Autumn and blessings

Our fall is lasting longer than normal this year.  The leaves started to die and fall off some of the trees before they changed color, such as the tulip poplars and birches in our yard.  Many of the maple leaves remained green until a few days ago when we got our first heavy frost, and then they changed to bright yellow, red or orange.  It is no secret that autumn is my favorite season, and how I enjoy gazing at the brilliant colors of the leaves, watching them fall, and walking through them and hearing them crunch under my feet.   This time last year, I was too busy to notice the signs of autumn around me because I was taking care of my dog with his broken leg and dealing with numerous house repairs.  Funny the difference a year can make. 

Halloween had a different outcome than what I expected.  My son had decided to not go trick-or-treating and to stay at home and give out candy.  After about an hour of greeting trick-or-treaters, he caught the fever to don a costume himself and head out for some of his own treats.  There was no time to be creative, so he threw on his desert camo Army shirt and matching booney hat, put on his khaki pants, and we all walked around our neighborhood to get his share of candy.

The day before, we attended the family reunion that my cousin and I had planned since the summer.   Many family members came, but there were still a few who could not make it.  The most important thing was that my grandma was there, though she didn’t seem like herself.   Her health has been ailing since the summer so it was questionable whether or not she would be there.  She wouldn’t look at the camera during most of the picture-taking.  It wasn’t until later that I found out that she was confused during the gathering and didn’t know who many of the people were.   I guess it’s easy for someone her age to get overwhelmed by such an event. 

November is Operation Christmas Child month.  I have been participating in this charity for 15 years now.   My son and I filled two shoeboxes-one for a girl and one for a boy. We’ll take them to a drop-off center this week.  During one of our American history lessons, I read that the United States, at one time, had the highest standard of living over any other nation.  Many countries have now caught up with the U.S. and some have surpassed our standards, yet most countries are still impoverished.  Preparing those shoeboxes allowed me to show my son just how blessed we are as a family and nation.  You see, 80 percent of the items we first gathered for the shoeboxes came out of our own cupboards!  That’s right!  And I know we are not alone.  When I shop for sales, I often buy a 10 bar pack of soap or 3 tubes of toothpaste.  And who doesn’t have a few [new] toothbrushes collected from the freebies at the dentist’s office?  Those basic items are essential for a child who has nothing, and they are extras here in my home.  Even the Halloween candy!  There is a ton of it left and we picked out the kinds that won’t melt and put those in the shoeboxes, too.  I also have unused school supplies “hoarded” away.  Things like pencils, pens, and notebook paper…sure I will use them all someday, but what a blessing it is to give them to someone to use now.   We made of list of other items to fill the shoeboxes, things like small toys, combs, wash clothes, calculators, flashlights, and socks and purchased those at a local dollar store.

Before the hectic pace of the holiday season sets in, take a few minutes, better yet, spend an entire day and look around at your blessings.  Open your cupboards and drawers and look at all that you have. Even if you have two tubes of toothpaste, be thankful for the one you will still have after the other is given to someone who is without. 🙂

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Autumn and blessings

  1. Hi Tammy ~ Your fall photos are so lovely. We don’t have much of a change here in the desert.
    I’m glad your son decided to go trick-or-treating. He’ll probably forgo it all together next year.
    You look lovely posed with your cute grandma.
    Thank you for the link to Operation Christmas Child. There is a drop zone about 45 mins from my home.

    • Jean: Thank you! After a strong wind and storms last night, most of the leaves are gone. 😦
      I’m glad to have a photo of me with my grandma. I don’t have many.
      I hope you and your girls can participate in the OCC. An extra thing we did was attach a photo of my son to a letter he wrote and put it inside the box. It’s a lot of fun and something he’ll always remember doing.

  2. Your photos are beautiful.

    You made me miss my dear Gram. My Mum is getting on in years as well. Our older generation should be cherished.

    I’ve done the Christmas Child thing in the past. Brilliant programme.

    *Bless*

  3. Tammy – sorry I tried to comment on this the other day TWICE and my life pulled me away (!!)

    Apologies aside, such lovely photos – esp. the one of you & your g-mother. You’re both beautiful! The leaves are too. It’s funny how fast fall arrives here vs. further south. Everything is gone here, save for a few spots of sunny yellow here & there. Our yard is a mess. My husband & I have gone back and forth debating TO RAKE or NOT TO RAKE. I think raking is going to win out this weekend. Not b/c we want to – more like b/c our neighbors want us to. But you have to be thoughtful, right?

  4. PS: Great idea about the shoebox gifts! We used to do something similar for the elderly in the church where I grew up. We delivered stuffed stockings to shut-ins — they were always so happy and grateful. Sometimes small things can make all the difference.

  5. Christy: Thanks for the comments! No need to apologize. LOL
    Our leaves are mostly gone now due to a storm the “blew” through last night. Glad I took pictures!

    My husband uses a leaf blower because raking would take too long. Our home duties are split, he does the outside work and I do the inside (with an exception to gardening). 🙂

    I was never encouraged to participate in any type of giving as a child. Now, it’s a priority for me to do those types of things with my son.

  6. Yes charity is a wonderful thing to do . It’s so much human . I really appreciate you for your thoughts you have towards unfortunate kids and for your give-away attitude .:)
    Besides this I too love Autumn , love the fall and the color of the nature which is indeed the beauty of this season , Autumn.
    Which season are you like?
    http://www.3smartcubes.com/pages/tests/season-personality/season-personality_instructions.asp

  7. Hi Tammy,

    I’m loving your photographs. Due to time constraints I was unable to go and photograph the lovely autumn here in Cardiff, but looking forward to imaging some snowy scenes!

    I like the fact that you are doing Operation Christmas Child – I can remember doing that at school and the joy it brings so many children each year! Keep up the good work!

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