A while back a friend said to me, “In an airplane emergency, first you must put on your own oxygen mask, then help those around you. Have you put on your life mask first?”
Since December, I have diligently tried to remember to practice self care as a means of improving my own life, and also the lives of my family members. This has been a difficult task for someone like me. Someone who often says yes to everything others ask, without any thought as to how this decision will impact me on a personal level. Someone who puts the thoughts and feelings of others before my own. Always.
Last week we ventured to the Northwoods of Wisconsin for a family vacation, but also for a personal recharge. While Up North this year, I tried to carve out some “me time,” where I could breathe in the positive energy around me, and release any toxic, negative energy that was holding me down.
I ended up finding time in the early morning hours, while my family still slumbered. The sun cast a faint glimmer upon the mirror-like surface of the lake, while the frogs and toads sang me a melodious tune. I found myself in the many green spaces on the property, pulling weeds and tending to the small plants that managed to survive the feast of the nearby deer. With my hands beneath the soil, I could feel the energy of the Earth pulsing through me, filling me with a profound sense of peace. It was during these moments that I felt connected, not only to the Earth, but also to those in my life whom I have lost and to the God who placed me here at that moment to embrace the spirit of my surroundings.
Yes, these moments of recharging my mind, body and spirit have proven to be my life’s saving grace. And for that, I am so very grateful.
With all that life placed before us this summer, we had yet to take any sort of a trip as a family. It was important to me that we have at least one small excursion before summer slipped from our grasp. This past weekend we were gifted with the ability to make a quick escape from our routine and visit the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Although the trip was just one full day, we were able to celebrate a 60th wedding anniversary, visit a distillery and brewery we had never before visited, and spend some quiet time in a beautiful bistro while chatting and drinking lots of lattes and hot chocolate. Who could ask for more?
It is with a full heart that I head into this week, trying to hold on a bit longer to the summer, but also looking forward to the adventures that fall will surely bring.
I wish you a beautiful start to your week, friends.
When I think back to the summers of my youth, there are certain images that float immediately to my mind…Balmy summer nights, when the sound of chirping crickets drown out all other noise in the darkness while my sister and I camped out with our neighbors in their play house. Walking barefoot through the damp blades of grass at dusk catching lightening bugs with my mom and dad, then storing those seemingly magical creatures for just a few precious minutes in wooden bug houses my Grandpa Dit crafted. Taking long leisurely bike rides with my two best neighborhood friends, every once in a while pausing to chat with a boy we all had a crush on. Running up and down our street in the warm summer sunlight, as a lively game of capture-the-flag was underway. I have no doubt these memories will stay with me for my lifetime, for these are the moments that define summer for me in my mind.
Ever since having children, I find myself thinking about what little images will be held in their minds for the duration of their lives. After spending time in the Northwoods of Wisconsin last week, I can unequivocally say these Northwoods-memories will stay with my girls forever. For what could be better than a breakfast cooked on the beach? Or jumping off the dock at least a hundred times, never tiring because it fills you with the most thrilling feeling each and every time your body pauses for that brief moment in the air before plunging into the cool waters below? Or crunching your toes in the damp sand as the refreshing water waves over them? Or having your parents feed you bits of food in the lake because you refuse to get out of that amazingly fun water for even a second? Or dancing on a stage with your cousins while a Tom Petty song plays, without a care in the world that dozens of grown-ups are watching you, wishing they could embrace the wild abandon running through every fiber of your being? These are the moments I am sure my girls will carry with them, for this is what summer memories are made of.