Evening Thoughts

Like a train whistle, it suddenly hit me how quickly summer is chugging on by. It's the middle of July, it's hot, the sun is shining, and what have I done with my summer besides working? Nothing. And this is not altogether a bad thing.

Most folks have lots of summer plans, vacations to exciting destinations, picnics with families, visits to zoos and gardens and national parks. They race to see who can bask on the beach first, or hike up a mountain trail. Their itineraries would wear out the fittest athletes. It's all about doing the most they possibly can in the shortest amount of time.

As for me? I parked down by the river a few minutes to watch a barge go by, see two squirrels playing tag on a post, and read a daily devotional while I talked to God. I spent a half hour on the deck this evening watching the lightning bugs sprinkle the night with light. I spent a few minutes on Facebook, a few on Words with Friends, and a few talking to my fur kids. My pace is slow. I like to savor the moments.

I may not visit exotic places, may not swim in the ocean, may not attack the day full force like a hurricane, but I thank God for having another day, even if I've spent it working. It may not seem exciting to anyone else, but I sure love lightning bugs, and I sure love spending time with my fur kids, and I sure love Jesus.

For the most part, we have the ability to create our days to reflect the life we want to live. I've decided I want less stress in mine. I want to follow a lifelong dream, and I want to watch lightning bugs. I want to live simply, laugh much, dream often, and write stories that entertain. I don't want to race to the next big adventure; I want to savor the little things I've always taken for granted. I want to sit down with Jesus and chat for a while. I want to be happy.

Isn't that what we all search for, happiness?

What makes my introverted self happy is not what would make most people happy. But that's ok. There's room enough for all of us to claim our own kind of happiness.

Whether you want to run the race or sit and watch the lightning bugs, do what brings you joy. Life is short. Create your happiness.

Take care of you.

Trish

My Autumn To-Do’s

autumn-country-roadIt’s a new season, time for some changes.  Isn’t change a wonderful thing?  We can choose to change or not to change.  Or maybe I should be saying having a “choice” is the wonderful thing.  There are some things in life I love changing and experimenting with.  But there are others I don’t want to see change at all and do not welcome any sort of circumstance that tries to change them.  For instance, as much as I love technology and typing this on a computer, I still love writing with a pen in my personal planner.  Don’t make me try to stop doing that; it makes me a nervous wreck.  It might also be the obsessive compulsive in me but I can’t rely on just one of them, I need both paper and technology to keep me going in the right direction.

Almost every season, and sometimes every month, I make a To-Do List.  It’s sort of a bucket list, just in a shorter time span.  I make these lists in both my iPhone and in my personal planner so I will always have access to them.  Here’s what I have on my list for autumn:

  1. Keep making lists.
  2. Write down my weird dreams in a Dream Journal.dreamjournal4
  3. Attend a weenie roast.
  4. Visit a new produce market and buy an apple I’ve never tried before.
  5. Drive on the gravel roads of my old stomping grounds when the autumn leaves are in full color.
  6. Go to the lake on a sunny, warm autumn day to write poetry like I did in my teen years.
  7. Try out a restaurant I’ve never eaten in alone, just to prove I can.
  8. Go to one movie matinee and see a great movie on the big screen.  It’s been several years since I’ve done this.
  9. Clean out my garage.  God help me.  Please.
  10. Write, write, and write.
  11. Read, read, and read.
  12. Work on my fiction to make my characters more interesting; more quirky.
  13. Lose 20 pounds.  (I think I can, I think I can)
  14. Eat one piece of something pumpkin.
  15. Visit someone special to me.  I am so guilty of not visiting because I always feel awkward and uncomfortable in someone else’s home.
  16. Have a Golden Girls marathon for an entire weekend.golden_primary
  17. Make and keep an eye doctor appointment.  It’s overdue.
  18. Spend as much time as I can with Maggie outside while the weather is so nice.
  19. Go out with friends at least once.  I know I’m a loner, but I also love my friends.  It’s a hard balance for me.
  20. Find a covered bridge in my county and take pictures.  This has been on my list nearly every year and I still haven’t done it.
  21. Call my brother.  I have no idea why I haven’t.
  22. Find a dark chocolate that I like.  Oddly enough, I have read it can do good things for blood sugar.
  23. Read one book by an author I’ve never read before.
  24. Read one book of nonfiction.
  25. Write more on my blog.
  26. Take flowers to my family’s graves.  Flowers for autumn or Christmas are always nice and I haven’t done this in a long time.  Difficult memories, I hate cemeteries, but I need to do this.
  27. Teach Maggie to sit.  This will probably be my most difficult challenge.
  28. Stop being so hard on myself when I mess up.
  29. Forgive everybody everything.
  30. Stay away from people who deliberately hurt me.
  31. Vote for Hillary.

