Right now it's raining outside my window and it's the perfect day to let my mind dream of fall.
Fall will be here before we know it.
Stores have already sold out of their first batch and restocked their school supplies, emails from school administration is increasing and there is a cooler breeze during (some of) the evenings that remind us of the changing of seasons.
Don't get me wrong, summer is still full steam ahead but there has been a shift in our minds, bodies and even the garden as I notice our late summer/fall blooms beginning to perk up.
I have always let the seasons carry me from one to the next but this summer I was way more intentional than usual.
"Write that down" my master gardener friends would tell me, "remember that for next time."
I began to take notes as a letter to my future self of what I thoroughly enjoyed in the garden and what I would do differently for next year.
I noticed when flowers were blooming, what was still waiting, then I would pause to make a note of the changes happening in the garden.
During this observant time in the garden, I heard a podcast from Emily P. Freeman named after her book, "The Next Right Thing" challenging her listeners that when decisions loomed in front of them, to forego the reactionary "pros/cons list" and instead take part in the practice of a preemptive seasonal life list.
It seemed God was encouraging me to pause and take note of what He was doing right in the moment and reflecting on the season that I was being drawn out of.
Instead of being whisked into the next season without any gratitude or thought for what season we had enjoyed, I invite you to join me in taking a small break and filling out my season evaluation you can download by clicking below.
To begin - Set your timer for 15-30 minutes and turn off all distractions.
Fill out the sheet by answering two questions "What was life giving?" and "What was life draining?" for different areas of your life.
You can break these two questions up into categories, for example; home, personal and work or Freeman's examples of personal, relational and actionable.
You can see that I was able to quickly address some areas that I felt were both life giving and draining in a matter of moments.
My list can and will be expanded on since it is certainly not exhaustive.
Nor does it need to be. Let the pause and reflection be what you want/need it to be.
Then if you want, take the items deeper by asking yourself questions like, "How could I have done this better?", "Do I need to ask for help in some of these areas?", "What am I grateful for?", "How can we repeat this in the next season?", "Do my time commitments reflect my values?" and "Do these add up to the life I want to live?"
There is no guilt in these questions but purely observing and acknowledging.
If you don't like what you see or your drains list is longer than your life-giving list, make note of that and learn from it.
Don't let this list beat you up.
We learn from our seasons and become better by being students of our own lives.
The purpose of filling out this "evaluation" (and I'm not sold on that term, it sounds so stuffy) is to gather the good life giving moments in our seasons and recreate those as we are able to in the next season.
You can fill it out monthly, quarterly or as often as you feel a shift in your season.
It will also shed light on what was draining about your season so that whenever possible, we can avoid them in the future.
I love that the garden has called me to pause and take notes more often. Some times the notes are mental invitations to pause and enjoy instead of just harvesting and producing.
By filling out this sheet I hope you will find room for more life giving spaces and free you to say no to the things that drain you.
Let me know if you fill out the sheet and what doing so tells you!
I am a fan of YOU and want to see you thrive!
You matter in this world. Remember that.