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Summer Gardens

the color: summer gardens

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s funny sometimes to think amidst the busyness of work, family, appointments, kids’ practices and games, about slowing down. Most of the year, out of necessity, I’m moving too fast. Busyness becomes a routine, and it almost becomes comfortable to be always in motion. But summer brings with it another pace, and this year I’m welcoming slowing down wholeheartedly.

My July 2016 slice of summer

Summer Gardens

When I can spend a few moments outside, it changes my perspective. This summer, my flower gardens have been bursting with blooms.

a new pale lavendar echinacea

The color of a group of daylilies and the profusion of tall garden phlox, a serendipity I love.

the color

And of course, the butterflies (here, a Great Spangled Fritillary) upon the echinacea…

Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly

And the hummingbirds.

a male juvenile ruby throated hummingbird
a male juvenile ruby-throated hummingbird

Dale Carnegie was right when he said:

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon — instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.”

Roses, of course
Roses, of course

Hoping you have the chance to slow down and soak up summer and its beauty this week.

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Summer, Updates, and More Time for Fun

Jennifer Lyn King

“There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

More Time for Fun

I love summer. I’ve said it before, but it’s always true. Sunshine, flowers, grass, pools, roadtrips … the potential is endless in summertime. My goals this year going forward include More Time for Fun:

more time for FUN
the emphasis is on FUN

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch

Updates

Also, this week I came by my site and realized none of the photographs were working on most of the pages. It took me a couple of hours of fiddling around to realize all I needed to do is update my theme. I pressed the button, and 3 seconds later, everything worked. Whew! (Anyone else ever have that happen?)

And, along the theme of happiness, I’ve finally updated my profile photo to have a smile. It was time. Last year was the hardest year of my life, which means it’s all upward from here. Happy.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller, The Open Door

Jennifer Lyn King

“Do anything, but let it produce joy.” – Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Wishing you a happy and wonderful week full of summer!

 

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Summertime and Big Changes

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly in flight

One day she decided to stop letting her fears hold her back, and from that day on, she flew.

(I love this phrase, which I first saw on House of Belonging and DeAnn Art instagram)

 

It’s summer!

Last week, I was absent from the blog for the week, but this is what I was up to …

Start with a roadtrip, add a car full of loved ones, journey to a place filled with people you love, add a shimmering pool of water, a hot summer sun, goggles and music and lots of fun, and it suddenly feels like summer. Those are the days of life which are the very best.

 

summer photos
Summer photos from my Instagram (@jenniferlynking)

 

This summer has been a mix of time doing the fun things with my boys — time at amusement parks, and basketball games, and fishing and cutting grass and gardening — and preparing for other big changes looming on the horizon.

 

summer photos
More summer photos from my Instagram (@jenniferlynking)

 

Today, I start a new job, my first in corporate America for more than 17 years. I’ll be wearing dresses and jackets and heels for the first time in a long time, and doing things I enjoy doing in a formal environment. I’m excited to combine my love for words and communication and marketing for a corporation with its cutting edge technology.

It is a new adventure.

There is something about summertime and blazing blue skies, and storms which roll in on the horizon. There is comfort in the midst of change to see the sun rise and set each day, regardless of what else goes on around us. There is a hand which holds in balance the uncertainties in our lives, which carries us through to the next breath, the next day, the next season. Faith is what holds me in and through change, and in and through each day. When all else is stripped away, that hand is there still to guide us.

I heard this said about a week ago and it has stuck with me.

“Beautiful girl, you can do hard things.”

Yes.

And the phrase I quoted at the top: “One day she decided to stop letting her fears hold her back, and from that day on, she flew.”

We can fly.

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly in flight
Zebra Swallowtail butterfly in flight

Have a wonderful week filled with the best parts of summer — of loved ones and warm sunshine and the knowledge that you can do hard things!

 

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12 States & 2500 Miles: My Adventure-filled Summer Vacation

Portland Head Light, Maine

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. -Oprah Winfrey

 

When our first son was about a year old, my husband and I, with little more than two dimes to rub together, set off on a road trip to Maine. Having a baby along didn’t deter us. We set up his portable crib in our tent in Acadia National Park, rose when he did (when it became light at 4 am) and enjoyed hiking and exploring the rocky coast with him in tow. But our sights were on the water. While in Maine that time, we dreamed that someday we might get to take a guided sea kayaking tour.

