Welcome to Summer! (Or Perhaps Not?) — The “Ready, Set, Jump into Summer Blog Hop”

As the old song says — “In the good old Summertime!”  Welcome to summer in our part of the world. What are you looking forward to the most, or not looking forward to at all, perhaps?

Sunscreen and sun-splashed trips to the beach, or sunburns and hot sands burning your toes?  Long saved for and anticipated family vacations, or high utility and air-conditioning bills tightening the budget?  Hiking and camping, spending time with Mother Nature, or exasperating battles repelling endless mosquito incursions and sorties?

What is your approach and take on the Season of Summer? As with most things in life, there is more than one way to look at things, with our views and determinations changing depending on our outlooks.

Some of my writer friends and I are sharing our thoughts and plans for the coming summer season in our C*U*R*R*E*N*T*L*Y Jumping into Summer Blog Hop.” I invite you to read on here, share your thoughts on summer in the comments, and then visit my friends’ sites for more fun and information!


For me, summer is a mixed bag nowadays. As a youngster, summer was looked forward to with eager anticipation second only to Christmas.  Summer vacation!  Summer camp, hikes, and outings with the Boy Scouts! Day-long trips and exploring on bicycles!  Ball games to play and the St. Louis Cardinals to watch with my father!  Gardens to plant and harvest!  Fly fishing trips! Rope swings into the Big River!  Picnics in the parks! Wiffle ball games and backyard barbeques! Family car trips and visits to my uncles’ farms!  Summer was the most wonderful time of year, with the exception of Santa Claus, of course.

Nevertheless, standing in the shadow of seventy now and with infrequent visits from Mr. Claus, it seems that with each passing year the day-to-day combination of high heat and humidity typical of Midwest St. Louis area summers combine to make summertime a struggle to get thru, with near-daily afternoon headaches and fatigue. In a total reversal, summer has become my least favorite season by far. It wasn’t a close race.

But, as you know if a prior visitor here, I tend to be a “look for the good in every situation” kind of guy. If all one looks for in life are the negatives, it can pretty much be assured that negatives will be all that is found. It is always only up to us if we choose to be happy or not in any set of circumstances.  I choose to be happy, regardless of the thermometer, heat index, and dew points.

Each season of the year presents its own special attractions and beauty, and though not my favorite season, summer is no exception.

I still love early morning walks listening to songbirds in the neighborhood. Fresh, earthy smells in the air with the twinkling sparkle of dew on grass and leaves. Sunrise — my favorite time of day.

And after-dinner strolls watching children play as the sun sets. Flickering fireflies emerge, and flowers perfume the evening air. Keeping an eye out for fairies emerging from woodland homes, favoring the nocturnal hours, as they do.  Listening for owls and the chorus of whip-poor-wills and tree frogs in the evenings.

So while not my favorite time of year, summertime is perhaps the most magical for the senses, allowing all of our senses to actively engage in and experience the world around us and play. Life is good. Even in summer.


Looking further on the bright side, then, my heat and humidity issues with the summer season have made the anticipation of Autumn, my very favorite time of year, even grander!  While some days may be a struggle as summer lingers on into August, the work of planning, preparing, and getting things in order for fall and the coming holiday season keep me very busy and moving forward with a growing excitement each summer day.

Avoiding the sun (a personal headache trigger ranking right up there with an exhausted two-year-old in a long grocery line) provides me with a great deal of time spent indoors during the day to write more adventure stories with my writing friend and partner Little Red Bear (the imaginary bear who lives in my head), create more items for my Etsy Shoppe, and to practice and elevate my guitar playing skills.

So even if I don’t necessarily enjoy sunny days and hot summer weather outdoors as much anymore, there are still positives to be found in the summer season.

Here is how I will be approaching summer this year —


Surpassed only by my writing muse awakening me at 4 a.m. in the mornings with new character, story, and writing inspirations, my very best Little Red Bear story ideas always come to me while creating things, working with my hands. And I have missed that.

