Farewell to Summer Love Notes

When I woke up Monday morning, a peek beyond the covers showed nothing but darkness. I assumed there must be hours to go before waking time. JB is out of town and instead of curling into him so that his warmth and heartbeat sooth me back to sleep, I roll into his empty pillow, glance at the clock and see that it’s 6:24.

I’ve always been a lover of mornings, so instead of allowing the Alice-in-Wonderland type dreams to invade my IMG_20140527_070629should I doze, I choose to rise. It’s time to begin the day, to seek coffee.

I throw on a robe, slide my feet into slippers, and stretch as I move into the kitchen; it’s darkish as I glance through the plate-glass windows and their view of the golf course. But there’s a sliver light barely on the horizon.

The coffee pot does it’s magical BEEP BEEP BEEP, I reverently fix my first cup and take the first prayerful and glorious sip.

I take my coffee and my current morning read (An Altar in the World) out on the deck to savor the solitude as the world wakes along with me.

I listen to the doves coo and the cicadas sing. I watch the pink fade to gold against the clouds and realize that the leaves of the maple tree are no longer a deep forest green, but have softened in tone to pear.

I can’t deny the fact that summer is slowly shifting to make way for fall.

The signs have been all around me, but I guess I’ve been in denial.

The calendar pages have been moving at a rapid rate. Not only is the sun rising later, it’s setting a little earlier each signsoffallday, too. And, though I just noticed the fading of the leaves on the maple trees, my birch tree out front has been shedding yellow leaves here and there for days.

There’s a soft Alice blue cardigan on the back of my office chair that I’ve been tossing on in the late evenings to stave off the chill. Though midday temps are in the 80’s, the nights are presenting us  with weather cool enough to toss open the windows and let the fresh air filter through the screens.

As much as I hate to do so, it’s time to begin saying Goodbye to Summer and “Farewell” to Summer Love Notes.

When I first envisioned this project, I had high hopes of bringing little rays of sunshine to warm you spiritually. And I believe we accomplished that.

Each day was like opening a gift of love and a tiny piece of soul from each of the amazing contributors.

I can’t tell you how eternally grateful I am to everyone.

For each of you that took the time to read even a single love note, how amazing are you? That you allowed us valuable space in time in your oh-so-busy lives.

And for the awe-inspiring contributors, I hold a deep reverence for the brilliant and talented people that agreed to shine their light here at Summer Love Notes .

Though Summer Love Notes is ending for 2015, the website will stay in place for those days when your heart is needing a little warmth or your soul is longing for the light of summer.

And who knows, we may be back next summer to share more wisdom, wit, and rays of sunshine.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

Want to bring your dreams into your reality? Snag my FREE EBook You Can Achieve Your Dreams: There’s Still Time in 2015

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.

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how to celebrate August by Maya Stein

Make your own popsicles. Watch a Little League game.

August_DeathToStockPhotoTake time to sew a button on something rendered unbuttonable.

Write a letter by hand. Contemplate a road trip.

Stop reading about famous actresses who will never know

your name or meet your family. Instead,

fall in love with the blank page, its solid, burgeoning potential.

Stay awake for crickets. Crawl through whole

midnights silent as wood, waiting for that bright

and throaty chorus. Eat fresh tomatoes. Return a compliment.

Lift your gaze. Call your mother. Commit to any available happiness.

About the Author – Maya Stein

Maya Stein is a Ninja poet, writing guide, and creative adventuress currently living in Northern New Jersey, in her maya_bioright brain, and online at www.mayastein.com.

Maya is the co-founder of Food for the Soul Train with her partner, Any Tingle. Food for the Soul Train is a mobile creativity company based in Nutley, NJ. Their mission? To bring creativity to communities everywhere via their vintage caravan, nicknamed MAUDE (Mobile Art Unit Designed for Everyone).

She is a writer who believes that creativity doesn’t need to happen in isolation. A bike-riding enthusiast who doesn’t know very much about bicycles. A dabbler of photography and lip-synch videos. A middle child. A Taurus. A decent juggler. A lover of nuance and small gestures. A creature of both habit and spontaneity. An INFP. A perennial 12-year-old. A seeker of hidden places and mystery. A reluctant housekeeper.

us 'n Maude 2

Maya has been a freelance writer and editor for more than 15 years. She began a weekly poetry practice in 2005 (“10-line Tuesdays”) and my poems now reach more than 1,000 people each week. Maya has self-published four books and have just completed her fifth, selected poems from my her, “One Paragraph at a Time.”