OK, I’ve shared mine, now you can share yours.  Do you have a seasonal To-Do List?

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Blessings

 

 

Movies I Can’t Stop Watching

I confess, I love movies.  I love how they can entertain, transport me into another time and place, send my emotions in spirals, and cheer me up when I’m feeling down.  There’s nothing I like more on an “I’m not feeling great” day than to line up my favorite DVD’s and have a moviethon from the comfort of my easy chair.  Here are a few of my favorites, in no certain order:

chocolat-movie

  1. Chocolat:  I love the cinematography of this film.  The characters are unique and interesting and I always have hope at the end that all is well.  And let’s face it, Johnny Depp is a pleasure in this movie.
  2. Funny Farm:  Chevy Chase’s character as a newspaper writer buying a home in the country to live the life of an author and write a book just fires up my own dreams of doing the same.  It’s funny, and it brings back warm memories of my mom and I watching it together and having a good laugh at all the things that happened while he was living the dream.
  3. You’ve Got Mail:  Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are always good together.  The romantic part of me likes the idea of two people meeting and falling in love online.  The practical side of me says, “Don’t do it!”  But it’s a lovely movie and I adore the apartment Meg’s character lives in.Baby_boom_1987
  4. Baby Boom:  One of my all time favorites.  I love how Diane Keaton doesn’t let being knocked down by disappointments keep her down, how her priorities change, and the move to a house in Vermont is my idea of a beautiful life.
  5. While You Were Sleeping:  Who doesn’t like a Sandra Bullock movie?  It’s cute, romantic, and fun.
  6. An Unfinished Life:  When you pair up Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, and Jennifer Lopez in a movie, it’s gotta be a good thing.  It’s not for those loving an action-packed film, but it’s a good movie about life and how circumstances can change in a heartbeat.
  7. Pretty Woman:  This was the very first movie I went to by myself at a movie theater.  Although it definitely seems a fantasy to me, it is fun to watch and dream.  Julia Robert’s character is charming and likeable, as is Richard Gere’s.  And I truly loved the Hotel Manager, Hector Elizondo.
  8. Fletch:  Chevy Chase again in his prime.  It’s fun, with a bit of mystery.
  9. Fletch Lives:  Same as above.
  10. Sleepless in Seattle:  Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in another sweet romance.  It just makes you want to love both of them all over again.
  11. The Pelican Brief:  While the adaptation from book to movie did disappoint me a little, I still enjoy watching it.  A bit of a thriller, it kept me on edge.
  12. The Fugitive:  Harrison Ford…need I say more?The_Fugitive_movie
  13. Clear and Present Danger:  See #12.
  14. Steel Magnolias:  Fantastic cast, interesting and unique characters, and makes me feel good at the end.  It follows the relationship between friends and shows the strength of women.
  15. Sleeping With the Enemy:  Julia Roberts as an abused wife, this movie sheds a little light on the fact that appearances can be deceiving.  I love the life she carved out for herself after leaving him, and the ending always makes me smile.

What are your favorite films?  Do you share any of these?

 

Blessings

Bible Study Benefits

Bible4We are all so busy.  There’s always some place we need to be, someone we need to see, or something we need to do in our daily life.  We stretch ourselves thin while pursuing the wants and needs we all have.  But what if we are neglecting one of our greatest needs during our busyness?   How do we keep it all together while at the same time increasing our faith?

