if I attune myself to my forest, I believe I will find subtle shifts as time moves forward from here. A wonderful way to welcome summer and keep track of her passing by during this fleeting season.