“At the heart of it all, I remain curious, engaged, and hopeful about the world around me, and continue to discover new ways to be a part of it and to share my experiences through writing, photography, and other outlets. I love leading a life of creative investigation – even with all the uncertainties it comes with – because it helps me connect with and support others who are driven by similar instincts. And I never stop forgetting how lucky I am.”

Connect with Maya online, at  Food for the Soul Train and on social media.

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Those Glorious Dog Days of Summer by Jennette Nielsen

I’m remembering those glorious dog days of summer, when they were smaller, and younger, and they would fall asleep in the car on the way home from the lake each day, exhausted from the sun and play and magic. How I would image001pull into the long drive way right at dinner time to see the bees returning to their hives near the woods, beyond the gardens, and how they would cluster on the outside of the hives because it was still too hot to go home. And I would open all the station wagon doors, to let the cooling air and stillness wake the boys up while i began to unload the broken buckets, plastic shovels, fishing rods, deflated floaties, damp towels and left over goldfish crackers. I would lean into the car, smelling the tops of their lake and sweat scented heads, curls and wisps of hair plastered to their freckled cheeks and bare necks as I unbuckled them, set them free to stumble inside upon rousing. How I would crack open an ice cold hard cider and put a record on the turntable and hang all the wet beach things on the line to dry while noticing the heavy scent of lilies, angel trumpets and nicotiana wafting on the barely there breeze just before twilight. How they would eventually find their way indoors, wanting dinner and needing baths, eating ice cream sandwiches in the tub and more fish crackers, calling it a meal. How that last light of the day filtered through the back trees hitting the fire circle ring just so at golden hour while every door and window were still flung wide and the whir of fans over vinyl side B, hummed and hummed. Those excellent summer days, treasured by my honeycomb heart and saltwater soul, i hope to recall forever.

About the Author – Jennette Nielsen

jn_bioJennette Nielsen is a Pacific Northwest-based honey drenched Maker, Mama, and Medicine Woman, steeped in mellow magic. She is a wild seeker, sacred gatherer and magic forager who loves to tend her honeybees, sew, sling clay, craft herbal potions, dance and sing.

She’s the visionary behind Make-to-Mend, Smashing Rubbish and Cauldron & Hive – three creative expressions of her passion for healing, transformation, beauty and the divine feminine.

Fueled by the belief that the practice and act of Making is a catalyst for Mending and unfurling personal growth, Jennette hopes every woman will thread their needle with soul sinew and stitch their own wild and free nature into their mending, marveling at their own beauty all the while.

To learn more about Jennette, check out the short film on her in the series ArtMaker SoulShaker here or visit her website here or find her on instagram to follow her travels, adventures and vagabond wanderings.

one sentence offering: Join us in Ojai October 9-14 for our last Wild Roots Sacred Wings gathering of 2015 with our merry magical coven of misfit ladybirds.

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The Joy of Meeting an Airplane Named Chuckie

I had admired her from a distance, lusting after her and her sisters through various photographs I had seen over the years. Coming face to face with her was a defining moment, though and I believe it was then that the feelings of lust Chuckie1became the beginning stirrings of love in my heart.

In thinking about that moment, I believe that the erotic scent hit my nostrils before my eyes could gaze upon her and seductive curves.

There she was, right in front of me: an operational B17 Flying Fortress named “Chuckie”.

Of the 12,726 B17’s manufactured between 1935 and 1945, only twelve have been lovingly restored to be in the condition to fly.

The smell that sent my olfactory glands into a twitter was the combined scent of oil, high octane aviation fuel and waxed aluminum….climbing inside the nose of the plane and putting myself into the position of the bombardier was exciting…and then moving into the cockpit where the navigator, pilot and flight engineer worked was close to orgasmic.

When it gets down to it, I’ve always loved history. The lives of Henry the VIII and Abraham Lincoln were equally fascinating to me, but nothing held my interest like the stories of World War II. After my divorce, I realized I need to cultivate some new interests. My love of history soon fell prey to the seduction of the Warbirds of the 1940’s turned to lust and a bit of an obsession.

Yes, I said the “o” word: obsession, but perhaps a better word would be passion.

My exploration into the aviation of World War II was something I could really sink my teeth into. I discovered Aviation Museums where the stories I read about suddenly became something real to me as I found these Me_in_Florida_P51remaining aviation marvels just waiting for me to connect with – and admire – them.

