:: Fall has arrived ::

Well, it is definitely fall everybody. Today's high only reached a perfect 72 degrees, and right now as I try to wind down and go to bed it is actually just 55 degrees. That, my friends is perfect sleeping weather. I just wrap myself up in my softest blanket, open all the windows, and I am literally in heaven. I mean it. There is honestly nothing quite like it. I never sleep better that in the fall. And this is why. Fresh air and cool temperatures make for a perfect night's sleep. On that note, it's time to say good night.



:: Fall equinox ::

The autumn equinox was Wednesday.  Today, is the Harvest Moon.  Here in Illinois, we can expect to experience our first frost around this time, and we're seeing more signs of fall by the day.  There are a hundred reasons this change in seasons is a completely overwhelming & hectic time for me. Besides keeping up with the everyday stuff, I'm all over the place enjoying every single glimpse of autumn I can find and photograph. I don't want to miss one single thing. There are so many. almost started listing them just now.  
But instead, I'm going to share the things I love about this time of year.   

I love transitioning from flip-flops to my favorite boots. Warm socks, scarves & sweaters. 

Once the crisp air arrives, blue jeans and my hoodies are an everyday sight. My kitchen is overflowing with my garden goodies. I am canning and freezing and using them up just as fast as I can, The nights are cool and perfect for outdoor fireside gatherings with friends and neighbors, and watching high school football games played by the same little boys who used to run through my yard playing games and climbing all the trees {just when did they grow up?} Hunting season is beginning now as well. As for me, I am content with just hunting for mushrooms.

It's time to pick apples and pears at the orchard and make some delicious goodies out of them. My personal favorite is hot apple crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

How about you? what are you looking forward to this fall? 


:: Friends ::

Halloween decor spotted already!

There is no doubt that at times, it's hard for us to let people into our lives. It's rather hard to choose a friend {s}. I really believe that it all boils down to the fact that it's because we are afraid we are going to get hurt, but, if you choose wisely, that should never be an issue and really, who wants to go through life without friends? Now is the time to make and nurture your friendships, so be thinking about the people with whom you want to be spending your time with. Do you know what you are looking for exactly? And, while your at it, exactly what type of friend do you want to be?  As for me, I think you should;

  • Surround yourself with friends who aren't afraid of some honest give-and-take.
  • Be the kind of friend who always makes people feel comfortable. 
  • Surround yourself with friends who make you want to be a better person.
  • Be the kind of friend who really listens to what people have to say.
  • Surround yourself with friends with whom you can discuss anything.
  • Be the kind of friend who invites people over without a set curfew.
  • Surround yourself with friends who teach you things and lift your spirits.
  • Be the kind of friend who always gives generously.
  • Surround yourself with friends who allow you to open up and talk about anything.
  • Be the kind of friend that people can talk to and share things with.

What do you think? Pretty good recipe for a friendship I think.


:: Wow! It's cold! ::

And I don't mind it at all one little bit. Bring it on... but, allow me to pull on a hoodie first, wow! What a surprise, I get up this morning and head outside with the dog for our walk and holy moly is it chilly or what? I had to run back in and grab a hoodie! Good thing I unpacked my fall and winter items last weekend, and really, not a moment too soon! I love it! I simply love it! The cooler weather is so welcome! I absolutely love dressing in layers, wearing boots, and my soft comfy sweaters, and sitting outside on the porch and having a hot cup of tea while reading a wonderful new book - or - catching up on some beautiful magazines, which is exactly what I am going to do at some point today! This morning I have already whipped up a delicious batch of Ham and beans! I have some homemade cornbread made by a dear friend to pair with that. What could be better than that? Dinner already done, and whole day spread in front of me like a blank page just waiting to be filled! I live for days like this one. There will be a long nature walk taken today, along with some beautiful pictures, although we do not have real autumn color yet, just a few splashes of it here and there, as I mentioned earlier some reading as well, A friend and I are gathering for a quick coffee at Starbucks to enjoy the seasons new Pumpkin Spice Latte! Yummy! And for breakfast this morning, I am trying my hand at pumpkin pancakes with praline syrup. I actually ate this at a restaurant and loved it so much I found the recipe! It should pair well with some delicious breakfast sausage. And some orange juice of course! What's not to love about this season? course! What's not to love about this season? I can only think of one thing really... its a prelude to winter, but, really, I enjoy winter to. It has it's own little important niche as well, bringing on the slowing down that is so very necessary in our lives. But for now, it is autumn. time to reap the benefits of all that was sown, and get some wonderful sleep in that cool night air... nothing beats the sleep you achieve in the fall. Nothing. And to top it all off there are lots of things going on this week to enjoy the season, this weeks list of things to do includes;

