Summer snap.

Dear friends,

summer

Summer has snapped ’round my house.

How do I know? Every change of season and arriving holiday announces itself via the mirror above my buffet. The latest bedecking involves twinkly lights (but of course), some printed burlap ribbon, a red-white-and-blue wreath, a handful of mini-flags, and a pennant banner I made a few weeks ago.  The opening day of Memorial Day weekend seemed like the perfect time for a little redecorating. I’ve got a big supper planned for tonight — beef brisket, coleslaw and baked beans — and I thought we needed to mark the official start of our summer fun with seasonal decor.

By the way, the phrase “summer fun” is used carefully around our house. When Kate and Parker were in grade school — back when their Grannie was still their nanny — I got the notion they were frittering away their summers like lazybugs. So one May I spent hours developing a summer curriculum that involved trips to the library, book reports, chores, and all sorts of forced, Mom-approved activity. I created a tabbed binder with to-do lists, charts and progress reports and insisted my mother, Grannie, implement my regimen. I labeled my big binder of instructions”Kate and Parker’s Summer Fun Plan.”  You can imagine the look on their faces when I unveiled my creation.

You can also imagine how well it went over, with both the kids and their reluctant drill sergeant. Let’s just say no trace remains of the binder and I rarely utter the word “fun” right after the word “summer” lest I be ridiculed out of the room. Ever since then, my approach to summer with my children has been decidedly laissez-faire.

Speaking of laissez, here’s where I plan to do most of it this summer:

deck

This is the easternmost corner of our deck, and it’s the view you see from our living room sofa. Our deck is giant and wraps two sides of our home. We grill near the kitchen door, eat and recline near the dining room windows, and have our coffee here, right outside the living room. Though you can’t see it in this photo, just to the left of this spot is my cutting garden. Since I plant from seed every year (because I’m too lazy and too cheap to buy seedlings), there are no blooms yet. But in another couple of weeks, I’m sure there will be a riot of color to gaze upon from this spot. I can’t wait.

Here’s a shot from last year to tide us over:

newflower

With gratitude {for a long weekend and the urge to enjoy it with nothing more than good food and good company},

Joan, who figures if spring sprung, then summer snapped, although she has no idea why she thinks so, and is generally confused by things like past participles and probably should have avoided  this train of thought

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Abundant blessings.

Dear friends,

Not what we say about our blessings but how we use them is the true measure of our thanksgiving.

— W.T. Purksier

My heart is full this Thanksgiving, brimming with gratitude for our abundant blessings.  Our table is full and our bounty is evident.  A house full of guests, love for each other, good health, a delicious meal shared in safety and comfort . . . peace . . . these are the jewels of this day I dare not take for granted. May we use these blessings, in measures large and small, that reflect a glad and generous heart.

And I wish you, dear friends, abundant blessings.  Drop in sometime this holiday weekend, won’t you, and leave me a comment letting me know how you’re spending your Thanksgiving?  Power eating . . . football cheering . . . napping . . . traveling over hill and dale to see loved ones . . . whatever your activity, I wish you good cheer and godspeed.

I’ll be here on our beautiful Missouri acreage, happily humming ‘round the kitchen, delivering stealth hugs and kisses to any child within arm’s reach, and steeping in the life God has granted me.

With gratitude {for abundant blessings},

Joan, who’s got 13 tasks on her Thanksgiving to-do list today and has already completed three of them while the six other souls in her home sleep soundly

Happy, happy. Tingly, tingly.

Dear friends,

I’m currently counting down the days until October 17, which is the evening Kate will arrive home from college for Fall Break.

Besides the fact that I can’t wait to see CupKate again, Fall Break is my absolute favorite (quasi-)holiday. Mr. Mom and I were married on Fall Break in 1991. That’s right, we celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary next week. And Parker turns 17 a couple of days later. So between Kate coming home, an anniversary to celebrate, and a birthday that allows me to spoil my favorite teenage boy, I’ve got a lot to look forward to. Oh, and did I mention I’m taking two days off so I can really soak it up?

First though, I’ve got a bit of work to do. It’s one of those weeks around my office . . . you know, a week that involves three consecutive dinner events, a 7:00 am business breakfast, and a 14-hour work day on Saturday. So if you don’t hear from me much, don’t worry.  By Sunday, I’ll be collapsed on the sofa, tired but smiling as Fall Break approaches.

With gratitude {for that happy-tingly sensation I get every autumn as family celebrations roll around},

Joan, who spent an enjoyable hour on Sunday decorating her mantle with autumn/Halloween items as a “welcome home” for Kate who, according to Twitter, seems to be as anxious as her mother for Fall Break to get here already