Monday, August 29, 2016
Monday, August 22, 2016
Last Saturday, my husband and I went to Copper Harbor in the Keeweenaw Peninsula for the annual Art in the Park fair. It was rainy but we had fun anyway. We go to Copper Harbor at least once or twice a year because we enjoy it so much. One of the places we always stop at is the Jam Pot. It is a small bakery nestled in the green forests of the Keeweenaw in Eagle Harbor, MI. This little shop is run by Byzantine monks and it contains the most delicious baked goods.
It is such a small building that it makes you wonder how many items are actually in it for sale. The next thing you notice is that there is a line out the front door and the parking lot is full. I have never gone there without standing in line and yet, people don't mind it because it is worth the wait. When you get inside, the first thing is the delicious smells that greet you and the variety of the items on display. There are many different kinds of jams and jellies. My favorites are the Wild Raspberry and Wild Thimbleberry Jams. There are also fruitcakes and poundcakes freshly made. Lemon Poundcake is excellent. It is soaked in brandy and although, I am not a fan of liquor soaked cakes, the brandy was just a hint and I liked it. There are also a variety of brittles, barks and candies for sale. My husband is partial to brittles of all flavors.
There are also fresh baked cookies. Chocolate chip are my sons favorite but mine is the oatmeal raisin peanut butter cookies. To me, the hardest thing to find is a good oatmeal raisin cookie. These are excellent!
So, my recommendation is that if you ever get to the Keeweenaw and want to sample some wonderful baked goods in a beautiful setting...The Jam Pot is the place to go. You don't have to take my word for it because The Jam Pot is also featured on the Pure Michigan website. P.S. You can also order from them online.
Monday, August 8, 2016
It is August and all kinds of media are now in full "Back to School" mode. TV commercials are filled with back to school advertisements on clothes, supplies, food for snacks and lunches, just to name a few. There are articles in newspapers and magazines on how to cope with the last days of summer and how to prepare for those first days of school.
Before my retirement, I was a second grade teacher and this was the time of the year when all my thoughts focused on going back to school. I created lists of supplies I needed, ideas for lesson plans, updated my calendar with meeting dates and times, decided when I needed to go into school to prepare my classroom and went thru my closet to see what I needed to be appropriately dressed for school each day. This was also the time of year when my husband and sons knew I would be asking for their help in getting my classroom ready for the new school year. August became their busy month just as much as mine.
I have been retired for 2 years now. The first time August rolled around and I did not have to do any of the school prep craziness, it was a very emotional time for me. I actually missed all the crazy planning and work. It was strange not to be doing it. It was so bad that to make the transition easier, my husband took me out of town on a small vacation in order for me to put some distance between me and school. This year August has rolled around again, as it always does, and I am doing so much better. I can watch the tv commercials and smile. I can read the advertisements in the Sunday paper and skip past the sections on back to school. Stories on coping with the end of summer and beginning of school in my favorite magazines are stories I bypass without guilt. I even find myself happy in that I do not have to put myself thru all the stress that comes with the beginning of the school year.
This year, we are planning 2 small vacations in August without the worry of a time frame. I will enjoy sleeping in until 9am and not have to start slowly training my body to get up at 5am once school starts. I will sit on my deck and enjoy the warm sunny days of summer with my coffee and not miss sitting in professional development meetings all day. In short, I will enjoy August!!
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Have you ever asked more than one person how to get to a specific destination and suddenly you have two or more different routes to get there? One route might be quicker and one might be more scenic and other routes might have a variety of good reasons to take them. The destination is always the same but the way to get there is different.
Life is like that with God. The destination is always the same but the route we take to get there is different with each one of us. I was thinking about this the other day when I was looking at old photographs of childhood. There were pictures of my parents, the house and neighborhood I grew up in, school, jobs, travel, my wedding pictures and pictures of my sons. I thought about how my girlfriends and I would sit on the front porch in the summer and talk about what our lives would be like when we were grown. I grew up in a city suburb in a neighborhood of cookie-cutter like houses. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and my dad worked all week and played golf on Saturdays. Sundays were spent in church and at my grandparents' house. We vacationed as a family every summer and life was good. Because of this, I saw my life as being very much like that. I would marry and live in a city suburb in a cookie-cutter type house, be a stay-at home mom, my husband would work all week and play golf on Saturdays. We go to church on Sundays and then spend the day at the grandparents' house and of course, vacation every summer as a family. I expected my life to be a straight shot toward this destination. Little did I know that would not be the case. I was 18 years old when my family moved away from the city to a more rural area for my father's work. I was like a fish out of water. Everything I grew up with in a city was now gone and I had to relearn life at a much slower pace without a lot of, what I thought, the much needed conveniences of city life. I disliked it so much I made plans to move back to the city when I met and married a young man who changed my moving plans. 43 years later, I can look back and see the route I took to get to this destination. Now, we live on 40 acres of farmland where the closest neighbor is 1/2 mile away, my husband worked shift work at a mine and couldn't stand golf. He is a fisherman. I was a working mom and lived too far away from grandparents to visit every Sunday. Vacationing as a family was hard with my husband's shift work but we did get to go away sometimes in winter and sometimes in summer. My destination in life (so far) has not turned out the way I imagined it when I was a young girl but it has turned out the way I love it. I wouldn't change any part of it. My girlfriends from my youth have reached the same destination as myself but they have gotten here in a number of different ways.
God has a plan for each one of us. He has that plan before we are even born. He has destinations for each of us and although we don't get there in the same ways, we do get there. When life throws me a curve ball and I am living through something that brings stress and/or pain, I tend to wonder what is God's plan that I have to go thru this. Then I pray and realize that God has a destination for me and every obstacle and/or smooth path He gives me is going to help me reach that place. His directions have been "spot-on" so far, I trust He will continue to get me where I am supposed to be until I stand before Him and see His loving face.
"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope!" Jeremiah 29:11