 

Sea Kayaking in Casco Bay, Maine -- my family and me
Sea Kayaking in Casco Bay, Maine — my family and me this past week

 

It’s been almost 15 years since that first trip to gorgeous Maine. So a few weeks ago, when our boys expressed true interest in the Outdoor Adventure Schools through L.L.Bean (they even pulled up all of the programs, and found a hotel room for 5), we knew it was the right year to do it. As my husband jokes, it was the ultimate Man-cation. To tell the truth, though: I had a complete blast.

 

12 States & 2500 Miles: My Adventure-filled Summer Vacation:

For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing bits of the adventure here, from our beginnings at Niagara Falls to Maine to Boston to New York City. Until then, a few of my favorite photos (these, iPhone photos–better ones to come later) …

Learning to Fly-Cast, Fly Fishing like in A River Runs Through It
Learning to Fly-Cast, Fly Fishing like in A River Runs Through It
Niagara Falls
Part of our Road Trip: Visiting Niagara Falls (the sunset was amazing that night!)
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

 

Maine docks
Maine docks
Me, at Portland Head Light
That’s me, out along the rocks at Portland Head Light, taking a photograph of … (next photo)
Portland Head Light, Maine
Portland Head Light, Maine
Learning to Paddleboard
Learning to Paddleboard in Maine on the Royal River
the Statue of Liberty before the NYC 4th of July Fireworks
the Statue of Liberty before the NYC 4th of July Fireworks
Sun setting behind Trinity Church from Wall Street, NYC
Sun setting behind Trinity Church from Wall Street, NYC
Sunrise in NYC: I'd always dreamed of bringing my family to show them NYC
Sunrise in NYC: I’d always dreamed of bringing my family to show them NYC
Boston's Brookline Booksmith bookstore
Boston’s Brookline Booksmith bookstore: We visited many friends in Boston & stopped in this store to pick up gifts…
All the Light We Cannot See (my favorite book)
All the Light We Cannot See (my favorite book)
Map of Ohio
Sometimes the best adventures begin simply: by stepping beyond our normal places

I’m still working through revisions on my novel (#1 priority work-wise), but the adventure will continue through photos in coming weeks. Thanks for joining me and sharing in the journey!

For you: What is your favorite road-trip vacation?

 

 

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Summer’s Day

Summer Flowers

 

Summer Flowers
Summer Flowers

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

And summer’s ease hath all too short a date;

Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimme’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

-Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare,
from my favorite Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 1953

 

Summer’s Day

This summer, with its sunshine and warm breezes, its vibrant colors in flowers and sky, has captivated me.

June Instagram (I'm at @jenniferlynking)
June Instagram (I’m at @jenniferlynking)

Above, a few photos I’ve posted on Instagram, a kind of photo journal of things I love as the days go on…

I’m enjoying getting to have my boys around … the years pass too quickly and soon they’ll be grown and off on their own. We’re getting to do things we didn’t get to do when we lived in Prague, and my oldest son has recently gotten his driving temps.

Time definitely sweeps by, whether we want it to or not. And so I’m living with more intention. I’m getting up when it is dark to write and revise on my novel with a clean brain, before the house gets moving. Then, the beauty of summer and its allure grabs me and I remember all over again that these moments, this time, are the essence, and I’m trying to remember to soak it all up.

Enjoy this week at the peak of summer!

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8 Summer Afternoon Beauties: a Photojournal

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ― Henry James

Garden Roses
Garden Roses

8 Summer Afternoon Beauties: a Photojournal

Summer is my favorite season

For its golden sunshine and sherbet sunrises

Sherbet Sunrise
A Recent Summer Sunrise

For sundresses and walking barefoot in the garden

Tangerine-colored Daylilies
Tangerine-colored Daylilies

For stacks of books and reading in the shade

Sunflowers and Delphinium, a bouquet I enjoyed from my writing partner, Erika Robuck
Sunflowers and Delphinium, a bouquet I enjoyed from my writing partner, Erika Robuck

For hummingbirds with their rubies

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

And magical fairy flight

Juvenile male ruby-throated hummingbird
Ruby-throated hummingbird, juvenile male — dazzling feeder from dear friend Beth Hoffman

For heart-stopping color

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly
Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

And painted wings of light

oMonarch butterfly on buddleia
Monarch butterfly on buddleia

Summer afternoons, the color-filled ones with time smudged around the edges, seem to refill my well and refresh my spirit with wonder. Summer afternoon must be the two most beautiful words in the English language.

