Friday, October 28, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ Family ~

This time of year is a reflecting time of year for me. Lots of quiet thought during the waning hours of daylight.
Thoughts of time passing on, traditions, transitions and the like. Almost like I need to sweep out the crowded corners of my mind so there is room to take things in once again.

In all that processing, inevitably thoughts of family cross my mind. 
Family is dear to me.

My Great-Grandfather holding my mother.
If you look carefully, you'll notice his left arm is missing.

 I used to think that if I truly valued the relational ties of family, then that would mean all the relationships would be well formed, mutually attached, and constant. I believed this was a requirement- one I always felt pressured to make 'all important' and one I was always failing at. Certainly familial love was the most important thing, and I tried in vain to take care to make everyone happy. Wasn't that everyone's part in a family? I was just doing mine.

Middle frame: my Abuela and Papa Bill (father's parents)
Left frame: little girl on far left was my great-grandmother-she's sitting with her siblings

But I now know otherwise.
 We are tied by blood and marriage, but not necessarily close friendship, shared values, or even a good understanding of who each of us really are.
But, you know what?
I love them.

Middle frame: woman on far left was my great-great-great -grandmother
Small frame: Husband

 We don't all really 'know' each other nor do we all see eye-to-eye. We irritate each other, interrupt each other, offend each other, sometimes even avoid each other.
Yet still, they are dear to me. 

There is a connection in those ties of common relation, traditions, and even physical appearance that really does bind family members together.
For better or for worse, we belong together. There is almost a sigh of relief there. No matter what, where we came from reminds us that we always have a place where we really belong.

And sometimes that place is a bitter one. One without security or understanding. One maybe even marred by betrayal and pain. But regardless, we are pulled there- not only from memories of joy or hurt, but also from a very basic place of origination on Earth. 

Left frame: my great-great grandmother with my great-grandmother by her side
Round frame: a great-great Aunt

Where I came from. Those I came from.
Though I know I was created by the very thought of God, it was into a human family I was born- a family he chose just for me.

Family on the dresser

And so, the photographs of relatives known and unknown fill my home.
Because home is where the heart is, and my heart has been pieced together over time from each one of these lives.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ October Sunrise ~

The fields are harvested and bare,
And Winter whistles through the square.
October dresses in flame and gold 
Like a woman afraid of growing old.

~Anne Mary Lawler~

Monday, October 24, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ Mid Autumn Garden ~

Actually had a moment to putter in the garden for a bit this afternoon.
It was the first time out for me since early in the month- thanks to sickness, Husband out of town, and a last minute mad dash to finish painting my birthday boy's bedroom.

Oh, thank you God for gardens!

The sun was out, it hasn't rained for a while so it was dry. I did some cutting back for winter.
With as much as there is to get done out here, it hardly made 1/100th of a dent, but at least it was something. Just so nice to be outside in that wonderful Autumnal mix of sunshine and nippy chill.

I had company of course.

Checked on the veggie garden- this single green-turning-red-pepper is most likely the only harvest that's going to make it this year. Some critter had gotten to the tomatoes.

These were my best surprise of the whole day!
I've never had any before and suddenly- here is a little crop. It always seems to be the things I don't plant that do the best.
I have no idea what kind they are, but aren't they cute?!

I spent a little time pondering where they may have come from, then looked a couple feet over and noticed Twister doing this . . .

Do you think  . . . ?
Well, maybe he's made it a bit more fertile?

Down the path a bit to visit my Gnome. 
He was so happily admiring the bright red leaf I felt I couldn't disturb him.

That leaf came from this tree. Love, love, love this tree. One of only two on the property when we bought it six years ago. We have many more now thanks to all the neighborhood squirrels. Another example of things bursting forth with ambition that were never planted by me.

But this tree is really special. It grows all crookedly and develops these beautiful golden fronds that sort of fan out over the leaves come Fall. Once the leaves are gone, the fronds will stay on the branches for quite a while after. Come winter they look like delicate little feathers frosting the tips of the branches with the tree wearing nothing but frost.

So here is my bounty from around the yard- all set to be pressed between layers of paper towels with Husband's Systematic Theology book on top. And let me tell you, that book would press me quite nicely if I spent a night under it. ;)
I have some crafty plans for these beauties. Now, if I can just get life to slow down a bit so I can get to them. . .


