Autumn…….Fall

Mama always called it “Fall”. Autumn is for a place that actually has a time of cooler weather with all the trees showing beautiful colored leaves shimmering in the sun before fluttering and dancing to the lawn.

Fall is for a place that has a time of cooler weather followed by hot weather again, followed by cooler weather followed by hot weather……….usually in the span of a week. This goes on until the rain starts.  Then, we can expect gray, damp, chilly days followed by the most beautiful shade of blue on the planet.  Texas Winter Sky Blue.  After a blue norther comes through signaling Winter’s arrival.

Before that time comes, we have Fall. Some of the trees give up their leaves, dry and brown.  He doesn’t like sweet gum trees because of the balls they dump on the ground.  I forgive them the balls littering the ground because of the blood red color the leaves will soon turn.   Sycamores make the biggest mess of all our trees.  But the yellow leaves shining against the blue sky are lovely.  When they have shed their golden treasure, the stark white of the ancient trunks gleams brightly.  An invasive species of tree I only know of as a tallow tree does have a wide arrange array of colors and a large bank of them makes a fine show.

This is the time of year when my loved ones start asking for a fresh batch of hot chocolate mix. I will blend up a round in a few days.  I keep promising to make marshmallows again.  Perhaps this year I will tackle the sticky challenge.  There is no comparison to store bought with these treats.

S’mores were never part of our camping trips when I was a kid. I first experienced them at the campfire of our best friend and his bride when their boys were tiny.  We have had them a few times through the years.  I have gathered some recipes on Pinterest for variations of the s’mores theme.  I want to practice some different things to see which to do for Hallowe’en weekend.  We have a couple of events that weekend and I want to bring a traditional fall flavor with a new twist.

I love pumpkins and Hallowe’en decorations and candy and costumes. Many childhood memories involve fire department, church or school sponsored Hallowe’en carnivals or Fall Festivals.

Then, of course, Fall means hunting and football. Or football and hunting.  Depending on the day of the week and the weather.   We don’t have a deer camp to go to this year, since changing clubs.  He is making me a fire pit under the trees in the yard.  I will be able to pretend I am off in the woods….and still have a flush toilet available!

Bright fall colors, slightly cooler weather, hunting, football, baking goodies (cool enough to turn on the oven), Hallowe’en events. Fall is here.  By the time it gets to be winter, the California Jewel will be arriving in San Dimas.  This is going to be one of my favorite Falls of all time!

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Lessons

My 9 to 5 has been giving me some lessons the past few weeks. Not bad things, just reminders.  A few months ago I was again moved into a certain position that I generally try to escape as soon as possible.  I have made up my mind I want to stay in it, if allowed, for the next three years until I retire.  The lessons relate to my maintaining detachment.  I always fuss at my co-worker friends about letting others elicit an emotional response from them.  My line is “if you are having an emotional response, either positive or negative, you have lost your professionalism”.  The business I am in requires such behavior.  It is far too dangerous otherwise.  I let more than one someone get me agitated when I should not have let it bother me.

Another recent lesson I have experienced (but not fully learned) is to just keep at it. I have started walking again.  It is still hot and the bugs are still buzzing and I can’t get to it as many days as I would like. But, I am going to keep at it.  It matters to me to do it.  It makes me feel better to walk through stress from the day and work out my sciatic nerve pain.  Better sleep is a major bonus, too.

I am keeping at my house. I got some chores caught up. Still have more to do.  I want to get some extra stuff out of here.  My dilemma comes with our daughter’s profession.  As a second year theater teacher, her prop room needs development.  I have some things for the prop room stacked up ready to deliver.  But, she lives an hour and a half away.  So, I just keep piling and moving the piles.  I will keep at it until I get things delivered to her.

This past weekend, we were blessed to participate in the Beth Moore simulcast at our church. I read her latest book, Audacious, last month. I am reminded again to keep at developing my relationship with Him.  I am not a holy roller at all.  I deeply love Christ.  I am a born-again believer.  But, I am a work in progress.  I can’t imagine how bad I would be if not for the tempering of the Holy Spirit.  I am pretty rough even with His influence.  It’s not about me, though. It is about Him and His love for me.  It is about Him using me to love others for Him when they can’t see Him.  I wish I was better at it.  I wish I wasn’t so easily agitated by some things.

I have a few other lessons I am trying to teach myself. I hope he can be patient with me while I work out some more of them.  Most of the time he notices without comment.  I have to be careful to not take the lack of comments as disapproval.  Sometimes he does comment.  I have to be careful to not take the input of comments as disapproval. He is the one with whom I always want to have a positive emotional reaction.  But, I am shy when it comes to him.  I am still afraid of disappointing him.  That seems silly considering how many years we have been married and how well he knows me.

