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Summer Themes and Coming Home to Self  

For at least the past 10 years, I have set a summer theme for myself. Some might call it setting a goal or an intention. I like the idea of a theme, because themes are associated with parties - my own emotional summer party, which I can choose to share with others or throw the party all for myself. I always set the theme in a tone that is encouraging and fun; it will not result in feelings of failure because there are already too many times in life when we are going to fail! Your summer theme should be celebratory; a time to come home to yourself!

One summer theme was gardening. Flowers bring me great joy, it’s my favorite gift to receive and often the gift I give to others. What I learned and took away from this particular theme was how hard gardening is. Getting all the garden weeded, watered, fertilized, pinched, and pruned is strenuous. I learned that “easy to grow” tags are misleading; herbs need more space than I initially provided, and those who told me anything can be grown in pots were lying.

Small pots sprouting growing plants

Upon reflection, I now know that successful gardening involves science and math–my two least favorite subjects. My love of flowers still continues, along with the self-knowledge that gardening is not my life’s passion. It is, however, a passion for my mom, and provides a coming home for me. Through her love of gardening and the creation of a memory garden for my sister, Gretchen, I can transport myself to a safe place, one where memories of childhood and time spent together come flooding back in the best possible way. For me, this summer theme ended up being truly celebratory and a homecoming.


As the dawn of summer anticipation begins, the theme always comes to me–it’s as if my inner voice always knows just what I need if I listen. This summer’s theme is quiet reflection. Quiet won’t always be synonymous with being alone or without noise. I recognize that I’m at a sweet crossroads in life. I’m giving myself the time and space and placing trust in the process of reflection that can derive meaning and direction.

Home-made pasta

So far in the infancy of this summer, I do spend quiet moments of pondering on my deck, listening to the birds, lovingly sandwiched between my dogs with iced coffee in hand. Other moments involve cooking with friends (we have not mastered the art of pasta making yet, but the summer is still young). Monday nights have quickly become my favorite of the week, as I am taking knitting lessons from the most lovely and talented 84 year-old mentor. My creations so far have been mediocre at best, but the joy I get from the community of knitting brings a comfort - one of coming home. And if truth be told, all of my summer themes have been about coming home to myself. The memory of the sound of clicking needles transports me back to my great grandmother’s cabin. Grandma Gelow was a master knitter, or at least that’s how I remember her. This was a place all about nature:

A ball of yarn sits on an arm-rest amidst a backdrop of nature
  • Pinecones

  • A river for bathing

  • A rustic outhouse

  • Crowded sleeping spaces

As educators, we have chosen the single most important profession as our life’s work, and finding peace through the chaos is necessary for longevity. We must find ways to come home to ourselves, to weave together the growing memories that make us feel nourished and grounded. What does coming home mean for you?



What a beautiful story!

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