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Three Good Things

You know what I hate? Waking up in the morning with a deep pit in my stomach, dreading the day ahead. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. After I was diagnosed with cancer, I had some dark days. One of the things that helped me get through them was staring a gratitude journal. Every night before I went to bed, I would write down 5 things I was grateful for that day. Ending the day in such a positive way helped me to sleep, and my mornings were better.

In a similar vein, my pastor has been encouraging us to write down 3 blessings before we go to bed at night. He calls them “God’s fingerprints” on our lives. I just love that.

This week, I’ve had so many wonderful blessings, but I’m going to pick just three to tell you.

Swim team

1. Both Lily and Emmy are in a swim team this year. This is Lily’s second summer on swim team, and she loves it! Emmy was very resistant to being on swim team, but she has reached the end of swim lessons and swims like a fish. Also, Mommy really needs some time to herself! On Wednesday they had a swim meet, and my little reluctant swimmer came in first place in her age group for the 25 yard freestyle! This really gave her a boost of confidence about her swimming!


2. Every Thursday during the summer, my church has been hosting a farmer’s market. I think I missed every single one last summer. It takes a little effort for me to go because our church is a 20 minute drive from our house. Today–I remembered to go! Lily and I have already devoured the peaches and grape tomatoes I bought.

3. Tonight, I took a shower. Maybe this little phrase will help you understand why this is a good thing: after the kids went to bed. There was no one barging into the bathroom demanding something to eat (like yesterday, even though they are perfectly capable of getting their own snacks) or yelling and arguing and shouting “MOMMY” (like what happened this morning when I was in the bathroom getting ready). Tonight, I took a peaceful and uninterrupted shower. Now that is a blessing!

What are three good things that happened to you this week? Link up your blog post here or tell us in the comments!

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A 70’s Summer

When I was young, I still had my regular bedtime during the summer. That meant that I was in bed with the light streaming through the windows while I could hear my friends outside, still playing. Once I yelled out to them through my open window, but my mom, who used that time to garden, heard me. She immediately told me to get back in bed!

grandparents' house
Visiting my grandparents over the summer

We lived in a very small town of about 800 people. Our moms rarely arranged playdates for us; we just went to each other’s house and rang the doorbell. We had to stay on our side of the tracks, however. There was no class division about this rule; the tracks ran along the highway and it would have been too dangerous to cross the tracks by ourselves. One good friend lived out on a farm, so it was a special treat when her mom was in town and she rang our doorbell to play. But sometimes, it was just my sister and me, hanging out by the driveway because our mom had kicked us out of the house to play.

Some days it seemed so hot that we could see the heat radiating from the white, concrete driveway. We just couldn’t get up the energy to run around, and we would just sit there, pining for the popsicles we had just made that were still liquid in the freezer. On those hot summer barefoot days, the tar would bubble up from the blacktop roads and make black circles on the soles of our feet, which were impossible to scrub off in the bathtub.

Other days, we would ride our bikes to the park, which surrounded the water tower at the middle of town. It was always fun to ride around that circular road that circumvented the swings, merry-go-round, and teeter-totters. The teeter-totters were long and high at one end, and also very dangerous. I’m afraid I wasn’t very nice to my sister when I’d leave her hanging at the top and got off, letting her drop to the ground. She got me back a few time, and hitting the ground while sitting on a hard wooden seat hurts!

As the pastor’s family, farmers would bring us bushels of tomatoes, sweet corn and of course, zucchini. Mom would fry up bacon and we would have BLTs for dinner. I still love BLTs in the summer! As a kid, I hated corn on the cob. I just didn’t know how good I had it! I love BLTs and corn on the cob for a summer supper.

When we were allowed to stay up late, we would catch lightning bugs and put them in jars. My sister still chastises me when I call them fireflies. To us, they were always called lightning bugs!

What do you remember about summer?

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A Shift in Routine

At the beginning of the week, I was dreading our new lack of routine. It rained all day on Monday, and the weather forecast was horrible. We were beginning our first full week of no school. I had no concrete plans. Summer really throws me off.

public library
Rainy day at the library

So that morning, we went to one of my favorite places–the library! We don’t go to the library very often during the school year, because the girls check out books from their school library. For school, they have to read at a certain level and take Accelerated Reader tests on the books they read. They were so excited about the chance to pick out books that they wanted to read; books that weren’t at at certain reading level or that they didn’t have to take a test on. This summer, part of our routine is simply going to be to read!

Lily and Emmy coloring on the new white board wall in the Discovery Zone.
Lily and Emmy coloring on the new white board wall in the Discovery Zone.

Our routine seems to have been flipped around. We used to be busiest in the morning, with orchestra for Lily starting at 8:00, school starting at 8:50 and me having to get to work before 9:00. After I taught preschool, I would go to the gym, run errands or do some chores, and then I pick up the girls from school. Homework was the next priority, and then dinner had to be made. Our days seemed to fly by!

