Summer Rules #4--Gather and Be Gathered

As a corollary to rule #3: eat outside as often as you can, we've been eating an awful lot of food that we picked, grew or otherwise harvested ourselves. For awhile cucumbers were the abundant crop, and we had sliced cucumbers at every meal, along with cucumber juice--so refreshing on those hot days!--and even cucumber sorbet. Then we moved on to green beans--and I tell you, there is nothing like hunting for green beans from inside the teepee to turn your children into green bean fiends (unless it's the honey mustard dip served alongside). And now--it's all tomatoes, all the time. We still haven't convinced either child to actually like eating them, even when spread with mayo, which we thought would surely do the job. But fortunately that doesn't hinder their love of picking them, which is good because I've got big canning plans.

And more than once this summer, while outside harvesting, or tending, or picking off Japanese beetles, or simply trying to understand this particular plot of land and its soil and its sunshine, we've experienced another great gift of living in this place, close to both I-80 and I-90--the gift of being on the way. You see, people drive through here. And when people are driving, they need food. And beds. It hasn't always been convenient, and we sometimes had to shuffle things a bit, but this is when we become so thankful for our daughter's (middle) namesake, Ruth, and what she taught us about hospitality and generosity and remembering what is important. It's a great gift, to be on the way, even when we're not the ones going anywhere. We don't always get it right, and sometimes I may grumble a bit that I had plans, plans to do something important. But lucky for us, the people come anyway, and there is food and laughter and stories and as we gather, we are gathered. We are gathered into the great heart of God, a heart that is ever-loving, ever-serving, ever-open. "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17.


Summer Rules #3: Eat outside

We're still doing this, eating almost every meal on our porch and taking snack outdoors as often as possible. Our little bean tent is perfect for this, but so is the backstep, to be honest. Camping is good, but it takes some advance work, and there's just some something about an impromptu picnic. Putting together a little picnic kit with silverware, dishes, wipes, a knife, and a blanket made such meals easier, and therefore more likely. Here's to many more outdoor meals this season!


Summer Rules #2: Take a new route

We took a lot of new routes this summer, in some cases extending the drive quite a bit, but in all cases making it far more interesting. Doing so increased our state count from 8 to 10 (adding Kentucky and Michigan), but increased our fun as well. We learned that Cincinatti has a really pretty skyline, that northern Kentucky's hills make for much better driving than Indiana's interstate. We learned that northeastern Wisconsin is almost more lake than land, and that the Upper Peninsula is full of roadside picnic spots and lake access. We discovered a lavender farm, close to home, and a wonderful little lake town only an hour away. We've also established some new routines--one that allows both of us adults to get some much-needed exercise, and that involves finding all sorts of new early morning running routes. And more than a few times, taking a new route was a very necessary shaking-up-the-routine, combating grumpiness, whininess or just plain peevishness. (And I'm not saying on whose part.)