My summer was very simple and refreshing. It was the first time since age 14 that I did not work. I was so blessed to have a summer of so much free time. Here are a few highlights.
- Building our marriage. The was our first summer as a married couple. Since my husband just finished with grad school in May and I finished my most stressful school year ever, we welcomed June with open arms. We enjoyed finally getting into a structured way of life and falling into our roles as husband and wife. He worked a lot on the house and yard; I enjoyed finally having time to cook and bake again. We both enjoyed quality, unrushed time together: reading books, studying the Bible, watching movies, biking, playing frisbee, a drive-in movie, bonfires on the deck and just hanging out, talking, and learning how to love and receive love from one another.
- Getting organized. Since I just got married last September (while also beginning a new job teaching middle school students) most of my stuff was still in boxes at our place. So it felt good to go through and purge while also unpack and make our home a little more homey.
- Family. We enjoyed a visit from our first ever overnight guests. We spent two days with Nathan’s brother Bob, sister-in-law Carol and the kids, Landon, Ashlyn and Reese. We went to the Mall of America, the beach, watched movies and just hung out. It was so great to get to know the fam and the kids were so sweet and cute!
In July, we also made a trip to Nathan’s hometown in Coleman, WI for a family reunion and to Oshkosh to see my oldest brother and family. We made sure to see my parents in Eau Claire on the way to and from these trips. We are so blessed by family!
- Getting healthy. I had pretty severe stress overload from all the changes over the last year. So my dr.’s orders were to get healthy. I focused on eating an elimination diet (which I am attempting to continue today), doing yoga and other exercise and just sitting around and relaxing (Which is super hard for me).
- Reading. The main part of summer for me is reading LOTS which luckily coincides with relaxing. I made it through at least seven books this summer. I finally finished the Harry Potter series (started from the beginning and March, finished book 7 in July), then at least 2 or 3 self-help books, 3 spiritual/memoir books- Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen, Mercy in the Wilderness by Susie Lason, When We were on Fire by Addie Zierman and finally a memoir about amnesia called The Answer to the Riddle is Me. Some I enjoyed more than others; but I definitely picked up a lot of great stuff especially with my writer’s eye!
- Nature. I enjoyed getting my bird stuff set up in the yard. For me there’s nothing that helps me relax more than time spent outisde in my yard. And thanks to my wonderful husband, I have been feeling more and more at home at our place (I moved into his “bachelor-pad” when we got married.) Anyway, it has been fun and challenging to figure out which feeders, seed, etc to use and how to situate them in the yard.
Also, we had a garden which I enjoyed tending, okay not quite. I hate weeding. I hate bugs and I hate the hot weather. But I did like to pick and eat the veggies! We grew strawberries, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Something I had the luxury of doing this year was sitting in the sun quite a bit. I would get drinks, snacks, books, journals, etc. and sit out there (for as long as I could tolerate the heat). I sure have a nice tan now!
- Friends. Since N. worked all day every day, I had a lot of time to myself. I tried to see friends, my brother and fam (who live in town) or my cousin Caitlin at least once a week.We’d grab tea, head to a farmer’s market, go for a bike ride, sit at the beach and …overall just talk and catch up. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends. Now that I live so far away from everyone they are even more precious to me!
Our special trip of the summer was to see our friends who live near Duluth. We enjoyed a wonderful stay with Emma and Jeff at their beautiful cabin. We had yummy food, a great room and enjoyed hiking and kayaking with them. N. and I extended the weekend by staying one night in downtown Duluth at a spectacular B & B Solgmlit Inn. We splurged and got the best room. The breakfast, room, view (and of course company) were amazing!
Overall it was a superb summer of just R & R. Working on my health, marriage and faith in a relaxed setting to get me ready for another year of craziness. God is so good!