Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Sunshine: Plan, Plan, Plan


Plan, plan, plan. You have daily to-do lists, work goals, projects at home. It seems as if you're always in a state of planning, thinking ahead, preparing for the future.

Sometimes, however, your plans get derailed. 

It’s during those times of derailment when you would benefit from pressing "pause," considering your reality, and then redirecting your thoughts and actions. 

When you flow with the newness that's been thrust upon you (contrary to your best-laid plans!) —and the opportunities that can come from the unexpected, you can find blessing. Those blessings can lead to satisfying, new directions that weren't even on your radar when you were busy keeping your head down planning.

Today, this week: Make your plans, but also leave space for the unexpected that may take you into satisfying, new directions you could never have imagined.





Sunday, October 6, 2019

Make a Harvest of Memories

Although I'm a self-proclaimed "spring" person, I have a deep appreciation for all four of the beautiful seasons we experience here in Wisconsin. Each season has its own distinctive characteristics. Autumn in Wisconsin is a treat to all of the senses, from the palette of fall colors splashing the countryside to the taste of crisp apples and acorn squash to the scent of dry leaves as they swish and crackle underfoot. 




As a little girl, I collected brightly colored maple leaves each fall, placing them between sheets of wax paper and then nesting them between the voluminous pages of Sears Roebuck, J.C. Penney and Montgomery Ward catalogs to flatten and preserve the leaves before they became brittle and curled. 




We lived in the country, so a Sunday drive to take in the fall color was never necessary. All we had to do was look out of our living room or kitchen windows to see breathtaking views of autumn's finery. I got to see that beauty every weekday on the school bus as we rode through valleys and up hills, picking up and dropping off child after child to and from school.




Recess time at our quaint, old elementary school was meant for building forts, homes and castles out of fallen leaves, letting our imaginations soar with the possibilities that piles of leaves could create. 

Fall was the time to walk up the hill behind our dear neighbor, Elsie's, big farm house and pick low-hanging pears off of the trees heavy with fruit. I recall indulging in too many of our pickings one year and getting a belly ache for my efforts. 

And speaking of fruit of the season, it wouldn't be autumn in our neighborhood when I was growing up without several trips to Ski Hi Fruit Farm up the road from where we lived. The orchard is located high on a hill overlooking the Baraboo Bluffs. The owners of the orchard, Art and Olga Bassett and their children, Betty and Phil, were wonderful neighbors and dear friends. The apples they grew were always a treat -- and they still are today. My mom favored Macouns, so our home always had an ample supply of them. When I eat a Macoun apple from Ski Hi these days, I'm immediately transported back in time to when I wore knee socks and dresses to school and my mom and I would make a treat of sliced Macoun apples and popcorn every Sunday night for dinner when my dad was away for his work.




As a child, going trick-or-treating on Halloween was a safe endeavor. We'd drive into town with our neighbors, stopping at the homes of several of their family members and our friends, for the annual adventure. I didn't need to receive lots of candy, only enough to consider it a treat. My Halloween costumes varied from homemade versions of cheerleader uniforms to store-bought versions of Cleopatra. 




October also meant carving pumpkins -- nothing fancy, just triangular eyes and nose and a toothy grin. Jack-o-lanterns with a candle stuck inside of them always created a happy pumpkin-face glow.




Now that October is here, I dedicate a little time to recalling fond memories of Octobers past. I also relish all that October in Wisconsin has to offer today. Autumn is at its peak. So spend some time outdoors savoring the season and this month of harvest and riotous color. Enjoy the many simple pleasures that October has to offer: Swish through dry leaves. Tuck a few of them between the pages of a book to save for later enjoyment. Visit an apple orchard. Try your hand at carving a pumpkin. Delight young trick-or-treaters by wearing a costume when you hand out Halloween candy. 

October is a celebration for children and for the child in each of us whose youth is in the rear-view mirror. Indulge and enjoy! Make a harvest of memories during this glorious, glorious month.


Sunday Sunshine: Where am I Being Called to Serve?


Your days can feel like a blur. You're pulled in a million directions. Everyone seems to need a "piece" of your energies and time. 

Are you really that busy or does it just seem that way?

Although you may feel as if your life is a fast treadmill only increasing speed, I would challenge you to spend some time in the quiet and ask, “Where am I being called to serve?” 

Listen carefully for the answer. 

We all have gifts and talents to give for the betterment of our neighborhood, community and world.

Do you have some time -- just a little bit of time -- to give to a cause greater than yourself, a cause that resonates with your interests and values, a cause that could use your abundant talents? If you say yes, you will feel the richness of the experience and others will benefit from your generosity.

Today, this week: Consider where you are being called to serve. Where can you say yes?