It’s All About Autumn

Growing up In New York meant that I chose Autumn as my favourite time of year.  When I moved to England I was surprised to find that my favourite season changed to Spring. Spring in England is special.  English gardens are beautiful and the grass is always green. What I was slow to realize was the reason that Autumn lost its appeal until I made the recent trip to New York to attend my daughter’s wedding.  Autumn leaves are more vibrant and colourful in the US.  In England, leaves change only slightly and we don’t get much oak leaves. After doing a bit of research, I discovered there are certain weather conditions that need to happen for the best Autumn (or “fall” as we Americans call it) colours.  What is needed is a warm wet Spring combined with a sunny cool Autumn. Basically, Autumn in England (and most of Europe) is cloudy rather than sunny. Personally, I think it’s good that New York has such spectacular Autumn colours. A lot of what you see is pretty grey and dull looking most of time in most areas.

While I was staying at the Catskills ( home town of Rip Van Winkle), the colours were amazing and yet funny enough we met some locals who informed us that the colours were a let down this year due to too much wind and rain.  Really? Take a look at these pictures I took while visiting a local Buddhist temple:

Buddhist temple Catskill

Buddhist temple Catskill 2

Catskill Buddhist temple


These colours really make me want to bring the outdoors in.  I didn’t do much shopping while visiting the US as I was under strict luggage weight and bulk limit but I managed to squeeze just two things I found in Target that I simply had to have.  What do you think of this pumpkin-shaped potpourri?

pumpkin potpourri


I actually added some cinnamon-apple oil essence as the fragrance was a bit too dull.


I also purchased this pumpkin made from tree bark which is the pumpkin on the right.



The other thing I had added to my living room was this vase filled with autumn coloured faux flowers and berries and the copper-coloured pear next to it.  I think it looks quite nice on my fireplace mantle.


I am loving my Autumn décor so much that for the first time ever, I am not in a hurry for Christmas to come!




Being Like A Child Part 2


Mathew 18:1-5.

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Part 2: How a child sees

In part One I talked about how children often have an inborn sense as to who God is without being told.  I talked about my childhood conclusion that God was all-loving and all-forgiving and both male and female and neither sex and how God is happy to receive our gifts no matter how small and that we should create gifts to give to people we love. If anyone has anything to add about what they thought about God when they were children or how their children think please click on the comment  link above.

Today I would like to continue the theme of what it means to be like a child according to the verses in Mathew 18 with how a child sees the world around them.  You see it from the time they are very young,  Their eyes wide open in sparkling wonder as they look around.


Research shows us that the first thing babies look for with their eyes is another pair of eyes.  As they grow they take in more and more of their environment often focusing on one object at a time.


In one of my earlier post Seeing Beauty I mentioned how it was my daughter Brittany who used to advise me when she was a child to ‘see the beauty all around’.  Until she taught me that, I wasn’t really paying attention.  Even living in NYC, Brittany still noticed little glimpses of nature that I didn’t know was there.  While walking down a block, she pointed out an adorable creature known as the praying mantis.  Seriously, when you look at them up close they are really cute and comical…almost sci-fi alien like.


They have the cutest little faces.


We spent a long time gazing at this thing and watching it because it was so cute and because I was worried that it was just standing there on the sidewalk where it could be trampled.

Brittany also noticed that the reason bird song got so much louder on one street is because one of the houses had a bird aviary in their front yard.  It was the kind where wild birds (and squirrels) could go in and out of easily for food.

bird-aviary-lgWe could just see through the branches of the bushes the aviary with a whole flock of birds inside. We noticed other things in our city walk as well.  Some houses had honeysuckle bushes in front that gave a lovely sweet scent when you walked past.


There would sometimes be a friendly cat always happy to be petted or a neighbour and his dog.  There were many different types of trees.  Many!  They weren’t all the same and in the spring the flowers gave away the varieties of the trees.


Now, we are a nature loving family partly because we didn’t grow up with a whole lot of it but there is beauty to be seen of things that aren’t of nature too.  The cool thing is that this makes for a great outdoor art lesson when you are home-schooling. Children can give some amazing insight to what they are looking at and why they find something beautiful.  Below are what I think are works of art you can see in Queens, New York:






What gifts our children can teach us!  What can we also learn with our children?  Take the time to look in wonderment at things with child-like eyes.  Gaze at intricate details like the petals of a flower, or the veins in a leaf. Take time to see follow the gaze of a baby.  What is she looking at?  What are you now seeing that you wouldn’t have noticed before?