 

I wish I had all the answers and could say I follow them daily.  But I will be the first to admit I fail to some extent each and every day.  For me, my faith is probably the most important aspect of my life I want to hold onto, and yet I am guilty of setting it aside at times.  I started off missing church because of illness, then it became a habit, and then a practice of not attending Sunday service.  Sometimes I’m uncomfortable in larger groups of people, but I haven’t even tried lately.  True, I’m at the church normally six days a week working, but it’s not quite the same.  Yet, if you were to ask me, I would probably tell you I go to church all the time.  And I do, but I’m not worshiping in a way that God deserves.

A few weeks ago, I began attending a new Bible Study on Wednesday evenings.  I thought maybe if I could do this a few times it will “make up” for missing Sunday mornings.  Well, it has not served that purpose; it has not given me a good out that clears my conscience of not attending Sunday morning worship, but it has given me a few unexpected benefits.

  1. Reading the Bible.  I wonder how many of us could honestly say we read the Bible every day, and be very honest about it.  I imagine not many of us.  It’s so easy to put the Bible on the backburner.  We’ll get to that later and then later never gets here.  Not only has a weekly Bible Study given me more Bible reading time at home, I’ve begun exploring different versions online.  I’ve even become very fond of a couple versions I had never heard of before.  It helps me have a clearer understanding, and it keeps me reading.
  2. Friendships.  Meeting in a small group, reading and studying the Bible together, sharing thoughts…it has created a bond amongst us I wasn’t really expecting.  It has brought together folks who were friendly, and made them friends.  When the pastor was out of town and we had no leader for the group, we went out to dinner together.  We prayed, we ate, we laughed.  We chose to spend that time together rather than go our separate ways.  That is God working a plan in our lives.
  3. Socializing.  I could very easily become a hermit.  Rather than force myself to go out with friends, I would much rather stay at home with my pets and watch a movie or read a book.  I’d rather make a To-Do List in my notebook than have conversations with people I enjoy.  It doesn’t make much sense, but it is what it is and that’s how I am.  Being an introvert isn’t a terrible thing, but there is much about life I sometimes miss because of my tendency to seclude myself.  Bible Study forces me out of the house and among friends.  The group is small enough I feel comfortable.  Granted, if it was a group larger than ten, I might not feel the same way.  Our group is cozy, but not overwhelming.
  4. Laughter.  With most small groups, there is going to be laughter at some point. And you may have heard the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  If it doesn’t cure you, it’s bound to make you feel a whole lot better!13938387_1114010325302730_9169913728093619050_n
  5. A stronger relationship with God.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Studying God’s word, sharing thoughts, supporting each other.  It all adds together to bring us closer to each other and to God.  At the end of every study session, we pray.  We can pray silently or out loud, however the Spirit moves us.  It is a peaceful time, and I usually feel God’s presence in a strong way.

I would encourage everyone to join a small group for Bible Study.  Not only has it strengthened my relationship with God, it is time well invested in making my life more balanced, more meaningful.  And maybe, just maybe, I will be a better person for it.

Blessings

 

Letter to Grandma Flossie

723608-Portland-Rose-GardenHi Grandma,

It sure has been a long time since we’ve talked.  I hope all is well in heaven.  Have you and God been having long conversations?  You’ve been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I’d write you a letter.  I remember how much you always loved receiving a letter in the mail, and that you would write letters to your family who lived miles away, too.

The last time I turned on the TV in the afternoon and saw a soap opera on, I thought of you, Grandma.  You used to love watching Days of Our Lives and General Hospital.  Not much has changed.  Well, maybe.  There’s still always drama, crying and yelling.  People can’t get along.  Except now, Grandma, they have men kissing men.  I know.  Even as progressive as you were in some of your thoughts and ideas, I don’t think you would have gone for that.  Seeing how Elvis would shake his hips when he was singing was enough to make you scowl, though I did notice you kept on watching.  But two men kissing on TV…nope, I think that one would make you turn the TV off and go water your flowers.

Speaking of flowers, I’ve never seen flowers like yours much since.  Somehow, it was always comforting to see you outside working in your flower beds.  Pruning, trimming, digging, planting.  You would have sweat dripping like crazy off your forehead, but you’d just take your apron hem, wipe it away, and then keep on working.  Every so often, I’d see you with the wheelbarrow loaded up with cow manure that you got from the pile back of the barn.  You knew exactly which kind you wanted, too.  The kind that had mellowed for quite a while and was a bit on the drier side.  You knew exactly what would make your flowers and vegetables grow.

