The Fizzle of Summer’s Sizzle

If the smell of sunscreen is making you nauseous and your flip-flops have blown out beyond repair, don’t worry. You are not alone. I don’t know about you, but once August rolls around, I feel all summer sizzled out. In fact, I am probably a poster child for the Summer Fizzled Out Federation (Not sure that’s a thing, but it should be). It’s been weeks since I’ve posted. Proof positive that my summer craziness has led to a depletion in my ability to put thoughts into words and words into posts. (I just took me 7 tries to type that sentence.)

After three months of working cattle, baling hay, raising fair hogs, coaching baseball, squeezing in doctor appointments, making Bar-b-ques, planning playdates, watering plants, and applying sunscreen, I’m feeling about as withered as the last of my tomato plants. When I talk to other people about how their summer is going, they all seem to voice the same end-of-summer exhaustion.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say they are ready for their kids to go back to school. Those dollars would add up to enough money for an end-of-summer vacation for my family. If I had a dollar for every time one of my kids said they don’t want to go back to school, I would have money for a vacation to Europe and a new car.

Why is it that once we’ve successfully navigated swimming lessons, baseball bleacher-butt, sun burns, mosquito bite madness, garden vegetables coming out of our ears, and lawn mowing lunacy that we have the desire to move away from summer and all its Go-Go-Go glory?

It’s because the fizzle of summer’s sizzle has begun, and that’s okay.

Continue reading “The Fizzle of Summer’s Sizzle”

20 Books of Summer +1 #20BooksofSummer2021

Thanks to Cathy at https://746books.com/2021/06/01/its-20-books-of-summer-time/ for sharing the 20 Books of Summer Challenge again!!! Yay summer reading!

During the summer of 2020, I participated in Cathy’s #20booksofsummer2020 and I LOVED it!

I enjoyed reading my choices and the posts of others readers as they shared their summer read picks. It made a season of quarantine feel like it a had some sense of community.

For Summer 2021, I am eager to dive into my summer reads, but I’m going to challenge myself to 21 reads before September 1st! #20booksofsummer2021 +1.

As the volunteer librarian at my children’s school, I host a reading club each year, and I always try to include the books in contention for the Mark Twain Award. There at 12 books nominated each year, and I have yet to be disappointed whenever I read those nominated. Students love them and often make informal waiting lists on my library desk for the Mark Twain Award titles. These 12 titles will definitely make up part of my 21 reads this summer, so I thought I would kick the list off with the nominees.

Shine!
Summer Read #1: Mark Twain Award Nominee #1: Shine by J.J. and Chris Grabenstein
Pay Attention, Carter Jones
Summer Read #2: Mark Twain Award Nominee #2: Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt
The Bridge Home
Summer Read #3: Mark Twain Award Nominee #3: The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
New Kid (New Kid, #1)
Summer Read #4: Mark Twain Award Nominee #4: New Kid by Jerry Craft
Song for a Whale
Summer Read #5: Mark Twain Award Nominee #5: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
Shouting at the Rain
Summer Read #6: Mark Twain Award Nominee #6: Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation (Charlie Thorne #1)
Summer Read #7: Mark Twain Award Nominee #7: Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs
Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse
Summer Read #8: Mark Twain Award Nominee #8: Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught
Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen
Summer Read #9: Mark Twain Award Nominee #9: Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen by Niki Lenz
The Memory Keeper
Summer Read #10: Mark Twain Award Nominee #10: The Memory Keeper by Jennifer Camiccia
The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA
Summer Read #11: Mark Twain Award Nominee #11: The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Benda Woods
White Bird: A Wonder Story
Summer Read #12: Mark Twain Award Nominee #12: White Bird: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio

M.C. Higgins, the Great
Summer Read #13: M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton is a book I often recommend to students in the library, but it’s beena while since I read it the first time and want to revisit this amazing story.
Continue reading “20 Books of Summer +1 #20BooksofSummer2021”

Finding Focus – Insights from Early Summer???

