as I finished the first week of school, a short version due to the Labor Day holiday. Ten days ago I walked the shiny polished floors in school for the first time since June. Everything looks clean and polished and all classrooms look equipped and ready for the kids. I unpacked my corner and organized miscellaneous items piled on my table. My corner looks fresh and soon I’ll be taking groups of readers for reading sessions.
Even though it’s a little sad to close another summer chapter, I feel that it’s time. My spoiled summer routine consisted of getting up without the blaring and annoying alarm. Summer days consisted of gardening, seeing relatives and writing my blog. By mid August all my free time feeds a dire need for purpose and so I welcome the start of school to make a difference.
I really miss the children, their lit up smiles, their funny comments and the way they make each day worth getting up for. They bring meaning to my life and that’s why I work at school. I can’t imagine working and teaching anywhere else. I’m truly blessed to be involved with such a special school, faculty and the children there.
Summer is over for me as the New England air cools down, a sneak peek of Autumn days is here. I’m pretty excited for fall days, my favorite season of the year! Bring on September and lovely colorful days!
Blessings to you all as you say goodbye to the season.
Imagine a comfortable warm afternoon at the lake. As you sit on the beach, you dig your toes in the smooth sand, getting lost in the luxurious heat. The lake smells of a fresh earthy scent, yet there is a faint musty odor as well. People smell of sunscreen rubs and bug spray. Wet dogs shake their hair upon emerging from the lake.
Many families are spending their vacation here, at the Mountain Lake Campground, nestled in the northern mountains of New Hampshire. Laughs ring throughout the beach, an indication of content families basking in vacation togetherness.
I sit by myself reading a book. A few years ago I would’ve been on edge and not truly relaxing. The boys would’ve been swimming in the lake, racing to the dock a few yards away while I worried if I could help them if they struggled. I’ve never been a good swimmer and almost drowned when I was 8. This still haunts me today, especially if I’m in charge of little ones in the water.
This day at the beach is a stark difference. The boys are not here and are working this day. It’s my mother in law’s and my twelfth year camping together but the first one without children. My husband has a busy work schedule in the summer with his lawn business and part time job for the town, forcing him to skip most of the camping trips. There were a few times he could camp and so we would race away for the weekend, towing the pop up camper with two excited boys.
This beautiful day as I sit in my quiet reflective thoughts, I thank God for my body being still. I really have a hard settling myself and giving in to relaxation. This moment at the beach is pure serenity, stillness that is unmatched. I also praise Him for giving me the gift hearty laughter of the families and my ability to enjoy it and smile with them. I am genuinely happy for them.
The silent lake holds the key to my stillness and serenity. The water calmly ripples ever so gently from a kayak cutting through it. In the left swampy corner, one can spot a sea of white, water lilies creating a beautiful scene. Overlooking the glossy tranquil water stands strong stately mountains, guarding the lake with clusters of pines and firs growing around its circumference. I wonder which animals congregate within them.
When you clear your mind of racing thoughts and jarring problems, you’re on the path to stillness. Open your heart to peace and acceptance of the moment. It’s a must that you give your body complete permission to allow it to happen, to enter relaxation and let go of everything. Maybe you can’t visit the lake and beach often and that’s okay. Seek a peaceful spot in your yard, perhaps under a special tree. Use that spot to be still and with that, your every being will cherish the peace.
As many of you know, one of my summer focuses is my garden. A timelapse process is playing out for me. One day I’ll work diligently among the family of plants and the next day, a massive growth spurt will occur. It’s mind-boggling how much plants can transform into a towering cousin, still the same being but a much larger version. My tomato plants are swaying trees, busting out of the metal cages and the squash leaves lean towards the tomatoes, creating an intertwined row. Not only are the plants growing, but their veggies are expanding from one day to the next. Leaving one finger sized cucumber one day leads to a gigantic cuke the next! I’m not sure if it’s the sun or few rain showers we’ve had, but it’s a must to visit the garden everyday!
