Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers

Newest column from The Holmes Bargain Hunter:

Fall is simply the best time to gather your loved ones and hop in the car for a little ride. The leaves are bursting with color, the air is pleasantly cool, and you just need to get outdoors. When I was young, we took lots of car rides down winding back roads. You never quite knew where you would end up, but it never mattered because each turn and patch of woods we traveled through was more magical than the last one. Deep hollows, ridges splashed with the fire of stately trees, and huge rocks you could climb all the way to the top on. We would stop, sometimes, and walk around. Leaves, rocks, small sticks found their way into my pockets and would be carefully placed in my box of treasures when I got home. Usually, we would end up where there was ice cream, and a cone with big drips down the side found its way into my hands.

Here in NE Ohio, fall has a bounty of things to take part in. But fall, especially fall, is when Ohio becomes ethereal in its beauty. I was driving home the other day from a shopping trip and I took the time to soak in the beauty of the fall trees. Fog was drifting in slowly, and the trees were not quite to their point of brilliance for the season. Our rolling hills were so beautiful, and sometimes it takes leaving here to really appreciate them. My daughter, who has lived in Florida for the last four years, tweeted something that went like this, “I hope it rains all day so I can be cozy and smell this pumpkin candle and pretend it's actually fall here.” She loves where she lives but when you grow up with the four seasons it’s hard to get adjusted to fall being hot and humid. For myself, I would simply shrivel up in a corner if I couldn’t breathe fall’s nippy face.

Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and haunted attractions are a few of the things one can take part in when the fall season comes around. We live right across from a corn maze, so I smell the smoke from their soup pot boiling away across a fire, savory blend of beans and ham. The whoosh of the pumpkin launcher reaches me daily, as do the shrieks of delight from kids on the giant slide. The corn maze itself seems huge to me this year, spreading its vast self out over acres, the rustling of dried corn stalks blowing gently. These kinds of places do charge a fee to get in so be prepared to shell out for your chance to run through the maze.

I also must take the time to buy pumpkins for my porch, for what would it be without those wonderful, orbs of orange? As October 31st nears, my kids and I carve them into grinning faces to be lit with a candle for passers-by to see. It’s a tradition that I will never stop, even when my kids are long gone. Pumpkin-carving is a rite of fall for me. Over the years the beloved pumpkin has taken a hike in price so I may not have as many of the huge ones, and I’m a bit more selective in choosing them. I like to get the ones the sit plump and square – ones I know will grin spectacularly in the twilight.

A lot of people don’t like haunted attractions and shun them with a voracity that puzzles me still. For us, it is also part and parcel of fall. Read this post

I wrote from several years ago to get an idea of what trick or treating was like in Berlin long ago. I miss it still. We’ve taken many a spooky ride through Panther Hollow and to the Headless Angel. It’s part of mine and my kids growing up years. As they got older we would sometimes visit “haunted” corn mazes or hayrides, and older still, visits to The Mansfield Reformatory. There is nothing like a good, spirited chill down your spine. What you make of it is your choice. As for us, it’s something we love to do and the thrill of it never falters. Just this past Friday, October 11, it was my birthday and we headed over to the magnificent Mansfield Reformatory. Chills were to be had around every corner, but I still took the time to stop and marvel at the architecture of the place. We were breathless with excitement until we emerged and will continue to go every year until I can walk no longer. The price of these attractions can be steep – the reformatory was $17 to enter – but we spend more than that on pizza some weekends so if it’s something you’re interested in than I highly recommend it.

Fall is an amazing time here in Ohio. Get out in it. Breathe deeply of the fires that are burning leaves, take the time to sit and stare at the majestic trees, and remember that as far away as you may roam – October still remains in your heart as you knew it from home.

“There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir: We must rise and follow her, when from every hill of flame She calls, and calls each vagabond by name.” –William Bliss

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What burns my skin...

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” ~Ghandi

We must stop the rhetoric.
The hate-speak.
And the posturing.