There has not been a lack of positive stuff going on in my life, and I definitely have plenty to say but finding the right words and positive stories to share has been tough lately. I’m not sure where my writing inspiration has gone, but I think it has something to do with my inability to keep up with all the craziness around me. Lacking a routine has caused a shortage of concentration when I sit down to type.

So I thought I would share a few cool insights from the last few weeks.

When your washing machine breaks, there are two things that make it all better. 1. A mom that shares her washer with you and even takes time to dry and fold the clothes. 2. A local handyman named Joe with a terrific sense of humor and just enough sass to make you feel like you actually helped when in reality he was the one who did all the hard stuff.

When your son is too excited to change out of his school uniform because he wants to get going on vacation, let him wear the uniform. It pays to have a hoodie on him when it is unexpectedly cold on your trip.

Leaving immediately after your kids get out school for a 14-hour vacation drive is stressful but forces you to get into a summer-vacation frame of mind.

When your friend wants an authentic Florida palm tree, and she tries to convince the slightly tipsy men in your party to dig one up with a plastic beach shovel, go ahead and agree to drive them in the golf cart after dark. It makes a for a great story later. P.S. Tell the quizzical passers-by that your friends are considering buying the vacant lot and “There is nothing to see here” ( do not mention their attempts to uproot a palm tree with a plastic shovel). The passers-by will look at you incredulously and slowly walk away. Their reactions will cause severe distress as you try to hold in laughter and your friends to fall over themselves to avoid being seen.

Continue reading “Finding Focus – Insights from Early Summer???”

Rain Brings on the Blooms

 

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On a recent trip to Colorado, we experienced some crazy downpours. At times it felt like the rain was coming from every direction. It was cold. It was dreary. It was not what we planned for our trip. The rain put a temporary damper on our fun. On more than one occasion, we trampled back to our lodging in search of dry clothes and hopes of brighter skies. As we went from place to place, we heard from the locals that it had been a wetter year than most.

While these rains may have caused some problems for those not used to the mud and tragic vacationers (such as ourselves), the showers also brought on some benefits.

The blooms of the wildflowers could not be ignored. One guide told us he did not know the names of all the blooms we saw because he had never seen some of them before. The rain had allowed plants to prosper that had not done so in decades. The mountains and rock faces were speckled with yellows, purples, oranges, and greens, where they normally had shown brown, red clay, and gray.

The last few years wild fires destroyed foliage and fields and prevented many plants from producing beyond their basic stems. The scenery was pretty bleak in places, but thanks to this year’s rains, the blooms brought new light to the landscape.

Blooms 3.jpgAfter what has felt like a drought of goodness, our lives are kind of like those mountains and valleys.

We feel drained, dull, and fruitless.

Other times it seems like the rains won’t stop.

The good news is that, once the drought or mud has moved on, the good stuff can take root and you know beautiful things are gonna pop up.

If it feels like you have been in a drought of kindness, beauty, or success. Look for those storms that have blown through your life. There will be something new and refreshing that comes from those downpours. Let the waters of change wash away the dreariness and welcome a stronger, brighter you.

Be like those wild flowers in the mountains. Let your colors show and your vibrant personality be the thing that others notice in the new you. Remember rain brings on the blooms. Welcome the storms of life and know that no drought is forever.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Next time I will take a Colorado nature book, rain boots, and additional pairs of socks (my normal stash of 2 extra pair was not enough).

What’s She Shakin’? – Funny Friday

Lyrics funny friday 1

Do you ever worry about kids listening to the lyrics of contemporary music? I do, but sometimes the translations of lyrics by kids makes life worth living.

lyrics funny friday 1

Luke Bryan is questioning my intents with this post

Our county fair was this week and each of my children invited a friend to go with us. As we drove to the fair, my kids requested Luke Bryan’s “Shake It For Me.” Granted this song is not really controversial but may not necessarily be okay for little kids, as it suggests that the shaking of one’s behind is the way to a man’s heart.
(I still love you, Luke Bryan.)

