A month in photos: November

November 2015-72

The month of November makes me feel that life is passing more quickly. In an effort to slow it down, I try to fill the hours more meaningfully.
~Henry Rollins

Mona’s Picturesque hosts a monthly collage where we can share a bit about our world every month through photos. Our November was much like October in we were savoring warm days and what was left of the Autumn color here in middle Missouri. Now, the oranges, reds and golds have given way to a more monotone color palette. Activity at the bird feeders is picking up as the insects and seed pods are becoming harder to find.

What is not included in this collage is Entrepreneur and my trip to see The Golfer over Thanksgiving. While it was wonderful to see her, I’m thinking we’re getting awfully old to be driving the 17-hour trip straight through. Non-stop. With little to no sleep. Crazy, yes? I think so. But November in northern Florida was a balmy 75F and sunny. We timed it perfectly, getting out of town before the arrival of winter storm Cara that brought nasty weather to the Upper, Middle and Lower Midwest. We’ll probably pay for that someday soon. You know….karma.

With November a warm memory, we turn our attention to the holidayz. The key to an enjoyable December will be to figure out how to slow down the frenzied, Christmas rush to better focus on the reason for the season and continue that thankful mindset. I’ll let you know how that works out for me! 🙂

No, seriously, with all that is happening in the world right now, this Advent and Christmas season will be taking on a little different focus for me. Much to think about and ponder.

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Snow? NOOOO!!!

tanner-Nov 2014
Textures by Kim Klassen: Minus 43, 65% soft light; Chase, 60% overlay

A dog owns nothing yet is seldom dissatisfied. ~Irish Proverb

They both waited in anticipation. The snow….in mid-November….arrived to mixed reviews. The child in me was super excited to see the flakes fall. The rational adult said, NOOOOOOO! Before Thanksgiving is entirely too early for winter to begin.

Nov snow

But start is has. Temps in the 20sF with single digit wind chills. Way. Too. Early.

But Tanner and Peanut would hear none of these rational reasons. There were snowballs to make…and snowballs to catch. So Peanut and I found our boots, gloves, hats and coats…ventured outside. In the snow. In the cold.

And Tanner was waiting for us.

 peanut Nov snow

 Simple pleasures.

Peanut Tanner Nov snow

Linking up with Texture Tuesday and Texture Twist
Texture Tuesday texture-twist

Hello sweet November

seedhead puff72Texture by Kim Klassen: Friday, 100% multiply with selective masking

Silent beauty in multi-hues but ominous in a sense;
for though today be delightful, darkness soon gains precedence.
~Ray, Psychology of Seasons

I’ve been caught up this week with reading posts about November….the transition month between knock-’em-dead October color and the sparkle of the December holidays. It seems like, aside from the stuff-yourself-into-a-food-coma Thanksgiving weekend, November tends to become just a speed bump on the road to the gift-giving season. But it doesn’t need to be that way. True, November doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of some of the other seasons, but it does have an earthy beauty all its own. And, perhaps in many ways, that mirrors our lives as well.

pine needles

As the year ages, it seems to become more introspective. Gone are the narcissistic seasons of spring, summer and autumn with their look at me; see how fantastic I am attitudes. After the leaves fall, the season’s beauty shifts to the more overlooked aspects of nature. We notice more of what’s underneath those gorgeous blooms and awesome foliage colors.

redbud fringe

Likewise, as we age, we become more focused on reflection and assessment of the framework of our lives. With much of life’s superficial splendor gone, priorities begin shift. Just as November drives us inside to be more focused around hearth and home, priorities in the November mentality begin to focus inward as well. We begin to notice the small details in life that might have been overlooked in earlier years. We focus less on what others should be doing for us and more on what we can do for others. I suppose maturity plays into this mindset….it’s less about “me” and more about “we.” We quietly take stock of our lives, how we’ve lived and how we’ve responded to others.

berries72

For the most part, November is quiet and still. Days are colder and shorter. With less time to accomplish tasks, we prioritize what needs to be done…both in the physical world as well as in our hearts and minds. I hope you all take time and notice everything about November…enjoying it’s unique beauty and reflection.

Linking up with Friday Finds
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November Photo Challenge: People

photo blog challenge

Well, one would have thought PJ’s prompt of People this month would be super easy with turkey day and other seasonal festivities where people gather together.  But I don’t get out much. So my shots are not super exciting this month. I love to people watch, but when it comes to capturing them photojournalism-style, I sometimes feel like such a voyeur.

Since I’m the one usually behind the camera, this will be one of a very select few photos in which I appear. But it was taken with MY camera, so it counts. This was shot while on a weekend getaway with Peanut and her family to Branson, Missouri.
Peanut Nana Papa

Snapped this with my camera phone while walking in the park close to the office. I look larger than life, don’t I?! Peter Pan’s shadow’s got nuthin’ on me. In reality, I’m only 5 foot 3 inches. 🙂
shadow

My side of the family got together for Thanksgiving at my sister’s house. When this happens, my mom always wants a shot of her grandbabykins. It hard to believe these beauties have grown up so much. Ranging from ages 5 to 28, there’s a lot of estrogen in this room.
cousins 2013

Tis the season.
Peanut lights

This counts as a person, right? Of course it does. If you say otherwise, may your name permanently be on the naughty list.
Santa

Now, pop on over to PJ’s to check out the other voyeurs everyone else’s “people” finds.