Our corn stalks sway with the New England breeze and the husk appears from the growing cobs. The green bean plants proudly stand about 12 inches with beautiful beans in tow. Romaine Lettuce has been cut back and it grows for other cuttings. I’ve thinned out the carrots as they grew quite thick in the row. Now green fluffy leaves look so pretty in the soil, my ornamental beauty in the garden.
I feel so blessed and in a monumental state of peace beyond the wire fence. It’s a different world, away from bills and problems. I can only wish that you all can bathe in this euphoric sensation…whatever activity you indulge in. It’s these moments that pull us through tough times or mundane days. The restoration feeds the heart and soul, something we all need to live calmly.
When I think of summer weather, my thoughts focus on my vegetable garden. My blogger friend Rhonda asked if I ever post my garden’s progress so this post was born. Thanks, Rhonda! I believe that my last garden post was last month in the beginning of its birth. Since then all the vegetables have sprung up.
It’s been crazy weather here in northern New Hampshire! We’ve had beaucoup amounts of rain to the point of affecting some back roads. Tom knows all about that, as he works as an assistant road agent and has been drastically trying to bandage the town roads. About 2 weeks ago a powerful rain storm reaped havoc on our region, similar to hurricane weather and we even had a rare tornado warning. My husband heard that in our area we had 2-4 inches of rain in an hour! Since then we’ve had copious amounts of rain! At times my garden soil has resembled a pit of clay but after a few sun baked days, it dries out again until the next rainfall.
I can’t help wonder where summer is hiding, behind the clouds? Despite that and on a positive note, we have had some gleaming sun shining as well, just not enough for people to be completely satisfied.
Today has been a bright sunshine filled day, lovely growing weather for my babies! As they shoot up full and reach to the sky, I’ll post their progress! Until then if you’re a gardener, enjoy your labors, breathe the fresh air and absorb the God given sunlight.
My front yard has come to a vibrant life! With our annual posies framing our house front, a vibrant splash of color greets passers-by. A few weeks ago I noticed how my Spirea bushes have grown immensely since I received them. Two years ago my co- worker, Laura Mulkigian gave me these full green beauties for my birthday. That day she also made me a strawberry cake and all the girls at lunch ate some in celebration. Every time I glance at these beauties, I’ll think of her. She recently passed away after a courageous battle with cancer, something I’m trying to come to terms with. ❤
After. Click on the link for picture from Microsoft Word.
It was our first year in our new house and I proudly planted them in front of our house, one on each side of the steps. These lovely shrubs host many small leaves and have grown magnificently! Both of them are spreading a few feet wide and are about two feet high. In the beginning we didn’t realize how big these bushes would grow! We may have to cut them back so they don’t block our window. I expect them to continue the growth spurt and as that happens I’ll replant my hostas to allow more breathing room.
Spirea betulifolia TOR bushes flourish with tiny white flowers in June even though the tag states that they bloom in the fall. I’m going to research it and feed them fertilizer to help the blossoms. This year it mildly hosted just a few flowers so my future goal is to have full bushes of flowers of a beautiful veil of white. It would be wonderful to see it bloom twice in the summer!
Do you have any unique bushes in your yard? Have they grown much larger than you expected? In coming years we’ll keep an eye on “ Laura’s bushes” and trim them if needed. I truly feel blessed that I have these to remind me of Laura.
Happy days to you all and thanks for stopping by! It means the world to me to have such lovely ” pen pal” blogging friends!
These are just a few things you can do this summer ( in no specific order, just try them all)
1.Have your morning coffee on your deck or outside table! Here in New Hampshire the evenings and mornings are mostly cool. The refreshing air wakes you up and of course that delicious cup of Joe tastes delicious outside! Listen to all the summer birds sing their morning song and be grateful for it. I’ve indulged in this tranquil time twice and intend to do it more this summer.
2. Go for walks before or after work. I find lately I really enjoy walking in the morning while there are less cars and more wildlife. I bring my camera for that sudden photo opportunity and have a little bell to ring to scare off bears. Truth be told I think most bears are more scared of us but the thought of a protective mama bear and her cubs crosses my mind now and then.
