A Year of Habits, no. 39

Can you believe it’s October?  No?  Me either.

I visited our gardens tonight to pick some veggies for our salad and as I poked around for things that looked yummy I realized that our gardens are the perfect illustration of my life right now.  On the one hand, the season is winding down.  Pumpkin vines are dying back, sunflowers hanging low (begging me to get my act together and harvest their seeds) and a general crunch is heard beneath my feet as fallen leaves gather slowly on the ground.  A few days ago I was driving down the street when a breeze suddenly sent a dozen or so yellow leaves swirling into the air and then to the ground.  My first glimpse of falling leaves this year.  On the other hand, summer is still in full force.  My dahlias are bursting with blooms.  The largest dahlia of the year just bloomed a day or two ago.  My daughter’s bell pepper plant is suddenly loaded with peppers and my son’s cucumbers recently decided to go gangbusters and produce the first cucumbers of the year.  Two days ago I noticed a new blossom on one of the pumpkin vines and was surprised; this afternoon there is a small pumpkin growing in its place. My squash plants have no clue that it’s October and there are dozens of tomatoes yet to come.

Yes, the garden stands on this funny threshold between summer and fall and I confess my heart is the same.  Part of me wants to hang on with all my might to what’s left of summer and another part of me is ready to run ahead and embrace fall with the holiday season hot on its heels.  I love so many things about both seasons that I begin to feel indecisive.  Which is better:  a fresh peach or a fresh pear?  When they’re both picked from local trees I admit I’ll choose whatever I just ate a bite of.  Do I want to tear the garden out and start planting my bulbs, or do I want to enjoy it longer and risk a frost?  I love the harvest, love the colors, taste, texture of it all.  You wait all summer, watching and anticipating and then it’s here.  Fresh everything!  There’s so much of it you can hardly use it all and you have more ideas for what you’d like to make than time to try them.  And then, suddenly, it’s over and the trees are barren and I’m praying there’s crisp lettuce at the grocery store.

We’re eating dinner outside as much as possible.  Tonight we enjoyed my favorite:

creamy zucchini soup
with an incredible green salad.  Most of the salad ingredients came from my garden, as did the zucchini.  We fed almost 20 people for around $5.00.   It’s the time of year when I can hardly bear to call the kids inside because the perfect temperatures lure me out with them.  I’ve got a lot of peaches in my fridge needing attention tomorrow.  My kitchen table has had fresh flowers from my yard on it for weeks and I realize that one small goal I had for myself has definitely been reached.  Fresh flowers in my kitchen from my own yard.  {Happy sigh.}

We had a busy week.  A week of soccer games, lacrosse, lessons.  I had a project to knock out that is, gratefully, off and out of my hands for a few weeks.  I thought I’d get a ton of things done this week but as it turned out it wasn’t very productive.  I can’t remember a week when there was so much crying from the children or bickering among them.  A few days ago while a friend was at the door my three year old hung her dolls upside down by their toes on my front porch bench.  I watched her and couldn’t help thinking it might be what the kids needed to shake them out of their general grouchy moods.  It’s like we’re all tired, sluggish, hazy.

This weekend we got to sit and listen to living prophets remind and instruct us and I loved every minute of it.  I feel centered, motivated, optimistic.  I’m also wondering what on earth I’ll put in the lunch bags for my children in the morning, hoping they all have clean clothes to wear to school and praying there’s not unfinished homework in any backpacks.  We really need to hit it hard tomorrow morning.  I’m still a bit awed by how completely our awesome schedule was thrown by last week’s wedding, but we’ll get back on track.  Of course we will.  Right?:)

As for the specific habits, I think I just admitted that the childrens schedules and work habits didn’t go so well this week.  Every time I asked one of them to do something I got this blank look from them, like they really weren’t processing my words.  A soft reply?  Well, a few times I did really, really well and a few times I went head to head with my oldest.  Never something I’m proud of.  I admit that this week I decided to start studying what it really means to be long suffering.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to need this quality in great measure in coming months and years.  And to my parents:  While I’d like to think that I was a pretty good teenager, living with them is quickly destroying any hope that I was as nice as I should have been.  I’m so sorry for the times when I was mouthy and rude.  Wow, it’s no fun when a teenager is on a verbal roll.

Housekeeping.  I did ok.  Not as well as I wanted.  Finishing?  I’m close on some things, but didn’t finish what I intended to.

Ok, I guess I have no real progress to report.  But guess what else?  I feel ok about things.  I am really trying to make good decisions and sacrifice the right things for my family.  I like the direction I’m heading and feel good about life.  It’s going to work out.

And so I’m off to get some sleep before the new week hits us like a freight train.  I’m leaving the list of my urgent tasks sitting next to my cell phone so that hopefully the week won’t run away without me.

Life is good.  Really good.
Happy summer/fall!


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