Flannel Sheets

A piping hot bath with fragrant essential oils.

My car’s heated seats and steering wheel.

A sauna hidden in the rocks at the Blue Lagoon.

Beach blankets that have been soaking up the sun’s rays.

Fresh-baked focaccia bread.

A blazing fire in the courtyard firepit.

Feet after walking in sheepskin-lined boots.

Hands that are toasty inside microfleece gloves.

Myriad things provide warmth.

My favorite of these is flannel sheets.

The ultimate warmth.

 

 

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Fall Day

My chilled hands are numb as I come in from walking Leo, making my penmanship look slightly askew.

We need to adjust to fall now.

After-school walks can be so peaceful – just Leo and me.  We notice the fallen leaves are gathering in more places today.  The wind has quickened its pace and some leaves escape their piles and dance across lawns and sidewalks.  I tighten my grip on Leo’s gentle lead, knowing that he will happily play chase with the crisp, warm-hued artifacts of a glorious summer.

We need to adjust to fall now.

The sun is setting sooner at night preparing for Daylight Savings Time as we inch forward to the time change with each passing day.  Before it goes down, we notice the tops of tall trees, still holding their leaves hostage for a little longer, and looking like they were dipped in a golden dust.  Stunning.

We need to adjust to fall now.

The decorations are bountiful – variegated pumpkins, gourds, ghosts, spiders on webs.  Houses take on their own personalities as owners prepare for the Halloween fanfare.  Soon there will be glowing pumpkin moonshines adorning front steps and porches in and around town.

We need to adjust to fall now.

Homes will close windows tight, remembering to push up the screens in exchange for the draft-protecting storm windows.  Heat sources will be turned from off to on in anticipation of the imminent dropping temperatures late in the evenings lasting through most mornings.

We need to adjust to fall now.

Turning the corner toward our home, we catch a glimpse of the sun hitting the church steeple.  It casts a blinding bright orange light at the tip, calling us to pay attention to its beauty.

We need to adjust to fall now.

Once back inside, we close the door on the wind, refusing to invite the cool air along for even the shortest of visits.  I think about my ice-cube hands and know that we will be pulling out the baskets of hats and gloves to cover up exposed skin.  A vest will no longer cut it – fleece, then down coats will quickly line the closets.  Clothing will be layered and toes will no longer be on display.

As I light my “Fall Day” candle, I think I’m ready to embrace the changing season.

The Missing Green Sweater

“Did you get the sweaters from the attic yet?” my husband asked the other day.

“No, sorry, I completely forgot.” I replied sheepishly.

Our church has been planning and crafting all year for the annual Holiday Fair which is rapidly approaching on November 10th!

For the past few years, our children have “rented” a table to sell their wares.  Items have ranged from handmade photo cards, to survival bracelets, to scented body scrubs.  This year, our youngest, Caroline, decided to make layered felted wool trees.

You see, my mom made these very same items last year and presented them to each family at Christmas.  The special ingredients my mom used were my father’s old wool sweaters.  Now, every Christmas, we can remember my dad as we take out the trees and enjoy their beauty and the stories that are embedded in the sweaters – priceless.

Since my dad’s sweaters are nearly all gone, and honestly, too nostalgic to use for non-family members, we needed to help Caroline find alternate wool sweaters for her project.  I knew we had several wool sweaters with which we could part folded up in the cedar closet upstairs in our attic.  Knowing he was going to see my mother on Tuesday, my husband went to gather them so they could be washed and “felted” in time for the weekend.

He didn’t tell me until a few days later that he was unable to find two of the boiled wool sweaters I had in mind – the light green one and the fair isle.  I figured that I needed to look for myself as oftentimes, things go unnoticed that are right under his nose!  Up to the attic I climbed, opening the door to the attic, squeezing my way past the suitcases en route to the cedar closet.  Moving a box of clothes that the kids had outgrown, I opened the creaky old door to the cedar closet and quickly took inventory of its contents.  Lots of coats of various sizes and fabrics, blankets, pillows, old wool suits and separates, my wedding dress stored in a box still tucked neatly in a corner, and some baby clothes.  There were a few sweaters on the shelves to the right, but I didn’t immediately see the ones I was seeking.  After shifting the sweaters that were there, looking underneath the piles and on all of the shelves, it was clear that the light green and fair isle sweaters were not in the closet.

Where were they?  Did we give them away?  It’s unlikely, but maybe we moved them to another spot in the house?  There’s still a possibility that they’ll turn up, most likely when we least expect them.  In the meantime, I found myself scouting out green wool felt at Joann’s Fabrics today.

We may not have the green sweater that would have made perfect felt; but in its place is an inexpensive piece of slightly darker green wool blend felt that should do the trick.

Multipurpose Hands

Hands can be indispensable appendages.

Teachers tell you to raise your hand if you’d like to contribute to discussions.

Americans place hands over hearts when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

People place hands on Bibles when taking an oath.

Communities need all hands on deck to rebuild.

Friends are there to lend a helping hand.

Bikers use hand signals to make their turns known.

Dancers may use jazz hands in choreographed routines,

Or go back in time to relive the hand jive.

Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands” is the number one song this week.

We use our hands in countless ways every day.

This afternoon, mine were used for cutting wool for a craft.

How did you use your hands today?