walking along nature paths spying fall here and there
spotting yellows, oranges, reds and purples
enjoying the first cup of spiced tea of the season
cool, crisp breezes coming through the still-open windows
pulling out our doughnut maker {want to make apple-cider doughnuts}
finish unpacking the hoodies and sweaters and long sleeved clothing
creating a fall - inspired craft or two
attending an all-day art class taught by non other than Dyan Reaveley!
finish decorating the house for fall {want to make a fall arrangement}
snuggling under a soft blanket while watching a great new movie!
Making homemade french onion soup - I simply love it!
spending and afternoon taking pictures everywhere I go
catching up in my journal a bit! getting a little behind!

Are you spotting a pattern here? {smile} I know. Sigh. I'm really hoping to have a wonderful and productive week, in fact, I'm counting on it. Wish me luck, and I hope you're week is just as fantastic as well! Enjoy the change of season!


:: Those bright little umbrellas ::

Pics found via; Pinterest
I don't care if you're drinking a coke that's been sitting out for 3 days, a little yellow umbrella will make it perfect. First of all, Coca ~ Cola is so strong that even after 3 days it is probably still good to drink, and second, what drink wouldn't be made perfect just by adding a little umbrella to it? Jeez... everybody should know that.


:: Changes ahead ::

Can you imagine all the changes ahead?
The difference in how things will be?
Are you ready for this...?
For this enormous change
Where are you going to go?
Will you be happy there?
Is that what you really want?

What if you make the wrong decision?
What if you regret what you have done?

What if you made the right decision?
What if you are happier than you imagined?

The decision is in your hands...
Try not to fret to much about it...


:: Time in nature ::

The sound of the leaves fluttering in the breeze
Radiant colors beaming from the trees
I'm soaking it all in
Hearing my footsteps along the path,
carrying me through the woods.

Nature always brings me back
It grounds me
Helps my soul de-clutter
And, brings a smile to my face
It eases my fears...
And makes me feel a little more comfortable with myself.  


:: Daydreaming ::

Bringing women together is always a good thing in and of itself.  But if you take a group of women who are desperately needing a break away from the everydayness of everyday, and are just itching to nurture their creative instincts…. and then throw in a fabulous weekend retreat in a large rented cabin with a roaring fire, and a ginormous Jacuzzi tub and of course lots and lots of alcohol, (lots) ….. well, some amazing things can happen!

  • creative sparks start to fly
  • seeds are planted
  • ideas unfold
  • new relationships are formed
  • secrets are shared in a safe place
  • there is an opportunity to breathe deeply and soak in the surroundings
  • nature can be explored and photographed in great detail

I feel incredibly blessed to have some good friends, and I was thinking that we should all take a weekend and just get away. Do all of the above. And not just once either. I think we should make this a twice a year ritual. It's good for the soul don't you think? When you are surrounded by woman like this, each of whom have something unique and beautiful to contribute,  well, when that happens, something magical occurs and you end up with a result that is far more than the sum of the parts. Yes, I really need to look into this further.


:: Holding on and letting go ::

“People hold on to their clutter because they are afraid to let it go ~~ afraid of the emotions they may experience in the process of sorting thorough the stuff, afraid they will make a mistake and later regret getting rid of something, afraid they will leave themselves vulnerable, exposed or at risk in some way.  Clutter clearing can bring up a lot of “stuff” to be faced and dealt with, and intuitively everybody knows it.

The process of clearing clutter is all about letting go.  Not just letting go of your belongings ~~ that is only the end result.  The most important thing is learning to let go of the fear that keeps you holding on to them after it is time to move them on their way.”  


I have a huge secret to share with you. I’ve keep it secret for years. Those who have been in my home would never know that it had ever existed, but at one time it did. I don’t talk about it now because it doesn't exist anymore. It's a secret that now lies behind an imaginary closed door.  