You had the loveliest roses in your garden.  They were always beautiful.  You spent a lot of time reading up on how to keep bugs and insects away organically, but if that didn’t work, you’d blast them with something.  Nothing was going to mess with your flowers and get away with it.  I liked that about you.  You took care of who and what you loved.  You took care of me.

I miss the conversations we’d have on the front porch while we were shelling beans.  Didn’t matter what kind of beans they were, and you had several kinds.  I’d fuss and complain about having to do it, but secretly, I loved spending the time with you.  You told a lot of stories about growing up and I wish now I had listened more, or written them down so I could have remembered.  You didn’t have an easy life, but I don’t remember you ever complaining, just reminiscing.

The other times I really enjoyed was when everyone else was out at the barn milking thebarn-silos-park-city cows, you’d come over and we’d watch little Joey together, and you’d help me with my homework.  Oh, how you fussed about that “new math.”  I think it’s even worse now, Grandma.  But then, if we could get that homework out of the way, we’d play Chinese Checkers.  It was so much fun!  You’d almost always beat me, but it didn’t really matter.  You’d get on to me when I missed a really good move.  It made me mad, but I know you were trying to teach me to be more observant, and to think more.  You were great like that.  You knew that women could be great thinkers and do pretty much anything they wanted in life.  Back then, that was pretty progressive thinking.

I was always proud of you, Grandma.  You lived in California for a few years as a housekeeper/nanny and experienced things I will never experience.  You worked for a family named Finkle, who made hats.  Hats were a big thing back in the day.  You had so many stories to tell, places you’d been to, people you saw while riding the bus shopping in Los Angeles.  I think those were probably some of the happiest days of your life.  But when Joey was born, you felt there was a need for you to come back to Ohio, and you did.  I was probably one of the luckiest little girls in the world to have my Grandma living just a few yards away from our house.  You were a big help to everyone.  I know Dad yelled and grumbled a lot, but you were always there to help and I know you were greatly appreciated, even if it wasn’t said.  Thank you, Grandma.  Thank you for caring enough to help with Joey, and with me.

101471842_webThere are so many memories I have of you, joyful ones.  Picnics in the backyard, trips to Pomeroy to go grocery shopping and to the feed mill.  You loved riding into town.  It didn’t take long at all for you to put on a little rouge and lipstick, a “good” dress and pair of shoes.  The good shoes and work shoes looked the same, except the good shoes were newer.  And then you began wearing pant suits, polyester pant sets that looked so good on you.  Again, you showed the progressive side of yourself, even if you were a devout Republican.  You knew the value of a dollar and chose your spending wisely.  But you never failed to bring me back a gift when you were away visiting or traveling with someone.  You always thought of me, Grandma, and it was so very nice to be thought of.  You even gave me the first Bible of my very own.  I hope you know how much that changed my life.

Well, Grandma, I’d better close for now.  I still have a couple chores to do and I know how much you liked chores being done.  I miss you and love you.  We’ll talk again soon, I promise.

Blessings

 

An Introvert’s Saturday Night

13092171_1049850765052020_9125567350055287945_nIt’s another Saturday, the last Saturday of April 2016.  It’s Spring time and many people are celebrating better weather (though it’s a bit chilly and dreary today here) and spending time outdoors with family, cookouts, and picnics.  Or maybe going out to a club or having dinner at a nice restaurant with a group of friends.

And then there’s another group of people, each of us celebrating our Saturday night’s alone, apart from the crowds and noise, and in our own ways.  Welcome to my Saturday night; an Introvert’s Saturday Night.

