When a Patio is More Than a Project

It has been a quiet summer here at the homestead. Other than Rebecca’s baby shower, we haven’t had many people over, which is not normal for a Schisler summer! Last spring, our backyard movie screen came down in a windstorm, and we haven’t figured out how to put it back up since it took the trees with it. We’re working on some ideas to have it back up before next summer! I had a lot of personal appearances for my latest book, and we spent a fair amount of time helping Rebecca and Anthony get ready for the baby (any day now)! But our summer was pretty consumed by one big project.

About a year ago, we attended the beautiful wedding of the young man I consider a son. Rebecca’s best friend for many years, Nick has been as much a part of our family as Rebecca’s husband is. The wedding was held at the bride’s family home where the shower took place a few months prior. The moment I walked into the backyard at Corrine’s shower, I fell in love with the setup. I went home and told Ken that we needed a patio and outdoor entertaining space similar to that one. At the wedding, Ken agreed. I’m pretty sure he agreed because he saw how much I loved the space, but he agreed all the same.

A Project of Grand Proportions

When we got the estimate for the patio, it was way out of our budget, but by that time, we had our heart set on a patio that would provide a seating area, a fire pit area, a picnic table area, and a bar. That’s one big patio! Ken decided that he would do “one more DIY project” and lay the patio – stone by stone.

The project begins

He started working in the early spring, and it was a slow process. He had to dig out the foundation, lay the first layer of crushed stone, then carefully measure and cut every stone before laying each one. He added brick borders to expand the area while cutting back on the amount of stone (which saved a even more money).

It was more than a home improvement project. It was a Herculean task.

In late spring, several people in the family came down with COVID. That put an end to our big summer vacation to Alaska, but it didn’t put an end to Ken’s working on our backyard patio. We first had COVID back in 2020, and that original variant was not fun, to say the least. This time, Ken had a pretty bad headache, chills, and fever but nothing else. So, even in the rain, he kept plugging away. I was worried about him, but he insisted that he could keep going. Fighting the virus and the rainy weather, he kept plugging away at the massive task. Thus, the patio project continued, just like the proverbial postman.

A Project With Many Benefits

Meanwhile, spring turned into summer, and the days got busy.

We had a vacation at our cabin in Colorado all planned, and we really didn’t want to miss it. That’s always our chance to chill out and unwind. We knew we had to go even if it meant pressing pause on the patio. Once we returned, we would have one week before the big baby shower, so Ken worked extra hard during the month of June to get as much as he could before we had to put the project on hold.

Ken worked day and night when we returned, and by the time the shower rolled around in mid-July, he had all but one corner left, and it was more than good enough for a grand party!

Since then, we’ve cracked many a crab on that patio, and we’ve eaten dinner out there more than a few times.

Last night, we had friends over for the first time since the completion of the patio. We recently found a great bar at our favorite local auction and still have to figure out where we’re going to put it, and the seating and s’mores area got combined to accommodate everyone, but it was a wonderful evening. We went from eating crabs on the picnic tables my father made to eating homemade peach pies on our Adirondack chairs (which my father also made). It was such a pleasant evening, we all hated to see it end. Seeing Ken’s face each time someone complimented him on his little project just warmed my heart.

Next year, we will add sailboat awnings across the entire patio and put that movie screen back up. And I’m sure we will find a little something here and a little something there there to add. For now, it’s just perfect.

A Project Done With Great Love

So what’s the point?

It’s not that my husband is great at home improvement projects (though he is). It’s not that my dad is an incredible outdoor furniture maker (though he is certainly that). It’s not that Maryland Blue Crabs are the the BEST seafood there is (duh)!!

No, the point is that last night we entertained friends on the patio I really wanted, the one Ken labored over for months, the one I know we will use many times for many years to come. And why is that such a big deal? Because I know that Ken was content with his little tiny cement pad where he grilled and smoked meat. I know he could have laughed at the project I proposed. It’s not lost on me that, once we knew the cost, Ken could have scrapped the entire idea.

Instead, he made it his mission to give me the patio I wanted. Even when I tried to talk him out of doing it and tried to convince him that pouring concrete to enlarge what we had would be just fine, he could not be deterred.

And that’s what love is. Unlike that article I told you about at the beginning of the year, love makes sacrifices. It reaches beyond the expected and the ordinary and does the impossible. This is what it looks like to give in sickness and in health. These are the rewards one gets for putting his whole heart and soul into something that he knows will bring joy to someone else.

Sure, others may look in our backyard and see nothing but a patio. I look out back and see Ken’s heart wrapped with a giant stone and brick bow.

Come See Amy This Fall

Mystery Loves Company Author Event with Q&A

Zoom – Sep 9, 2022 7pm Eastern Time

Author, Amy Schisler, will join authors, Kathryn O’Sullivan and Paul Awad, and Mystery Loves Company Bookstore Owner, Kathy Harig, in a discussion and Q&A session. The authors will discuss the inspiration for their books, particularly their latest books with ties to Wallops Island Flight Center in Virgina. Kathryn is novelist, playwright, and producer in several genres, and her husband, Paul, is a writer and filmmaker.

Come meet the author and join the discussion on Zoom! https://zoom.us/j/92272218143?pwd=VVZKUzZObkFpcGVWSG40TldJWHFCUT09


September 17, 2022 – Daylesford Abbey, Paoli, PA 12 Noon-8pm

The event is a festival atmosphere featuring amazing music, Catholic and Christian vendors, the presence of Religious orders, food trucks, family and kid-friendly activities and games. Tickets available.

National Oyster Festival

October 15 and 16, 2022 – St Mary’s County Fairgrounds, Leonardtown, MD

Amy will be signing and selling books at the festival. All ages are welcome for a day of sun and seafood! See event website for more details.

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum OysterFest

October 29, 2022 – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD

Amy will be signing and selling books at the festival. The event features live music on two stages, boat rides, retriever demonstrations, oysters and other local fare, an oyster stew competition and cooking demonstrations, along with children’s activities, oyster demonstrations, harvesting displays and Chesapeake-related documentary screenings. More details coming soon.

Write What You Know Writer’s Workshop

November 12, 2022 – Time TBA – Leonardtown Library, Leonardtown, MD

Amy will be giving a workshop for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). She will talk about how to write a more authentic and readable novel by writing about what you know – the people, places, and events that have shaped your own life. More details coming soon.

Eastern Shore Sea Glass & Coastal Arts Festival

November 19, 10am-4pm & November 20 10am-3pm – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD

Amy will be selling and signing her books at the annual event just in time for Christmas! The Festival will feature artisans from around the country selling coastal and sea-glass related jewelry, home décor, art, and more. The two-day festival ticket includes entrance to the festival, live music, and all the exhibitions and historic structures on the campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

Want To Read More from Amy?

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What I was writing about one year ago this week: Sweet and Sour – Necessary Ingredients in Life.

Would you like Amy to speak to your parish, your women’s group, your reading patrons, or your book club? Did you know that Amy leads women’s retreats? 

Contact Amy’s assistant to schedule Amy’s visit–in person or via Skype or FaceTime. Now is the time to schedule a visit for this fall or winter!

Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines was released in June of 2021. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s chapter book is The Greatest Gift, and her most recent suspense novel is Summer’s Squall

Amy’s second book in the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, was awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy,  Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two, Under the Summer Moon, was released in December of 2021. 

Amy’s new book, Seeking Tranquility, was released on June 15, 2022. Buy your copy now!

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020), The Good Wine (2021), Under the Summer Moon (2021), Seeking Tranquility (2022).

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