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#Autumn down a country lane in New England Take Two: Sugar Maple Splendor

#Autumn down a country lane in New England Take Two: Sugar Maple Splendor

I found a few more photos in my iPhone…


We have several historic cemeteries in town with beautiful trees.



















Consider this a continuation of yesterday’s post. (There’s even some identification going on regarding the “oreo cows”. File that under “things I never thought I’d discuss in a combox”, but it’s been fun!)

Note: Something is wacky with my latest IOS upgrade. Sometimes, photos are sideways when viewed on different devices. I don’t know how to correct this yet. So apologies on those portrait-style photos. I’m trying to find out why as they look right side up when I put the post together. Hm. Any insights on this, please leave me a note in the comments. Thanks.

#Autumn down a country lane in New England. (Yes, I do live in a postcard.)

#Autumn down a country lane in New England. (Yes, I do live in a postcard.)

The first real frost is forecasted. After that, well, you never know what the colors will be. So late this afternoon as I drove home from my weekly grocery run, the cows called to me and I had to stop and take their picture. The light was coming in at a beautiful angle, and I was dreaming of buying an expensive camera in that moment. I got over it. The iPhone will have to do. I’ve driven past this scene, and many of the cows’ brethren, for twenty years. But there’s always something a bit whimsical seeing it in fall. When I first moved here from the hustle of Long Island, I used to joke with my friends that I now live in a post card. It’s not a joke anymore. I really do. And I’ve learned to live in the woods rather than at the beach, and I’ve learned there is peace in rolling footpaths are there are in rolling waves.

You can click on any photo to make it larger.

Happy Fall!


These are the cows. We called them “oreo” cows when the kids were small. I’m sorry I don’t know the exact breed, but they are always this color, with a creamy white middle. That tree out in the middle of the field is one I watch in every season. I love that tree.




Something about the expression on this bovine’s face reminds me of my dog. If you knew my dog, you’d know.





Stone walls are everywhere here. Lots of granite and such.




I loved this tree too. As I walked past, the sunlight made it even more golden. See the next photo.



It was a moment. The photo does not do it justice, but God loves this tree.




Pond is a bit still, usually there is a strong spring that feeds it, but its been a little droughty here.















St Francis



These might be the last of the mums before the frost comes.



Tree canopy overhead.

My previous fall post from last year is here, and from the old blog here, and this one has some of my favorite barns in it, here.


Remembering 9/11: a tribute to Yolanda, a tour of the Memorial in NYC, and a call to service

Remembering 9/11: a tribute to Yolanda, a tour of the Memorial in NYC, and a call to service

Many of us remember where we were 14 years ago today.

I’ve written about it before here, and here, and here and here and elsewhere.

Today, among the others my extended family knows who died that day, I’d like to focus on one person that we lost.

My mom’s friend, Yolanda Dowling, as my mother tells it, was excited to get a job more local to her home on Long Island. She went into the World Trade Center that morning for what should have been her last day on the job. It was her last day on the planet.

Mary Yolanda Dowling July 22, 1955–September 11, 2001

Mary Yolanda Dowling
July 22, 1955–September 11, 2001

Let us pray for her soul, and all those who mourn her, and all those who mourn this day.


That space in lower Manhattan is holy ground, and Pope Francis is set to visit it for a prayer service on September 25.  The memorial also recalls those lost in Washington DC and in Shanksville, PA.

I’ve yet to be able to make a visit to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. But I’ve benefitted from seeing the memorial site online.

You can do an over-view tour of it here. 

And here’s a short 10 retrospective of the building of the Memorial.

The 9/11 Memorial has its own YouTube channel and there are plenty more videos there to explore.


Finally, there are many people who want to remember 9/11 with a day of service. Being a volunteer in the community is a positive thing. There are many good ideas here. Of course, you don’t just have to volunteer today, you can do it anytime.

Banner photo is a screenshot of what Yolanda’s name looks like on the Memorial Wall,  from here. 

