November Bounty

November 3rd, 2011

Happy November! It seems almost impossible that 2011 is almost over, but here we are. Last weekend my kids and I visited our family farm and enjoyed some time exploring outdoors. As we were gathering leaves and rocks and other treasures, I was observing the light and the colors. Fall is a random time in the South. It’s random in that you never know exactly when it’s going to hit and what response Nature might make. The typical Fall colors and signature blue sky spread themselves along the landscape from late September well into January sometimes. For this trip, I was noticing the clarity of the colors. The blue sky was astonishingly blue at times. The greens were still quite vibrant in places. The yellows and reds and oranges were popping out in their appropriate tree species with a punch. I sometimes assume November will offer only the most sluggish of colors that are soon muddied out by an overwelming gray/brown neutral. Not so, as we begin the month this year! Even my own yard is ablaze with deep hues. Clear hues.

Clarity. It can be hard to come by sometimes — in colors and in living. As November has brought it’s clear hues this year, I’m also wondering what I’m willing to let it bring for my clarity of spirit. This month, we celebrate Thanksgiving. We focus on the blessings we find in the privilege of living. The bounty.

Bounty is clarifying. Taking the time to recognize the bounty around me pushes aside muddy thinking and muddy priorities. It focuses my attention on what matters. It keeps the main things (and people) in clearer focus. Bounty refuses to allow itself to be governed by regrets or have-nots. It requires that I see a full plate. It flies in the face of all the distractions that come with that battle in my mind. Am I really making progress? Am I really speaking? Am I really moving? Am I really living? Moving my attention to the bounty of each day and each experience helps me live that day and that experience will a full focus and a full heart. That’s my goal this November, and that’s the inspiration for this month’s wallpaper art. Enjoy for your desktop, iphone or ipad!


October 6th, 2011

“Jack jumped over the candle stick!” Bug came home singing it a week ago. They had finished up nursery rhyme week and he could recite the poem in full laughter mode complete with a demonstration of the famous leap. There is pumpkin fever around my house! Little Drummer Boy, Bug and Baby Girl have all had a hankering for Fall fun, and I have to admit that it’s taken me by surprise. Yes, October arrives every year on the day after September 30th, but for some reason I’ve felt a step or two behind the process this year. Fall IS my favorite time of year, and I suppose I’ve spread that little joy to my children enough in the past to help them catch the autumn bug as well. That’s probably why they’ve been asking non-stop about carving pumpkins, pulling pumpkins from the attic, painting pumpkins, decorating with pumpkins, icing pumpkins, etc. Are you catching the theme?

As I’ve watched their excitement grow over the last week about silly things like pulling down the attic stairs and fetching the Halloween box. About finding the best “horse apples”, those green seed-y balls from the Bodock tree they’ve decided we need to decorate aptly. About picking out just the right pumpkins from the produce bin. About all the things we’ve planned to do and enjoy once “Fall” arrives.

Well, now it’s here.

I couldn’t help but use the word “nimble” in this month’s desktop wallpaper. It’s a different kind of “Jack” of course, but naturally, “nimble” seemed to fit. It also fits my feelings this month. It seems October has arrived with more quickness than it usually does. Where has 2011 gone? And, I have no doubt that Jack’s month will usher the rest of the year through our lives with even more agility. In the same way, I see my sweethearts all full of giggles and smiles and questions, and I can’t help but recognize how nimble the passage of their days is as well. I’m barely caught up with one stage or one skill before they’ve moved on to the next. I’ve barely wrung out one tender moment or one amazing conversation before they’re on to the next profundity. As this October begins, I find myself gripping to slow the process down, to halt the furious race toward the next accomplishment in their lives. But, try as I might to resist it, I’m certain Jack will be nimble. And quick. So, I’m determined to be utterly captured in the gaze of his fiery grin for as long as possible. Before the flicker is blown by leaping. As their feet rush on to new journeys.

Click and enjoy.

12 Days of Thanksgiving: N

November 17th, 2010


For me, no exploration of gratitude would be complete without some exposure of the natural world around us. It is perhaps the most exquisite example of creativity, sustainability, flexibility and undaunted growth that exists. It is a continual source of lessons and beauty and inspiration for me. My just-days-away-from 4yo Bug acknowledges that God made everything, and that He “painted” the world. I think he’s right. The Creator could have placed us in a bland and colorless existence. I’m thankful He chose to paint it instead with all that we see–vibrant and ripe life. There’s a lesson for me there. I want to cultivate the same level of ripeness and richness within and without in my little corner of the greater Life.