Some of you may have a drawer, a shelf, or a closet that has been collecting clutter. Most people do. As for myself, at one time, I had a whole room. Yes. A whole room-with a closet!  That room held a lot of things for me. Memories, history, shame, creativity, it became a box that held all the things that did not have an assigned place in my home. Things that got in the way, things I simply did not know what to do with. Tons of family photos and slides, handwritten notes and yearbooks belonging to not only myself but my parents as well, gift that were bought, but never sent, and cards, lots of cards that I received over the years, and even cards written by me, but never sent. And clothes. Lots of clothes. Some worn some not. So, it became a room everyone avoided like the plague.

Until about five years ago when I began to navigate through the layers and the years and I dusted off the projects that will never be completed, and really looked at the gifts I had received that never sang to my heart, and at all the things that I had bought because they were a great bargain. I am thrilled to report that all of that "stuff" was donated, recycled or tossed to the curb. But, it was not an easy process. There are some things too heavy and heartfelt for us to let go of, like my dads suit coat that hung in the closet filling it with the subtle, yet so familiar cologne that he always wore, along with the stale packet of gum and a few peppermints that he kept in his pocket to give to all of us at church every Sunday. It still hangs there. It is still needed. Much needed. But much is gone. The clutter. It is gone.

It was a huge process, going through the layers and unraveling the wounds from the past as well as dusting off treasures for the future. I found tons of things that I had forgotten all about. I continue to purge almost weekly. I have found it to be a necessary thing for me to do because it keeps me from dragging new stuff home. Now I can now see what I do have. And what I do have is both what I want, and what I need. And, I have discovered, I do not need a lot. 

Clutter holds a negative energetic pull that keeps us stuck.  It is so obvious to me that when my home is cluttered and untidy, so is my mind.  This is when the creative blocks surface, making me feel stuck and blocked. Things that we hold on to for no reason truly block us from having more. More love, more creativity, more space in our life. It stops us from being who we truly are, and from doing what we are meant to do.

When we are able to resolve our clutter issues, we are able to discover parts of our self that got buried underneath it all. The rewards for clearing the clutter are abundant. By clearing my clutter, it has allowed me to see my true self, plus, I now have a whole room I use just for crafting. Does a reward get any better than that? I think not.

So, my friend, I am inviting you to let go of the clutter you have been holding onto.  
Trust me, it is the greatest gift you can give yourself.


:: Self Portrait ::

"She cried at least once a day,
not because she was sad, 
but because the world was so beautiful
and life was so short"


:: Just standing here ::

I am standing here, just staring at myself
Trying to be as sure of myself as I can
Allowing myself to fall freely into what I see ahead of me
I struggle sometimes 
I have never been here before
The eyes look calm (looks can be deceiving)
I don't feel very brave, I don't feel like myself
The struggle sometimes seems endless 
A constant battle between my heart and my head
I am healing
I am growing
I am observing 
I am breathing
It helps me so I can feel strong and...
See my dreams more clearly and...
Smile more
I am surrounded by amazing people
that help me stand tall.


:: When life was simple ::

Remember way back when you were a kid? (LOL)  Life was so simple. You would jump onto your bicycle and feel free. You could go wherever you wanted on that bicycle. What an amazing sense of freedom. And now here I am. I have my car and it can take me anywhere. Anywhere I want to go. Yet, I do not feel like I have my freedom. Not at all. I feel so tied down. What I need, is to let go, jump on my bicycle, feel the wind in my hair, and enjoy that amazing sense of freedom once again. 


:: You don't have it figured out ::

Sometimes life can be so crazy. We think we have it all figured out, but really we do not. And that can really be frustrating the older you get. Just when you think you have something figured out, you don't.

And as always, we look to our past and wonder if the decisions we made were the best ones, and wonder if what we did really was right, Did we miss something? Then, we look to the future and wonder, what lies ahead for us, are we missing something important now that will help in the future? 

Life can be so chaotic, it's true and I realize that. And no, I don't have things figured out, but there are something things that I have learned along the way that stay constant and true, I think we encounter who we should when we should, and we experience what we should when we should. The hardest part of life for all of us is saying goodbye, but sometimes we just have to say goodbye. We must make room for the changes. The new and wonderful can not come in if the old is still standing in the doorway!


:: The night sky ::

Nothing quite amazes me more then a beautiful night sky. When it happens, I find myself constantly tripping over something, just because I am looking up. I think it is so fascinating that I can look up into the sky and see the same thing that someone millions of miles away, or even just a block away can see at that same moment in time. 