Sunday, October 23, 2011


Happy birthday to my Oldest son.

Twelve years ago today, you changed my life forever, just by being born.

And those twelve years have flown faster than anything else I've ever known.

I didn't know then what an incredible person you would become- so smart, so compassionate, so honest and easy to talk to, hilarious and blow-my-mind-talented- And I can't imagine what you will grow into as you keep on growing up. I only hope that the essence of who you are is never changed beyond recognition as time goes on. I love you kid- Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I'm moving away from 'Autumn' for a few posts in order to do a little 'proud mama sharing' of what my Oldest has been up to. He turns twelve this Sunday, and my head is all wrapped up in that along with frantically finishing his promised birthday gift- his own room. 

After two weeks of being sick I am way behind on finishing the painting of his room (our old guestroom) - to be specific his windows and all their moving parts. Love the old windows; hate painting them. They must get done by Saturday so there is time to shampoo the 1983 carpet. But I digress-

What I really want to brag about share is the Oldest's fencing tournament last Saturday. It was his first 'open foil' after moving up from 'novice foil'. He was really nervous and just hoping he wouldn't come in dead last.
I watched each fight as calmly as I could. There is something gut-wrenching about watching your offspring in any kind of performance. It's almost like being up there yourself and I have to try so hard to pass it off as 'just a tournament; no big deal' when I know how badly my kid wants to do well.

Of course, as I'm watching, I also have no idea what the heck is going on. 
" Hault! Attack. Counter Attack. Reverse Perry. Touch left, point right. Engard!"
I tried so hard to understand what was happening in each bout- and believe me, with four hours of fencing, I had plenty of time to figure it out. But all my attentiveness turned out to be an 'epic fail' as my kids would put it. After endless bouts of fencing, I figured my son had lost most of his matches and I was praying and psyching myself up to give him just the right motherly words of wisdom and encouragement I figured he would need at the end. In fact, I got really worried as he came up to me at the end with an excited look on his face as he told me he thought he was going to get a good place. "Uh, Oh!" I'm thinking- this one is going to be a bad blow!
Instead, as the ending places were called, I was startled to hear he was not after all in twelfth place. Or eleventh, or tenth.

No- he ended up in third; with a bronze medal. 
See the midget above? That's my midget and he came in third!

 Evidently all the matches I thought he lost, he had really won. I learned something last Saturday- that my kid knows if he's won or not. (DUH!) Obviously fencing is completely lost on me. But I couldn't be prouder to be wrong!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ Squirrel Love ~

Just popping in quickly to share a little squirrel love.
 As in-*I love squirrels*- especially in the Fall. It must be all that gathering and storing away that makes them such a symbol of the season to me.
This fella has been the 'guardian of the dinner bell' for quite a few seasons now, and I grow fonder of him all the time.

You may or may not remember this guy. He came to visit early on in September.

He was sent off to my Grammie late last month to celebrate her birthday.
Before he left, he was cut out and given a stand and a new outfit.

He also had a bit of mail of his own to take with him. A good, long letter is the perfect way to pass the time in a mail truck.

And if you look closely, you can see he also took a hanky with him; especially useful if he caught this nasty cold before he left!
I've missed him, but I know he's off making friends in Seattle- and I've heard rumors that he may end up with a few new outfits as well. Not to mention, he always said he wanted to see the city.


*Noted* - when referring to loving squirrels, it is specified that said 'squirrels' are of the unreal and imagined variety; not the scraggly tailed, pesky rodents always digging up my garden or staring creepily through my bathroom window at me whenever I get out of the shower.

Monday, October 10, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ Bit by Bit ~

Slowly I am emerging from the thick haze of a week of illness.
Many thanks for the kind words and prayers that have been shared. It does help! :)

 Bit by bit I am up when I can be: shower; rest; teach; rest; read; rest; walk upstairs; rest- you get the picture.
My back and hips are killing me from too much time on our couch and then by trying to move around like the living, I start to huff and puff like I'm climbing Everest. But that will end, too. Right?

