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Getting Organized

End Summer Envy

Vicki Norris
Restoring Order Do people who have beautiful suntans -- who have obviously been outside enjoying the summer -- leave you feeling a little envious? Is your yard looking neglected as your neighbors are busily tidying theirs? When people describe their boating or camping adventures, are you longing for one of your own?

Summer brings the promise of vigorous outdoor activities and visions of time off relaxing with family and fireflies. Yet, am I the only one who sometimes feels that summer passes me by while I am busy at work? Aren’t I supposed to have the time for the long summer trips and sun-swept escapades that everyone else seems to enjoy? Summer to me sometimes feels like a wistful indulgence reserved for squealing schoolchildren in a wading pool.

I’m guessing that if I feel this way, some of you may, too! Are you experiencing the ideal summer, complete with pool parties and elaborate vacations, or are you experiencing a little summer envy like me? I’ve decided that I need an attitude adjustment so I don’t get to the end of another summer and feel like I blinked at it was gone.

First, I’m looking at my calendar and acknowledging what IS in my schedule this summer. I went to visit my family in Alaska over the Fourth of July, and I visited with family, fished for salmon, took a few boat trips, and flew in airplanes. I introduced my 8-month-old son to some relatives he had not yet met and enjoyed my family spending time with him and getting to know him. In a few weeks, I’m throwing myself a birthday party BBQ—hey, at this age, who else is going to? Next month, our dear friends are coming to visit for a week and I’m taking some time with them. I’m feeling better already that I DO have a life just by viewing my calendar.

Next, I’m noting all the little things I’ve done that haven’t made it onto my calendar at all. I clipped back my roses yesterday and made a pretty bouquet to bring inside. I took my Granny to her hair appointment, and I took her for lunch afterwards to pick up her favorite fish sandwich. I held her hand as I drove her home. Tonight we’re going to join our neighbors for some southern jambalaya. Hmmm, as I consider these little mundane activities, I see that they are experienced with people I love and enjoy. Maybe my summer isn’t as isolated as I thought.

Now, I’m going to add some things to my schedule that I want to do by the end of summer. I just put “Pool Day” on my calendar for next Saturday, so I’m reserving the whole day at my folks’ house to enjoy the sun and water with my husband and son. While I was on a roll, I scrolled ahead for the remaining weeks of summer and added a few more pool days as well. On Wednesday evening I think I’ll push the stroller down to the summer concert series in our town. I’m seeing that my summer may not include elaborate three-week vacations, but I am in fact doing a pretty good job living my priorities this season.

Perhaps like me, you might need to give up on having an idealized summer and instead check out how you’re using your time. Living an ordered life isn’t just about having a neat home; it’s about living on purpose now! Forget about what summer is supposed to be like, or the things other people get to do. Look at even the ordinary, daily happenings to count your blessings and resolve to be acutely present in those moments. Make room for impromptu gatherings with neighbors and friends. Even if you can’t go (or have no interest in) camping, roast up a s’more in the fireplace. Go for a walk, smell the fresh-cut grass, and tune into the sound of birds chirping their summer song. Add into your schedule people and activities you truly love.

Today, I ended my summer envy. I might just skip out to greet the ice cream man next time I hear his truck.

Adapted from: Restoring Order™ copyright © 2006 by Vicki Norris (available now at and in July 2007 as Reclaim Your Life™.  Copyright © 2007).  Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

About the Author: Vicki Norris is an expert organizer, business owner, speaker, television personality, and author who inspires people to live out their priorities. She is author of Reclaim Your Life™ © 2007 by Vicki Norris (available now at and of Restoring Order™ to Your Home, © 2007, a room-by-room household organizing guide, both published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Norris is a regular on HGTV’s nationally syndicated Mission: Organization, and is a recurrent source and contributor to national lifestyle publications including Quick & Simple magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Real Simple magazine.



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