November Evening

The waning light filtered through the frosted glass. With the time change it got dark early, so she wanted to get all her outside chores completed before it was too dark to see what she was doing. The cold wasn’t bad, she actually enjoyed the cold, brisk air, but the wind did not do any favors. It cut right through her no matter how many layers she was wearing. 

Staring out the window into the fading light while stirring dinner on the stove, she pondered over the seasonal switch that seemed to have taken place. September had still been summer-like hot, the first half of October was unseasonably warm, a couple weeks of autumn chill, and then snow on November ninth and ice on the fifteenth. She wondered what this would mean for the winter months ahead? 

The mug of hot coffee felt nice against her hands. Her cozy, Scandinavian patterned socks kept her feet warm and her footsteps soft as she padded across the dining room and into the living room. She pulled her sweater tight around her and threw a soft blanket over her legs as she settled down on the couch. This was definitely the beginning of cuddly weather. 

She prayed everyone was warm and safe on this cold November evening.  

It’s Fall, Y’all!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”……. okay, so that line from a song is the wrong season, whatever. I am so happy that it is Fall. The other night I watched geese fly overhead in their typical V formation. The soybean fields surrounding my house are turning yellow. (Yes, soybean plants are beautiful in the Fall—unlike corn stalks, which get brown and dry before harvest.) The leaves here, are just barely starting to fade from their summer glory. The nights are cooler. Speaking of weather, I am not pleased that today, the first day of Fall, is supposed to be 87 degrees. What is with that? I am unable to wear all my super cozy sweaters when it is that warm! I still have a box fan going in the house—even with all my Fall decorations now in place, around the house. I am ready to burn my apple/pumpkin/cinnamon candles. Being the weather geek that I am, I watch my local meteorologist every night, live on Facebook, who is kind enough to give all us weather geeks the details. He said Ohio is going to remain in the 80’s well into October. Noooooooooo!!! That just isn’t right, people.

Here is a post from my archives……enjoy it while you sip some hot coffee (or if you are in the same overly warm circumstance as I am….iced coffee).

Fall Montage

This is what I love… My favorite season of the year…

This is what I’m looking forward to seeing, I can’t wait!

This is a visual montage of what Fall means to me…

I love Autumn- Yes, I do!

I love Autumn-How ’bout you?

 

 

One Hot Mama

 

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Here I sit, on a hot and humid mid-July morning in rural Ohio. It is already hot as hades, and amazon jungle humid….and our air conditioner is on the fritz.  I am just not made for this weather. I think I must have Scandinavian blood in me. You know, the countries of the north, where it is cooler, and there are snow capped mountains even in the summer, and humidity isn’t as much of a thing.  Yes, I know I lived in east Tennessee for twenty-three years. I understand hot, muggy, summers in the south, but this chick does not “glisten”. I sweat like a horse. There, I said it. I know that is gross, but there is no getting around it. My hair is plastered to my head, I have a very attractive sweat mustache, and if unable to find some cool air soon, will be found deader than a doornail lying in a puddle on the floor. Okay, fine. This might be a slight exaggeration, but……only slight. My dogs and cats tell me to get over myself, I cannot possibly even understand heat until I’m wearing a full fur coat with temps in the 90’s. Yes, for those of you who care to know, I speak fluent canine and feline. What??!! Stop looking , staring, reading (?) at me like that. My husband calls me Dr. Doolittle for a reason. Kidding, people. Really. I am. I am not clinically insane. Yet.

I have an autoimmune disease, that I was diagnosed with when I was just fourteen. This particular “gift” makes me extremely heat sensitive. I told my husband the other day, “When it is cold you can put on socks and crank up the electric blanket to stay warm. In the summer months, when I am caught in the seventh circle of Hell, I am unable to escape”. I suppose I could strap a box fan to me, and just wear it around my neck as an, albeit unusual, fashion statement. I can only strip off so many clothes to cool off, before being arrested. Just sayin’.

I have summer loving friends, who thrive in the heat. I still love them, even though in my mind I’m thinking, “freak of nature” how lucky they are to be able to enjoy the summer months. Fine. Just fine. You enjoy the months of sweat, and frizzy hair (or stick straight hair, however it is you roll), and sunburn, and having to shave your legs because you want to wear shorts. And don’t even get me started on going bathing suit shopping. I don’t care if a woman is skinny as a rail or resembles Jabba the Hutt, or anywhere in between. After a certain age, bathing suits are not a girls best friend. The struggle is real. Sisters, can I get an amen?

