Grateful for this cold autumn morning

October 6, 2006 at 1:59 pm | Posted in country living, faith, family, free knitting patterns, knitting, yarn | 11 Comments

Fireflys October Morning BarnBrrr … we had a frost warning last night, and it feels rather frosty this morning. After breakfast, tea, and a bit of knitting before starting my work, I went outside with the camera to catch a bit of autumn to share with you this morning. I have more photos to share this morning than I have room for in one blog posting, unless of course the entire posting was photographic … but that would be a bit rough on those of you “tuning in” via dial up, so I will refrain.

Even now as I type I see golden light still glowing outside in the cedar trees along the western edge of our property. After I came back upstairs to the office, I looked out the window to the left of my computer and saw, through the dew covered window, beautiful autumn lights glowing on the top of the barn, the trees, and the cornfield beyond. I shot a photo of that scene, through the wet window to share with you what I can see out the window as I type (well, I actually see the line of cedar trees from my desk, but if I get up for a minute and step over to the left, I see the barn out there … steadfast, loyal, and inviting.

Fireflys River in Early OctoberI believe the first instance of awareness I had of a possibility between my husband and I when we first met online, was in his second email to me. In that email he described the seasons here, the climate in general and he mentioned especially that autumn is his favorite time of year. Ding, ding, ding … it all sent feel good alarms going off within me. His description of autumn here in western New York spoke directly to my heart and my dreams of where I wanted to be. It was at the very end of January of this year when I read that email. I was in Los Angeles experiencing a 90-degree “winter” and longing once again for the kind of climate I have always yearned for, since I was very, very young.

I am finding the autumn is even lovelier than I imagined from his description. We are thoroughly enjoying the season together with drives, sofa cuddling, photography together, and many warm and knowing smiles. I wish this kind of happiness for others, I truly do. I breathe in deeply, close my eyes, and consider the great sense of gratitude I have for where I am; my good fortune in finding such a husband in such an environment at such a time in my life. I do thank God for the delicate grace of this sublime opportunity and I am determined to do all I can to tell others and to encourage others to dream and to pray and to feel gratitude for everything in life … the seemingly “bad” or “wrong” along with the good.

In April of 2005 when I was still in Denver after my oldest brother passed away (see my blog, He Wanted a Nose Warmer) my mother and I did a bit of garage “sailing” (as I like to call it) over the course of a few weeks. They have a wonderful garage sale season in the suburb of Denver where she and my father live, and we found some nice treasures. I had an idea in my head that I wanted to find a set of miss-matched china teacups at a garage sale. I wanted a set that had special meaning as a collection to someone else, somewhere in time. It was a pretty thought, but after many garage sales I didn’t see even one china teacup.

One Saturday afternoon my mother and I were out on errands. When we were on our way back to her house from the last errand I became disoriented and got into the right lane of traffic rather than the turning lane in the middle. It was a “T” intersection, so I was forced to turn right, going in the opposite direction from her house. Still feeling disoriented, I told her what was going on and that I wasn’t going the right way. I saw a street up ahead where I could turn in, and as I turned I saw a sign for a garage sale with a sign pointing further up the street. It was late in the afternoon and we were not out to visit garage sales, but I said to my mother, “Well, let’s follow this wrong turn. Who knows what we’ll find.”

So we followed the signs to the garage sale, parked when we found it and got out to have a little browse around together just for the fun of it. As we were walking up the drive, I was sure I saw a set of china teacups on a table. Hmm. I got nearer, and yes it was a set of china teacups … four in all, miss-matched and quite lovely. I asked the lady about the cups, and she told me her they were from Savannah, Georgia at a time when she was working there. Her grandmother lived in the area and would take her once a month to a various shops in Savannah to buy two teacups … one for each of them. They would then go back to her Grandmother’s place and have tea in the new cups and she would take one home with her when she left.

I have no idea why she would be selling a set of cups with a story like that behind them, but she was selling them and I bought the set for $20.00. It wasn’t a “steal” by any means, but then I wasn’t out to steal something, I was looking for a bit of magic and history from someone else’s universe to bring back and add to my own. It was a beautiful experience and I treasure my cups. Though I left most of my belongings back in California in storage when we got married last spring, I made sure to pack up my teacups carefully in a wooden box and bring them with me here to New York.

I learned something so important the day I found those cups. I felt as if I was purposefully led to make that “wrong” turn, and to go down the “wrong” street so that something important would become crystal clear to me. It was a time in my life that was intensely spiritual and quite a few important messages seemed to be being delivered to me. That particular lesson was this one simple thing, that I should be grateful, sincerely and honestly grateful, even for the seemingly “wrong” turns in my life. It all has meaning and importance if you will sit still and actually listen to your life and what it is telling you.

I learned from that moment of clarity to spend more time quietly watching and listening to my life. When in the past I might have reacted and made sudden decisions based on emotion rather than reason, I now watch and listen and notice what is actually going on, not what appears to be going on. There can be quite a huge difference between the two.

