I swear this happens at the start of every summer: as soon as the flowers bloom and the temperature rises, my life spins out of control.

Maybe it’s a mom thing; having the boys home 24/7 is a big adjustment and requires serious strategic planning to ensure they have a great time AND mama gets her shit done.

Maybe it’s an entrepreneur thing; for whatever reason, new projects and opportunities seem to pop up in abundance this time of year. And 2012 is crazier than ever, filled with blessings that I feel like a total heel for complaining about.

Maybe it’s an expectation thing; every magazine and catalog I see features tan people in flip-flops with fruity drinks, looking care-free and well-rested. That looks like summer. Running from meeting to kid activity to meeting does not.

And yet, that is my summer reality. There’s no magic robot {remember Rosey on The Jetsons!?} to seamlessly coordinate schedules, pick up the cleaning, scrub the floors and hand me a strawberry margarita. But that doesn’t mean I can’t squeeze some pure joy out of this season. So, I give you….


My Happy Summer Action Plan {H.S.A.P.}

I’ve decided to create a Happy Summer Action Plan of four simple, doable tasks designed to help me focus on the sweet stuff this summer. Here’s my plan:


Work outside when possible.

That picture above of the cherry-in-the-spoon was taken after spending an hour sitting on a bench with my laptop at the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden. I had an hour in between meetings, so rather than plunk down at a coffee shop, I went there – and it was wonderful. I’ll be on the lookout for these outdoor opportunities throughout the summer.


Photograph beauty daily.

That’s how this blog originally started, back in 2006 – with me taking photos and writing my reflections every day for a year. That daily practice was transformative for me, training me to be aware of the beauty in my midst. I love the idea of having a whole collection of beauty shots at the end of the summer – proof I was present each day to the goodness around me {like this darling chipmunk, who was my friendly co-worker at the Sculpture Garden!}.


Create a Summer Fun Board

It’s easy to reach the end of summer and wonder where in the world it went…and what in the world we did. So, I have a big piece of cork board for the kids to post tickets, photos and notes about their favorite outings and experiences. By the end of August, I imagine it’ll be loaded up with souvenirs of a fun summer, which will be a great reflection tool for them and will put my mind at ease {look at that! they are having fun!}.


Enjoy Guiltless Pleasures

Time to stop sweating more small stuff. I’ve done quite well letting go of some things, but I can think of countless others that still drive me crazy for no good reason. Maybe I’ll take a business trip without worrying about every little detail happening at home. Maybe I’ll choose not freak out about having guests when my house is a mess. Maybe I’ll go to bed earlier – even if it means I don’t get everything done. Joy with underlying guilt isn’t true joy; I must continually remind myself of this.


My H.S.A.P. won’t eliminate the chaos in my life, but I think it will ease my stress and help me make the most of summer, even a few minutes at a time. Wanna create one, too? I’d love to know what you think needs to be on yours so we can all know true joy this season!