 

 

 

The Power of Certainty

Perhaps it’s personal preference, habit, or social norm that dictates how a word is used. Who knows?

Being “certain” exudes confidence, surety, and all things positive in my world.

It’s friend, “sure,” is more likely to be used when something is negative or unknown, as in “I’m not sure.”

Certain can also mean “specific” when referencing a type, brand, or method.

There are certain brands of just about everything from food to clothing that are preferred in my household.

In fourth grade, certain policies and procedures are implemented for a community of curious learners to thrive.

Everything boils down to being done a certain way – sometimes we repeat our actions because they were successful.  Other times, we scratch the original plans and try an alternate path.

Of this I am certain.

 

What Kind of Smart Are You?

We all sport some kind of smart.

I grew up being told I was book smart.

Others are naturally smart.

Smartness can be measured mentally,

Or physically.

Here’s the start of my list.

Ready, set, smart!

Artist

Mathematician

Scientist

Writer

Reader

Athlete

Techie

Musician

Problem-Solver

Listener

Leader

You should be able to call yourself at least one,

Or perhaps you wear multiple smart hats.

If I’ve missed your smartness, I apologize!

The list can be endless,

If you call yourself a life-long learner.

Ready, set, smart!

 

 

Unwritten Rules

Rules can be funny things.

Some days girls rule,

While others, it’s the boys.

Teens think they can rule the world.

There are posted rules to keep us safe.

Trained people teach rules by modeling.

Teachers use classroom goals to create rules.

Those same rules get challenged,

especially when students push limits.

For every rule follower, there are many who break the rules.

What about the unwritten rules?

How do we know about them?

And if they aren’t posted anywhere, how do we follow them?

Take note and ask questions.

There is a rule for just about everything.

 

 

Contradictory Doors

Doors can sometimes leave confusing messages to those who greet them.

“Our door is always open” means we can visit at anytime because we are welcome.

Yet, “The meeting is behind closed doors” signifies that unless you are invited, you are most definitely not welcome.

Most principals have an “open door policy” to support staff and students daily.

However, “Please close the door” may warn of a potential issue that needs further discussion.

“When one door closes, another one opens” is one of my favorite lines from “The Sound of Music.”  I often reflect on this saying, especially when things don’t seem to be going my way, as this message offers hope in a time of turmoil or struggle.

“Open the door to let the fresh air in” is what I’ve been saying today after the humidity finally lifted.  We know too well that we will replace this sentence with “Please shut the door, you’re letting all the heat out” very soon.

Next time you approach a door, think about the message it offers.  I guarantee you won’t look at doors the same way again!

Swelling Up

Moments after I switched my phone back to sound mode, I received a call seeking comfort from my daughter.

“I rolled my ankle at the very end of my race today,” Abigail said roughly two weeks ago.  She sounded calm, considering the trauma she likely endured.  We chatted about the race route, how strong she felt for the majority of the race, and then the unfortunate snag – the rolled ankle.

She was able to relive some of the accident, somewhat in awe of the moment, by telling me that her friends noticed her ankle swelling.  “I looked down, mom, and I started balling.”  The ankle was expanding before her eyes and she was afraid of what she had done.  Remembering the snapping sound made her cringe, as did the discomfort when she put too much pressure on her foot.

This is not her first injury, nor will it be her last.  Lucky for her, she was able to recover with the help of trainers and her own diligence in a short amount of time.  There’s still plenty of the fall season left to compete.  Happy trails!

It’s a Boy!

She was admitted at approximately 7:30 on Friday night, so we knew the baby would be coming into this world soon!  Coincidentally, my mother, the paternal grandmother-to-be, was staying with us for the night, so we got more details right as they unfolded instead of waiting for the news to trickle down through the family grapevine.

By 10:30PM, we learned that the baby arrived and that it was a boy.  My brother texted something about needing about 40 minutes of skin-to-skin time before any details would be shared.  We were excited to learn that the 9th boy made his entrance and that both mother and baby were doing “very well.”  Those forty minutes came and went, with no new information.  We went to bed not knowing any more information.  When would they announce his name, his weight, his length?

We woke Saturday morning and had no new notifications on our phone via text, email, phone message or social media.  So, Baby #2 was still nameless.  This was beginning to get a little ridiculous.  They knew they were having a boy, so what was the hold-up?  Each of the siblings tried to nudge my brother a bit, put some mild pressure on, all in good humor.  He didn’t take the bait.  At 10:34AM, we received a text stating, “It’s a boy.  7lbs 3oz.  More details to follow.”  Confirmation that they indeed had the baby, it was a boy, and a healthy size.  Additional details did not come.  My youngest brother, John, asked in a group text, “So do we just call him bro2 for now?”  My sister mentioned that at about 3PM, they were still deliberating over the middle name.  It was starting to feel like it would be a miracle if this baby boy had a name before the end of the weekend!

My mom was trying to be patient, but even she really wanted to know the baby’s name.  There was still no announcement!  At 9:20 this morning, my mother texted my brother saying, “Ellis certainly looks happy!!!”  Ellis is the older brother (almost 5.)  That sparked the conversation to circle back to “Do we have a name yet??” from my sister.  “We refer to #13 as Eddie for now.” reported my mother.

At 12:54 today, #13 or bro2, officially received his name.  My brother announced the arrival of Salem Porter Flynn.  Now that he has a name, the game is over.