Happy July! I’m not quite sure how we’re here already. Summer always flies by. I have so many things I want to do/get done/have done and much of it is still a jumble in my head, so I’m working to set some intentions. In one of my morning newsletters from the New York Times last month, Melissa Kirsch shared some readers’ submissions of their summer intentions. My favorite was “Frosty Friday,” which involved visiting a new ice cream shop each week. You can read the full newsletter here:
Another clergy colleague has done something similar with her family each year. They make a big “Family Summer Fun List,” and I love the specificity of it. This year’s list included: run a mile, play 100 hours of music, catch a fish, visit a new library branch, and pet a puffin! They also name places they want to check out, friends they want to make time to visit, and some not-so-fun activities, like clean out the garage. At least cleaning out the art room had a specific goal - making room to set up a new drum set. They don’t cross everything off the list each summer, but they do get through quite a bit of it.
This kind of intentionality can be a holy practice. It honors the various needs of our bodies, minds, and spirits, and celebrates the uniqueness of our created beings. Each of our lists will be different. Lists might be created around themes, around neglected needs, or some other way. The CARE of Centering Space might offer a helpful framework. What would you add on your list in the categories of Contemplation, Action, Renewal, and Expression?
Our Pentecost theme - A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood - has been helpful in setting specific intentions for engaging our neighbors and neighborhood, including neighborhood walks, riding the city bus, hosting a fun event and inviting the neighborhood, and more.
A list like my friends make each year is a good way to get ideas flowing, to get creative, and to get specific. I don’t have one yet, but I hope to have one by the time you’re reading this. But if you’re already feeling overwhelmed, or if your schedule is overflowing, or if your resources are depleted, you don’t need a full list. Just set an intention or two. Something specific and achievable.
For the month of July, I’ll share two intentions that I have. Isaac turns 10 (!) this month. Celebrating this entry into double digits well is one of my intentions, and we have a few ideas cooking. The other intention, which will give me a concrete goal for accountability, is to read four books for fun this month.
If you have a list or even just a single intention, I’d love to hear it! Let me know, or share it in the Facebook group on Trinity so we can all be inspired and cheer each other on.
One final note - don’t forget, there is always abundant grace. Sometimes life throws curveballs, and we have to adjust. Sometimes we just can’t. Maybe mental health challenges get in the way, or when we have the time, we lack the energy. There’s no failing this. What is done can be celebrated, and what isn’t can be let go. With that note of grace, I again wish you a happy July!
Grace and Peace,