  • 6:00pm have nightshirt on.
  • 6:05pm let Maggie outside.  Stay inside the garage so neighbors don’t see me in nightshirt.  Feed Jonnie Katt so he can eat in peace without Maggie.  Hold and pet the boy while he purrs.
  • 6:20pm or thereabouts, Maggie comes back inside, tongue hanging out, hot from running all around the yard, feet wet and cold.  Jumps on me so I can get the full effect of the cold, wet feet.
  • 6:23pm give Maggie her supper.
  • 6:30pm Google what shows are on the three channels I get on TV tonight.  Notice there’s nothing worth watching.
  • 6:32pm check Facebook.
  • 6:35pm drag out my Art Journal and colored pencils or pens and doodle.
  • 7:30pm notice my doodling is not improving and looks like child’s play but don’t care.  I’m OK with never being an artist.   It’s my doodle.
  • 7:35pm pick out a DVD to watch.  Tonight, it will be Spenser for Hire, Season 1, Episode 2.  After all these years, Spenser and Hawk are still cool dudes.  Maggie snuggles up close and goes to sleep.
  • 7:37pm check Facebook.
  • 8:30pm let Episode 3 play of Spenser for Hire while reading a chapter of Unstuffed, by13139192_1049850411718722_8024304825355673105_n Ruth Soukup.  I make notes and highlight text.   Maggie snuggles against me and snores.
  • 9:30pm hope is renewed that I can get rid of “stuff.”
  • 9:31pm check Facebook.
  • 9:35pm feeling hungry and open the bag of White Cheddar Popcorn I brought home, accompanied by some ice cold Diet Coke.
  • 11:35pm wake up after having fallen asleep with my hand in the popcorn.  It’s sticky.  At the same time I notice my nose itches and wipe my sticky fingers across my nose.
  • 11:40pm turn the TV on to see who’s on Saturday Night Live.  Watch for a few minutes.  If nothing they say makes me angry, I’ll watch for maybe half an hour.  If they make me mad, like making a joke about God, then I’ll turn it off.
  • Midnight turn off the TV and start reading whatever book I’m reading from my Kindle.
  • 12:15am check Facebook.
  • 12:17am resume reading.
  • 12:30am out of popcorn and fall asleep, if I’m lucky.

And there you have it.  My wild and crazy Saturday night.  And I like it like that.

If you’re single and alone, how do you spend your Saturday night?

 

Blessings.

5 Easy Tips to Enjoy Thanksgiving Alone

  It’s just a couple days until our major autumn holiday of Thanksgiving.  Most folks will gather together with their families for plentiful food and festivities.  Gatherings, both small and large, will be celebrating the day we give thanks for the harvest.  Blessings will be counted and prayers said around a table full of enough food to feed many more.  Memories will be remembered and created for both young and old.

But what if you don’t have family to fill all the chairs at the dinner table?  What if by choice or circumstances you are spending Thanksgiving alone this year?  Over the years, I’ve gone from dreading holidays and crying in my Diet Coke, to embracing my time alone.  Here are 5 tips to help get you through the day.

  1. Know what makes you happy.  Forget about what everyone else is doing that day.  Let someone else drown their sorrows in the gravy boat.  What brings you joy?  What makes you happy?  What are your favorite foods, TV shows, movies, games, books, activities?  Foods?  Make a list of everything.
  2. Make a plan.  Narrow your list to the things you most want to do.  Make a menu of food you are going to prepare or go out to eat.  Pay attention to details.  If you’re cooking at home, make a list of all items you need from the grocery store.  Plan when you’re going to eat and what you’ll be doing before and after.  If you’re volunteering at a shelter to feed the homeless, know which one and contact them.  If you’re going to wrap up in a blanket and watch old Doris Day movies, have that blanket freshly washed and the popcorn and movies ready.  Be prepared.
  3. Act on your plan.  Go to the grocery store.  Line up the movies you want to rent, borrow, or check out at the library.  Download a book you’ve been wanting to read to your Kindle.  If you plan on crocheting or knitting, have your yarn, hooks, and needles ready and waiting.  Get all your craft supplies together for a crafty day, or all the pampering skin care products for a home spa day.   Prepare yourself for having an awesome day!
  4. Think positive.  Maybe you’d rather be with Prince Charming than a DVD of When Harry Met Sally, but Prince Charming didn’t show up so forget about him.  This is your day to take care of you.  Take advantage of this time alone to do something you love to do and brings you joy.
  5. Be grateful.  You may rather have had the day be different, but focus on the positive, all the great things you can do and maybe even a new tradition or two.  God has blessed you with this day.  Put joy in it and be thankful for all you do have.

How will you be spending Thanksgiving?  Do you have a plan?

