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Nurturing Your Spirit

Exploring Womanhood > Mind, Body & Soul > Nurturing Your Spirit

Summertime Soul Snacks
by Susie Michelle Cortright

Celebrate summer with these seasonal soul snacks . . .

  • Just before dawn, take a moonlit hike. Then sit back at your destination and watch the sun rise from a new place, which may lend a fresh perspective to the day ahead.

  • Make strawberry shortcake with real, fresh whipped cream.

  • Go fishing.

  • Escape with your husband and rent a canoe. Enjoy a romantic journey across the lake.

  • Take the kids horseback riding.

  • Borrow a convertible.

  • Take a historic walking tour of your town or city. Visit your local library for information about self-guided tours, or call your Chamber of Commerce to see if your town offers organized tours. Build your sense of community by learning about your city's heritage.

  • Take the kids to the zoo.

  • Hike through your nearest wildlife area or state park.

  • Sit back in a lawn chair with fresh iced tea.

  • Take the kids on a bike ride.

  • Visit your local farmer's market.

  • Take the rocking chair onto the front porch.

  • Make a great big salad for dinner. Grill chicken, cut in strips, place on a bed of lettuce, and top with your favorite veggies.

  • Float down the river.

  • Run through the sprinkler with your kids.

  • Take the kids for miniature golf, or head to a nearby driving range.

  • Sit outside and paint your toenails. A number of brands dry in 90 seconds. Now, put on a pair of sandals or go barefoot. Enjoy an instant energy lift each time you look down at your feet.

  • Eat raspberries.

  • Play disc golf. Many communities now feature courses for "Frisbee Golf," but you can create your own in any park. Just designate a few trees as your "holes" and toss away.

  • Host an outdoor tea party with your daughter and her friends.

  • Find a petting zoo.

  • Fly a kite.

  • Head to the beach.

  • Blow bubbles.

  • Go inline skating.

  • Dine al fresco. Set a table on the deck, front porch, or in the middle of your backyard. Outdoor dining doesn't have to mean paper plates. Use the good stuff, light a few candles, and enjoy a glass of wine. Don't forget the centerpiece of fresh-cut flowers.

  • Indulge in a glamorous pair of sunglasses. Pretend you're someone you're not.

  • Take the kids out for an ice cream cone. Take a walk while you enjoy this warm weather treat.

  • Make a giant jar of sun tea to enjoy this afternoon. Fill a gallon jug with three family-size or nine regular-size tea bags and place in the sun for three to four hours. For a little zing, add a few spicy teabags. (I love Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Tea, available at most supermarkets.)

  • Enjoy the feminine flair of a sundress, sandals, and a straw hat.

  • Sit on a park bench. Just sit there, with nothing on your agenda. As Richard Carlson writes in his best selling Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and it's all small stuff, "the beauty of doing nothing is that it teaches you to clear your mind and relax."

  • Take off your shoes and run through freshly mown grass with the kids.

  • Refrigerate your favorite body spray, or make your own by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a spritzer of water. Spray the cool mist on your face, the back of your neck, and the soles of your feet to cool down.

  • Pack a picnic and go the prettiest place you can think of.

  • Visit a botanical garden.

  • Treat yourself to a homemade fruit smoothie. Blend low-fat yogurt with your favorite fruits. Serve in an elegant wine glass or goblet.

  • Enjoy the summer air while providing some creature comforts. Many animal shelters need volunteers to walk their dogs. These dogs greatly benefit from the exercise and the companionship, and so do we.

  • Take your camera along on a walk today. Be on the lookout for peaceful moments you can capture with a photo. Once the photos are developed, place them where you will see them whenever you need a quick escape.

  • Round up the kids this evening, bundle up, and head outside to watch the sunset. Focus on all of your senses. What do you see? How does the evening air feel against your skin?

  • Curl up with your favorite dog or cat for 10 minutes. If your dog loves fetch, head outside to throw a few Frisbees.

  • Walk for 15 minutes with no destination. Whether you go alone or with someone, just make sure you're outside (no treadmills). As you walk, be on the lookout for signs of summer. The smell of fresh grass clippings. Your neighbor's daffodils. Nature's restorative powers are unrivaled, and summer offers so many opportunities to breathe deeply and enjoy the season.

  • Nap on a porch swing.

  • Take the kids to the library or browse an online bookstore. Select a "beach book": an absorbing story you can enjoy without a whole lot of thought. While it may not be great literature, it will allow you to escape into a new world every time you pick it up. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to read the book. It just matter that it's there.

  • Sit in the middle of your yard and practice some deep breathing exercises. Consciously relax each part of your body, and let the tension melt away with each breath. Just five minutes of deep breathing can work wonders.

  • Become aware of the present moment. Try not to think about what's going to happen Monday, or this afternoon, or even five minutes from now. Instead, turn your attention to the details of your life...the way the sun feels on your face, the way your scalp feels when your hair blows in the wind, the way your children talk, the joy of spending time with your family. Cultivating this present moment awareness will help you relax and enjoy the world, while taking things just one step at a time.

  • Appreciate nature. Whether you focus on the stars above, a distant mountain range, or the cottonwood tree in your backyard, try to notice the details. Give thanks for the beauty that surrounds us and the seasons that are to come.

Susie Michelle CortrightSusie Cortright is the founder of momscape.com and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground. Join her scrapbooking club or learn more about starting your own scrapbooking business on Susie's team.

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