Tag Archives: Lightning bugs

Buckle Up! Summer’s Heading Out.

6 Aug

A friend asked me last week if I’d bought my kid’s school supplies yet. I stopped. Turned. And stared at her. “Umm, excuse me, but what did you say?”

“I was just wondering if you’d bought your school supplies yet,” she repeated, looking a little defensive. “I mean, they’re already being picked through….”

I walked away from that conversation feeling a little ill. How is it possible that summer is almost over and I need to buy school supplies already? I guess I was in denial.

But then I went and spent $150 on supplies and reality hit home.
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But enough about that. I have to say that it’s been a great summer and a lot of the greatness is due to all the hard work that many, many willing adults put in to making a ton of great activities for my kids to participate in. Kids need summer activities. Yes, they need to relax and just hang out but they can’t do that for three solid months. If they did, they and I both would go insane.

And so we signed them up for a few things. Not as many as some years, mind you, but a few, well-chosen things. My oldest two did Summer Band at the middle school and they both loved it. I have never seen my daughter so excited about her band instrument, as she was able to begin playing a “Frumpet” because French Horns simply aren’t marching band instruments. Along with my son on his marching band tuba (read Susaphone), we had several marvelous duets in the evenings and loved every minute of it. Thanks so much to Mr. Anderson and all of the band teachers and helpers involved with that program.

A little Frumpet action.

A little Frumpet action.


My daughter also was able to participate in Summer Orchestra and she enjoyed that very much, remembering what it is like to pick up a viola after quite a few weeks of…I admit it…not doing so. The students were even were able to take a field trip to the National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD, which definitely is a place our whole family needs to check out, from the sounds of it. Thanks to Mrs. Loy for a great couple of weeks!

Most recently my two oldest kids enjoyed Kid’s College out at Minnesota West. For four days they experimented, learned, played, created, and soaked in the atmosphere of the college and many willing and capable instructors. Too bad it couldn’t be longer, says this mom!

Not his Susaphone, but you get the idea.

Not his Susaphone, but you get the idea.


Not to be forgotten, our youngest, too, had weekly fun at the Summer Library Program at the Nobles County Library, thanks to all the hard work of Jackie Van Horsen, the children’s librarian. Three Hershey’s kiss gnomes, a caterpillar, an ant, and something that I’m a little unclear as to what it is exactly – still grace our family room with their smiling faces. Her crafts are all smiling, according to her, because she was having a great time making them with her friends at the library.
Library gnomes.

Library gnomes.


There were other activities our kids did – and other activities they should have done (read swimming lessons) – and somehow, all of a sudden, summer is winding down and there is very little I can do about that. Okay, there’s nothing I can do about it, I just like to pretend that maybe there is.

One thing that was very different for us this summer was not being involved with the summer musical at the Memorial Auditorium here in Worthington, as we were for the past two summers. Instead, we were able to sit and RELAX in the audience and enjoy the hard work that the cast and crew of SHREK THE MUSICAL put in over the summer to entertain us all. I intimately understand how much effort it takes to put on such a show, and I appreciate their time and commitment so much. I can’t say that we didn’t miss doing a show a little bit, but mostly, we were just glad to have summer evenings at home. But yes, in case you’re wondering, I’m sure the stage will lure us back one of these summers, if not more than one.
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Summer has been lovely, but all good things must come to an end. School is important, and I guess I’m ready for it, at least as far as my kid’s supplies go. Mentally, though…I’m thinking I’d rather cuddle with my six year old a little longer, savor my coffee on the deck with a good book, watch the kids catch lightning bugs, and have just one more day to sleep in.

But this is my life, at least for a few more years. School supplies, alarm clocks, homework…. Someday I’ll miss all that, they tell me.

For now, I’ll buckle up for the ride.

Didn't catch him flashing, but here is a lightning bug...in all his non-glowing glory.

Didn’t catch him flashing, but here is a lightning bug…in all his non-glowing glory.

One got caught in Boo's hair!

One got caught in Boo’s hair!

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Sometimes Epiphanies Come in Neon-Green Flashes of Light

26 Jul

Didn't catch this lightning bug flashing, but here he is...in all his non-glowing glory.

So…it just O’Ccurred to me that I often begin my blog entries with “So…” Oops! On the other hand, I like the feeling that we’re continuing a conversation – that I’ve just stepped out for a minute and now am back, ready to pick up where we left off. Somehow “so…” sets that tone for me.

So…I bought the 2011 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition about 3 weeks ago. I opened it today for the first time. “Why,” you might be wondering, “did you wait so long when this is the thing you’re aiming at? SELLING your book? Finding an agent, finding a publisher. Why didn’t you dive right in?” Because it makes me nervous. It makes me afraid. It makes me a wee bit queasy.

I keep telling myself, “Hey, it’s being edited now. Then, inevitably, you’ll need to change things, clean it up, fix stuff. You’ve got plenty of time to research publishers, agents, etc.” Yes. And no. Plenty of time…but the time all goes so quickly. Especially when singing and dancing get in the way. (See last week’s post!)

The singing and dancing is a little less stressful now that I’m getting it somewhat figured out, but it’s even more exhausting with the late nights of practice. We were driving home from rehearsal after dark last night, and, despite my weary state of mind, I was able to admire the lightning bugs. They’re incredible this year.

One got caught in Lucy's hair!

I love the Morse code of the fireflies. I love sitting on the deck as it gets dark and watching them come out randomly across the yard, singly or in groups, like neon-green chips of light sewn in the air by some giant farmer scattering his seeds.

We didn’t have fireflies in Washington…a sad lack in the Pacific Northwest skies. The first time I saw them was in Thailand, the summer of 1989. I remember standing at the edge of the jungle, in the yard of the church where we were staying, and wondering what on God’s green earth I was seeing flashing all over the place like insane disco balls of light. I asked someone what they were and they, being from the southern United States, stared at me through the darkness like I was a crazy woman. “You don’t know what lightning bugs are?”
“Well, sure I do. I’ve just never seen them before. Is that seriously what they are?” I could hardly believe it. “They’re amazing.”

They are unbelievably hard to capture on film. This is the best of about 50 tries!

And they are, truly. They hover over the long wet, boggy grass that is our yard and they speak to each other of their day, their troubles, their love. And we foolish humans gasp and clap our hands at their beauty. This is a gift from God, a reward for the humidity, the soaring temperatures, the long nights of play practice. Lightning bugs: the great stress reliever.

And they’re way more fun than researching publishers.

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