Enjoy these few glimpses of the magnificence of November.

Thurs Thirteen: Lessons from Jack

November 11th, 2010

As usual I’m lagging behind and very negligent on this whole posting thing. But, last night I realized that the pumpkin we carved on the day before Halloween is on its last tooth (so to speak). Little Drummer Boy learned this October in kindergarten that pumpkins are pumpkins. But when you carve faces on them, they turn into Jack-o-lanterns. So if he were writing over my shoulder, he would quickly scold me for diminishing Jack to a mere pumpkin, especially after seeing his spectacular light. I imagine Jack is headed for the garbage pile fairly soon, and I wanted to honor with a little list before he steps aside to make way for turkeys. I give you the Thursday Thirteen: Lessons from Jack. Enjoy.

1. Sometimes it takes emptying your guts to put a smile on your face.

2. The first cut is the deepest.

3. Who really needs molars anyway?

4. Wind, rain, cool of night. Just keep smiling.

5. When trouble comes, show your teeth.

6. Yes, pumpkin goop is VERY exciting to 5yo and 4yo boys. Who knew?

7. For 2yo girls, the tricycle is MUCH more interesting.

8. Excitement = volume 10. Always.

9. Carving a pumpkin can be an intense experience. You would be intense too if you had the best pocket knife in the world in your hand, the ONE pumpkin 5yo chose at the no-longer-in-existence downtown pumpkin patch and 3 excited (read highly mobile) youngsters underfoot.

10. Sometimes you have to guard your candle to keep it from going out.

11. Smiles aren’t spooky.

12. Smiles are contagious.

13. Basking in Jack-o-lantern light is alright.

Oh Happy Day: New Leaves

October 8th, 2010

Yep. Not a single Oh Happy Day! post all summer long. I started the Oh Happy Day Gratitude project as a way to remind myself to live with thankfulness beyond this day of the week when we usually are all too ready to say “Thank God it’s Friday!” Obviously I’ve been failing.

I’ll admit, I’ve been a bit pouty and ungrateful in the emotional realm lately. I chalk it up to the grieving process that often accompanies seasons of change — even seasons that we welcome or embrace. But, that’s another post I hope to complete soon. For now, I’ve discovered it’s a happy day!

I was reminded with last weekend’s hanging of the scarecrow flag around here that I am indeed willing and able to celebrate the Fall season and all the blessings it brings. I was thinking about a few of those things I’m blessed with and thankful for this week. The chief blessing is the ability to turn over a new leaf. There are those that say “people don’t change,” and I agree that some don’t have the willingness to do so. But, today I’m so thankful that as humans, our minds and hearts CAN be convinced to see things differently, that with the right prodding and reminders and encouragement, we can turn over new leaves. And, not just in this season when leaves are readily changing. It is a tremendous blessing to live life outside of the bounds of instinct or rote. To be able to make up our minds is a wonderful gift God has given. And, to have an openness to shift our view, to see things beyond the circumstantial obvious, to be willing to listen to an a new perspective is one of the best qualities we can nurture in ourselves.

This week, I’ve been making up my mind to embrace possibilities, to move in better directions, to reject the satisfaction with settling, and yes, to celebrate the season of change with the laughter and joy of sweet blessings like Baby Girl, Bug and Little Drummer Boy. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is a haphazard quest at best. NOW is here. I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to miss the sounds of Elmo games on the internet as LDB learns to master a laptop. I don’t want to miss the imagination of Bug that is perfectly ok with pretending “cheetah” starts with “F” for show-and-tell. I don’t want to miss the coy smile of Baby Girl as she requests “hug.” I don’t want to squelch their excitement at pulling out silly scarecrows or orange plastic pumpkins. I don’t want to overlook the kindness and accomplishments of loved ones. I don’t want my own mindset to cause me to miss it.

So, Oh Happy Day! In celebration of October and my new attitude about it, I’m offering a re-post of last year’s “Jack” desktop wallpaper sporting this year’s calendar. I love it because the jack-o-lantern photo by a 4yo Little Drummer Boy makes me smile. And the silly “peek-ee-boot” of a 2yo Bug reminds me of how quickly they are learning and growing. I don’t want to miss it.

    Wander Here

    Thank you for seven years of encouragement and sharing this story. You can find Haley's current essays and design work at


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