Savoring the Last Weekends of Summer

Although I am ready for a change in temperatures I will truly miss the days of summer.  In spite of my complaints about how hot it gets, the mosquitoes, flies, and the endless humidity, I feel so blessed that I have been able to experience another summer.

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Summer is full of activity. Eating outside at restaurants sharing chips, cheese dip and margaritas with friends is a favorite.

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Nothing says summer like an afternoon baseball game at a new ball park stadium…

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Relaxing poolside, toenails painted in fun colors, grilling out…

Spending the day on a nearby lake with good friends on their boat was a generous and relaxing way to enjoy the end of this summer.

Evening dinners and early morning breakfast on the patio…

The charcoal smell in the air, potato salad, corn on the cob, fresh fruit (especially sugar kiss cantaloupe), lighting bugs flickering in the dark, watching fireworks, picnics, star gazing while sitting on the drive way on a moonless night and spending time with grandchildren are times to be treasured!

As Chaucer said, “All good things must come to an end.”  The plants that were once so vibrant, welcoming, and full of color are now tired and overgrown.

Saying goodbye to summer is bitter sweet because my absolute favorite time of the year is almost here ~ Fall!!!

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Cranky, Grumpy

People of all ages can be cranky from babies to old people.

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We all get grumpy and there are times when being grumpy or cranky is understandable.  For example, an incompetent waiter, or an unusually long and unexpected wait at an appointment or restaurant.  Maybe it is the clerk who won’t stop chatting to the person in front of you while you are in line at the grocery store when you are in a hurry to get on with your day.  Hot flashes, car trouble, not talking to a real person on the telephone when I have a question or need help, and short green lights are a few things that are triggers to my “cranky side”.

Sometimes, if someone accuses you of being grumpy it can make you even grumpier!

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Even though there are many things that make can make you feel cranky, a lot of us are able to get over it and get on with our generally happier, more content selves.

But some people seem to be in a constant bad mood. Nothing seems to make them happy.  The slightest things can throw them into full grouch-mode. The thing is, they don’t get over it.

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Getting them to even smile is a monumental task!

I usually can’t tell when they are being funny because the typical cues such as a mischievous twinkle in their eye or the lips curling slightly into a grin just aren’t there.

Perhaps some of these folks were just born with this type of personality.

If it is an older adult maybe this is their way of saying/demonstrating they don’t like being old.  In their defense, I am beginning to see how frustrating and frightening it is to realize your body and mind are declining.  But still!!!!!

After personally knowing some cranky people, and encounters with grumpy strangers, I decided many years ago that I am NOT going to be one of them.

Sometimes, I admit, they can be entertaining.  But mostly, they are unpleasant to be around.

I wish I could tell them to just stop and listen to themselves.  What you say can have such a profound effect on others and it is all in the delivery. Our words are among the greatest tools we humans possess. Stop for a moment and simply think about the words you say and (the key point here is) then how you say them.

It takes such little effort to be both positive and sincere.  If these cranky grumps could only realize that by making others happy and being pleasant to be around, their own happiness could greatly improve.  And (hopefully) in the process, become less cranky!!

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You’ve had the power all along, my dear” Glinda,the good witch (The Wizard of Oz)

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are.”  J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

My Hands

My hands are not perfect. They are beginning to get age spots and creases along the knuckles.

But as I look at my hands, I recall the many wonderful moments with my children they have experienced.

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My fingers gently stroked their soft cheeks and held them close to my heart the very first moment we met.

My hands wiped their tears, tucked in blankets, and made lunches.

They held kite strings, picked up countless Lego’s, and sewed on scout patches.

These hands held on tightly while crossing the street or offering comfort.

They clapped with joy at first steps, school performances, little league games and academic achievements ~ both large and small.

They combed and braided hair, folded laundry, and buttoned shirts.

They have touched shoulders, waved in greeting, and pushed in playful gestures.

These hands waved goodbye as each one of my children left to find their way in this world and softly wiped the tears off my own face as I smiled.

They fold in prayer daily.

My hands are an extension of my heart.

“For all the things my hands have held the best by far is you” 

Andrew McMahon, Lyrics from Cecilia and the Satellite, July 2014.