I will keep at it. Learning and growing and maturing.  Like our bull pines, I will have to weather more storms and drop limbs from time to time.  Living and thriving means I will need to keep at my lessons.  Some I will learn the first time through.  Others will take many tries to learn.  Still others will require I keep at it till He calls me home.

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Simple Ambitions

 

I have such painfully simple ambitions.

Once upon a time, you could eat off my floors.  Ceiling fans to baseboards, pantries and potties.  All were kept immaculately clean and tidy.  Even when I started working at the school, I had enough time and energy to keep up with things.

Between working a full-time 9-5 and reaching my 50s, I don’t keep up so well.  We discussed the possibility of hiring some help for me.  At least someone to do the ceiling fans and floors.  I’m not sure how our puppy dog would feel about someone being in the house with us not here.  So, that is on the back burner for now.

One thing I have noticed.  The messes don’t bother me as much as they did when I was younger.  I don’t think my standards have lowered. Rather, I have begun to have more compassion for myself.  Historically, by this time, I would be having a nervous fit over the condition of some areas of the house.  Don’t get me wrong, the house is not filthy.  Things are not piled up everywhere.  Still, things are not as pristine as I would like them to be.

A couple of my phrases from my life book are:  über tidy and operating room clean.  Some of my other catch phrases include words like immaculate and other such “perfection” words, it is easy to understand how I fall ridiculously short of my goals.

Yes, it is my intention to “put wash away warm”.  My poor beloved knows how to dig socks from the hamper of clean clothes.  I console myself by noting that the clothes are clean.  I have heard of those having to dig in the dirty clothes for something to wear.  Never at my house in all my years of housekeeping have any of them had to do that.  Please forgive my boast.  I need something today to reduce the level of guilt over my neglected floors and rugs.

So, my house is not looking the way I would prefer.  My schedule is looking great.  I have several events upcoming.  Nearly every Saturday has some special something to occupy my time and energy.  I will have a large quantity of memories scheduled for accumulating over the next several months.  Memories with my church family, my nieces, cousins, aunts, daughter.  Memories with him and our son and his bride and the Jewel of California arriving soon.

That accumulation more than offsets any anguish I might feel over the accumulation of dust bunnies in the corners.  Über festive, immaculately pleasant, are those good phrases? Maybe I will adopt those to replace the more difficult ones.

Perfection is being in the presence of my family and friends, him, Him, and especially that Jewel on the way.

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Oops!

Yes, I know it is Thursday. I did not really forget to do Raining Orchids yesterday.  I just forgot when it got time to do it.  Sometime this morning or maybe late last night when I was almost asleep, I remembered I had not posted.  Coming back to reality after the past couple of weeks is taking its toll on me!

I was a little concerned I would not have much to get excited about for a little while. I was wrong.

I got my iPod going last month. He bought me a new one for my birthday.  I waited until this week to start walking the track again.  Between all the scheduled traveling and the deadly heat, it seemed prudent to wait.  Even today, the heat is causing me to delay a while.  I need the track time.  I sleep better when I have made a few laps.  Better sleep makes for better days altogether.

We have a special event coming up at church. I am looking forward to the event and also the preparations I will have a part in leading up to it.  There is a vacancy at the church he and I are trying to help cover.  I have not worked with youth in years.  A couple of girls come fairly regularly and are delightful to engage in conversation.  He is trying to cover Sunday School and I am trying to do something Wednesday evening until a regular youth minister can be hired.

A new issue of Bella Grace should be on the rack at the bookstore.  I need to pick up some supplies for the activities at church in the big town an hour south of us tomorrow.  I have a few items still needing to be packed up and shipped west.  The gathering of the girls that was delayed last month due to illness has been rescheduled.

We have weathered heartbreaking losses over the years. We are managing something that is devastating to think about.  My mother’s sister has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s for a few years now.  I take her sister to visit her and we have a small party with “the girls” so as not to overwhelm her.  We dress up and act silly for a few hours every month when possible.  When I say dress up: we are dressing up as clowns for our ritual group photo this time.  I hope the littlest one isn’t afraid of clowns.

My life is ridiculously simple to most folks. My life is incredibly rich to me. Small delights and great blessings abound.  Orchids are pouring down upon me. It doesn’t seem right to not be happy.  Not with all I have undeservedly been given.

I always thought somehow we would all finally get well and gather together and live happily ever after. It took me so long to figure out that life is not a destination. I don’t know when I started grasping that idea.  I don’t know if I fully grasp that idea.  Part of me is still waiting for everyone to come home.

Life is what it is. Someone very dear to me recently told me something his father has been telling me for so many years. We were sitting out on the deck looking out over the mountains behind his house.  Talking about this and that.  He said:

“Just be happy.”

Okay, son. I will.  I am.

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