Gohn fishin’

Gohn fishin’

No Chevy van. Just a Mini Cooper, and the one I love.

This makes me think… about who we are…

Will there be times when the Lord still reveals areas in our lives that need to change? Yes, of course. But His conviction is about what we do, not about who we are.

-Holley Gerth-

Men of virtue — or thoughts on ‘what is a gentleman?’

Men of virtue — or thoughts on ‘what is a gentleman?’

gentleman |ˈjentlmən|

noun ( pl. gentlemen )
a chivalrous, courteous, or honorable man: he behaved like a perfect gentleman.

-New Oxford American Dictionary-

The other day on the phone my son told me he sent flowers to his girlfriend who having an extremely busy week in the run-up to an international event her firm is hosting. Good move.

The next day I saw Facebook photos of my other son wearing a suit before a college homecoming dance, complete with a purple tie to flatter his girlfriend’s dress. Nice touch.

My husband and I recently went out to a pretty upscale French restaurant to mark our anniversary. And he brought a card, complete with a note inside from him. Words are big on my love-language list. This man never misses on this count. He is big on hand holding and door holding too. He’ll even hold my purse for me when asked.

This is the same man who helps me run a large bible study every week. He leads a discussion group. He helps set up and put away the supplies. He locks up and make sure everything is safe and secure when its over. His generous courtesies actions allow me to take final personal questions and visit with the participants who’d like to spend a little extra time. I’m grateful for it all.

For women, a man being a gentleman is not just about courtesy and gallant gestures… it’s more about the virtues that motivate them. It makes women ask: who is the man within?

In the last week my news feeds keep sending me gentlemanly posts and I thought I’d share a few with you.

In 4 Signs of a True Gentleman, Dale Partridge, now father to a daughter, is in a kind of quest to really be the first gentleman in his daughter’s life. He offers this as numero uno:

1. He Puts All Women Before Himself
Being a gentlemen has no bounds of an intimate relationship. It is a badge a man should carry with him at all times. A true gentlemen treats his mother, sisters, female friends and all feminine acquaintances with admiration and regard. He is in constant search of ways to honor and uphold the value of his female counterpart. Whether through listening, defending or affirming, a true gentlemen is a source of strength to all women, not just the one he desires.

See the other 3 items.  

That’s a pretty tall order. Yet it is another way of saying, love your neighbor. Or extend respect to all women. For respect precedes love. I always told my daughter, back in her dating days… pay attention to how a man treats his mother and his sister. It will tell you much.

Over at CatholicMom.com, Ginny Moyer writes “What it Means to Be a “Gentleman” (And Why a Mom Should Care)“. In it she describes the gift of courtesy, too, and she also talks about a man’s inbred notion of the dignity of the human person — his treatment of the other — as a necessary core value.

A gentleman sees the innate human dignity of others, all others.  Remember in Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth goes to Darcy’s home and hears from the housekeeper about how well he treats all the workers on his estate?  Previously, she had accused him of not being a gentleman, but a testimony like that goes a long way towards altering her initial opinion.  You can be fairly certain you’re on a date with a gentleman when he is genuinely and unostentatiously kind to the guy who refills the water glasses.

Read the rest.

I came across a fairly young blog for men called, The Catholic Gentlemen, written by Sam Guzman, the communications director for Pro-Life Wisconsin. He is pretty direct in calling men not only to gentlemanly behavior, but to holiness. He writes that there is a “man crisis” in the Church today and his call to radical faith in the teachings of Christ and his Church. You’ll get a taste of that from this recent post post on “12 Ways to be a Committed Catholic Man. ” Besides calling men to a deep faith in Jesus Christ… his #5 on his list of 12 is all about the Eucharist.

Discover the majestic manliness of the Mass – The Mass is the “source and summit” of the Catholic faith, and yet, the majority of men claim to “be bored by the Mass” and to “not get anything out of the Mass”. This is because they don’t know what is occurring in the Mass: they have little understanding of the manly symbolism of the Mass, a Sacrament that has been devoutly passed down for 2000 years. They don’t realize that during the Mass they are witnesses to the actual Bloody Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. If a man doesn’t actively participate in the Mass because of ignorance and boredom, he can’t receive the Graces that flow from the Eucharist. Learn the Mass to such a degree that you can explain it to others with the reverence and devotion that Christ’s Sacrifice deserves.

