Falling Leaves

The leaves are falling in a chilly, drizzly rain just outside the window where I sit. 
I always try to be ready for the finally bare trees, but I think I failed this year.
When I make time to stroll golden-carpeted grass, then I'm ready to let the leaves 
fall with no regrets. The maples trees in our front yard and the sweet gum in the back 
are among the last trees in the area to turn, so the show goes on here for a 
little bit longer than expected. 
There might be a few more days to appreciate the fall color after this rain clears away.
My own reflection in a honeysuckle berry.

Side Note - 
I want to leave you with a quote that is just too good to leave unmentioned. If you've been led through valleys of trial or spent any time in a vale of suffering, then these words from ol' Clive may be especially savory to you, as they were to me. 

"Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."


Stenciled Pumpkin Tutorial

There's a craft show coming up just before Thanksgiving. I got these mid-sized 
pumpkins at the local market for super cheap. I've given them 
an upgrade and plan sell them as table decorations for the big Feast Day.
I wonder what you think a good price would be...?
Here's a simple tutorial - you can make your own!

 1. Start with a clean, dry pumpkin and the supplies pictured above.
Print your word on lightweight copy paper. 
I used a font called 'Lightfoot Wide Expanded Regular' size 120.

 2. Cut out the word and snip the top and bottom as shown. 
This will make the paper lay flat against the pumpkin when you tape it in place.

 3.  Use painter's tape or masking tape to secure the paper tightly against the pumpkin. 
It's OK to have small folds as long as they don't extend into the lettering. 
Start with the short sides, then tape the snipped top and bottom. 

 4. Trace slowly around the outside of the each letter with a fine point sharpie marker. 
The ink will soak through the lightweight paper and leave an outline on the pumpkin. 
To make sure the ink is bleeding through properly, lift the template from one edge and take a peek
Don't take it off completely because you won't be able 
to reposition it in exactly the same place.

 5. Use the fine point marker again and trace along the outline left behind.
Then color in the sharp corners because the thicker marker will not neatly do the job.

6. Fill in the rest of the letter with a regular tip sharpie. 
Repeat for each letter.

I hope yours turns out well! 



I hope you're cramming autumn beauty into your eye-gate with both hands.
figuratively speaking, of course

These leaves will be gone much too soon, and we'll be left with cold and bare branches, desperate for color.

Until it snows ... 


Take It All

 The old hymns, 
I know I've said this before
 they float around in my head and appear at the oddest moments. Verses of song 
from my very early youth may pop forward while washing dishes, watering the gardens, in the shower... 
Is it something in the water???
And  I'm hoping the Holy Spirit will do the same for my sons - 
bring sacred things to the front. 
At this point in their lives, all the scripture verses and chapters they memorized and 
the few hymns I taught them as children seem to be buried.
But buried treasure is still treasure, folks.
And the best news of all is that the Faithful One knows exactly where it's buried 
and the perfect moment to retrieve it.
Here's the buried treasure He dug up and offered to me today, sung in a new way - 
certainly not the as in the Methodist days of (my) yore. 

Will you dare to ponder these verses with me and consider what might happen 
if we prayed this and really meant it? 
Not the Sunday Morning Version of consideration, please.
I'll speak for myself and admit that too often, instead joining in wholly dedicated worship, I'm actually pondering:
what happened before we arrived in the building 
 my own uncomfortable state of being
what my pew-mates may be thinking/saying/doing
how the worship team stays in perfect unity
the amazing enthusiasm of the deaf interpreter
after church plans and schemes ...
NO, let's not indulge this quarter-hearted rumination!
Take five minutes with me and really let these words sink down deep, where  you hoard 
your pile of Authentic Self. Turn the verses over a few times, read them in reverse order, 
say them aloud and ask yourself -

WHAT might He do with me if I sincerely and unabashedly 
fling the entire pile of myself at His feet? 

Romans 12:1
1 Corinthians 2:9-12

* photos from Colonial Williamsburg, VA trip, 2014



It's still going on out there in the greenhouse.
The Great Gourd Vine Takeover. 
The vines are filling the entire space and rolling up the other wall,
 tapping on the glass and fairly waving with glee.
My guys think I've gone over to the freaky side of gardening. 
"Your own little shop of horrors, Mom?"
That comment almost inspired me to snip some vine ends and put a stop to the 
Gourd Madness.
But then I look out the kitchen window and see gourds ripening on the roof 
of the greenhouse . . . 
and the sunbeams shining through the scruffly summer-colored leaves. 
I mean the leaves that haven't been ruined with powdery mildew. Yet.
And I know I have to let this gardening (mis)adventure finish its course.
The first frost is not so far away, even if we hate to admit it, and the 
party will come to its own end.

But I'll have a whole basket full of egg gourds!


Face Down

The sunflower's seeds mature after the bloom head goes face down.


I'll go ahead and state the obvious - there's a LOT to ponder there ... 


More Tomatoes?

This spring my guys built a planting box for me, my Mother's Day gift. Finally I could outwit the 
rabbits and whatever other critters that always have eaten any vegetable I've ever planted.
So I put in tomatoes, up high where nothing could dine on them - except for us! 

The tomatoes that stayed green for way too long, finally went ripe and just keep comin'.
So we've eaten a lot of BLT's this summer.
Now I've moved the family on to salsa, and they're still loving it. 
There's a bucket of  juicy ripe ones on the back porch right now. If I don't get to salsa making 
today, I'll be dumping them over the fence tomorrow and hoping no one catches me wasting the 'maters. 

It's funny how what was long anticipated and much celebrated - the first ripe tomato - 
has dropped in value and almost seems like a burden now, here in mid-September.



It's a glorious morning out there ...



Fishing has been a part of our warm-weather seasons around here ... forever.
In our dating years, my wonderful husband and I spent hours sitting lakeside, watching bobbers float on rippled, glass-like surfaces. Good conversations had a chance to bloom out there, and our friendship grew. 
The mini powdered donuts just enhanced the romance. 

As soon as our little boys were able to cast a line, they joined the fishing crew, the differing levels of their 
patience dictating the success and/or failure of a fishing trip. For quite a while, My Youngest thought he was really fishing with just a long stick resting in the shallow water's edge. He would take his stick-pole out of the water to examine the wet tip and wonder aloud:  WHY are the fish not biting??? 
Eventually, he became the most avid fisherman of the group, except for his dad, of course.

When our boys were learning the art of angling, I watched my husband give up his fishing opportunities 
to detangle lines from branches, re-bait hooks, remove and celebrate every hooked fish. 
And isn't that what parenting is so often about? 
That high-demand season of life passed, not so quickly, but still, it did pass, 
and now my husband again fishes uninterrupted. His boys can all fish on their own. 
Now their camraderie is what I admire, on display as they share lures and bait, advice and taunts.

 And, of course - powdered donuts.
no romance included



The air here is clear and crisp. 
It's lost the weight of high summer heat and while the rays are still hot, 
they feel oddly light on the skin. 

It's  fall air, that's all
If you need more evidence of the change of season ... 
CANDY CORN is on the shelves.
And you need some.