So, as I sit here sipping my iced coffee, in front of a box fan going full blast, just know that I am dreaming of October. My month of bliss. Crisp, cool temps. Sweater weather. Hot chocolate. And pumpkin everything. I just have to hang on for what seems an eternity another two and a half months. Lord, help me.

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Rest, Peace, Joy

School is out for the summer, my students are excited. My grad school assignments for the week are completed. I have no appointments today. I’ve already done the grocery shopping for the week. Everything is pretty much done….so I am taking today as my mini vacation. I will blog. I will journal. I will play with the dogs. I will read. I will watch a marathon of X-Files, this evening, with my husband.

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I need today.

Time to breathe. Time to ponder. Time to do nothing, but just be still.

How many times have I been guilty of rushing around, finishing things, checking items off my lists, proofreading that paper, meeting with people to the point of exhaustion?

I appreciate  these days of doing nothing, which are few and far between. These days turn out to mean everything.

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Thank you, Lord……that I can find rest, and peace, and joy in You.

Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from him.” Amen.

 

Make Time To Be Thankful

The sunlight is streaming across the yard. The air is not yet warm, on this mid May morning, as I make my way over to the barn. During my walk, I like to look over the back pasture to where the green grass touches the blue sky. I have the fleeting thought that I could put a chair right there in the side yard, and sit and read, and watch the world go by and be completely content.

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If only I could. If only life allowed for more of the quiet, contemplative moments. Instead, there are appointments to keep, people to meet, deadlines, online, sidelines and stuff. Always stuff. I do try to make time in the every day to slow down. To enjoy. I just wish there was more of it.

Today I am thankful for:

*Blue skies *Iced coffee *Barn cats *Petting the horse’s soft velvet nose *Laughing with my husband *Quiet mornings *The last week of school *Checking off assignments *Mowed Yard *Anticipation of summer trips *Another day to take a moment to breathe it all in

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Like Sand Through The Hourglass…

 

 

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Like sand through the hourglass….so are the days of my life. (Hmmmm, I think I may have heard that phrase somewhere)

I turned forty-eight yesterday. Getting older hasn’t really bothered me, per se. I mean, what’s the alternative, right? I’m not upset about being just two years away from FIFTY, but I do find it rather shocking. The other day, some classmates from high school were talking about having a thirtieth reunion this Fall, for the class of 1986. In my mind, the eighties were last week. Does that prove I’m aging?!

 

Is my life perfect? No. Whose is? We all live in a world that is full of great joys, and intense tragedies, highs and lows, ups and downs. One can’t get away from that. The truth is, each different season of life is special and unique in its own way. I really would not want to go back in time. (Well, a good friend of mine posted a picture of the two of us when we were twenty-one. Although I like the wisdom that comes with age, I wouldn’t mind still having the bod of a twenty-one year old….) In the midst of the every day, I find myself stopping and appreciating. There is a lot to be said for being in the moment, and going through one’s life with eyes wide open. Out here in rural Ohio, I often find myself driving down back country roads to get to my various destinations. I admire the green, green, grass, the bright blue sky,  the open space, the black and white cows that are trying to nibble on the other side of the fence, and the hawk circling high over a field. I think about my family that loves me and whom I love right back, a husband who makes me laugh, kids who are now young adults, the comfortable house I live in with land to roam, and my (fairly decent) health.

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It has been about five or six years ago since I first read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. (you can read my posts here and here) Her book spoke to me about what it means to be truly thankful for all the ways that God blesses. I will admit, it is a struggle some days to see the blessings when all I want to do is be a grump. When the cat pukes and I have to clean it for the umpteenth time, or the flowerbeds are overgrown with weeds, and the dog digs up my last surviving bush. The days when my children grow up and become more and more independent and I realize my opinion isn’t as important as it used to be. Broken dishes, broken promises, and broken hearts. Some days I force myself to stop, breathe, and start counting out loud, all the ways I am thankful, and all the ways I am loved. God is so good. Even on the hard days.

