Monday, August 24, 2009

What I Will Miss About Summer

I woke up this morning and there was a crispness in the air instead of the hot and steamy mugginess that has plagued the East Coast for the last couple of weeks. As I glanced at the calendar a wave of nostalgia swept over me, summer is over! And then like a hiccup, I broke into song…”See you in September” – the classic by The Tempos (1959).

The truth is: I will miss summer. Here are a few reasons why:

Fruit stands. One on every corner. They bedazzle me with their colorful umbrellas that shade the fresh picked corn, tomatoes, green beans, and “yes” even hand-picked flowers from the garden. The sunflowers and bright zinnias beckon me to buy a bunch for $5.00 that last for weeks on the kitchen table.

Fireflies. The walks in the park at dusk mesmerize me. I conducted several symphonies with the help of my lightning bug friends. With my iPod blaring (do you think they could actually hear it?), “we” orchestrated a new version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Long Days. The evenings are shorter now and gone are the jogging runs at 9:00 p.m. The running shoes need to be put on at 7:30 p.m. in order to make it back home before all the street lights go on. Sigh.

Mt. Gretna. Although we only visited it once this year, it is a magical place of gnome-like cottages, the Jigger Shoppe with homemade ice cream (voted the best in Lancaster County), quaint gift shops, walking trails, the 1950’s big swing over the lake, and pine trees that wave back at you. Of course, it’s still there in the winter, but it's simply not the same.

Maggie Moos Ice Cream. I’m not really an ice cream fan, but this summer I discovered the “Better Batter” flavor. It’s America’s version of gelato and for a few extra cents, they will add any combination of “condiments” you prefer: toffee chips, Baby Ruth, Snickers, and “yes” even Swedish Fish (no thanks!). I always ask for the “Kiddie Kup” and indulge in one of life’s simple pleasures.

Writing Deadlines. What? Did I really say that? Yes, the summer is when I write uninterrupted. I stay up until 2:00 a.m. pounding out deadlines and get lost in the world of words. There’s nothing like a summer project that gets zipped up and put to “bed” before winter. I guess it’s like the summer “reading” list (writer’s version only!).

County Fairs: Big, big, big on the East Coast. Every town, municipality, and borough has its own. The E-Town fair starts this week and we will be going. Cotton candy. Ferris Wheels. Pie-Eating Contests. Tractor Pulls. Fireworks. And not to be missed, The York Fair, the oldest fair in the country is right in my backyard.

Lazy Days. There’s something about ice cold lemonade and the lazy days of summer that spell relief. Sipping lemonade on the back porch simply doesn’t feel the same in winter (try it!). Soon the hot chocolate and marshmallows will fill my cup and Jack Frost will be nipping at my toes! Ouch.

Back-to-School Shopping. Although the “boys” are all grown up, I still gaze at the store windows with bittersweetness. The fake fall leaves donning the store displays with bright orange, yellow, and red with back-to-school paraphernalia signals the end of one season and the beginning of another.

Flowers, flowers, flowers. This year, my calla lilies were not eaten up by the beetles for the first time in several years. Their simple elegance is a tribute to our Creator. I marvel at the way they open up gracefully and then close back up when they are ready to kiss the summer goodbye.

Vacations. We took one with some dear friends who let us enjoy a respite at their lake home at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. It was a much-needed getaway from a July meltdown. Memories of s’mores, Christmas Tree Island, boating, lounging on the deck, long walks, spotted fawns at dusk, drifting on an inner tube—soaking in the summer rays, and hot dogs on the grill are pleasures that will endure through the cold days of winter.

Goodbye summer…hello fall!

Living Life Passionately,

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Friday, August 21, 2009

The Winner is...

Thank you all for entering the "birthday surprise" drawing for Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover's Soul and a ten-dollar gift card for Starbucks. I actually had to put the names in the bowl twice because my cat, Bianca, sat on one of the names! To make things fair, I had my hubby pull the name again after I mixed them up with a spaghetti tosser. And guess what? The same name was pulled. What is the likelihood of that?

Drum roll please...

The winner is Cheryl Barker!

Many thanks to Flea who passed on my link to her bloggy buddies which lessened her chance of winning. Because of Flea's servant heart, she receives a lifetime membership to my book club -- meaning anything I write that gets published, she gets a copy!

Okay, I must finish packing, I'm off to Camp Epachiseca.

Living Life Passionately,

P.S. Cheryl, please send me your mailing address to and I will mail your gift ASAP!

I almost forgot...Cheryl also wins a copy of Coffee Lover Devotions to Go! (It will be out in 2010!). Umm...that means Flea does too!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coffee Anyone?

Since today is my birthday, I'm giving away a copy of Chicken Soup for the Coffee-Lover's Soul to some fortunate person along with a ten-dollar gift card from Starbucks!

It's my way of saying thank you for tuning in and being as passionate about life as I am. Oh, and stay tuned for my next book due out in 2010: Coffee-Lover's Devotions to Go! So add a comment and you will also receive that book as well.

Enjoy a cup of java on me!

Living Life Passionately,

P.S. The winner will be pulled next Friday, August 21!
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Copyrighted photo: Cards by Connie

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sister-to-Sister Conference

Join me for the Sister-to-Sister Conference with Julie Nevel at Camp Epachiseca in Stillwater, Pennsylvania on August 21-22.

This is my second Sister-to-Sister Conference working with Julie. Her voice is amazing and the lyrics to her songs stay with you long after you've gone home.

For more information feel free to contact Julie Nevel or myself.

I have been in a serious writing mode; four more stories to edit and my book Moms of Sons is on its way (about two weeks before the deadline!).

This summer has rushed by and I feel like I've been behind the keyboard way too much!

Enjoy the blessings of will soon be gone.

Living Life Passionately,

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Simple Life

I often wonder why I'm not writing Amish fiction because after all I live in Lancaster County! I guess the rest of the world is intrigued by their "simple" life, which may be the reason why Amish novels are such big sellers.

The other day I had my camera along and took some photos (yes, you can take them as long as they don't see you!). Although when my sister came to visit, she ran down the street yelling, "There's another one..." Please, if you visit Lancaster County, do not do that! These are my neighbors.

Enjoy the simple life!

P.S. I'm taking a break from blogging so I can finish editing Moms of Sons! But I'll be back in action soon. In the meantime, enjoy the photos.