That realization in many tiny and not so tiny ways led me down a road that brought me home at last to this place, this happiness, this autumn day on a farm in upstate western New York.

Jinnys Knitted ThrowThis morning I made a bit of progress on the nap blanket I am knitting for my mother-in-law. She is a sweet, sweet 91 year old woman. I don’t know if she remembers me when I am not there, because she suffers from Alzheimer’s and mostly does not remember things that happen day to day. We gave her a photograph of the two of us standing and hugging with big happy smiles on our faces, taken the day we were married. She keeps it in a beautiful ceramic frame on the entertainment center in her apartment at the assisted living facility she stays in about an hour’s drive from here. Each time we go to see her, her face lights up when she sees me and we have a wonderful chat together. She tells me of her memories of the cottage and the boathouse and the river that have been in her family since she was a girl. I tell her about my knitting and writing projects, but often she will not remember even within the confines of one conversation that I am a knitter or a writer. I don’t know much about Alzheimer’s at all, and I realize it is probably hoping for too much to think that she remembers me at all, but when I am there with her it seems as if she does and she is becoming quite dear to me.

I am knitting this blanket to match the decor in her room, and in a sage green because green is her favorite color. The yarn is Lion’s Suede in Sage as the main color and Ecru plus Rust for accents. I don’t normally knit with bulky weight yarns or large needles but I am enjoying this piece, which I am primarily knitting up in a vine lace pattern. Winter knitted a scrumptious afghan for my father last Christmas with Lion’s Suede yarn, and it was so soft and cuddly I thought it would be perfect for Jinny, as my mother-in-law is known. This is a pattern I will write up and share with you all when the throw is complete.

I suppose that is all for today. I hope you have a wonderful day and a blessed weekend. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today and for allowing me to share something of my life with you.



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  1. My everyday dishes are all mis-matched blue and white china that I have picked up here and there, for pretty much the same reasons you got your china cups.

    I wish I lived across the road from you — I have a feeling we’d be very good “real-life” friends.

    (Did that sound stalker-ish? I hope not!)

  2. Beautiful pictures; I love “sharing” your farm with you! Such a nice story about serendipity. Sometimes the best discoveries are made that way.

  3. Beautiful photos! The one throught the window makes it seem chilly, just like it is! The lap blanket looks so comfy & I rather favor sage myself. I can’t wait to see it! You know, my father-in-law had the same thing as Jinny. The fact that she beams when she sees you, well, doesn’t matter if she remembers exactly WHO you are, but she DOES know you are someone who makes her feel very happy and loved. Wrong turns…I never made any that resulted in a treasure, hee hee but I always say (my memory fails who I’m quoting) “We often meet our destiny on the road we take to avoid it.” Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Your entry today really spoke to me. While I absolutely adore my family and would be lost without them, sometimes I feel that somewhere I took a wrong turn in life. I have a husband I love and kids that I cherish, but I feel like I’m living in the wrong place and that I’m spending too much time doing the wrong things (working, rather than taking care of the kids as I always thought I would be doing since I was small). Your email gives me hope that things may still work out. Not only that, but perhaps this *is* where I’m supposed to be, even though it may not be where I’m supposed to end up. Don’t know if that makes sense, but if I’m honest, there are many things that led me here that indicate perhaps I’m supposed to be making this “wrong” turn.

    I love the suede yarn…I’ve always wondered how that would work up, so it’s interesting to see someone use it.

    Such beautiful pictures on an autumn morning. We woke up to a rain storm this morning (so very rare in Arizona!) and I had to do a mad dash to find rain jackets for the kids. Today it is only supposed to get up to 88…yesterday it got up to 100 so I have to count my blessings. 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your autumn with us. While it is somewhat cooler here this week, we really do not have defined seasons where I live.
    I am sure your dear mother-in-law will feel the love your are putting into her nap blanket.

  6. I really love reading your blog, it always seems to make me thankful for everything I have. Great husband, 4 beautiful children and my house. I try to read your posts first thing in the morning because it (no matter what mood I’m in) gives me a wonderful happy feeling. Love the blanket, and the pictures are great.

  7. Thanks for sharing, you help me see the bright spots in my at the moment foggy life.

  8. The story of your teacups is quite beautiful. I agree that it is quite odd that the woman was selling her teacups. I would have hung on for dear life to a story like that.

    Your MIL still recognizes you if she is smiling and happy to see you when you come. When she finally does lose the memory of you and her connection to you, she will begin to look confused and wonder why you are there. She may never react badly to having you there, although that is a possibility, she may simply be happy to have a “stanger” come to see her and talk to her about all the wonders that are outside her little world. I hope for your and your husband’s sakes that she is always happy to see you and enjoys your company.

  9. Beautiful pictures as always. I love the story about the teacups, sometimes wrong turns have magic in them.

  10. I could only dream of such a lovely place as you have right there under your fingertips….

    Sounds like a lovely weekend… thanks for sharing it in such a way that I could picture it in my minds eye.

  11. You write as though we are sitting there with you, sharing a cup of tea, knitting as we talk! I love coming here to see what’s up with you!

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