After down-sizing and a mid-summer move last year, followed by a significant arm injury in the fall while setting up my new kitchen, I am finally able once again and getting around to unpacking artwork supplies and setting up a new work area to create more teddy bears, old-fashioned rag dolls, jewelry, and other items for the coming fall and holiday seasons.

With so many folks inquiring each week as to when new items will be available again and rediscovering forgotten materials and old pattern friends unpacking now, I am truly eager to get back to work making things!

Watch for my online Etsy Shoppe re-opening soon with new creations for Autumn and the Holiday Season. I am very excited to be able to create new things once again for others to enjoy!

And what better time to get back to my handwork than while staying cool and indoors out of the summer sun? To paraphrase an old expression — if life gives you summer heat, humidity, and sunshine, make teddy bears!


Always reading and studying to learn more and more about the wonders of Mother Nature for my Little Red Bear stories, I have begun research on trees, plants, and other flora and their importance to not only the environment but also their influence on our personal mood, health, and creativity.

The study of biophilia suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Looking back on our own evolution, it is a very natural thing as the very survival of humans over the ages depended on a very intimate connection to the natural world.

The therapeutic Japanese practice of “Shinrin-yoku” — “Forest Bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”  is the art and science of how trees can promote health and happiness.

As many seem to disconnect more and more from nature over recent years with subsequent societal impacts, Little Red Bear and I have begun work on another new writing project — “Walking With Trees”, for a targeted 2020 Spring/Summer release.

As with all of Little Red Bear’s adventures, the story will be intended to be Entertaining, Informative, and Educational, inspiring youngsters and oldsters alike to reconnect with trees and the natural world around us.

Accordingly, a great deal of research needs to be done before we get into the storytelling aspects because we take responsibility for accuracy and detail in everything we present very seriously here.


On the musical front, after playing and teaching guitar for over fifty years, I have recently begun writing and creating some of my own original music with the intention of eventually recording and creating my own CD at some point. Not for public release, of course. No pretentions or ambitions of stardom here, merely something for family and friends. Somewhat a mixture of Latin/Smooth Jazz/Ambient Fusion.

Another indoor activity and way to stretch creative muscles for the benefit of not only myself but also hopefully others along the way.

Thru the support of patrons helping to offset the cost of maintaining these pages free of advertisements for everyone, Little Red Bear and I are able to regularly donate our books to local libraries, schools, and senior centers. Additionally, I am being asked to perform and entertain with my guitars at senior centers, so perhaps another way to share musical enjoyment with others.

After a time away from active playing while raising family, I have caught up with a good bit of the new technology, gear, and equipment available. And still learning.

But can an aging guitarist elevate to yet another level of recording and performing in public again, too?  Going to give it “the old college try” as they say, so — we’ll see.

Playing around with “Drop D” and “Open C” tunings on an acoustic guitar at present. So stay tuned. (Pun intended — sorry, couldn’t resist.)


And of course, Little Red Bear and I are at the same time hard at work finishing the next collection of Red’s short story adventures — “The Second Holler Over!”

Returning characters, new characters, old themes, new themes, old hazards, new hazards. And a creative new format. Watch for new story features, character interviews, and background information here on the Writing Pages in the coming weeks leading up to the book release later this year!

By the way — if you are looking for some relaxing and entertaining summer reading, now would be a great time to catch up with the first collection of Red’s adventure stories — “The First Holler!” —  if you have not yet met Little Red Bear, Cinnamon Charlie, and their other friends.

Characters and themes build from one story to another in a sequential fashion, so it’s best to start at the beginning. But that simply makes sense, doesn’t it?

And it’s the only way to do it when dealing with irksome weasels roaming the backwoods, you know.

The “Little Red Bear Stories” and a “Free Preview” are available on Amazon.


That is my approach and what summer will be about here — reading and researching, a return to handwork and creating new items for the holiday season, writing and playing new music, and finishing the next collection of Little Red Bear stories.

So, headaches and heat issues aside,  I truly am excited about the arrival of summer, after all. There are so many wonderful opportunities and things to do that do not involve slathering on layers of sunscreen or swatting away mosquitoes!

