TToT: Surrounded by Autumn

pretty leaves

I am thankful for all of the typical hallmarks of autumn surrounding me this week:

The colorful outdoors.

Temperatures that are cool enough to evaporate the menopausal layer of dew which perpetually covers my overheated body seven months of the year.

Soup bones simmering in the crockpot to make a beef broth which will give a pot of homemade soup a truly homemade taste.

As I fight off a sinus/flu/headachy bug, I am thankful for the humidifier, ginger ale, hot tea, a supply of good books, Netflix, and technology that allows me to stay just the right amount connected to the office when I can’t be there.  Mostly, I am thankful for the realization that only rarely in my life have I had to fight any illness much worse than this annoying flu.  Here’s to good health!




TToT: All Things Home

Victorian door in Springfield, Illinios
Victorian door in Springfield, Illinios

This time of year I turn towards home.  The days get shorter, bringing me inside earlier each evening.  The air cools until it is perfect for lighting a fire to chase the chill from the house.  Home shines bright against the darkened sky.  It is safe.  Something warm bubbles on the stovetop, its scent wafting its way down the hall.  My tension eases as I walk towards my door; relief floods my body as I cross the threshold.  Closing the door behind me I shut out the stress and chaos of the  world.  There is no need to worry now that I am home.


Something a little different for my Ten Things of Thankful.


TToT: A Walk


My husband came home early from work which rarely ever happens.  We headed out to a matinee of A Walk in the Woods, a pleasant piece of entertainment that requires little thought to watch, but is based on an epic hike that was the result of deep contemplation about life.

The film brings up questions about where your life has been, where it is headed, and how it can be getting there so darned fast.  It made me aware of a whole lot of reasons to be thankful: non-violent entertainment; the people I have shared my journey with even if they are no longer with me through one circumstance or another; still holding hands in a darkened theater with the guy who took me to see Flashdance when it was the latest thing; physical health; the beauty of the earth; and even though Robert Redford’s character took pains to distance himself from his Iowa roots, I am forever thankful for my own Midwestern heritage.

At the conclusion of the movie, just like the main characters I was glad for the home I had to return to.  I am thankful for the times in life I have maneuvered with the grace of Redford, but know in my heart I have learned more while stumbling into the trees like the Nick Nolte character.  So, I have to be equally grateful for those moments as well.  Overall, the movie was a sweet reminder to stay cognizant that the journey itself no matter how flawed is a gift.



TToT: A Muddled Mind

Just got back from Chicago where we took the time to see The Bean finally.  This is a shot standing in the center of the opening beneath it and looking up.  This photo is a good illustration of how my mind has felt of late….muddled and over busy.

Even muddled there are things to be thankful for this week.

Cooler temperatures, the beauty and art of the city, the freedom to not live in the city.

The engagement of a friend’s daughter… which led to a frenzy of texts between the friend and me… which served as a reminder of how much this friend has meant to me for as long as I can remember.

Working with Middle Schoolers—can’t help it.  I love them!

Silly road trips with my kids,  wrong turns and side trips that lead to adventure.

The experience of motherhood.

Coming home.


TToT: Midsummer

julygirl…back in Kansas,  there is much to be thankful for.

Little kids and their great sense of style.  How can you go wrong with a red glitter visor and patriotic tutu skirt?  Not to mention the confidence to wear it in public!

Rain that brings the temperature out of the “hazardous” range and offers a life saving drink to the outdoor plants.

Watermelon.  Cold, juicy watermelon.


Summer binge reading.  Pages4Progress encourages you to log the number of pages you read on their website this summer.  Those pages translate to monetary pledges to promote literacy and combat poverty.  Read. Read. Read!

An example of graciousness: Sunday at church an elderly gentleman mistook a decorative gem stone for a mint, placing it in his mouth and causing concern among the crowd.  I attempted to get him to spit it out for fear he would choke, but only succeeded in confusing and embarrassing him.  Soon after, a lady sitting near us reached for her purse.   Pulling out a tissue she lightly folded it into a square, leaned over to him and said, “When you are finished with what you have in your mouth go ahead and slip it into the tissue.”  Genius, unadulterated genius.  He swished the hard stone around his mouth a couple more times before discretely depositing it into the tissue.  Not only did she stave off a choking disaster, she allowed him to retain his dignity.  Her gracious act was a thing of beauty.

Sun tea by the gallon.  Cold and crisp.

Mammographic proof of healthy breasts.  And 364 days of smoosh-free existence.  I am never quite ready for my close-up.

Watching my friend at her father’s funeral this week, I was reminded of my mom’s funeral a few years ago.  My kids surrounded me with both physical and emotional support.  It is one of my earliest memories of them all three as adults, roles reversed with them caring for me.  The pride and affection of the memory is still as strong as it was in the moment; I am tremendously grateful for these three people who make life pretty much as good as it gets.