2017 has been an interesting year for us. The year began with the passing of my dad. The return of health challenges for me – and Dave taking work out of state have rounded it off to this point. In between, there have been trips to be with family, a house full of guests, weddings and events to host, planting, weeding, pruning, baking, weeding, mowing, weeding. . . . If there is anything I have learned during my life, it is that life is made up of a series of changes. Each day, each moment brings it’s own unique events and opportunities. . . and while there are times that are easier than others, each day brings us the chance for growth, joy, and expressions of gratitude – even the hard times. None of us will escape hardship, heartache, or difficult times . . . . the secret to a happy life is to recognize that God loves us enough to give us opportunities to grow – and embrace the gift. . .
. . . . And that brings us to summer. It is here already. The winter and spring rains and cool temperatures have given way to heat and humidity – and I am trying to find the joy in that. In a few days, the loves of my life – my four young granddaughters will descend upon the Homestead for the summer – an event they (and I) have been looking forward to all year. There will be laughter, giggles, hugs, snuggles, campfires, movies under the stars, dinners cooked over the fire pit and under the sun. There will be homemade ice cream in many flavors (I’m betting Candy Cane is their first request), homemade bread, many, many, many batches of cookies, pancakes and oatmeal (porridge is the 6 yr old’s favorite food), lots of salads and a truckload of watermelon; berries, peaches, apples and pears from the orchard – and – I have seen blooms on the ‘cookie trees’ this year.
I am sure that there will be lemonade stands and bake sales. There will be chalk art on every inch of pavement. Chicks will hatch under very careful supervision. All of the young chickens will have names, and most will be performing in the annual chicken theatrical performances. There will be tree swings, bicycle shows, flashlight hide-and-seek, and the annual watching of grandma and grandpa’s meteor shower. Somewhere in the middle of all of this there will be weddings, showers, family visiting for summer vacations and a trip or two to the ‘magic kingdom’.
There will be jars of grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, and every manner of creeping thing – on the nightstands. There will be swimming, sand castles, sunburns and very tired girls (and grandma). . . . but most of all there will be love – for that is the key to a happy life. To love, and be loved – unconditionally – is the essence of true joy.
Whatever your summer brings – find joy. Make memories with those you love – and find joy.