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Welcome to Our July Issue

When the Fourth of July rolls around, I am reminded of something that my dad would tell me when he was alive. He would say, “Summer is over after the Fourth of July.” Knowing that the calendar had clicked over to summer only a few weeks before, I always shook my head and wondered what he was talking about. As I’ve gotten older, though, I have come to recognize Dad’s statement for the metaphor it was.

Growing up, I had the amazing opportunity to enjoy the long, hot summers at a small lake outside of my hometown. Slathered in sunscreen, from sunrise to sunset I would build sand castles, swim, dive off the diving board and play. Those summer days seemed to last forever. In the seeming blink of an eye, though, I am not that young girl playing on the sandy beach. I am almost 50 years old—yet it doesn’t seem like it took any time at all to get here.

As I lay out my blanket this year on the Fourth and watch the fireworks in the night sky, I know many of us will wake up the next day and summer will seem to be “over”. We will barely have time to enjoy July events before we will be looking to the next month, thinking of getting kids ready to go back to school, making plans and lists, wondering how to catch up at work after the vacation time we’re about to take. The time of year we have waited for all winter will fly by. Then we’ll be there again next summer, wondering where the time went.

My advice is to savor it. Get outside and enjoy it as much as you can. Enjoy the heat, the sweat and the warm breezes. Enjoy the fireflies, butterflies and dragonflies. Find happiness in a nighttime fire, a cold beverage and a fresh-from-the-garden tomato. Appreciate every aspect of this season. Go to a concert, have a summer party, cook out on the grill and eat your suppers outside, lunch on a picnic blanket and breakfast on the patio.

This month you will find the best summertime articles we could put together. As your friendly neighborhood registered sleep technologist, I am always trying to pass along tips for sleeping better. On page 18 you will find a lot of information loaded into “Exercise to Sleep By.”

I want to give a nod to my hometown community of Chebanse, Illinois, as I present our feature article, “Organic Farmers: Growing America’s Health,” on page 12. It complements one of my favorite articles this month, page 16’s “The Joy of Dirt,” where we discuss how gardening and growing food can connect kids with nature.

I was fortunate in my life to be connected with nature from my childhood. You will find my family enjoying this summer to the fullest, and I hope that you and your family will do the same. Enjoy every moment, because it will be over in an instant, and all we will have left are the memories of this summer. Make them happy ones, because that is what life is all about.


Amy Stevenson, Publsiher

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