A Summer’s Day in Montana

What is it about summer that is sooo busy? I am in awe my “summer” is half over and it feels like it just started. Yes, half over, since spring semester ended the first week of May and I’m back to school the 26th of August. We can’t argue the truth on July 1. I was expressing to my husband just last night my frustration I have so many in-house projects I wanted to do this summer, but all I want to do is be outside and soak up this gorgeous weather. If you don’t happen to live in Montana, every season brings its own beauty and grandeur. I love spring for its warming days and the change of new life and green pastures, planting flowers, the promise of so much beauty. I enjoy autumn for its vibrant colors and cooling days, the rush of being back in school and harvest season. Winter is gorgeous with the snow covered mountains, and includes my favorite season of Christmas and time with family. And then there is summer — lazing in the sunshine at Flathead Lake, the smell of fresh cut grass, clean crisp rains on a summer’s night, and all the ways we can enjoy the warm days whether floating the river, hiking the trails, or just enjoying the patio in the evening with a roaring fire and s’mores.

patio at night
A summer’s night on the patio

We have lived in many different climates and we truly LOVE Montana’s four seasons. I know many believe the constant 75 degrees every day of southern California is the most perfect climate, but I disagree. I don’t think I would appreciate that constant when there is much to be enjoyed from the uniqueness of each day. I greatly dislike humidity (been there, done that) and hate to be oppressively hot. The transitions from one season to the next warms my heart each time. My favorite part of a Montana summer is today’s 80 degrees, clear blue skies, and then tonight — the air will cool, the windows will be open and we’ll rest with 50 degree temperatures. Heaven on Earth, I say!

Kobi running in the grass
Kobi embracing the forest meadow

So what has kept me too busy to write regularly? Well, travel for one. My last post was about our two week trip to France and this week, we leave for Pittsburgh, Niagara Falls and Toronto for 10 days, immediately followed by 3 days at Flathead Lake plus a family reunion along the way. Wheh! We will spend another long weekend at Flathead in August, and then there are day adventures that take us random places around the state – to rodeos, family visits, or an adventure of sorts. Summer is just never long enough! Long walks and hikes with the dogs, yard work, household projects, continuing education courses (for real estate & teaching), planning for changes to my fall curriculum, some cooking and baking, trips to the Farmer’s Market, art walks and music shows downtown, scheduling a block party and a dinner party… I get a feeling you can relate! It’s the perfect season to do so many great things, it is challenging to fit it all in.

couple hiking
Hike in Bear Tap Canyon

My secret to getting as much accomplished on a summer day is the old fashioned to-do list. It’s true… when I don’t have a daily list, it is amazing how little I get done. Ridiculous things distract me or just steal my focus and before you know it, I’ve lost another day. I also find that I have to schedule appointments or errands for the mid to late afternoon. The more I can attend to home based tasks, or things that really need to be done first thing in the day when I feel fresh, strong and motivated to tackle the day, the better my day will progress. If I head out in the morning, by the time I get home at 2 or 3, I am far less able to accomplish much of anything except making dinner. Mind you, it is the same tasks on the list, but the order and timing is so important to my success.

floating the river
Floating the Madison River

And then there is this problem I am hoping you can relate to… I have so many dreams. “If only I had time to…” or “One thing I want to do in this lifetime is…” Do you have some of those? I get inspired to start, but the crazy busyness of life gets in the way and I lose momentum. I haven’t figured out how to fix that once and for all, but I have started one task that is pretty easy to maintain and it is listening to motivational and encouraging podcasts while I walk the dogs. Pretty simple idea, right? Sometimes I can manage it while I am driving two hours down the highway too. It’s not difficult to put in some ear buds and listen while you complete another chore. I wanted to share what am I listening to and has made an impact lately…

  • Beautifully Equipped – produced locally, here in Bozeman by three beautiful women whom I know through a local women’s organization, Bozeman Business & Professional Women. I get so much out of their speakers with every session. Most recently, I heard Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, a financial educator who reminded me about “mindful spending” and how with the right financial choices, you can live big. I need to do a better job to practice what she preaches, but the seed has been planted and that would not have happened if I had not turned on the podcast. Tiffany promotes and provides financial education courses – which I should complete since one is never too old to learn! – but she encourages me to keep pursuing my passions while starting with what I have now. Sadly, as I just logged into Beautifully Equipped to provide you the link, they have posted an announcement that the site will be closing in October. Download NOW everyone, this is fabulous content you will appreciate every time you listen.
  • Craig Groeschel’s Leadership Podcast – I learned about Craig through the Global Leadership Summit we try to attend every August. His 56th episode recently was a Q&A with Carly Fiorina: Unleashing your Highest Potential. Carly is a former CEO of Hewlett Packard and a former candidate for President. This is one I can listen to over and over again! Carly uses personal stories to share her message of leadership (change the order of things for the better) and using empathy, compassion, and humility in problem solving. I’m tackling a professional problem right now and Carly’s message encouraged me that I must keep moving forward. The problem I need to solve is important! Someone needs to make their voice heard (Why not me? What have I got to lose?), and in the process, I may find a passion and a purpose I had no idea I had.
    *Editor’s Note: I wrote this blog on Monday. Tuesday morning, I listened to Craig’s latest two podcasts — The Art of Energy Management and Understanding Your Four Forms of Energy. This post is directly in alignment with those messages. Check them out and follow up with your own energy audit. It will help you know when you have the most energy and how to restore your energy when you are all tapped out. Excellent advice to compliment my initial message today.*
  • Rachel Hollis RISE Podcast and RISE Together Podcast. You may have heard of Rachel from her book, Girl, Stop Apologizing and Made for More documentary and obviously, I was living under a rock until then, since she has built quite an empire from her books, multimedia company and conferences. Rachel will make you laugh and encourage you to do great things, no matter your current circumstances. She has connections with many other leaders, movers and shakers, so if you haven’t heard of her or taken a look at some of her resources, today should be your day.
Saint Mary Lake
Saint Mary Lake, Glacier National Park

My point today is, no matter what life hands you today, find the beauty in it. Use outside resources to fill your heart and soul, spend time in meditation on the patio under the rising or setting sun, make time for building relationships, and get out and enjoy the beauty God provided us. Soak in the good, make a list of things you are grateful for, write a to-do list before you hit the pillow tonight so you can awake tomorrow with a plan and a purpose. If cooking brings you comfort and joy, make a special dinner tonight. If you need to lose 10 lbs, commit to taking a daily walk at lunch while you eat a sandwich. Each day we have is precious. Enjoy it. Live it to the fullest. And most importantly, tell those most important to you, you love them.


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