3. Add fruit to your lemonade or iced tea pitcher. I was planning on doing this anyway but I was surprised one day when I caught my son Branden making it. His first pitcher was an experiment and the lemonade tasted primarily of watermelon. Since then he’s abandoned the watermelon idea and instead added a small amount of raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. It’s super easy…wash them good, cut the ends off the strawberries and pick the little stems from the blueberries. Blend well in your blender and then add to iced tea or lemonade! If you don’t have fresh fruit but you have a lemon or lime, slices of that make the drink special too! Don’t forget to add lots of ice to the pitcher!
4. Fire up the grill and smoker! Marinate beef, chicken, pork, shrimp…you get the idea and grill while you sip a glass of wine. Sit out at your outside table while grilling and enjoy it. Grill corn on the cob or veggies. Sometimes I use foil for potatoes or veggies to grill or I have a grilling pan meant for the high heat to cook sides dishes. It works great and cleans up well.
5.Visit your local ice cream stand! I am lactose intolerant but found that a soft serve cone doesn’t bother me. Yummy! Enjoy that juicy watermelon, sweet strawberries and blueberries, crisp corn on the cob and fresh garden veggies picked from the soil. I know what you’re thinking, that some of my favorite summer things are definitely foods but how can you truly enjoy summer without relishing in it’s cuisine?
6. Go to the lake. Go fishing (only if you have a license), take a boat ride and snap photos and swim in the fresh water. Watch the trout jump and the ducks dive for bugs and relish in the goodness of it all. Bask in the sun and be thankful for the quiet moments away from work and the stresses of everyday life.
7. Visit new places, especially ones that are just open this season. I’ve lived in the north country all my life and I’m just minutes from Mount Washington but I’ve never been up it. This summer Tom and I may ride the Cog Railroad up the Mountain. A hot July day can be cool or even snowy so bring a jacket and take in the amazing views! I’ll keep you posted if we go on this adventure!
8. Read books! Compile a wishlist…I do this on Pinterest and record the books I read every summer. So far I’ve read Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman. I just picked up The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and look forward to it. She is such a great writer and when I read her books, it flows. A great book sucks you in and you don’t want to put it down. If you’re making yourself read a book just to finish it but you don’t ENJOY it, discard it! Reading is for enjoyment so choose something that excites and fascinates you.
9. Do you have a green thumb? Then start a Garden! In our neck of the woods it’s a short growing season but a beautiful way to become one with nature and feel peace in your heart. Perhaps you want to grow a small garden…if so, plant seeds that grow fast like lettuce, spinach, and radishes. You could always garden in containers, with already grown plants, flowers or herbs. I make it a point to browse through my gardens everyday but if you work then try to tend to it a few times a week. If these ideas aren’t possibilities, definitely seek local farmer’s markets. They sell all home grown vegetables and fruits, honey, have cut flowers, hand made crafts, and many other goods.
10.Last but not least spend valuable time with the people you love. Recently a dear co-worker and friend of mine passed away from cancer at the young age of 54. This wake up call further instills the importance of making memories and time count. So far this summer I’ve seen my three siblings at my nephew’s high school graduation, saw my dad and will visit him and Corinne next Friday, my mom, and my friends Laurie and Michelle. My mother-in-law Theo will be visiting in a few weeks and we’ll see Tom’s sister Pam and her husband Jim. I’ll also get to spend some time with Tom’s sister Bev, who I always look forward to seeing. Although I have summers off, I have much to do and garden around home. Even so, I make it a point to see my family and friends who I love because time is precious and I know that making time for loved ones builds relationships.
My favorite photo of my sister and I taken a few years back and Alexis (my son Dylan’s girlfriend who is part of our family now) and Tom and I in Maine.
Have fun this summer and make sure that you try new things..taste different foods, visit new places and learn more about the world around you. Share with me experiences you’ve pursued this summer. I would love to hear from you.