Husband- the man who even last Friday was bragging about his superior system- has now gone from "fighting it" to admitting he "has it". Pride goes before the fall, eh babe? ;) Actually, I truly pity him as he has to fly out to Phoenix for work on Thursday morning. That man's 'superior system' really needs to kick in!

The kids however are fine. Not more than 48 hours and they are full speed ahead. 
I guess we're just old(er).

On a positive note, I've gotten more done on my four-year-running cross stitch project this past week than in all the years prior. I have missed not one, but two dentist appointments! And I don't remember when I last cooked dinner- which could also be a bad thing, but I'll think of it as a mini vacation instead. And I am getting really up to date with the Little House on the Prairie t.v. show- which I never watched as a kid, but I seem to be getting a kick out of it now- maybe it's the virus.

A happy and healthy Monday to everyone~

Thursday, October 6, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ Joy in the Moment ~

Day Three of this head cold.
When I set out to intentionally find and document all the signs, joys and traditions of Autumn, this is not exactly what I had in mind. I am grateful to say this is NOT a family tradition, though it does qualify as a sign of the season I suppose. 

I spent yesterday pretty much unconscious of life around me, but I am better today and am trying to be grateful for the moments instead of complaining- which is something I am trying to grow in- gratitude I mean, not complaining (I'm already an expert in the realm of complaints).
 So . . . the Joys of today . . . 

. . . a surprise bouquet of 'get well' flowers from Husband ( more like 'shock' than surprise- as in 'who are you and where is my Husband?!' )

. . .  an orange-spiced candle cheering the gloomy afternoon (wish I could smell it!)

. . . tea prepared and served by the younger (with little bits of floating leaves still in it- precious!)

. . . cozy on the couch reading The Hobbit together 

. . . nowhere I have to be; nothing I have to miss

. . . sweet, encouraging comments and emails

. . . lots of cross stitch time

. . . children who can take care of themselves (and me as well!)

. . . cats who love me enough to bring get-well gifts delivered right to the front door (if only they weren't covered in feathers and known to once be bird-shaped!)

. . . cats who then proceed to sleep the day away to recover from all their effort - purring every so often to remind one how wonderful they are!

. . . rain (watering the garden and making the ground soft for transplanting)

. . . sun (to spotlight the beauty of Autumn right from the kitchen window)


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ Cozy on the Couch ~

I've spent  a lot of time cozy on the couch today.
The company was nice and so were the tea and scones. Cups and cups of tea, in fact.
And I even got out of a dentist appointment today- all due to having a bad cold.
What sweet gifts my children bring to me.
Oldest was sick too, and I let him sleep as long as he needed. However, he got himself off to school while I was gone (dropping off younger), so I never got the chance to demand he stay home. He was quite miserable by the time he finally trudged home after a long day of sneezing, stuffiness and sinus trouble.

What I'm most grateful for in it all is that at least it hasn't been a full-on-sleep-all-day kind of bug. I had enough brain power at least to work on my cross stitch project (four years running) and get some blog reading in. 
Then Husband brought wine after work to cut the crud in my throat (really- it works!) and took care of dinner. And now, after some pathetic sniffles and down turned lip, we are both off to watch You've Got Mail.
Really- not a bad day when I think about it. ;)

Sometimes even a cold can have it's place.

Monday, October 3, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~ Giveaway Winner~

Just a quick post to say hello, and announce the winner of  this cute quartet of apples:
Nancy at SewNancy!
~Please send me your contact info. and I'll be mailing these out later this week~
I hope they'll bring some extra cheer into your home this Fall!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

All the Autumn's Joys ~October Welcome~

This month Autumn seems to come into it's own. 
Fog lays thick in the mornings, the sky later takes on a shameless bright blue, and the evenings tell us winter isn't too far off anymore.
The leaves turn to bursting flames before they drop and smolder on the ground. 
Time to gather together, wrap it up, pack it in. 

So much to take in: the smell of wood smoke and pumpkin innards, the sound of the wind tossing stray leaves down the deserted road and the crack and sizzle of the first fire of the season.

It's pumpkin patch time.
Along with walks out in the changing woods; chilled cheeks and hands warm from the thermos.
Here is the season for early evenings, apple spice candles and Good Earth tea. Some stitchery to keep your hands busy and a quilt to keep your toes warm.

Oh, how I love October.