This week, we have been lazy in the mornings. Instead of our day revolving around school, it revolves around swim team. Both Lily and Emmy are in swim team this year. We had to convince Emmy that she was ready, and so far, she is doing great! I have to plan what dinner will be early in the afternoon, (I’ll be making a lot of Crock Pot dinners this summer) and then I take the girls to swim team at 4:30. I use that time to go the gym.

Lily at a swim meet last year.
Lily at a swim meet last year.

Ed’s routine has been to go to the gym after work. We never used to see each other at the gym. But now, we meet at the gym. I usually get there first, and it’s always a thrill to see him walk in the door. It seems like we’re meeting on the sly; like we’re having an affair even though we’re married! I think it must be because going to the gym is something we both like to do that has nothing to do with the kids. It just ours, me and him.

After exercising, I go pick up the girls from swim team. Lily’s age group isn’t finished until 6:30, and we go home to eat a dinner that’s later than we’re used to. The girls fall exhausted into bed from all that swimming, and Ed and I follow soon after.

The weather this week wasn’t as horrible as the forecast made it seem; the sun is shining right now and it looks like it will be a beautiful day. The girls had some spontaneous playdates with friends, swim team was only canceled once, the house is relatively clean, and I’ve managed to keep everyone fed. I’d judge this as a successful week!

What about you? Do you have a morning routine? A summer routine? A retirement routine? Or are you spontaneous and throw routines out the window? Share your routine or lack of routine with us!

Link up your posts here! (If you are reading this in your email, visit my blog to link up and see other links.)

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Word Junkie

Put words in front of me, and I’ll read them. I’m a serial cereal box reader! I’ll read recipes that I have no intention of making. There’s a section of the highway that skirts around Chicago that is very dangerous for me to drive on because there are too many billboards. I have to consciously keep my eyes on the road and not read all the advertising!

On one of those cold, snowy days this past winter, I struck up a conversation with another woman at the gym. We talked like strangers do about the weather; about how I couldn’t wait to stop wearing my snow boots to the gym or something like that. As we talked, she revealed that she worked from home as a writer. Obviously, this peaked my interest and I asked her more questions! I found out that she knows my other writer friend, A.J. Cattapan, and that she wrote a book that A.J. mentioned on Facebook!

Of course, now I just had to have her book, so I ordered it from Amazon and finally had time to read it last week. It is the perfect summer read! Romance, women’s rights, faith and friendship, all wrapped up in one book! You can read more about Pamela S. Meyers on her website, pamelasmeyers.com, and check out more of her writing. Don’t you just love coincidences and small world meetings like this?

Love Finds You In Lake Geneva

What’s on your summer reading list? Share good books you have read, books you want to read, your favorite blogs, and magazines you love to page through. Are romances your guilty pleasure? Would you love to sit down with a great sci-fi read? Share your reading loves, and get the rest of us excited about reading!

glasses on book

Link up your posts here! (If you are reading this in your email, visit my blog for the links.)

Victorian woman reading

Next week: Routines

Now that school is out for the summer, I need new routines for my daughters and myself! What are we going to do with ourselves ALL DAY LONG? Do you have a morning routine? A summer routine? A retirement routine? Or are you spontaneous and throw routines out the window? Share your routine or lack of routine with us!

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Rerun to St. Louis

This week, I made a quick trip to St. Louis for a family funeral.By quick, I mean that I drove down Tuesday and came back Wednesday! I drove the five hour drive by myself, and fortunately the weather was beautiful.

It had been many years since I’ve been to St. Louis. When I was little, my dad’s twin and his family lived there, so we visited them often. They moved away when I was in seventh grade, so the trips to St. Louis ended. Then in April, I flew down for the day to visit Monsanto. Now that was a quick trip! We went from the airport to the Monsanto facility and back to the airport. There was no time to see any sights.

After the funeral on Wednesday, I planned to stop by the Gateway Arch and wander around. The weather was beautiful and I was in no rush, so why not? As I was driving through downtown St. Louis, however, there was construction and a long line of traffic on the exit ramp to the Arch, so I just admired it from a distance and headed back to Illinois.

That is why I’m thinking about having a St. Louis rerun! Next summer, a relative of my husband’s is getting married in St. Louis. Instead of a quick trip, I’m hoping to spend a few days there with Ed and the girls. We can go see the Arch together, and maybe even fit in a trip to the zoo or go see the Budweiser Clydesdales!

As I drove back toward Chicago, I stopped in the small town of Lincoln for lunch. Not far from my lunch spot was another attraction; the world’s largest covered wagon. I decided to take a look!

world's largest covered wagon

This week on the Spin Cycle, share your reruns! Share a TV show you can’t get enough of, rerun a blog post, or DO BOTH?!?

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Next week: Summer Reading During the summer months, I love to read! But I don’t have any books on my book list yet! Share your favorite books or the books that are on your reading list and help me out!




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