Summer Blessing

“Good Morning Mimi” “Good Morning Chunks”

Precious words uttered with a smile by my 5 year old grandson every morning as he walked down the stairs and planted a sweet kiss on his baby sister’s adorable cheeks. Oh how I miss hearing his sweet voice each morning!

A new granddaughter joined our family a few months ago and I am so in love!
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I had the unique opportunity to spend most of the summer with my daughter and her family.  The experience of having a peek in to their day to day lives and forming a closer bond was such a blessing.

The energy level of five children in the home is constant. Daily swim practice, bed time stories read aloud, the glorious sound of children’s laughter, out door play, board games, and snuggles on the couch was paradise! We even enjoyed s’mores around the fire pit one evening in spite of the heat! I treasured every moment.

As Lois Wyse wrote, “If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I’d have had them first.”

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A Southern Jewel

I am talking about Amelia Island.

We were in search of a weekend getaway before I start back to school. After finding a nice little place to stay on short notice and considering we had never been here before it seemed like a good choice.

Yes, it was plenty hot, but we sought refuge either poolside or in the cool shade provided by the beautiful oak trees that surrounded our property.  A good beach book and a cool drink was all we needed during the hottest part of the day.

We also enjoyed exploring the island during the day and saw The Ritz Carlton and the Omni Plantation have beautiful locations on this small island.  There appears to be five golf courses as well.  Amelia Island is only 13 miles long and 4 miles wide.

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Most of the streets, on the part of the island where we stayed, were shaded and cooled by majestic oak trees.

 

      Morning walks on the beach along the Atlantic Ocean was a wonderful way to start our day!

We spent two of our three evenings in the charming and very walkable downtown area of Fernandina Beach. We browsed in unique upscale shops, dined on delicious seafood and was treated to live music each evening at the Green Turtle Tavern.

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On Saturday morning we wandered through a local farmer’s market.  The atmosphere was pleasant as the crowd mingled to the eclectic sounds of a guitar player. A local resident would often steal the show as he played bluesy tunes on his harmonica. Vendors proudly displayed fresh baked goods, homemade jewelry, lots of fresh vegetables, homemade jelly and marinades, gorgeous fresh flowers, and other whimsical items to highlight a few of the booths here.

 

We could not resist this lovely plant and carefully brought it home with us in the car! It survived the long car ride home and now our fingers are crossed it will continue to thrive in our soil.

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The lack of crowds and traffic usually found in beach destinations this time of year was a huge hit for us.  We enjoyed our time in this lovely area of the south and so glad we visited!

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Once upon a time this quote was hanging in a spot where I could see it everyday. Over the years I lost track of it, but my dear husband came to the rescue and sent me a copy he had hanging in his office.  I think it is an excellent read for people of any age and felt it worthy of sharing.

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Serving Others

The summer I was 16 my friend Cathy and I were Red Cross volunteer’s at a VA hospital two mornings a week for about four weeks.  Our job was to mostly push patients here or there around in a wheel chair.  Occasionally we would deliver flowers, escort visitors to rooms, or offer to get cups of water or coffee for families waiting on a loved one having surgery.  At the end of our shift, we both felt appreciative for the chance to help and be of service to others.

As I approach retirement I have begun to research opportunities to volunteer. Living near a large city provides an abundance of choices such as assisting at a hospital (both regular and children’s), becoming a foster grandparent to a child, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels (I love to cook and would really enjoy preparing these meals), helping out at an animal shelter and the list goes on. If I decide to get more adventurous there is Global Volunteers.

A young friend told me her parents volunteer at a nearby hospice.  It takes a very special person to volunteer in this environment. What an excellent opportunity to provide emotional and spiritual support to both patients and their loved ones during this truly precious and delicate time of life.

Our school system allows people to become mentors to our students. Filling all of the slots for this volunteer position can be challenging because a lot of people don’t know this particular opportunity is available. The men or women usually come once a week during lunch time. They will sit with the child outside at one of our picnic tables or inside at a reserved section of the lunchroom. Sometimes they come during the day and they will usually go to the library to talk, read a story, or play a game. These children may lack social skills, have private issues, or their home life may not be the most stable environment. Often all these students need is an adult (or anyone) to listen to them and let them know someone cares. Both the mentor and the student look forward to this special time together.

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Becoming a volunteer can be an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and may also change someone’s life (maybe my own) in the process.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  1 Peter 4:10

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”  Isaiah 6:8