"Each moment has its own beauty... a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee."
~ Michel de Montaigne

(A $100.00 value)


How to Enter:

Send me an email sharing your favorite activities to do by yourself, with a spouse, or with kids during summer vacation. And remember, free is always good!

I'll post some of your entries in future updates.

Your summer reading fare includes: Starting Now by Debbie Macomber, Pennsylvania Patchwork signed by author Kate Lloyd, Rooms by James Rubart, Predator by Terri Blackstock, The Ties that Bind by Marie Bostwick, and The Summer Kitchen by Lisa Wingate

*** U.S. entries only please

Look Up!

Several years ago our granddaughter stayed the weekend during one of the summer meteor showers visible in our area. Long past her bedtime my husband and I lay on a blanket in the backyard with our granddaughter nestled between us, waiting. We listened to leaves shiver as a cool breeze rustled through the trees. We snuggled closer and talked and laughed for twenty minutes, until ...

"There's one!" Loren pointed up at the night sky, his finger following the star's path.

Charity clapped her hands. "I see it. I see it!"

Stars streaked across a blue curtain of sky - a light show of nature- free from God's hand for our good pleasure.

If you want to share this same experience with someone you love Google meteor showers 2013 and click on earthsky.org for a calendar of events.

"The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world's joy."
~ Henry Ward Beecher

In the Garden

While you yank out weeds in the garden this summer, why not root out old regrets that keep holding you back. Toss them into the compost heap along with the pesky weeds. Regrets, like weeds, intrude into our lives. They serve no purpose and only choke out tender sprigs struggling to grow, full of new life and hope.

And while you're doing a little digging don't let worries about tomorrow, next week, or next year spread a dark cloud. Rather, savor the good you're experiencing right now, this moment. Delight in the pleasures so often overlooked - sights and sounds that bring a smile to your face.

Even as I wrote this this morning I felt overwhelmed by the pressures of upcoming demands. The appointment I need to drive a family member to tomorrow, the birthday dinner on Thursday, the big family birthday party in two weeks ... Do I have a gift for each person?

I was near tears until my husband turned on some quiet music, and put the tea kettle on the stove. Then our two squirrels bounded into the yard for their breakfast. The blue jay squawked because the squirrel's nut box was full and his bird feeder empty. They are a comical team that makes me laugh right out loud. Then I looked up. I saw blue sky and the sun shining across my yard.

Here's what God has to say about regrets and worry.

Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you. I Peter 5:7

Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace. Job 22:21

One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. Philippians 3:13

And many more verses tell of God's love and care for you!

Grandma's Very Berry Cobbler

In honor of my blackberry story that appeared in the Apr/May issue of Mary Jane's Farm magazine I've included our cobbler recipe.

My family loves this refreshing dessert in the summer! Best of all, it's quick & Easy!

1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tab. Cornstarch
6 Cups Marion berries or Blackberries
2 Teas. Lemon juice

Measure the berries and lemon juice in a 2-qrt. saucepan. Combine sugar and cornstarch, and add to berries. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Pour into ungreased 8x8" glass baking dish.

3 Tblsp. Shortening 1/2 teas. Salt
1 Cup Flour 1 1/2 teas. Baking powder
1 Tblsp. Sugar 1/2 Cup Milk

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Stir in milk. Spread spoonfuls across top of hot berries.

Bake at 400* until top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or cooled with a scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream. ENJOY!

Savor the Moment

Here's what a few of you shared in last summer's drawing about how you live with joy in the present moments.

Denise - Life it too short to live with regret. I can't change the past and worrying about tomorrow will stress me out. If something happened for which amends can be made, then I do so, if not, I get on with my life and appreciate what I have. Being content within myself will get me further in life and bring me joy. Give your troubles to God and let him lead you to a resolution. And, hug your kids and spouse. A little chocolate never hurts in moderation, too.

Lydia - Shortly after I was diagnosed with incurable cancer, I remember standing in the kitchen feeling upset and anxious. My doctor had just told me I didn't have a good kind of cancer. Well, is ANY cancer good? As I began to think about the future and the challenges ahead, I distinctly sensed God telling me to live in the present and let him handle the future. So when negative, fearful thoughts enter, I deliberately stop and set them aside, and then thank God that he is with me each day and will provide for my needs. I seek to live in the present by focusing on the present and making the most of each day, not borrowing on what tomorrow will bring. It's a deliberate choice. With God's help, I seek to trust him day by day. And for the past nine years after diagnosis, I have found him faithful.

Stefanie - My best advice to live in the moment is to just stop and breathe and focus on all the good things you have in life. Sometimes you get so busy and forget to really enjoy life, so you need to stop, relax and smile and be thankful for what you have. Spend time with friends, splurge on your favorite dessert, or just relax and do something you enjoy every day to make life more joyful.

Cindy - I once read what you look back to you will stay in and not grow. I believe that we should always cherish each moment and not have regrets. I try to move forward and learn from my past and not dwell on the errors I've made. In contrast, I revel in the progress I've made as I've struggled with the inevitable challenges of daily living! Being stagnant is not a choice -like a running river we must seek to find something bigger than ourselves (an ocean), and join it to become greater than we are alone!

Sue - A friend of mine said, "Sue, this (life) isn't a practice run." This is the real thing and we only get to do it once. I guess those thoughts shocked me, because I am often waiting" for the weekend or time off from work" to live. To focus on today is the only way that I am able to live 'in the moment'. I find joy - that deep, abiding peace and sense that all is well and so worth it, in knowing that Jesus is truly in control and nothing enters my life by accident. He refreshes my soul as I talk over life with Him and rest in His care.