Most of us believe ourselves to be quite different from others, and that no one really understands us. But, the truth is really that we are all pretty much the same. Most of us have the same fears and worries. We all think we are not good enough, do not do enough, or just aren't enough. But, the fact remains that we are enough, we have enough, and everything really will be alright. Really.

When you are feeling alone, or overwhelmed, take a deep breath and look up. Just look up into the night sky and realize that somewhere, someone else is feeling just like you are. We all live under the same sky. And we all sing with the same voice. :)


:: Surprise ::

I am not comfortable with disorder, {does that surprise you?) I don't like the feeling I get when my entire peripheral vision is filled with things, with objects.  I have often heard through the grapevine that I am well known for keeping a very tidy house and it's true.  I laughed out loud when this was shared with me, laughed that it even merited someone's attention enough to pass that little detail of my life around. But, recently I was presented with a problem of sorts that I wasn't quite sure how to handle. My good friend was in over her head. Too much responsibility, she was hardly ever home. Ever. But, she was allowing some family to live with her who needed her help for a while. Now mind you, she's as sweet as they come, which is probably why I was so upset when I popped in to say "hi" real quick.  I was flabbergasted by what I saw. Her home was a complete and utter disaster area. And folks, I don't say that lightly, I mean it. The family staying with her were not picking up after themselves or helping to clean at all. There were dishes everywhere, and piles of hair on the floor from 2 dogs, dust everywhere, and she looked at me with utter defeat in her eyes. I told her there was no need to apologize to me, I am her friend. But, I did ask her why she did not call me for help, when clearly she needed it. She did not want to ask. She was embarrassed. So, I said I understood that, but for now, I was going to give her her birthday present early... a clean  house. For real. She went to work, and I started in. I also got a couple of the family members to help me (a very little bit). I swept, and then I vacuumed, I mopped, and then I scrubbed, I washed dishes (for over an hour) and put them away. I dusted and then I polished. I re-arranged her living room better, I washed the windows... and when I was done 9 hours later, I felt good. The next morning she called me crying. She was so happy.  Best birthday present I ever gave. Ever. Little things mean a lot. What can you do for a friend today that would make all the difference in the world?


:: Stop Planning ::

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have that life that is waiting for us."

~ Joseph Campbell ~

There have been so many times in my life that I have tried {in vain} to plan everything out. I would always think that if I planned it out really good, then nothing could possibly go wrong and everything would be absolutely perfect. What a joke. Each time without fail things did not work out. Why? Too many variables. You cannot predict a) The weather b) How people are feeling that day and where they are emotionally at this moment in time and c) What everybody likes or doesn't like. Let's face it everything changes, unexpected things occur, or people just change their minds. I think in general, we all feel like we should stick to our plans or things are not going to be alright. Well pooey, I say just roll with the punches, plan nothing, and sit back and enjoy the fun of the unexpected. In fact, that's usually when I have the best times. Remember, life is here for us to enjoy it, planning things leaves no room for random chances and unexpected experiences to present themselves, and folks... those are usually our best days. Remember that. 


:: I just love.... ::

A few more things I love...
I love being outdoors, soaking up the sunshine, the feel of grass under my feet, or sand between my toes. 
I love the ocean, swimming in the waves, taking long walks on the beach, finding beautiful shells, hearing the sound of the ocean, and smelling the salty air.
I love adventure, choosing to take the path no one has ventured on before, seeing things I never noticed, and doing things spontaneously. 
I love to travel, going to new places even if they are just around the block.
I love creating, taking photos, writing, making collages, journaling
I love reading, curling up with a good book on a cold winters day, or lying in the sunshine... enjoying the slow turning of each page.
I love to laugh, at corny jokes, movies, or comedians.
I love being around my grandchildren, their sense of wonder always opens my eyes to new things.


:: For myself ::

I will allow myself...

to love but not get so caught up in love that I lose who I am

to cry but not drown mysef in my sorrows

to be angry but not hold on to anger for to long

to do what I want but not forget that my actions and decisions effect others as well as myself

to have what I want but not be consumed by materialistic things

to let go but not forget what brought me this far

to be loved but not stop showing loving for myself and others

to feel good but not be arrogant about it.