(Almost) Free Fall Decorations

I’ve been gathering.

Fall is a gathering season, after all.  Nuts. Pumpkins. Apples. The very last sunflower.


I may transition slowly, but once I do, I’m all in … and I fall in. 

For sure, fall’s my absolute favorite season and I have a bunch of fun bringing a little bit of fall from out there … to in here … our home.

Tiny touches … and (almost) free.

  • gourds/ from the grocery store nestled in an old wooden bowl


  • berries/gathered by the side of the road and plopped into a vintage crock


  • mini pumpkins/scattered solo here and there



or in a roly-poly pile on the kitchen counter


  • apples/of course and piled high



  • acorns/collected on many walks around our neck of the woods



  • candy corn/for a jarful of fun and frivolous


  • mums/tucked in a farmer’s basket for the front porch


The berries and acorns were free for the gathering. So were the apples … a gift from a friend with some apple trees. The gourds, mini-pumpkins, candy corn, and mums are from Market Basket – where you truly do get “more for your dollar.”

Happy first week of fall! Enjoy the season’s offerings – for (almost) free!


Blue Plate Special


A few weeks ago, one of our neighbors knocked on the front door. He carried a whole plate of delicious in one hand and a dog leash in the other. It was hard for him to juggle both, I think, but he outstretched his hand with that blue plated cake, offering our family a sweet dessert.

And a little love.

We’d had a rough stretch over here on this side of the street.  Awkward stuff to talk about, really, and we stood there he and I, neither sure what to say. So we chatted a bit instead about his dog and probably the weather, but care and kindness were there – passed from his hand to mine, neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, family to family.

The blue plate traveled back across the street today warmed by  a 3 x 3 array of cinnamon sugar pumpkin muffins, just out of the oven.

Once upon a time ago, I learned or read or heard never to return a dish empty. For a long time, I supposed such a custom to be about good manners.

I know now it’s about gratitude.

Each tiny muffin a warm thank you from our home to theirs.

Reaching out from one side of the street to the other.

And heart to heart.

P.S.  If you’d like to bake these oh-so-moist and autumn-inspired muffins, I used a recipe from Inspired by Charm. Mine came out more muffin-like than donut-like. They sure looked cute nested in their crisp, white muffin liners!




A Slow Shift


Good morning from the other side of summer.

So far, September’s been slow. Intentionally slow. No hurry. Not blurry.

It’s become important to see the life I’m living in up-close detail and absorb it all. Such an in-depth relationship with everyone and everything around me can’t be managed by a speeding drive-by kind of living too quickly, with barely a break for a breath, or beauty, or soul-searching.

So I’ve slowed. And I can’t for the life of me remember what the God-awful rush I used to live in was all about anyway. Why the frenzy? The rapid heartbeat? The constant cascade of must-be-dones? Sleepless. Breathless. Less. Less.

And I’ve got me some routines. Like lighting candles at the end of a day. Like holding hands. Sharing a sit-down on the porch. Kicking acorns down the road. Sometimes, I just sit silently because sitting in silence is all I need right then and there. I don’t live a life of leisure – but I’m living more leisurely.

Does that make sense?

It’s not that I’m worry-free. Each and every life has some. Now and again, a little or a lot. We’ve lived with our worries. And we worry still.

The slowing doesn’t mean freedom from pain, or sorrow, or problems. Life’s deadlines and appointments must be met. Bills arrive in the mail needing payment. There are obligations, commitments, and tasks. But I’m learning (again) life’s easier to live when I do the next right thing, whatever that may be.  Move paper. Shift piles. Wash dishes. Tidy. Straighten. Sit. Walk. Rest. Breathe. Wonder.

I no longer measure time by checks on the list, to-dos that were done, or goals reached. I am not counting calories, miles walked, or hours of sleep.

I’m living in a season of: what do I need?

And gratefully … doing just that.