How about you? What do you like best about summer?

 

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7 Summer Colors of Inspiration

To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.  ~Schumann

To bring cheer to an otherwise drab world: I love that statement about the artist. Nature, especially at the peak of summer, is the best artist of all.

I relish the riot of color at this time of year. Blue skies, brilliant colors in every hue and shade imaginable — they’re all outside the door.

7 Favorite Summer Colors of Inspiration:

Red Hibiscus
Red Hibiscus
Orange poppies
Orange Poppies
Sunny Yellow Eye of a Daylily
Sunny Yellow Daylily Eye

There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun. -Pablo Picasso

Moss in the Alps
Green: Moss in the Alps
Passenger Pigeons against Blue Summer Sky: Prague
European Doves against Blue Summer Sky: Prague

No great artist ever sees things as they really are.  If he did, he would cease to be an artist.  ~Oscar Wilde

 

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on Echinacea
A Rainbow of Color: Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on Echinacea
Purple Penstemon: Hummingbird flowers
Purple Penstemon: Hummingbird flowers

Color possesses me. I don’t have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: Color and I are one. I am a painter. – Paul Klee

The world is brighter, happier, more vivid because of color … and life becomes a reflection of the lens through which we see it.

Starting the Conversation: What are your favorite sources of summer color?

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3 Essentials for Attracting Hummingbirds

“Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.” –Papyrus

 

Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird with Jackmanii Clematis
Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird with Jackmanii Clematis, from my former backyard

Friends often ask what is the one thing I missed most about the US during our 4 years in Prague. The answer might (or might not) be surprising …

The one thing I missed most over the last four years of living in Europe doesn’t have to do with shopping or food or the differences in cultures or people. Those factors all affected me, and yes, I missed everything about home, really. But the one thing I missed most was seeing hummingbirds. Hummingbirds only are found in North, Central, and South America.

To me, hummingbirds define summer.They’ve always fascinated me with their shimmering colors and incredible fluttering wings. They also symbolize joy and magic and wonder, and without them darting about, a backyard doesn’t feel complete.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Rose of Sharon
Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Rose of Sharon

It isn’t hard to attract hummingbirds, but 3 things are essential … Continue reading 3 Essentials for Attracting Hummingbirds

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10 Late Summer Treasures

garden roses

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.  -Celia Thaxter

It’s late August, and my boys are all tucked back in to their school rhythms. 7th, 5th, and 3rd grade this year!

It amazes me, every year around this time, that it really is the start of a new school year. Where did the Summer go? And that’s when I need to count some of my favorite things, from the summer.

So here goes, 10 of my late summer treasures:

  1. My guys, the 4 Kings in my life
My guys, the Baltic Sea, Sweden
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Paradise Found: My Fourth of July in the Austrian Alps

Paradise Found: St. Gilgen, Austria and the Zwolferhorn

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Poet, 1803-1882

Paradise Found: St. Gilgen, Austria and the Zwolferhorn
Paradise Found: St. Gilgen, Austria and the Zwolferhorn

When I was a girl, I read all the time, and the first book I remember wanting to reread was Johanna Spyri’s HEIDI. If you aren’t familiar with the children’s classic book, HEIDI is about an orphaned girl who comes to live in the Alps with her reclusive grandfather. Like most fans of Heidi, I relished the notion of finding hope in the face of hopelessness, but I also loved the setting of HEIDI: the rugged and beautiful mountains of Europe where man and mountain thrive together. There is something about being in the mountains that connects with who I am. Whether it is in the Tetons or Rockies of the Western United States, the coastal mountains of Maine, or the Alps of Austria, Switzerland, or Italy, my heart sings when I am in the mountains. Luckily for me, my family feels the same way … Continue reading Paradise Found: My Fourth of July in the Austrian Alps