Blessings

Turkey & Traditions

  In less than two weeks, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day. This is the day when families gather together to eat a tremendous amount of food, and give thanks for the blessings of the harvest God has given them.  

Most families have a tradition of what food is served, what activities they do together, if any, and whose home it will all take place. For those of us who have a few decades behind us, there are bound to be many memories of past Thanksgivings.   Most memories will warm the heart and perhaps bring a tear to the eyes, but all of them have helped mold our Thanksgiving celebration into what it is today.
The preparations for Thanksgiving seemed to begin days earlier for mom and grandma as they baked bread, rolls, pumpkin and cherry pies, pumpkin cake, and maybe some fudge and potato candy got thrown into the mix.  Noodles were rolled, cut, and left to dry.  A huge bowl of fruit salad was prepared, and fruit nut bread was already stored away waiting.  Everything was made from scratch.  I didn’t know there was any other way.

Growing up on a small dairy farm, our schedule of Thanksgiving Day events may have been a little different than some.  Mom was up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare and stuff the turkey before putting it in the oven.  Then she’d wake up dad and the boys to go to the barn and do the morning chores and milking.  I’d get to sleep a little longer and my job was to take care of my little brother, Joey.

After the milking and chores, mom would come back into the house and start cooking while dad and the boys went rabbit hunting with a couple beagle dogs.  When I was really small, I was allowed to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on our black & white TV, but as I became old enough to help in the kitchen, more time was spent helping there, but we all took sneak peeks at the parade.

Promptly at noon, dad and the boys would come back from their hunting.  Sometimes they had a couple rabbits, sometimes not.  They’d get cleaned up for dinner and we’d all sit around the table in our assigned places.  Mom or grandma would say grace and then dad would begin the procession of food around the table.  It was tradition.

We kids all grew older and one by one left the farm.  Traditions changed and it became harder to get everyone together for Thanksgiving.  Family members passed away.  Marriage and divorce happened for me.  Then one year there were only three of us to sit at the table together.  After mom passed away, so did the tradition.

For a few years, I was pretty sad at Thanksgiving.  But life goes on and I’m a survivor, so I began creating new traditions just for me.  Yes, it can be done.  For many years, I volunteered to work every Thanksgiving and that became my tradition.  Then I retired, so I had to come up with something new.  For a few years, I would put a turkey breast in the slow cooker and fix green beans and herb dressing in the microwave.  It wasn’t a feast like years before, but it was still a feast!  And I spent the day with my pets and watched Christmas movies.  It became a tradition.

This year, the menu is changing to beef stew in the slow cooker and pumpkin pie for dessert.  But the tradition of spending the day with my fur family and watching Christmas movies will remain.  It makes me happy.

As life happens, traditions can be a saving grace, or a bittersweet memory.  Circumstances sometime dictate that we make changes.  It can be exciting to start new traditions tailored just for you!  Traditions can also bring comfort.  I pray everyone finds comfort in a tradition this Thanksgiving, new or old.  It’s something to be grateful for.

Do you have a new tradition for Thanksgiving this year?

Blessings

Autumn Comforts

20120717 Patchwork quilt-2Autumn is becoming a little crisper as October progresses.  We’re having beautiful sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s now, with a frost advisory in effect for this weekend.  It’s time to bring out the Autumn Comforts.

I love autumn.  It’s my favorite time of year and I could go on and on about it.  It’s probably the only time of year I get a little domesticated and bring out all those things that make this time of year a little comfier, a little more homey.

A quilt is the first thing that gets brought out of storage when the leaves begin turning colors.  Growing up, there was always a quilt on my bed made by my grandmother or mother.  The oldest ones were all done by hand, from the first seam to the final quilting, and were mostly made from leftover scraps of material of clothing they had worn or made.  It was not uncommon to find a mix of textures within the quilt, like denim, flannel, and cotton.  I remember one in particular that was made all in flannel.  Wrapping myself in that quilt made me feel so warm and safe.  I felt like I was the luckiest girl on earth to have it gracing my bed.

hot-chocolateChilly nights sitting around watching TV call for a cup of hot chocolate.  And if marshmallows are in it, even better!  When I was a kid, we made it from scratch with a mixture of cocoa and sugar, but now I gravitate toward the sugar-free instant variety.  It’s still good.  Hot and chocolatey, it warms the belly and feels like a comfort.