With friends, I began to plan weekend getaways centering around the chance to gaze upon the polished aluminum and bubble canopy of a P51D Mustang or khaki painted B25 Mitchell.

Nothing spoke to me, though, like the sheer power of a B17.

The best collection of planes I had the chance to gaze upon was in Polk City, Florida at the Fantasy of Flight museum.

During that visit, I realized that all the other women on the tour were tolerating the trip because their husbands wanted to visit while I was drinking in every moment. Part way through the behind the scenes tour, I realized that some of the men were watching me more than they were listening to tour guide.

I couldn’t tell if the men on the tour were watching me because the level of my breathing, flush faced and dilated eyes reminded them of a woman in an orgasmic state, if they were staring at my cleavage, or if it was the shock that I knew the difference between a Rolls Royce and a Pratt & Whitney engine.

Amused at their distraction, I soon forgot them. I became lost in my lust for polished aluminum, camouflage paint, Chuckieand the seductive sweet spot where the wing merged with the fuselage.

In my obsession….er…..research….I learned that those old engines have to constantly drip oil to be lubricated enough to work. Dry engines can be the death of a vintage engine just as much as dry cuticles can be the end of a successful career in hand modeling.

I still recall that first visit to Chuckie seven years ago on a hot Texas day. All four of the beautiful engines were dripping oil into bright yellow barrels, which told me that the engines were functioning. I could actually run my hands along the polished aluminum and get a close-up look at the repaired bullet holes.

JB_roadsidestop_florida_jan2015I’ve been lucky in my quest to connect with Warbirds over the years.

JB has a deep love for aviation history and it isn’t unusual for us to pop into a tiny museum that houses one plane or spend the day immersed in history we can (almost) touch.

And though I’ve visited with hundreds of planes, I’ll always remember the enticing scent of airplane wax, oil and aviation fuel on that hot summer day.

The joy on the day I met Chuckie.

Photos all by author: #1 – Chuckie in 2007, Me in Florida with a P51 Mustang in 2007, Chuckie in 2010, JB in Florida at a roadside museum in 2015

Of Note: Chuckie moved to the Tillamook Air Museum in June 2013.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

Want to bring your dreams into your reality? Snag my FREE EBook You Can Achieve Your Dreams: There’s Still Time in 2015

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.

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The Tunnel by Christa Gallopoulous

image by Christa

She wandered through the immaculately manicured gardens that day, late in the afternoon when the summer sun had heated the pathways and burnt away the morning fog. With the broad stone walls of the old castle beginning to throw their shadows on the roses, the lavender and the blown open poppies, the light reflecting off the stones crunching under her feet was almost otherworldly.

As she went, staying on the paths to avoid interrupting the business of the honeybees, she wondered. About who had placed their feet, one after another, on these carefully laid out corridors over the hundreds of years they had been maintained. About the weddings and the funerals held in the grand building – and who had found their way to the gardens with a cigarette, or perhaps a lover. About who had decided to harness nature in this way, so fastidiously grooming what the true spirit of the natural world would have thrown about far more loosely. There was no place for willy nilly here, no matter how many loose, illicit affairs -business and personal – may have begun within the ivy covered walls.

She wondered too, about how she would go about incorporating the gifts these summer days had given her so generously into her own life, back in the city. How could she take the freedom she’d found, the release from all she’d believed about herself, the extraordinary knowledge that she was revered rather than reviled? How could she become herself, once and for all, truly and well? These endlessly glorious days of summer had taught her lessons she’d never be able to forget, had changed her in inexplicable ways. She was changed, or perhaps a changeling still.

The light continued to dim, and as the sun sank in the sky, the answer became clear. The vivid green of the tunnel called to her, the transition to the brick tunnel illuminated at it’s end. There is was, lit up just for her.

The only way out was through.

About the Author & Artist – Christa Gallopoulous

Christa_G_bioChrista Gallopoulos is usually found with a camera, paintbrush or pen in hand, taking in the beauty of this world and transmitting it back out through words and images- on Facebook and Instagram among other places!

The author of “All Better Bye and Bye“, to be published in 2016, she is an inspirational writer, artist, speaker and mentor, encouraging people to dive into the sacred act of transforming their lives and celebrating the joy of living fully and well. You can find more of her work at www.christagallopoulos.com

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Summer Camp by Amy Tingle

CampI never went to summer camp as a kid. So I created the summer camp of my dreams when I grew up.

