November: Sensing Grace and Showing Gratitude

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Every month seems to come a bit faster! Closing a door on one vibrant and exciting

month of October. Opening a door on the more serious month of November with

moments full of gratitude, sensing persons who exude grace and giving thanks for

all we have.

Looking at my Halloween decorations and wishing that Jack o’ Lanterns, ghosts,

goblins, the Ty teddy bear in its adorable pumpkin costume, the black glass bottle

with the words, “Love Potion” on it and the owls could all stay up. I take them down,

slowly placing each item in a large orange tub, automatically trying to wrap some of

the glass, ceramic and wooden treasures with newspaper, I layer the embroidered

October cloths, fall handkerchiefs and needlepoint given to me by my aunt and my

cousin.

Next come the September lingering ‘culprits.”

The little scarecrow figurines, sunflower basket and gold candles are no longer

needed.

 

I like a simpler decorative theme in November. The month deserves a less crowded,

less busy appearance. The Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving come to mind and

make my mood more respectful and subdued.  My decorations reflect this traditional

look. I have a few pumpkins that fit in and around the metal cornucopia with yellow

woven reeds along the edge of the opening. I leave the ‘fake’ bittersweet vine wound

around and inside of a basket on my coffee table.

 

Putting the burgundy candles into the pewter candle sticks from 1978, gifts from my

first wedding, I think of the Turley’s from Oak Ridge, Tennessee:  I feel gratitude.

There is also a pewter creamer, sugar bowl and a little tray to keep them on, which

remain in my little apartment kitchen.

 

I will never forget this lively family using washboards, zithers and guitars, their melodious

voices singing Blue Grass music. Afterwards, Jim telling Scottish tales and Helen telling

old Greek folktales. Their combined heritage made their three boys’ lives rich with the

knowledge of distant lands. Our family has some history, the half from my father’s side

not really detailed but his family tree with Scottish and English roots. Mom’s side is more

interesting, since her parents had stories to share with us of Germany and Sweden.

I would get excited when we drove up through Pigeon Forge, to get to their house built

from the local rocks. My Dad had met Jim in his work at Oak Ridge Nuclear Reactor (in

the state of Tennessee.)

Once they came North, went to see Plum Brook’s reactor in Sandusky. But mainly,

they were the overnight, genial and entertaining stop for our family along the way

to our grandparents’ trailer park in Clearwater, Florida.

Waves of memories, longing and nostalgia take over me.

 

Does this happen to you when you change seasons and decorations?

Is there an old memory that comes forward to be fondly remembered?

 

New chores and tools are needed with snow coming.

I will take my portable shovel out of the closet and put into the trunk of the car.

 

The songs that come to mind for this month are:

“November Rain,” sung by Guns N Roses

and

“Peace of Mind,” sung by Boston.

 

NOVEMBER, 2014

 

Birthstone:  Topaz

Flower:  Chrysanthemum

 

National Animal Appreciation Week goes from 11/1-11/7.

Local animal shelters or humane society have their needs suggestions posted.

 

1st- All Saints’ Day

(Catholics, Episcopalians and others celebrate this day)

 

2- Daylight Savings Time

(where applicable)

We set our clocks back one hour.

The old saying goes, “Fall behind.”

 

4- Islamic New Year.

Wishing all those who practice the Islam faith a Happy New Year!

 

Election Day in the U.S.

I encourage you to use your citizens’ right to vote!

 

6- Full Beaver Moon

Native Americans call this month’s moon the Beaver Moon,

but it is also called the Frosty Moon.

 

11- Veterans’ Day in the U.S.

Honor those who served and gave up their lives during wars.

Respecting those who are continuing to serve and put their lives on the line

for their country.

Remembrance Day in Canada.

 

14- Last 1/4 moon.

 

22- New Moon.

 

27-

Thanksgiving Holiday (U.S.)

28-

“Black Friday”

One of the biggest shopping days in U.S.

Some consider this part of their family’s traditions.

 

29- First 1/4 moon.

 

Looking at my cornucopia filled with fruits and leaves, with pumpkins spilling out of it,

colorful and familiar, I think it is as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers to me.

The words of Thomas Kinkade (2001):

“The color within us

can color the world around us.”

 

With Thanksgiving and gratitude:

“A thing of beauty

is a joy forever:

Its loveliness increases,

It will never pass

into nothingness.”

(John Keats)

 

Those who bestow Grace upon us, as a gift:

“A friend is as it were,

a second self.”

(Cicero)

 

Freedom to express our Faith:

“Were there no God,

we would be in this glorious world

with grateful hearts

and no one to thank.”

(Christina Rossetti)

 

“You have possibilities. . .

so celebrate that you are

who you are,

where you are,

and affirm the

inherent

goodness of

living

by saying,

‘Thank You.'”