While I’m wrapped up in a quilt, drinking hot chocolate, and watching TV, I’ve usually got my hands busy with something, and a lot of times that is crochet or knitting.  Scarves are my specialty (they’re easy).  My preference is to make something without a pattern, all one kind of stitch so I don’t have to think about it.  I’ve lost count of the scarves I’ve made over the years.  Some I’ve sold, but knitting-blogmost I gave away.  There are many acrylic yarns I like for their softness and ease of washing, but there’s also nothing like having a scarf made of alpaca yarn wrapped around my neck.  And it keeps the chill from sneaking inside my coat on a windy day.

When I’m thinking of Autumn Comfort, nothing speaks to me more about that than food.  Cold air outside and a warm kitchen inside is one of the ultimate comforts.  The blend of spices from pumpkin pie filling every crevice and corner of the house.  The aroma of beef stew with carrots, potatoes, and onions simmering quietly in the slow cooker.  It is so soothing to the senses.  And who wouldn’t feel comforted by the decadent scent of banana bread with walnuts, freshly baked and cooling on the rack.

No home would be complete without a stack of books waiting to be read while image-2-817x10241the wind blows through the drying leaves outside.  Many an hour I’ve spent lost in another time and place through words on a page.  Whether it be romance, mystery, or a little chick lit, it’s all good to me.  I would put on my thickest, softest socks, snuggle under the quilt, and escape within the pages.  Comfort at its most luxurious.

Autumn is the time I treasure for surrounding myself with all things that bring me comfort.  What brings you comfort during autumn?

 

 

It’s Weenie Weather!

 Say what you will about summer barbecues, picnics, and cookouts, but there’s no better time to roast weenies than right now in autumn!

The leaves are just beginning to change into their autumn best here in southeastern Ohio.  We’ve been enjoying temperatures in the low to mid 70’s with plenty of sunshine.  Evenings and nights are falling into the 50’s and 40’s.  There’s a crispness in the air that only autumn embraces correctly.  It’s the perfect time for roasting hot dogs over an open fire!

I have always loved a good old fashioned weenie roast!  Memories of childhood and my dad going to the woods to find the perfect roasting sticks.  He would sharpen the ends just enough so the wiener would glide on smoothly.  It had to be a special wood; not any stick would do, and I wish I had paid more attention to what he chose.  But they worked wonderfully!  Nothing fancy.  A couple bales of straw to sit on, or lawn chairs.  My brothers and I would hold our hot dogs over the open fire and watch carefully as they cooked to a darkened brown.  Unless we caught one on fire, then someone was going to be eating a burned hot dog, but no one cared.

Home canned ketchup and mustard were the only add ons to our dog and bun.  Sometimes, we didn’t even have a bun and used a slice of mom’s homemade bread to wrap around it.  No matter what kind of bread, I was sure they were the best hot dogs I had ever eaten.  Mostly, because family was gathered together and sometimes there would be a little laughter, especially if some poor hot dog fell off its stick and became a burnt offering in the ashes.

Drinks were usually Kool-Aid and apple cider.  I didn’t like the cider but I loved the idea of it gracing a weenie roast.  Dessert was S’mores.  Oh my gosh, what gooey wonderfulness of hot roasted marshmallows on melting chocolate between two graham crackers!  I had never tasted anything more decadent!

The smell of wood smoke is filling my neighborhood this evening, stirring up memories of weenies, flannel shirts and corduroys, and the sound of laughter around an open fire.  The smells of autumn; changing leaves and ripening field corn, final cuts of hay in the hay mow.  The sounds of night in the country,  field mice scurrying through corn husks, barn owls hooting, cattle settling in the field for the night, and the occasional bat swooping around the barn.  

It was simpler times when I was too young to worry about paying bills and keeping gas in a car.  There was one black rotary phone in the house, and one black and white TV that got three channels.  Our family had meals together and worked hard in between.  There was no time to get into trouble.  And it was good.

The picture above was taken at our church weenie roast last year.  It’s a celebration of autumn and pastor appreciation week where church family gathers together, laughter happens, and great food is shared.  I think it’s becoming a tradition, and that’s a wonderful thing.