One day it truly dawned on me (pun intended), that I most likely, have more days behind me, than I do ahead of me. It is highly unlikely that I will live to be one hundred. You want to know something? I’m okay with that. That might sound weird, especially in a society that is so driven by youth and beauty. My days are just as important to me now, maybe even more so, than when I was in my twenties. I know I appreciate them more. I don’t pretend to have all the answers to life’s questions, and on many days I am struggling to understand just like everyone else.

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Today I am able to say that life is good and I am happy.

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Challenge #12, Might-Have-Been

 

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I often get asked, why in the world did you move here? The people who ask, are alluding to the fact I moved from Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville is a city nestled in a valley surrounded by the foothills of The Great Smoky Mountains. It is a place that many Ohioans go on vacation. Yet, here I am. My family and I moved to a rural area of Ohio, outside a tiny village whose population doesn’t even make it to “town” status. It is not unusual to see Amish families on the roads in their buggies.I admit, it is not a happening place. I miss restaurants, and all the shopping. I could be to most places in five minutes. With that said, when I lived in the city I didn’t wake to the sound of geese flying overhead, or the rooster crowing. I didn’t have the opportunity to witness open sky and wide, uncrowded spaces. These places to breathe and think and not feel so rushed. In the city, buildings crowded out my view of the sun rising, and city lights detracted from the brilliance of the night sky. My house was on a large double lot in the city, but there is no comparison to the twelve acres in the country. There is room for the family and dogs, cats, chickens, and horse.

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When I am going about my business of feeding animals and other chores, I often stop and soak it all in. I am a country girl at heart. This life I’m living, bring me so much joy. If you had asked me a half dozen years ago, where I’d be, or what I’d be doing, I could have never imagined this. A new marriage and family, in a new house in a new state, in the country. It might never have been……but, I’m so glad it is!

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Challenge #9, Show Me The Money!

What would I do in this life, if money were no object? Here is my list in no specific order.

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  1. Pay off the mortgage. (This would be a HUGE relief!)
  2. Buy new, dependable cars for all the members of the family. (Nothing flashy or super expensive—I’m more about reliable and safe. My kids would love this.)
  3. Put a concrete floor in the barn and add more stalls. (This means more room for my beloved animals.)
  4. Pay off debt. (College loans for the kids, credit cards, etc.)
  5.  Take off on an extended vacation, traveling around the USA.(This would bring me so much joy….traveling without worry, and without time limits.)
  6. Give a substantial amount of money to my church/missions/ministries.(There are so many ministries I want to give to!)
  7. Pick a family that has a financial burden and pay it off for them. (Make this a monthly or yearly event, depending.)
  8. Gift extended family depending on what they need. (Because I love them and it feels wonderful to help others.)
  9. Updates for the house. (Maybe I could call Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper to come see me?)
  10. Put a considerable amount in savings/stock investments etc. (Because I am still about having security.)

If money were no object, what would YOU do? 

Challenge #8, All Good Things Come To An End

“All good things come to an end”. I don’t know if I want to write about this today. I suppose I will, but only because it is part of the challenge. Sigh.

We’ve all heard this quote, saying, whatever, sometime in our lives. It is kind of depressing to me. Depressing because it is true, and I don’t want to think about the fact that it is true. We live in a world with a lot of endings. Sometimes endings are great, and freeing, and exciting, but most of the time endings hurt. They aren’t fun. It is not something that most of us look forward to. They happen anyway. It is the nature of things. Unfortunately.

People lose their jobs, or get fired. Or they quit. Then they wonder what in the world are they going to do next?!

Friends that you thought were going to be your besties for forever, fade. Life has a way of pulling people apart. Oh, it is not necessarily intentional it just happens. You know what I mean.

You get to a certain age, and it is no longer appropriate to wear the super cute clothes….because your body has revolted against you, and you no longer look super cute in those super cute clothes.

People you love get sick and they die, and against your will you are forced to say good-bye. Sometimes a loved one is in an accident or a sudden medical emergency and they are gone. Just. Like. That.

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Memories fade like a swirling mist. One day you think the good times, the happy times will last longer, should last longer, but much like that early morning mist, they dissipate.

With careers. With friends. With age. With love. With a million other things.

Life goes on though. There are more good times, and more memories to be made. It is the natural ebb and flow of life.

Understanding this makes one more aware of the precious moments when they happen.