Beautifully crafted cookies that melt when you take a bite. Baguettes, brioche, croissants and tarts. Everything designed for the visual as much as for the palate, since we eat with our eyes before we ever take a bite.

Le Petit Prince bakery in Birmingham doesn’t even have a website. This small, unassuming bakery has been open for more than 30 years and family-owned. The grandparents emigrated from France to Michigan and opened their shop; now the third-generation is running the business, but every summer they shutter their doors and go home for two months to see family and friends.

The last day for this season is Father’s Day. This week, the proprietor tells me, faithful customers are calling in big orders so they can freeze and savor the baked goodness all summer long, until the owners return and fire up the ovens in early September.

It’s always like that – the week or two before you go on vacation, you work doubly hard to make sure nothing falls in the cracks. I’m used to it, as I spend a few weeks each summer at the beach and Up North. Sure, I dip into the computer, write, and answer calls while I’m gone, but for the most part, I get away to get away.

When you work harder before and after, you can savor the sweetness of vacation that much more.

Nothing good comes easy. And it’s been years since I’ve wanted life to be easy. These days, I welcome the work, I relish it, I cherish the gift of goodness that comes in clients trusting me with their mission and their message.

I love what I do – but that doesn’t mean I want to work 24/7. In this country, unfortunately, we have lost our work ethic – putting work and pleasure in balance benefits all, but most Americans work too much and play too little, so they resent everything.

I have an idea – why don’t we all take this summer to reflect on how we can work harder and better – so that we can enjoy the sunrise and the sound of waves during a storm and the feel of a lover’s hand with no interruption.

Take this challenge: work fully when you are working and when you’re not, live fully. Do not salivate for the weekend and dread the onset of Mondays. A day is a day is a day. In an ideal world, you don’t distinguish between weekend and weekday – you embrace life because it’s yours to live, your path to walk, your mission to complete, your change to effect.

See if you can achieve one week this summer when you love going to work and you love going home and you love the fall of Sunday night and the rise of Monday morning just as much as the ease of end-of-day-Friday traffic.

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