With June in full swing, there is no doubt summer is upon us. Warm weather, high humidity, swimming, fishing, boating, vacations, mowing the grass, sunburn, thunderstorms and cookouts are all icons of this season.
Mostly, I am a cool weather person -- fall and winter far outrank the sweaty time of year for me. But, I appreciate that most of you look forward to hot weather as much as my wife, Nancy, does.
Today I am going to pass along some tips I have learned on making your summer more enjoyable. If you pick one or two of these activities this summer, and put your heart into it, you will find satisfaction, fulfillment and maybe even a blessing or two.
Plant a garden
I grew up helping my dad tend a vegetable garden that seemed to be 5 acres. Actually it was only about 500 square feet, and little did I realize as we played in the dirt and I helped my father, that I was learning enough to raise my own garden some day.
I now truly enjoy working the soil, planting, cultivating, tending, caring for and harvesting from my modest little patch in the backyard. My kids too like to occasionally pitch in and help. The boys love the radishes. Nancy and Katie are big lettuce fans and the scallions and tomatoes make my day.
Recently I met a couple of folks who take their gardening to incredible levels. Anne Marie Bridges' garden is nothing short of amazing. The TLC she gives her soil and plants is second to none. With husband, Kevin, doing the labor, Anne Marie is free to use her imagination to produce a massive amount of fresh veggies each summer.
Do not hesitate to garden with flowers and shrubs if veggies are not to your liking. Nancy tends her blooms and greenery and gleans just as much enjoyment from them as I do my garden. Her gardening skills also keep our yard looking "top-notch" all year. Summer is for gardens ... have one.
Take a kid fishin'
Notice I said "fishin'", not "fishing". Kids like fishin' better -- there is more fun and less work. If a butterfly flits by you can chase it. If there is a frog on the bank, you can catch it. If it is hot, you can sit in the shade. That's fishin'.
Not many things will bring a smile to your face or a warm feeling to your heart as fast as spending a few hours with a child watching a bobber. Girls and boys alike, a well-planned morning trip to the pond or creek will help create bonds that otherwise may not have happened.
Many kids nowadays do not get the adult attention they want, need and deserve. Parents just sometimes get too busy to be everywhere they need to be and unfortunately their kids often suffer. I am certainly not pointing fingers ... I am merely saying that a bucket of worms, a couple of hooks and bobbers and a few hours with your kids can pay off much more than you might think.
This is one way to improve your summer and have a positive affect on someone else's summer as well. If you take this advice and end up with a hug, you will thank me.
First, let's define "road trip." From my experience, a road trip is neither planned nor expected. It is totally spontaneous.
Road trips with your spouse can be both great fun and a perfect way to rekindle fires that may have flickered out due to hectic schedules and busy lifestyles. A combination of adventure and romance is sure to improve your summer and possibly your entire existence.
Go someplace you and your spouse have never been before together. It can be a place that one of you knows and wishes to share with the other or it can be someplace neither of you know. Exploration is fun and Nancy and I do our share. We recommend it.
Time to yourself
We have discussed how to make gardening a family affair. We have covered taking kids fishin'. We have even talked about getting away with your spouse. There is one more tip I would like to pass along to maybe help you enjoy summertime a bit more.
Spending some time with your own thoughts is often the most relaxing thing one can do, especially if your schedule does not allow you that luxury very often. And the good part of this idea that it does not require a large chunk of your time. If all you can manage is an afternoon in the hammock, take it.
Your whole summer can improve by taking the time to do an evaluation of your self-worth. Introspection is a behavioral characteristic that often lends therapeutic results when properly approached. You may find out you still like yourself after all.
This is also a good time to renew your relationship with your Creator. Seeing the miracles that surrounds us in nature in the summertime should cause us to reflect upon not only why we are here, but who put us here as well. Put yourself in touch with the Lord and watch your outlook on summer, and all the seasons, improve.