(Thomas Kinkade, 2001)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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31 responses »

  1. For the last few years I have ridden my bike in the cool weather, down the street to watch the Veteran’s parade. On my own. Husband has been working. It’s heart breaking to see so few people there to thank them. But I’ll go again this year.

    For the seasons changing…..I just kind of flow with it. 😉

    • I am fond of that ‘go with the flow’ philosophy you impart, Colleen! I am behind a bit in commenting due to traveling home and watching the basketball game, along with listening to the Browns win their last football game.
      Anyway, on the serious topic of Veteran’s Day, I am saddened that we won’t have it off, since I agree, it is important to go and watch the parade, nodding my head, not saluting, since I am not a serviceman, but I do put two flags up, one on my door, taped so people will remember it is their day, along with one in my dining room stuck in a vase! I wish more people thanked them.
      When those who give poppies out, I always donate a few dollars, pinning the poppy onto my coat.

      • My neighbor tapes a little flag to our fence since we don’t have a flagpole. I give money for the poppies but don’t take them, I tell them to give them to someone who doesn’t have or give money. I am sad as well at the very low turn out for the parade. We get the day off, and if it wasn’t for the men and women being honored in the parade we wouldn’t. So why WOULDN’T we go to the parade? And why don’t others?

      • I am not sure, Colleen! As I said, if I were given the day, I would go to any local parades. I used to be in marching band, even in the summer we were asked to go to visit gravesites and other volunteer performances, I would always be silent for a moment, go up and see the grave before I left… Good questions! No good answers!

    • Shel, I was looking back at last year’s November calendar and realized we had lost touch. Also, I missed responding to you. Maybe you do this “catch up with old friends,” on your blog? I like to see who I am still “with” and “without.” 🙂
      Hope you are well and enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving, 2015.

  2. Robin, I enjoy your perspective on November. To me it means keep warm, stay dry, and keep raking leaves. And like you, I think this is a good month to appreciate who and what we have to be grateful for. Oh, I almost forgot – November is also a good month for football! 🙂 – Mike

    • November is one of the good months for football, Mike! I listened to the Browns game on the radio heading south from Cleveland, then quickly unloaded a week’s worth of stuff, from my visit with Mom. All, so I could listen to Lauren’s women’s basketball game, which her team won 66 to 55! Yeah!
      I like your perspective, very practical! ha ha!

  3. wonderful post Robin. I must admit I am relatively ‘new’ to the whole ‘decorate for every month’ thing but since moving to North America 7 years ago I feel inspired to do so 🙂 I have pumpkins (not real, mostly ceramic) on the hearth before the fireplace and have decorated our sitting room in Fall colours. I expect I will change the colour scheme in December. I agree with you that this time of year compels us to count our blessings. I do so everyday. Great quotes AND songs 😀 Happy weekend!

    • Thanks, Yolanda for reminding me of other countries and customs. We are a little crazy around here, but mainly as a past teacher and present grandmother “Nana” I like to have those decorative touches, the little ones especially appreciate my “Boo” bells and the things that are in the little bags hanging around, like spiders and bat rings, bracelets and ‘fangs’ that glow in the dark, if you put them under a light bulb, then wait until dark and turn off the lights… I am a ‘big kid’ don’t you know this by now?! smiles!
      I like that you count your blessings daily, also that you have become accustomed to putting out seasonal decorations, Yolanda! Hugs for getting used to North America!

  4. How lovely to read of the month ahead for you. Mine is rich with the promise of summertime, the countdown begins as we look forward to the long summer break and Christmas and days of leisurely cricket matches, walks on the beach, drives through beautiful scenery and many welcome guests coming to share the days and events with us. I love our long, lingering twilights and hours spent sitting around outside in the balmy air as dusk falls slowly, slowly. We have so much to be grateful for every day.

    • Pauline, this comment from November was simply lovely. You mention so many wondeful elements of your warmer weather activities. You mention “long, lingering twilights” and “balmy air” while dusk falls slowly. So poetic and sweet. Thank you (belatedly.)
      This was not even responded to! So sorry, friend! 😦
      I was checking back, keeping “tabs” on who still follows me and who I have lost. I am very grateful to have you ♡ and several special people following me. 🙂

  5. I always love the first week or two of November when the leaves are at their peak in my area. Funny you mention decorations, Robin. Today I had Derek pull all of the inside Christmas decorations out of the attic. My fall decorations have been up since September 1st. Typically, I’ll start putting up the Christmas decorations the first weekend in November. I know to many it’s way too early, but it’s a lot of work and we like to enjoy them for as long as we can. On December 26th, it starts coming down. Of course, I don’t put up any outside decorations until after Thanksgiving…wouldn’t want any of my neighbors to think we’re crazy. 🙂