Read all 12 of Guzman’s list.

BONUS from Guzman: Chesterton’s Rule of Drinking.

The holiness factor — men with virtue — this is what we women are seeking.


For Bob. God Gave Me You. #tbt

For Bob. God Gave Me You. #tbt

The ultimate “Throw-back Thursday” for you and me.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 7.47.25 PM

October 23, 1982

At 22 I said “I do.” And I’d do it all again.

Ok, we gotta get better at this. This is the last photo I have of us -- from May?? (before I cut off my hair!)

Ok, we gotta get better at this. This is the last photo I have of us — from May?? (before I cut off my hair!)

Love this song!


From Katie and Benjy’s Wedding, 2013… yeah, life is good.

 I have a little sign that hangs in our kitchen: “Happiness is being married to your best friend.”  Yup.

32 years. And a lifetime warranty.



From the archives, at 30.

Zipping Down Country Lanes in New England… and walking them too…

Zipping Down Country Lanes in New England… and walking them too…

First, with an emphasis on zip…

Yes, we needed something other than MGB for the cooler weather… or maybe that was just needing something cooler. Period. (Let me tell you what a great husband I have….)

(Let me tell you what a great husband I have….he knows I’m a road warrior. He knows I love blue, too! )

Bob and I were sharing a car for while. But this summer, as he began a new job, he suggested I take this for a test drive… He didn’t have to ask twice. I’ve loved these cars since I saw one on vacation in 2003. 10+ years later, the “emptying nest”can handle this. As a former ad copywriter, I certainly appreciate zippy ad copy too, but I digress…

I'm in love with this little turbo!

I’m in love with this little turbo!


Meanwhile, back on those country lanes, this is “high season” when “leaf peepers” from around the world visit New England and enjoy the fall foliage. We are about at about 30% “turned” right now, but things are getting more gorgeous by the day. Let me show you some of my local views. (FYI: You can click on the images to make them larger.)

I pass these ladies pretty regularly…

I pass these ladies pretty regularly…


She is outstanding in her field.

She is outstanding in her field.


Shadows getting longer...

Shadows getting longer in the afternoons…


I love walking to these pastures.


We have many ponds in our neighborhood. I love the cloud reflections after some recent rainfall.

Many ponds in our neighborhood. Love the reflections.

“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”  (1 Chronicles 16: 31)”




“…let the field exult, and everything in it!” (1 Chronicles 16:32)



“Then shall the trees of the wood sing for joy before the LORD…” (1 Chronicles 16: 33)


“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever!” (1 Chronicles 16: 34)

Around our yard…

St Francis feeds the birds.

St Francis feeds the birds.

Mary, with the "burning bush" behind her.

Mary, with the “burning bush” behind her.

Brady, not quite as heavy as the pumpkin.

This is Brady, my pumpkin-sized pooch. Clearly he is not impressed by it.


Previous autumn posts… on leaf blowers.

From the archived Among Women blog: “God’s World” by Edna St Vincent Millay, plus a poem by Maria Johnson, and finally my photo essay on barns. 


This makes me think… just praise Him! Always!

Nothing, then, must keep us back, nothing separate us from him, nothing come between us and him. 

At all times and seasons, in every country and place, every day and all day, we must have a true and humble faith, and keep him in our hearts, where we must love, honor, adore, serve, praise and bless, glorify and acclaim, magnify and thank, the most supreme and eternal God, Three in one, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Creator of all, and Saviour of those who believe in him, hope in him, and who love him; without beginning and without end, he is unchangeable, invisible, indescribable and ineffable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed and worthy of all praise.

-St Francis of Assisi-
Rule of 1221, Ch. XXIII*