According to Woody Allen, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” About 5 weeks ago, I set my to-do goals for this summer: sort through my various bins and boxes, scan photos and memorabilia, plan and prep for all of my classes this Fall, etc. Here it is, the middle of summer, and somehow I’ve only made headway on a few of my summer goals, and I’ve completed none of them.

I guess I should feel bad about this and disappointed in myself, but for several reasons, I don’t.

First, last school year was a challenging one. On a larger, outside-myself scale and on a more personal level, both Fall and Spring semesters presented situations that were draining, sometimes depressing, and often daunting. Of course, I learned quite a bit from these situations, but by the time mid-May rolled around, I was more than ready for the opportunity to rest and replenish. As a result, I’ve spent time every day reading and relaxing, and I don’t regret that at all.

Having house guests 2 of the 5 weeks also affected what I was able to accomplish. I’m no different from anyone else; when I have guests, I happily focus on them and on spending time with them, not on my to-do list. Truth be told, I’d gladly put aside my entire summer goal list for the privilege of having guests all summer long!

I also added a major project to my list about 3 weeks ago, and that project has taken up a considerable amount of my time and attention.

Lastly, my knee injury has at least to some degree affected my productivity. I probably could — and should — have been more productive even when I was relegated to the couch with an ice pack on top of and a pillow beneath my knee. But I wasn’t, and I’m not going to beat myself over the head about it.

I pulled out some past journals, curious to see if my suspicions were correct, and they were. This pattern of setting summer goals, goofing off quite a bit the 1st half of the summer, and then getting everything (or most everything) done the 2nd half is one I’ve followed for years.

This year may be different, though, as I’ll be having knee surgery this Thursday, and I have no idea as to the length of recovery time and the limits of my physical capabilities during that time period. With that in mind, this morning before church, I overhauled my summer goals list.

Instead of a 5 or 6-item list, I’ve pared it down to 1:  revising my course plans for the classes I’ll be teaching this Fall and then prepping for all 30 class meetings for each class. I’ll stack my resource texts and materials and my laptop within reach of the couch before I leave for the surgery center Thursday morning, and I’ll be able to work on course revisions and lesson plans while I’m laid up after the procedure.

This is the only task that really needs to be accomplished before the end of Summer Break, and it’s a complex and labor-intensive task in and of itself. Completing it now will allow me to focus on the other projects — those without a real calendar-related deadline — over the winter months.

So what does this have to do with 5 Trunks and a Tote? Well, it means I won’t be focusing as intensely on paring down my possessions and on scanning memorabilia as I’d hoped to the remainder of this summer. But fear not! I’ve put those two tasks at the top of my Fall Goals list.

I just love making God laugh!