    • I wouldn’t want your neighbors to think you were crazy, either, Jill! Smiles!
      I am a big decorator, even if it is a simple one bedroom large dining and small sitting room to decorate! I used to have lots of tubs of stuff, now I have three! I like the fall into winter transition, also the winter into spring transition. My summer stuff is mainly sunny things I like to look at, don’t really have a tub for those! Being a Nana, along with past teacher, just makes me want to make my apartment homier, along with seasonal!
      My summer things stay up and blend a little with my early fall stuff, Jill.
      Jill, I am a little wacky, too! I come home from Thanksgiving, pull out my little tree, with lights and birds’ nests and little bird houses, put it on a black doored cabinet, where my t.v. hides. It is not an armoire or a t.v. cabinet, something in between. Then, I have to have the lacy doilies, which to me make it look ‘snowy’ on all surfaces! Oh, and I get my Christmas cards addressed on the Sunday after Thanksgiving since I stay up at Mom’s that long… (I don’t write the notes until I have who is getting which kind of car figured out…)
      I leave my doilies and red decorations up till Valentine’s Day, but any Christmas stuff goes away after Happy New Year comes around! All through the winter, the robins and cardinals are brightening up the shelves. I take them down and put away when bunnies and chicks come to bring the Spring and Easter spirit here!

  6. i love this time of year and the change of seasons. i put away the halloween stuff and have pulled out my twig turkey already in anticipation of thanksgiving in a few weeks, already!

    • I like the sound of your twig turkey, Beth! It sounds quite homey and sweet! I like to get ready for Thanksgiving since it lasts such a short time, then Christmas stuff comes out and I don’t put away until January first or second! Smiles for this love of yours for changes of seasons and special decorations, too.

    • I am not sure why, but there are times while I am dusting or reading a book, where music really helps to relax and set the mood…
      I think having a husband, Luanne, is a good reason not to have to have background ‘noise’ or music. Television is on, but you two still talk, too! I have music to make me feel ‘less alone,’ to be honest, Luanne! Mom keeps her t.v. on, while reading the paper, but when Dad was around he would use the old stereo and have records on, even when my kids were in their early teens… They liked it, in their basement with a bumper pool table to play on and listening to old records.

      • You might be right about that. Sometimes I get really bummed that he always has the TV on, but when he’s not here and I turn it off, I love it for about 4 hours and then I start to get kind of goofy.

      • Luanne, I found one of your comments and am running out of time but wished to send you a few messages…two memoirs that were featured recently had one called, “The Wild Truth,” a sister’s response to Chris McCandless’ memoir or story, “Into the Wild.” Also, this next one intrigued me by its content, but have not read it: “Stories of my Life,” but someone who wrote children’s books and won Newberry Medals, Katherine Paterson. Last but not least, a new book is titled, “Doll-baby” by Laura Lane McNeal. I have no idea of its content, but grabbed the title since it was on the “New” shelf as I passed it at the library. Take care and hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Off to the movie, “Big Hero 6” with my grandies and daughter!

      • Wonderful ideas, Robin. I am particularly intrigued by a memoir by Katherine Paterson. I love her! Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins!!! And wasn’t she the child of a missionary in China?

  7. I don’t like removing old decorations, just lazy I guess! But changing seasons cause me to reflect. And in November I add en extra dose of gratitude to my routine. I’m more deliberate about giving thanks for life.

    • I have read that sometimes remembering the season can help us appreciate the heritage, the roots and customs, along with put us into a different frame of mind. I do give thanks, as most people do, daily. It was nice how you mentioned to add an extra dose of gratitude. Well said, Timi!

  8. I’v simplified my life a lot in recent years. No seasonal decorations. I celebrate each day for what it is–another day filled with wonder. I wish we could remove all holidays from the calendar and just be grateful for each day. There’s so much fuss and money spent over certain days of the year and then it’s over. People get stressed, depressed, over-eat..it’s all too much! Let’s just stop the madness and enjoy each other every day without all the falderal!

    • I am sure there are many who would agree with this, Lorna! I am a “Nana” and feel it is important to remind my little grandies of the special reasons for each season, some are cultural, some are religious but mainly it is a celebration for me, every time I add decorations that are simple and meaningful. I guess having been the oldest and only girl, I feel this tradition was passed down by my Mom to me. I am never stressed, sorry. I just enjoy dusting and putting new things out to look at. My past home was large, had many tubs of decorations, which would be time-consuming but I have only a small place, so it may sound complicated but it’s not! We go a little ‘mad’ over pies, in our family, so I know what you are talking about! Mom and I were already trying to decide about pecan, apple streusel, cherry and pumpkin… but this was so I would be able to pick them out of Cracker Barrel, not to bake them. Heavens, no! Many smiles for your honesty and use of ‘falderal,’ Lorna!!

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