Recipe for a good life

give and take
Textures by Kim Klassen; 1010 at 70% screen; 1111 at 100% soft light

Life is full of give and take.
Give thanks and take nothing for granted.
~Linda Poindexter

Gone is the blaze of Autumn glory from the trees and bushes. What’s left is the rigid, branchy framework that supports the buds in the spring, leafy shade in the summer and eye candy in the fall. So often we take for granted this supportive framework…only choosing to look at the lovely window dressing.

The freshness of spring, lushness of summer and beauty of fall have now given way to a more somber season…a season of reflection and thanksgiving. Have you ever thought it odd that Thanksgiving corresponds with a time of year that appears more uninviting than other months? Do you think it’s to draw our focus away from external appearances and help us to focus more internally? Could it be a deep breath before the glitter and sparkle of the holidayz distract us once again?

Thanksgiving….a time we overeat and sit in front of the TV watching football pause and count our blessings; a time to reflect on what’s important and re-prioritize our attitudes.

Thanksgiving…a season to look at the framework of our lives and recognize the importance of its support. A framework that holds us together and gives us stability throughout the different, and sometimes difficult, seasons of our lives.

How often do we take people in this framework for granted? When was the last time we said thank you to someone for being there for us? It could be a heartfelt I love you said in such a way that conveys deep appreciation instead of a quick, passing phrase. It could be an embrace that lasts a little longer than usual. It may be quietly taking their hand and conveying our gratitude with a smile.

Many of us are entering the holidays without someone we love around anymore. May we always remember to not take anything or anyone in our lives for granted. Life is short…as  Autumn reminds us as it slips quietly into Winter’s grasp.

And may we always remember to give thanks to the One who has given us the people and blessings in our framework. People and blessings we sometimes casually take for granted.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! ~Psalm 118:28-29 

Linking up with Quotography: Remembrance and Thankfulness,
Texture Tuesday and Texture Twist
Quotography  texture-twistTexture Tuesday

Friday Finds and a bit of randomness

orange maple
Texture by Kim Klassen: 1010, 100% multiply with layer mask

I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, not the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content.
~Lin Yutang

Friday FindsKim’s wish for today’s Friday Finds is to cherish life’s simple pleasures……

And I believe November is the perfect month to do just that. Gone are the distractions of the summer; the back-t0-school rush is finished; Halloween is a distant memory. Late Autumn seems to be a time that encourages us to slow down, look around and really embrace the sights, sounds and scents unique to this season.

I’m trying hard to relish the time before the Christmas crazies begin. But it’s so easy for my mind to become crammed with other things I think need my attention. I used to post writings titled Five Good Things….but then life events turned up-side-down and it became impossibly hard to find one good thing, let alone five. So I did what anyone would do….I stopped looking. And then found myself in a vicious cycle.

random 5So, coupled with today’s Friday Find, I am including a few things for Nancy’s Random 5 Friday. I’ve realized I need these kinds of prompts to keep me from total insanity. My plan is to find a few simple pleasures and focus on them.

So here’s my Random 5:

1. Entrepreneur is traveling to Florida to help our youngest move back home while she reassesses the direction of her life. This means all my chicklets will be together for the holidays..first time in I don’t know how long that has happened! But I also wonder how I’m going to survive with 5 adults, 1 little Peanut, 3 dogs and 5 cats all under one roof! We will most definitely take family togetherness to a brand new level.

2. My job is to put Peanut to bed at night. While this is sometimes quite a challenge (at five she is a master manipulator), when she is finally asleep, I look at her perfect face with such a sense of amazement. It’s true…nothing is sweeter than a sleeping child…especially one of your own.

3. I’m also in awe of the photographic talent in the blogosphere. I’m continually humbled by the photography of others and my muse benefits from the constant inspiration. But, most of the time I feel like a poser. Somewhere in my mind, I think I could be a contender if I only had more time to really devote to making myself better instead of trying to make do as quickly as possible (because of all those things that need my attention).

4. I’m up to date on all my health appointments (except the one that begins with a C). A rare occurrence as I really hate going to these things and tend to avoid them like the plague. Mercifully, I have no need for most medications common to those of a certain age (over 50). And for that, I’m extremely thankful.

5. It’s Soup Season!! Beef stroganoff stew, chicken and noodle, beef and barley, vegetable, potato, chicken corn chowder……why does soup taste sooo much better this time of year?

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And remember, there’s only six more shopping weekends left before Christmas…..

How’s that for a brain slap? 🙂

xoxo