I dreamed of a huge light-filled studio bursting at the seams with art supplies. I dreamed of cartwheels and hula hoops and swinging until my feet no longer touched the ground. I dreamed of color – crayons, paint, markers, felt, bins of beads and googly eyes and tiny embellishments, paper in all shades of the rainbow.

I dreamed of a secret nook where I could hide out and read a good book. I dreamed of scribbling my thoughts on paper. And I dreamed of looking in the mirror and Camp3loving who I saw.

In 2010, I created what I had only seen in my dreams for girls ages six to twelve in my hometown of Nutley, New Jersey.

I “borrowed” a studio in a friend’s home with wooden floors and windows fifteen feet high and a screen door that looks like it was built for giants. I filled it with art supplies and I flung open the door and began the creativity and self-empowerment camp I had always dreamed of attending.

Camp2In 2013, my partner, the poet, Maya Rachel Stein and I refurbished a vintage caravan and filled it with typewriters for writing secret thoughts or stories or poetry and a bunk for curling up on with a good book. Every summer girls fill the lawn turning cartwheels and spraying liquid watercolors on brilliant white sheets of paper and they hang their wishes from trees.

We roll out our yoga mats and learn how to hold poses without trembling. We meet artists who share how they get to do what they love. We laugh. We experience frustration and anger and disappointment and we learn how to deal with it all. We are independent and creative and brave. It’s exactly like I pictured it. It’s exactly what summer should be.

About the Author – Amy Tingle

amytingle_bioAmy Tingle, is the co-founder of Food for the Soul Train with her partner, Maya Stein. Food for the Soul Train is a mobile creativity company based in Nutley, NJ. Their mission? To bring creativity to communities everywhere via their vintage caravan, nicknamed MAUDE (Mobile Art Unit Designed for Everyone).

Amy and Maya design creative and collaborative environments, online and in person, which help children and adults to build self-confidence, harness their imaginations, practice problem-solving, and bridge differences through the joy of self-discovery.

us 'n Maude 2They are passionate about playful investigation; summer camp for girls is just one of their many offerings. A spring cycling and creativity retreat for adults is another. They dream up – and try to carry out – as many creative projects as they can fit into a year!

Amy is also, among many things, a human being, the mother of two teenage boys, a visual artist (her most recent work includes a series of collages born during The 2015 100-Day Project), and a lover of words, magic, kindness, and a ninja poetess.

Connect with Food for the Soul Train and Amy online as well as on social media.

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Chance Encounters by Dianna Woolley

Chance Encounters

“Connection and intertwining of one’s human relationships…..the
“scratch” that those connections make upon one’s personal being albeit their
having come from or delivered to artist, spouse, mother, friend, human being.”

Thought and photograph from a new body of work currently developing in the studio of Dianna Woolley, Artist

About the Artist – Dianna Woolley – dianna_woolley_bio(Walla Walla, WA)

Husband Extraordinaire: Steve
Studio Assistant:Riley, West Highland Terrier

Studio time goal: daily practice

Dianna: After four successful one woman shows in the Walla Walla area is seeking national representation for exhibiting and/or ongoing gallery relationship

Work produced prior to the weekend in Whidbey Island may be viewed at DiannaWoolley.Com




2015 – “Best in Show Award” – Pendleton Arts Center, Pendleton, OR, annual regional event.

Woodward Canyon Winery has chosen one of her pieces as the label for a spring 2016 wine

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Shaved Cabbage, Kohlrabi and Carrot Slaw from Rochelle Bilow

Raw, raw, raw. All I crave in the summer are vegetables in their purest states. The trick for a fine raw slaw is to shave ingredients_slawthe vegetables as thinly as you can. Here, i eschew the traditional mayonnaise-based sauce in favor of a garlicky, peppery vinaigrette. Allowing the vegetables to marinate in the dressing for a few hours will serve you well, as they’ll break down a bit and absorb much more flavor.

This recipe requires a few cheats –  fermented plum vinegar, sesame oil, and tahini, which are, of course, not local. but i find it’s well worth the splurge. This serves eight to ten.


  • 1 cup kohlrabi, peeled, stems trimmed
  • 2 cups grated savoy or napa cabbage
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ume (fermented plum) vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt, optional

slaw_carrotskohlrabiFreshly shave the vegetables using either a box grater or the grater of a food processor.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegars, tahini, and pepper.

Slowly stream in the oils, whisking the whole time. Add the cut vegetables and us a spoon to coat them completely with the vinaigrette.

Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired (I find the ume vinegar imparts enough of a salty tatse for me, but you may certainly add salt).