We are blinded by our hate.
By the monster it turns us into.
By the hideous words we spew.
Those of us, who live day by day.
Side by side.

We hate those in power.
We rage and spit fire while the innocent get blamed. 
It's a war that sets me on fire.
My heart. My mind.

I am not blind,
yet I want to turn off the world
so I can breathe again.
And not feel the hate that burns my skin

Friday, October 11, 2013

To my 23 year old daughter on her birthday P.S. Plus what I wish I had known when I turned 23

Esabelle Eden,

First of all, can we just stop and reflect on the fact that I HAVE a 23 year old?

I still feel as young as I did when I had you, but the years have moved along and you are now one year older than I was when you were born.  You were but a sparkle in my mind so long ago. I knew you would arrive sooner or later, but when you did it was in a big way. With your full head of ebony hair, and huge brown eyes we lost our hearts to you.

You still have the fire you always had. You are a survivor, a debater, a thinker, an advocate for change and justice, and full of compassion. I’ve decided this year to give you some words of advice as your turn 23 – words I wish I had heard.

     1)  Stop thinking you’re getting old. After the hotly anticipated age of 21, it may seem as if it’s all downhill from here. Stop it. Right now. As women, we are powerful. Be thankful for the body and strength you have now. Own it. Live it. Take care of it. If someone had told me to appreciate myself at 23 I would have laughed and said I wish I looked like I did when I was 16. We need to stop always wishing for what we WERE  and embrace what we are NOW and love ourselves for where we’re at in life.

     2)  Read more. Find books that feed your soul and inhale them. Scour the internet for articles that put things in focus. Take ideas in. Let bad ideas out. Reading takes you to another world that sometimes we must flee to. A favorite quote on books is this, “Stock your mind – it is your house of treasures and no one in the world can interfere with it.” ~Frank McCourt

     3)  Learn to let go of anger. Be angry, rage, and let it flee. I spent too many years hanging on to things I’ve been hurt by. I’ve learned over the years that it’s not worth it. It only serves to give us stress and worry. People have hurt you. You have been trampled, attacked with words, and mistreated so the hurt and anger still live. It’s time to let it go and just breathe in the cool air of forgiveness and life. You are the strongest girl I know. You walked through STORMS and have come out better – sharpened by steel. Anger has become our enemy. Embrace peace. #PLUR

4    4)  Never take something at face value. Be inquisitive and learn about different ways of thinking and living. Just because you’ve grown up a certain way doesn’t mean that it’s right for YOU. Be wary of people that tell you “that’s the way things are” because they are wrong. We forge our own path. Don’t conform. Swim against the current!

     5)  Stop worrying what people think of you. It took me turning 40 to stop caring what people think. I worried about every little thing, action, and step I took and what people might think of it. I was always TOLD “what will people think” instead of “who cares what people think” and it took me way too long to live differently. We are responsible for our own actions, yes, but not for how others think of them. Live on the edge and be YOURSELF because all the action is out on the edge anyway. Who wants to live in the middle?

     6)  Find someone who loves you. Really loves you for you. I pray for your future husband and if I’ve already met him then hey – we love you, Tyler! Life is short, and it’s especially too short to go through life being with someone that bores you to death. Find someone that makes you laugh – EVERYDAY. Find someone who you can fight FIERCELY with yet know that no one is going anywhere. Never let anyone tell you fighting isn’t good for a relationship - just remember to forgive freely. Find someone that doesn’t make you change who you are to please them. Lastly, find someone who can still make your heart go thump after 25 years together – because it’s amazing.

You are my fierce, willful, beautiful, wonderful, and amazing daughter. You are what I wish I had the guts to be in my youth. I am that way now. I feel better, stronger, and more alive in my 40’s than I did at ANY age. Stay true to your heart and your path will emerge. Never forget Jesus walks beside you and has your back. Travel, go to Ibiza, backpack through Europe, and live with zest. We only get one shot at this life. Don’t live to regret what you never did. You’ve been through too much and come too far to become this girl. Embrace YOU.

I love you,