Make the Day Seem to us Less Brief

October 
Robert Frost
redleaves
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

And Many More

Happy, happy first day of autumn, dear readers. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Also, Happy, happy birthday Bilbo Baggins.

The-pity-of-Bilbo-may-rule

Find more cool artwork from Dan at eucatastrophe.com.

Postcard From Halloween 2013

Scurry, scurry.  We are getting ready.

I tackle the impossible task of making excited children stay on task.  If we are going to have Halloween, we need to _________________.  “Halloween!” their little brains hear — and nothing else.  Laundry?  Cleaning up?  Schoolwork?  Piano practice?  WHAT?!  No no no no.  We can think of costumes, friends, s’mores, and candy…and nothing else.

We emerge from the early afternoon weather-beaten but no worse for wear; we begin stacking wood, arranging chairs, hanging lights.  The neighbors were freaked out by the long dark driveway last year; let’s make it brighter.  The older boys arrange the cider cups into what they call Napoleon’s Imperial Castle.  I fiddle with the motion-detector light that never works right.

And then I say the words they’ve been awaiting: “It’s time to put your costumes on.”  They bolt upstairs while I go to the kitchen, wondering — why am I bothering to make dinner again?  Everyone will live on sugar tonight.  I guess we might as well get some whole grains and protein in while we can.

Dusk falls as we eat; we hurriedly throw paper plates away and rush outside.  Time to light the fire.  I grow more nervous about this task yearly as I have experienced scouts in the family now, but my pride says I must do it myself.  I need to keep up with them somehow.  My hobbits are climbing trees and sweating in their wool sportsjackets and flannel cloaks.  Merry falls out of the tree and hits his head pretty hard.  Eowyn helps him with his icepack.  Napoleon’s Imperial Castle has blown all over the driveway.

WHEN are we going trick-or-treating? comes the inevitable question, over and over again.  We await Dad’s arrival home from work to spring us on our way.

As we move from house to house, questions come to my mind:  Are all those kids his?  They seem too close to be siblings.  How are all those people related?  How long did it take her to make those extending batwings?  How do I not know more of the people who live around me?  And of course…why do you have your porch light on if you’re not giving out candy?

Dark is upon us and I begin to understand how the hobbits’ cloaks kept them safe.  I can’t see the boys at all.  We have Eowyn’s bright white dress to guide us home, where the fire is blazing and friends are gathered.

Kids head inside to watch Charlie Brown and raid their candy sacks while parents sit long by the fire and talk church, kids, and work.  Eventually funny childhood Halloween stories come out.  We laugh some more.  I am thankful.

Wish you were here.

And Now, Some Frivolous Questions

Does it really make a difference that I use undereye cream? Am I going to notice a difference when I’m seventy, or would that time have been better spent going to bed two minutes earlier?

When will my four year old daughter stop talking like she is two?  We spent so much time on speaking properly, and now she has scrapped it all and started baby talk again.  Yucko.

Why is fall so AWESOME?!!  (nevermind, that is not frivolous.  It’s because IT IS AWESOME.)

What is it about those little “pods” of laundry detergent that makes doing laundry somehow more accessible to my kids?  (For you faithful readers, we have taken a break from this stuff, and I might not go back.  The clothes started to stink, and no amount of Oxy was helping)

Does anyone know when season three of Downton Abbey airs over here across the pond?  I have a few Brits in my twitter stream and they’re torturing me with the Downton tweets.

Not a question:  Fall is awesome in the South for the same reason that spring is awesome in the Northeast.  It’s because you have experienced the same weather pattern for SO LONG that the relief causes you to completely lose your head in jubilation.

In conclusion:

College students in Boston sunbathing in 50 degrees

is equivalent to

Southern women wearing tall leather boots and scarves in 70 degrees

Reformation Day Thanks

Hi there!
Happy Reformation Day, or as some people call it “Reforween.”  We’ll be celebrating by doing some traditional Reformation activities (reading this book and watching a bit of “Luther”), and getting ready for our little open house tonight (here’s what we try to accomplish on Halloween).  I made hermits last night and prepared a bunch of pie crusts.  As soon as I get up from the computer, I’ll be popping the first apple pie of autumn in the oven.  We have some church friends coming over tonight and we plan to have a fire and show “The Great Pumpkin” for the kids.

October in general has been very, very busy.  I know I sound like a broken record saying that by now.  Here are some of the things we’ve been thankful for over the last few weeks.

162. Our pastor’s sermon series through Romans…we reached chapter 8 yesterday!

photo from Michelle Leader, on my left

163. a weekend retreat in the mountains with the ladies at church…and four babies this year 🙂

164.  babies!  Ella, Haddon, Oliver, Adelai, and the newest addition to the team, Jobey Jr.  After so many years of being the pregnant/nursing one, it has been a joy for me to help out the moms this year.  And my kids are LOVING all the babies!

165.  a visit from my faraway friend Michelle and her family!  Mike, Michelle and the kids are traveling across the country in an RV for a year (or possibly more!) and we’re so glad they made Charlotte a stop on their grand tour.  Above are all the kids:  Tullie, Ben, Jonathan, Cameron (holding Boston), Andrew, Maddie, Ellison, and Josiah.
166.  soup
167.  autumn weather, autumn colors
168.  continued employment for my husband.  Though his job is demanding at times, I am grateful that we have consistent income and employers who appreciate his gifts.
169. the Valley of Vision
170.  Wendell Berry.  On the retreat, I finally cracked open Hannah Coulter.  I’d been saving it until I finished a bunch of other stuff.  It’s as wonderful as everyone says.  🙂
171.  Older women who show grace under trial
172.  flannel sheets
173.  fall gardens.  I think I prefer spring and fall crops to summer ones.  Crazy, I know.
174.  sewing!  I got to spend a good amount of time sewing this month, working on the kids’ costumes for tonight.  I like to sew whilst streaming Project Runway.  It makes me work a little faster.

Pumpkin Patch

The littlest ones after successfully braving the corn maze

Boys wrestling on a hay mound

Sometimes I hide in crowds and let my husband do all the parenting

Surprise

We usually see these folks in the springtime, but this morning brought a special treat.

For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?— 
the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
Psalm 18:31-33