Day 29 – Thirty Days of Thanks – Goodbye summer break, hello garden blessings

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What a joy it has been to focus on thankfulness as the summer continues on! With just two days left in my “Thirty Day” journey, I’ll make certain to highlight a few that are particularly timely.

Today’s Five Thankful Things:

  1. firstday16.JPGFirst Day tradition – Since our daughters were in preschool, we have taken a “first day of school” photo each year. And our lovely girls agree to hold up a sign and smile each year, with the promise that we will not follow them to college with these signs.
  1. Caring, intelligent teachers – Our daughters have attended public school since kindergarten, and we have been blessed each year with special teachers who really do care about their students. At a time when public schools face budget and political struggles, I have so appreciated Eastbrook Schools and the caring faculty and  at its heart.
  1. berriesBerries still! – Our blackberry bushes continue to be fruitful, and I try to enjoy them when I have the chance. Looks like we’ll be making at least one more batch of jam! And we have several quarts frozen. Fresh berries just can’t be beat!
  1. Fresh veggies from the garden! – Today’s lunch at IMG_0689home came from our garden, picked over the past couple days. Other than the large okra (should have been picked before it grew too large), I enjoyed sweet peppers, smaller okra, cucumber, and tomatoes. Then berries. Oh – and watermelon from our garden!
  1. Rose of Sharon’s first blooms – A few months ago, we planted a few saplings of “Rose of Sharon,” shared by my friend Ellen. Her bush is a combination of white, lavender, and pink blooms, as the bushes grew tightly into each other. But these were just planted here in April, and I hadn’t even expected them to bloom on this first year. What a beautiful surprise to find out this morning that these were both blooming!

Day 7 – 30 Days of Thanks – chocolate day!

Some holidays are printed on the calendar, while I stumble upon others and wonder how it is that this is new to me. Today is one of those days. Chocolate Day?! How was I unaware of this? Granted, July 7 is listed simply as “Chocolate Day,” while “National Chocolate Day” is marked on October 28, and World Chocolate Day on September 4. Never mind there – a holiday certainly isn’t needed to celebrate this ambrosia that is such an esteemed part: of life. So what is there to be thankful for today? Do we really need to ask?

5 things I’m thankful for today:

1. Chocolate in general – a whiff, a bite a taste, even a picture of the beautiful indulgence is enough to lighten the mood. And awaken the tastebuds, if they need.

2. Chocolate factoryDebrand’s  is in nearby Ft. Wayne, and to see the artistry that goes behind their beautiful confection adds to the intense flavor. Beautiful! And flavorful, to say the least.

3. Chocolate milk – Yes, I often chose this as a beverage with school lunch in my younger years, but adding a taste of chocolate to milk at fun family dinners adds a smile also. (We aren’t so fond of soda, but the occasional glass of chocolate milk is indeed appreciated by all.)

4. Hot cocoa – during the colder times of year (no Polar Vortex required), there are few beverages so welcome as a mug of hot cocoa! For me, with marshmallows, please.

5. Cross-cultural chocolate – a fun way to learn about other countries is through their chocolates! The
first cacao was consumed in South America, and today many of the finest chocolates are produced in Western Europe. My loving brother Matt purchased a “chocolates of the world” pack for a birthday a few years ago… and my husband knows a souvenir I will always appreciate.

There is so much I didn’t mention – the health benefits of this special treat, the role of chocolate in literature, the special role of the Hershey bar in campfire cookouts… and this list goes on. I think I hear some girl scout cookies in the freezer calling my name… I’ll be back tomorrow. 🙂