October Eves…


Where are you right now? What season of life? I know we’re in the heart of autumn, soon closing in on Halloween and giving out candy to the cute little (and some hungry and fun loving not so little) kids. And right after that night, bam! November hits us squarely in the face. Which can be good or bad. If you’re happy right now, in a happy place, a happy season of life, then Thanksgiving and Daylight Savings Time ending isn’t bad, really. But what if you’re in a tough spot? Sad. Anxious. Unhappy. Well…

I’ll admit, I’ve been there. Many times. And while we’re facing lots of dark nights ahead, we can light up the night and get as cozy as possible. As each one of my kids has left home, fewer lights are on in my quiet house, so I go through my home, and cottage, and light up each room. The energy bill is higher, but I need that boost. That light. And candles? I burn them in bunches of three at least. They make me feel cozy. And get a blanket. Did that make you feel safe and comforted as a child? Blankets work on adults too! Makes me feel instantly better. Drape blankets everywhere and put them in a basket next to your sofa. Coziness close by.



See that cute little ghost I place out front each October? I light him up every October evening, while the sun sets and I gaze at grey, moody skies, or a beautifully clear night, with starlight gracing the evening sky. We need light while we’re heading into the darkest time of the year. My faith brings me light and contentment even in the darkest of days. I am able to look forward to lengthening nights and Halloween and the turn into Thanksgiving. At the very time coldness and darkness seep into the corners of our houses and minds, we have so many celebrations to enjoy. Choose to bask in the season. I just met my brother for tea this afternoon, and we mused over losing the false warmth of the extended summer, but he and I determinedly look at ways to light up sullen, gloomy days. Resolve to embrace late fall and early winter; just don’t let the frost touch your heart.

Did you know I inherited Thanksgiving and have been cooking the whole, big, delicious meal since the year my father in law passed? He died a week before Thanksgiving and my mother in law didn’t feel up to cooking and mashing and peeling and so I did it. I even added chestnuts that I roasted in the oven and peeled (my fingernails were not happy that day). I decided to go all out Thanksgiving crazy, even though my in laws didn’t have Thanksgiving in their hearts. They didn’t feel it. And then they showed up! Isn’t that half of life? Just showing up?


You can have a wonderful holiday season. I think it starts with Halloween where I decide to enjoy the candy as much as the kids do. The beauty of neighbors wandering over to the firepits that warm our hands where we catch up and muse over the year. Then let’s ride the swing into Thanksgiving and look for our blessings, and some years we must search through many dark days to find them, which brings most of us to Christmastime, ready or not, and finally New Year’s Eve. And wherever you are you can be happy. Just a little bit. I’m adopting the Danish practice of hygge, where being with other people, for game nights or dinners together, cuddling with a blanket and lighting candles, making stews and soups that warm you and your home, is practiced during the dark evenings. The Danish people deal with much darker days than we do. Six hours of light if they’re lucky. And Danes are the happiest people on earth. I would have thought Texans or Californians, but nope, it’s the people sitting way up North.

See the lantern I place on my back porch? I light it on those warmer afternoons while I rake so many fallen leaves. I had to train my mind to enjoy raking and planting tulip bulbs in the dusty dirt before the hard freeze, which apparently is hitting this weekend. And just tonight, I quickly stirred up a batch of bittersweet gluten free cookies for my son. Cookies baking conjures up memories of my little kids begging to help (I will go to my grave thinking they really wanted the dough…and I still eat raw cookie dough, so okay then), and of my grandmother baking hermits, her special cookie. I remember those days but try not to lose myself in sadness. We can square our shoulders and resolve to make our lives richer, deeper, and happier. Wherever you are, on this October eve, I hope you find a book, bible verse, movie, hug, beach, sunset, lasagna, or candles to bring you contentment. Or some vegan cookie dough. Let’s light up our October eves…

And next time, I’m sharing my autumn table with you…


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