Let marinate for at least one hour, preferably more, and finish with fresh parsley when it’s time to serve. I think this tastes best at room temperature.


*This recipe appears in Rochelle’s book, The Call of the Farm.

About the Author – Rochelle Bilow

rochelle_bilow_bioRochelle is an associate web editor for Bon Appétit magazine, where she writes about seasonal eating, cooking with local ingredients, and how to be more efficient (and have more fun!) in the kitchen.

When she’s not writing, she’s managing Bon Appéit’s Instagram account at @bonappetitmag and Tweeting at @bonappetit.

Before joining BA, Rochelle worked as the Experts Editor at YourTango.com; prior to that, she lived and cooked on a small farm in Central New York.

The Call of the Farm, her first book, a memoir of food, farming, and love, was published in 2014.

Connect with Rochelle on her personal Twitter and Instagram accounts (below) and read more at RochelleBilow.com.

You may purchase her book, The Call of the Farm, wherever books and ebooks are sold.

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Summer’s Day by Kayce Stevens Hughlett

Violet, my 7-month-old granddaughter, and I lie on the ground in the backyard, a worn orange polka dot bedspread IMG_0094beneath us. Vibrant green grass surrounds the orange and Violet’s eyes reflect the color of the clear blue sky… or is it the other way around? Awe sinks in and I gasp at the beauty of this moment. This is who I am. This is how life is meant to be lived. This is the perfect essence of summer.

But wait? How can I be resting here with my granddaughter when only moments before I was five-years-old lying on my back watching the clouds drift by? Can you see me? I’m the kid in the green-checked halter top and cut-off jean shorts climbing on my 10-speed bicycle—no helmet or sunscreen—heading to the community pool to cool off with my pals. Where did the girl in the yellow VW convertible go—the one heading to the ball field to watch her lanky boyfriend play summer league? And what about the college cadet driving to South Padre Island with ZZ Top blaring on the radio? Or the married one working in a steno pool, underpaid and under-loved, with a divorce waiting around the corner?

I was twenty-five years old the grueling summer I finished my accounting degree and had to wear panty hose to “dress for success” as the Tulsa temperatures topped 100 degrees for more than 40 days in a row. Summers seemed to melt away after that. Caught up in snippets of company golf outings and ski trips to the lake—obligatory and empty. Decades flew by and I forgot to savor summer.

IMG_0095Even with my own children, I was harried and always in need of getting something done. What could possibly have been more important than lying on the grass under the summer sky? I wish I knew, but today I offer no regrets, only gratitude for now.

Side-by-side, Violet and I touch the grass and let it tickle our toes. I lie on my back and watch the wind blow sunlight and shadows through the maple leaves. Violet flips onto her back into a full-bodied happy dance. I join her. No shoulds or obligations. No fancy toys or iPhones. Only us. Here. Now. Arm in arm with the essentials—sky, earth, wind, sun, and love.

Savoring this perfect summer day.

About the Author – Kayce Stevens Hughlett

kayce_bioKayce Stevens Hughlett: author, life muse, ponderer extraordinaire, speaker, joy monger, soulstroller.

I prefer to read novels in the summer and non-fiction/memoirs in winter.
I prefer writing with a fountain pen over computer keyboards.
I prefer summer in Seattle over winter almost anywhere.
I prefer Paris over Rome. Big dogs over small. Fluffy cats over sleek.

I abhor that the world is filled with suffering, and I know affliction has helped create the individual I am today.

I thrive on new experiences, adore reading, blogging, and movies ranging from romantic to contemplative.

One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, calls laughter “carbonated holiness” and I couldn’t agree more. Belly laughs are manna from heaven and there is nothing better than a well-timed temper tantrum.

Play time with friends and family is sacred, as is quiet space and solitude.

Blue_coverartTake your soul for a stroll and visit me online connect on social media as well as Goodreads.

Exciting news! My debut novel, BLUE is releasing on September 10, 2015. I invite you to celebrate this fulfillment of a dream that I never imagined while reading Nancy Drew books on hot summer days.

BLUE—a subtle psychological mind-bender where each heroine is her own worst enemy. Eccentric. Lovable. Unforgettable. Available now for pre-order through Amazon, BQB Publishing, and Independent BookSellers. Release date: September 10, 2015

**Special Offer for Summer Love Notes readers***
Send me a copy of your receipt(s) for 3 or more purchases of BLUE and I will schedule a complimentary Skype Book Club Discussion with your favorite group. Contact me at kayce@kaycehughlett.com

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