Labor Day marks the end of summer for many people in Maine and thus begins the race to prepare for the cold season. I do love the Fall. The lawns have slowed down, gardens are nearly finished, the air is great for sleeping, hot beverages and sweatshirts make a cool evening perfect, with even an occasional fire in the fireplace. Although I am in school, life slows down a little bit with Fall. Leaves are gorgeous, temperatures are perfect for an evening walk, and I find that my soul takes a deep breath. Did I say that I love the Fall?
This summer I pledged to enjoy every minute with my family and I did. It was wonderful, even if it went way too fast. I made a list of the things I wanted to do, and I accomplished a few things on the list. Last week we took a ferry ride to island of Vinalhaven to visit our youngest daughter. We had the most perfect day. We saw no whales, but we did see the noses of some bobbing dolphins! We also saw 2 lighthouses: The Rockland Breakwater Light and Owls Head. She treated us to lobster and crabmeat rolls, and Gifford’s ice-cream, our favorite. She showed us around the island, and we took in the beauty of the Maine coast. She was proud to introduce us to her friends and to her fellow ship mates who work with her on the lobster boat. It was wonderful to see her so happy in a town that looks like it is about 40 years behind the times. It was fun to go into stores with the old wooden floors, and go to the bathroom and wash in sinks that I remember from my youth. In some ways I was envious. Wouldn’t everyone like to go back in time and enjoy a simpler life? I know I would.
We haven’t been to Moosepoint State Park this summer, but we have been to the Belfast Park, which is free. We like FREE. We have taken the dog a couple of times with our oldest daughter and it is amusing to see her reaction to the sea gulls. We love looking for shells and treasures. In fact, yesterday while we waited for Kindle to have 30 quills taken out of her nose, lips and tongue, we went to the walk-bridge and saw a starfish! The tide was out further than we’ve ever seen it, and underneath the bridge, we saw a whole, in tact starfish. This was exciting to us and we couldn’t wait to share it with our oldest daughter, and collector of all things beachy.
We have grilled out quite a bit. We were blessed to have family join us for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and (4) August Birthday’s in our immediate family. It is rare that we get my son and his family for summer fun and we were blessed with 8 days with them, on the heals of a Higgins Family Reunion at our place. The local fire department helped us with grilling the chicken, and we are still enjoying the left overs. We love an excuse to gather and I am happy to report that we have seen all but one sibling this summer.
We did get away to see the Botanical Gardens with friends of ours who have sort of adopted us into their family circle. We have enjoyed our new-found friendship and our invitations to dine near the lake. They too, enjoy plants and gardens, so we take a stroll through their property when we visit and inspect the new growth. It has been a wonderful blessing to us. One day during the visit, I had a blueberry pie making lesson, and I must say we enjoyed the product very much. I have yet to try it by myself, but maybe Fall will allow for a little more time to bake.
Recently we were invited to a birthday party for a dear friend of mine, and I was reminded that I am richly blessed. Her family included us as if we were part of the group and we had the most wonderful visit. It made me think about the Christian women in my circle who lift me up when I am struggling. My teammate of 13 years, who still volunteers in my room once a month and brings lunch, my favorite substitute teacher and past parent, who has welcomed me into her home for coffee and lunch dates, my roommates from college, who still contact me and encourage me with care packages, notes, and funny comics on my FB wall, High School friends who pop in for a visit or meet me at Tim Hortons for a cup of coffee, and church members who send encouraging posts or “like” my status’, so that I know they are still out there and watching from afar. For that, I am truly grateful.
Thank God for Face Time and Skype. I tell people that all the time. We have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with our Florida family more frequently this summer. Sometimes it backfires and makes us all a little sad, but mostly it is good. We love to hear little Alexis sing the ABC’s and Christopher show us the model he and his father are working on, or the latest science experiment that has amazed him. We are blessed to have a daughter-in-law who blends in so nicely with the family, and is so easy to love. Sensitive, thoughtful, and full of spunk, she blends in nicely with our brood.
We didn’t get the canoe out again this year or go camping. We really wanted to, but we just ran out of time. We’ll have to put that at the top of the list for next year. Maybe we will be able to take it down the St Croix again. In 2007 and 2008, we took a 3-day trip with Living Waters camp staff and had a blast. I would love to do that again. I am, however, planning to take my husband leaf peeping at Mt Katahdin since he has never seen it. A friend suggested the Katahdin Steamboat so I will check it out! We also love Acadia in the Fall, so we’ll have to plan a couple of day trips.
The other thing that happened this summer for me, was a trip to NYC with my oldest daughter. She worries about me getting respite and so she took me for a get-away in early July. We had so much fun! We rode double-decker tour buses, went to the 9/11 memorial, saw a musical, and enjoyed Times Square. It was the only time away from my husband all summer, but it recharged my batteries. Watching her teach has been on my Bucket List and although we didn’t see her teach, we did surprise her just before school started by taking a road trip to her school. We were able to help her get ready for the new year and eat at one of the most beautiful spots in Portland: The East Promenade.
More than anything, my goal was to spend every single moment appreciating our home because it is beautiful, perfect, and a gift from God. And we did. I love working side by side with my husband weeding, painting, planting, mowing and cleaning. I can’t believe that it is time to start putting the plastic on the windows, and putting the window inserts in. Didn’t we just take the plastic down?
More than anything, we are trying to live day by day, just enjoying one another. I don’t want to waste one precious moment feeling angry or cheated. Instead, I want to fill as much of our time as possible with wonderful memories for the children and I in order to get through the hard times of the future. As the Pastor shared this morning: Our hearts will be comforted by being knit together in love. (Colossians 2:2a)