Saturday, August 16, 2014

Celebrating Things Not Done {8-16-14}

Back in June, when summer vacation was about to begin, I had such grand summer reading plans.  The stack of professional books that I wanted to plow through this summer was at least a foot tall and ranged from books on writing instruction to writing a novel.  I was excited to think of long reading days ahead and all the new things I would learn.

Now, I'm standing close to the finish line of summer and that stack of books-to-be-read is still a foot tall.  I may have read bits and pieces of several of them, but not a one is finished.  Every time I see the stack, it is no longer generating feelings of anticipation, but rather feelings of stress and frustration over my failed plans.

But this is no way to spend my last week of summer vacation, focusing on what I DIDN'T get done this summer, instead of what I DID.  So I decided to make myself a list of what my summer involved and focus on that instead:

1.  Hosted Cecile from France for three weeks.
2.  Went to Bastille Days, Festa Italiana, and the Milwaukee Art Museum for the first time
3.  Spent many Saturdays at the Kenosha Harbor Market
4.  Attended the All-Write Conference (all by myself!) and met and learned from some wonderful people!

 5.  Began using Twitter and made some great connections
6.  Went to the WI State Fair and took a trip down the big slide
7.  Began a daily walking/running habit

8.  Wrote more (Morning Pages)
9.  Spent more time just watching nature from my back patio and front porch swing
10.  Captured sunrises
 11.  ...and sunsets
12.  Went to Great America
13.  Made memories with family

 14.  Practiced being mindful: hearing the birds sing in the morning, seeing all the colors of green when I walked, stopping to take in the scent of a rose bush.
15.  Napped when I needed it.
16.  Spent more time with Jeremy
 So the truth is, if I had spent my summer reading all of those books, there would have been little time for all of this.

So today I am celebrating that my stack of books still exists and all of these great memories are tucked away forever.


  1. I love how you celebrated something "not done" as an even better celebration. The fun thing about reading this post, is that I remember many of the pictures from your summer! Here's to a great school year.

  2. All-Write seems very far away, doesn't it, Jennifer. I'm so glad we met then, and now have this connection! Your summer activities sound so wonderful, and those PD books will be there, in bits and pieces, when you most need them, when you're teaching! I love seeing all the pictures-beautiful capturing of your summer!

  3. Oh how I adore this post!!! Thank you for sharing your DID list with us. Your summer seems full of love and life and amazing experiences that will be cherished memories. The books will be there. And I can relate!!! I felt the same pull and had the same response! So glad to know I'm not the only one!

  4. I LOVE this post! I often feel guilty reading about how much reading other people do! But I just don't seem to be able to do much reading when I am out and about with my kids and my hubby and just generally enjoying the summer! Thank you for celebrating the making of memories rather than the turning of pages! My kids won't be around for many more summers - but the books will be! Thank you!!!

  5. A summer well spent. I am glad you journeyed to All Write (alone:) because you got to make connections (with some of us:)! I am glad I got to experience your fun personality first hand.

  6. Exactly! You did all the things you save to do and savor over the summer, and your school year will be the better for it. Bravo!

  7. Now that is a summer to celebrate! Well done Jennifer! BTW, those books will be waiting whenever you get a moment.

  8. Such a long list of wonderful things DONE! The books will be there waiting but the memories exist because you took the time. Love how you have "tucked" those memories.

  9. Focusing on what you did instead of the not is the right way to go. Your list looks great. From my point of view the most important is finding time to be with your family. Mindfulness, noticing and napping are sweet pleasures sometimes undervalued. I hope you collected lots of energy to keep you going during school time.


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