As the song was winding down, our 7 year-old friend Noah asked, “What’s she shakin’?” Continue reading “What’s She Shakin’? – Funny Friday”

Fireworks Time…

Fireworks Time

I don’t know about you, but it seems like as soon as 4th of July hits, the year speeds up. It’s like the fireworks fuel the sun’s rotations to rev up its turns. My kids seem to grow faster. The school year speeds at me. Even Christmas seems to come closer at a much more rapid pace.

What can we do about it though? Continue reading “Fireworks Time…”

When Twilight Touches the Porch

Porch Twilight

As fireflies make their evening entrance and whippoorwills warm up their whistles, the light wanes and twilight touches porches across the country. There is no better time to feel the power of sundown and breathe in the shift between day and night.

Twilight possesses the power to slow time and heal the aches of the day. I recently had the chance to share a sunset rocking in porch chairs with my cousin. All our lives it seems like we have been racing to get to whatever destination life has in store for us next. Our pride in the tenacious nature with which we usually attack our lives was set aside. The sway of our rocking soothed our need to speed through the rest of the day. Sitting there, being serenaded by the crickets, it seemed as if the sunset was giving us permission to slow down and embrace the chance to just be.

Soaking in the serenity of the moment, we both acknowledged that we felt better somehow. I knew I was tired before our visit, but after taking that time to quietly experience the evening, I found that I would rest better that night.

By witnessing twilight touch the porch, we allowed it to touch our hearts and minds, we invited the sun to take away our worries and weariness.

When twilight touches the porch, we really need to be a part of that moment.

Porch Twilight 1

― C. JoyBell C.

Continue reading “When Twilight Touches the Porch”

Sweetly Humming

Sweet humming

As one of the greatest wonders of the world, humming birds defy the odds of nature and mystify with the speed of their wings and delicate ability to hover. For Christmas my children surprised me with a hummingbird feeder to put in my flower bed. No contemplation was necessary over its destined location. That hummingbird feeder was going outside my office window. The notion of having nonstop opportunities to see those winged wonders was pretty exciting for me.

As the winter dragged on, I sadly gazed at the feeder in its box on a garage shelf for months. Hummingbirds certainly weren’t going to come if the weather never got warm.

Finally, spring arrived!

I carefully mixed the nectar according to the directions and poured it into the feeder’s reservoir. With excitement I lined up the lid to screw it on just the right way and SNAP the neck of the reservoir cracked off rendering the feeder useless.

I was humming with disappointment. Continue reading “Sweetly Humming”

First Fire of the Year

As a surprise, hubby and I headed out for a short two-day camp out with the kids as soon as they were dismissed from the last day of school. Their excitement was contagious and the chance to get away was too tempting to resist.

One of our favorite parts of camping is always the campfire. The kids and I seek out the best sticks and logs and enjoy hours of flame watching and food roasting.  Campfires always seem to pull us into the warmth and light of their flames and inspire memorable moments and sharing.

The dancing flames provide one of nature’s greatest entertainments. The fantastic show they perform can never be duplicated and never ceases to amaze us. The first campfire of the year holds a special power.  Continue reading “First Fire of the Year”

Summer’s Downhill Slide

After another speedy summer break, I revisited this post from 2016 and the sentiments still ring so true. I hope you can relate to this message of summer and its downhill slide. Enjoy your summer and I wish you a happy autumn.

Intentergy

Summer’s Downhill Slide

Downhill summer.jpg Summer fun going fast.

My daughter recently discovered how much fun it is to ride her bike down the hill of our drive way. She hasn’t mastered riding her bike up it, but, boy, can she ride down it!

As I watched her ride down for the second time the other day, I realized I was witnessing moments of fleeting fun. How long will she shout out, “Watch me, mama!”? How long will it be before she isn’t excited about that hill or her bike anymore? How long before the muggy, summer days start to shorten and the chill of fall sends us in early?

I know. I know. Summer is just getting started.

I thought this would be a great time to remind everyone to slow down and enjoy it because, like those rapid rides down the driveway, another summer will be in the history books…

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