How about you?  What are your plans for the coming Season of Summer?  Do you look forward to participating in traditional summer activities, or perhaps, like me, find other ways to productively and positively enjoy the season?  Do you enjoy or dread summer’s imminent approach?  Please feel free to share in the comments.


And if you are not a “summer person”, that’s okay. Neither am I. It is easy to feel left out, excluded, and sad when all of the television commercials depict delightful summer beach scenes, or family and neighbors talk excitedly about summer boating weekends and vacations.  Reaching for the aspirin bottle, we listen politely while secretly wishing the temperature was 65F and not 95F. Everyone dances to their own tune, and likely as not, when we are happily donning overcoats and snow boots in winter, our summer-loving friends are longing for the days of summer. That’s how it is.

Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder for summertime sufferers is as real as Seasonal Affective Disorder for those brought down in the throes of winter, it just doesn’t get as much publicity yet.  If so affected, I encourage you to search for groups on Facebook and other sites to know you are not unique or alone in shunning the summer sunshine. Frequently, merely knowing that we are not the only one in the world disdaining a bright summer day helps. Check it out if this applies to you because you’re not alone.

Summertime is after all, simply “time”, and it is always up to us on how we spend it, being happy or being miserable. It is always our choice, independent of what is going on around us or “outside”.

Take responsibility for and change your own outlook on the world, and watch the world around you change!

Happiness is an “inside” job, more literally for some of us in the summertime perhaps, and Little Red Bear and I find that “Happy” always passes the time more quickly and is much more enjoyable! Summertime not excluded.


Thanks always for visiting and spending part of your day with us!  Will you share your smile to help brighten someone’s life today?  In a non-glaring, “no sunscreen needed” brightening sort of way, of course.

Wishing you and yours a delightful summer season however you may wish to spend it!  Be happy!  — Jim  (and Red!)


If you enjoyed this piece, you may also enjoy → “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart” and “Happy Hummer Season! Welcoming, Helping, and Attracting Hummingbirds In Your Neighborhood.” 

(And if a new visitor — Welcome! To find out what we are all about here, please check out — “Welcome To My Writing Pages!” — and sign up to follow and be notified of every new post!)


I invite you to visit with my writer friends for more summer thoughts, inspirations, and smiles to see what they have in mind for the coming summer!

Children’s Author Cat Michaels on “Cat’s Corner”

KidLit Blog by Children’s Author Rosie Russell

Author Rebecca Lyndsey

Author Julie Gorges on the “Baby Boomer Bliss Blog”

Children’s Author Sandra Bennett

Children’s Author Carmela Dutra

Fantasy Author Auden Johnson

Fantasy Author Mackenzie Flhor


“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” – Maud Hart Lovelace

                    “One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.”                     – Henry David Thoreau


Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages! 
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

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


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, each month we are able to donate free print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to Senior Citizens,  School Libraries and Classrooms, and to those who could otherwise not obtain a copy.

Patrons also help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as a non-monetized, ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


                   “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” – Sam Keen


 

 

 

 

New Writing Boots for Little Red Bear!

When it is time for Little Red Bear and I to sit down and get busy on his story adventures, I put on my writing boots to get to work.  So the title may be a tad misleading.  Little Red Bear does not wear boots, actually.  Overalls and a straw hat a good bit of the time, but no boots.   Surprisingly, they just don’t make them for bears.  The width is the biggest problem for them it seems.  The boots are for me.  I was referring to Red’s stories — “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” and their writing, of course.  It may be these new writing boots, not quite broken in yet that may have caused a little confusion with the title there, and apologize for that.

Little Red Bear and I have begun serious writing work on the next collection of Little Red Bear adventures, so I figured a new pair of Writing Boots was in order, having pretty much worn out three good pairs traipsing over the mountains and thru the hollers writing the first set of stories.  What do you think?  They are a pair of Justin’s Sorrel Apache boots.  Let’s take them for a little Test Write, shall we?

New Writing Boots- Justin Sorrel Apache Boots

New Writing Boots- Justin Sorrel Apache Boots

“Little Red Bear worked his way slowly up the hillside, crouching low behind bushes trying to remain unnoticed by the bees, busily at work on their hive at the crest of the hill.  He stopped to pause momentarily behind a large, flowering Honeysuckle Bush.  For you and I, the scents of honey wafting on the summer breeze in the direction of Little Red Bear would be undetectable.  But being a bear, he knew exactly where the hive was located, along with the size of the hive and amount of sweet, gooey honey stored inside.  Within an ounce or so anyway, he figured.

“Little Red Bear carefully wrapped his paws around his famed honey whacking stick, getting everything into position before rushing at the beehive.  “Three big steps, whack the hive, grab the honey and dash back home,” he thought to himself.

“All worked out in his mind, Little Red Bear bolted from behind the honeysuckle bush and raced towards the beehive.  Whack!  Just as planned and catching the bees totally by surprise, the beehive crashed to the ground.  But instead of splitting open as they normally do, it began to roll and tumbled over and over down the hillside.  Instantly, Geronimo and Cochise chased after the bouncing beehive.”

Geronimo!  Cochise!  Wait!  Who?  What?  Where did Geronimo and Cochise come from?!?   Must be the new Sorrel Apache writing boots!  Apparently, they’re not quite broken in yet.  I’ll keep working on it.   But I wonder if they might stick around to appear in a story?  We’ll have a talk with them and see.  Just never know who might pop in here.   We had a weathered old mountain man wander in thru the door this morning!   Stay tuned.  Regardless, it looks like there’s still more work to do getting these new writing boots broken in and ready for the next story collection, though.  I’ll get back to work on it.

In the meantime, thanks as always for stopping by for a visit!  Hope you like the new boots.  —  Jim (and Red!)

Sleeping Brown Bear, Pinterest Natilonal Geographic Society, uncredited

“The Adventures of Little Red Bear” Available on Amazon in Kindle and Print.

About An Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends!

Entertaining Stories for the Young and the Young-at-Heart

Order Your Copy Today!

Happy Autumn! Back to Work on the Store!

Wishing everyone a beautiful first official day of Autumn as we say goodbye to summer today. Apples, pumpkins, cider and apple butter, hayrides, changing leaves on the hills, fall baking, cookies and so much more await as we lead up to the holiday season that seems to run from Halloween to the Super Bowl now.  The fall season brings a refreshing and invigorating freshness and revitalizing crispness to the air.  Comfortably warm days and welcome, blissfully cool nights.

Autumn Hills Foliage, Missouri Ozarks

Autumn Hills Foliage, Missouri Ozarks

A busy week ahead with much to do here. I took a little break from my online store over the summer, concentrating heavily on writing projects and developing new designs and patterns, but back to it in earnest now.  Writing is fun, the store pays for the groceries.

Five new bears were finished last week, along with a dozen antiqued Mini American Flags for bear and doll displays. The first in a new line of Handmade Wooden Mini Bear and Doll Chairs were finished as well. Rocking Chairs in different styles, and a “surprise” design of my own. Hope you like them!

Several new Sea Glass and Healing Stone Pendants have been wrapped and are ready, also.  I was fortunate enough to find some beautiful, rare red beach glass pieces over the summer, and have the first few finished.  Watch for them all to be listed into the store by the end of the week, with more new bears and other creations to follow.

Charles Wysocki Art, Making Flags

Charles Wysocki Art, Making Flags

Work continues on the Poetry Project with Charles Dickens still taking up residence in my mind, in addition to working with Little Red Bear to finish his first collection of short story adventures for release after the holidays. Busy times.

Separately, Rusty the Fairydiddle, the Blog Assistant here, left for an out of town assignment a few weeks ago and I have not heard from him lately. If anyone has seen him or knows of his whereabouts, please give a holler.  As you probably know, he will be the Red Squirrel carrying a notepad, among other things.  He was headed in the direction of Florida.  I will let you know if and when I hear something myself. Starting to get a little worried.

As always, thanks for reading and following along and have a great day! Happy Autumn! – Jim (and Red!)

Norman Rockwell- "Grandpa and Me: Raking Leaves",  Four Seasons Calendar, 1948

Norman Rockwell- “Grandpa and Me: Raking Leaves”, Four Seasons Calendar, 1948