Just Enough

Most of the Christmas decorations are still packed away in crates and drawers. And I don’t have any plans to dig them out.  For some reason I wanted small trees this year and peace. I had ordered a set of small trees on a whim from an online retailer.  I put them on my mantle with some greenery and pine cones. I visited a local shop where the proprietor had small trees (the largest is about two foot) at a great price and bought five so my Byer Christmas Trio would look like they were standing at the edge of an evergreen forest.  Then I purchased a bag of inexpensive bottle brush trees to display with a couple of small box houses, making a tree farm of sorts. I added a trio of small trees and a bowl that belonged to my great grandmother, full of small pinecones that I found in the mountains on a long ago trip, to my little desk. I added old brown crocks into the mantle display, put a single candle surrounded by greenery on a small stand, hung jingle bells on the front door, placed a sprig of berries on a doorknob, put out a few of my Christmas books and called it a day.

It’s just enough to honor the season without taking away from the true meaning. It’s just enough to remind me that making a home can be a blessing, but not so much that I’m exhausted. And, if I decide that I’m too tired to put it away and it all hangs around for awhile, it still blends in as winter decor, leaving me the freedom to put it away gradually without stress.  It’s all pretty low key. it’s all just enough peace to keep me grounded and help me find my sense of place. You can see it in pictures below.  Welcome.

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Hope your Christmas is filled with just enough peace and grace,

Teresa

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Linking up with the Nester for the Christmas tour of homes.

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Catching Up (otherwise known as break it down, girl)

Linking  up today over at Emily’s for the What I Learned In March link-up

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A FEW THINGS I LEARNED

There are no snakes in Ireland!  Did you hear me?  NO SNAKES in Ireland.  I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland (if I can get over my fear of flying), so this would just be another reason to keep that on the bucket list.  How could I have lived for fifty….well, a lot of years and not have picked up this bit of information.  Seems that you can be an Island unto yourself (without snakes) or something like that.  You can use google to learn more.

Culinary Circle frozen Pizza’s are the best in the freezer aisle.  If you are in a rush and just want to throw a pizza in the oven and call it done, these are actually pretty good little pizzas.  They do not have that frozen pizza taste and they have some great combinations.  The crust does not taste like frozen pizza crust either – you have the option of self-rising or ultra thin.  The sauce is great and they give you plenty.  Toppings are not skimpy either. I’ve been keeping a few of these on hand for those nights I don’t want to cook. Just add a salad.  Our local grocer has had them on sale two for ten this winter, so even the price is great. (I know that homemade fresh is always better and healthier, but I don’t always have the energy for all that.)

Politics sometimes brings out the worst in me.  Especially this year.  I may or may not have made a few comments on facebook earlier in the election season.  Then, one day I commented on a friends post in a way that was opposite than her opinion (ok to have differing opinions).  I later realized that maybe I was getting a little too into proving my points and it wasn’t worth it.  Sanity and friends are way more important than politics.  I’ve pretty much ignored everything since then.  I still have opinions and may even feel the need to express them in future, but I’ll do my best to behave and keep my comments to my page and not interrupt another’s feed.  I don’t watch much news these days either.  I breathe better that way.

Alisan Porter is my new favorite singer -see my comments below under What we’re watching on TV (The Voice)

Yoga pants are the bomb diggity.  Well, maybe not all that, but they are the pants I didn’t know I needed.  Let’s face it I’m a fat girl and so leggings and such are not things I’m going to look good wearing, or be seen in public wearing.  However, yoga pants are not all that bad.  They actually hang better on me and show less lumps than the other, around the house, pants I was wearing (even my husband said so).  I bought them for the gym. I haven’t worn them to the gym yet due to gout flare-ups, but wearing them around the house felt great.  I still don’t think I’d wear them out shopping or around town, but to the gym with a longish shirt I can handle.  I bought the Danskin plus size relaxed fit – they are very roomy and comfortable.  In fact, they are almost too big- if I ever make it back to the gym I can probably be down a size in no time…

READING LISTS

What I’m currently reading:  Roots and Sky by Christie Purifoy; Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong; Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman; A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves; Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James.

On the radar to begin reading: Call To Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson; Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton (I barely  started this one a while back and laid it aside, so need to bet back to it.); The Great Divorce by C.S Lewis  I also have several books on my Amazon Wish list.

What I’m coloring:  The casual Artist by Sheryl Lee; Romantic Country by Eriy

New favorite magazine: the Cottage journal (borrowed from my cousin, need to subscribe)

TV SHOWS WE ARE WATCHING

The Voice – we haven’t watched this one in a while, but recently started this season.  Remember the movie Curly Sue?  We watched it a few weeks ago and then the very next week we saw her blind audition on Youtube and decided we needed to keep up with  her.  The girl can sing.  I can’t even.  I think she can win it.  Hoping.

Blue Bloods – Tom Selleck – a classic that gets better with age – what more can I say.  I love this show.  It has the right balance of drama and family dynamics.  I love that they gather around the table as a family on Sunday and I love that they pray and are not afraid to mention faith.

The Good Wife – I’d heard some hype about this show, but never watched it.  Sometime last year it was free on Amazon Prime so we started from the beginning and watched it until we caught up.  Overall it has been a good show.  There are some plots I could have lived without, but the overall storyline has been pretty good.  I’m thankful this is the last season.  I like to finish what I start, but it is time for this one to be laid to rest.

Quantico – this is a new show and I’ve loved the intrigue, but it’s getting old already.  I think I’d be happy if they wrapped it up and it was a one and done.  I want to know who is behind the attacks, but they have dragged it out long enough. I’m not sure I can see them sustaining this one beyond one or two seasons.

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HEALTH UPDATE

I’m holding steady for the most part.

I have started using a CPAP machine for Sleep Apnea.  This has been a love / hate relationship.  Overall I think it may be giving me more energy and flexibility. My shortness of breath seems better and I’m not noticing as much numbness in my fingers and toes.  Probably because I’m getting more oxygen while I’m sleeping.

The gout is another issue – elevated uric acid levels. Both my PCP and Rheumatologist want me to start Allopurinol.  I don’t really want to as I don’t like the side effects.

I’ve been drinking a lemon / tart cherry juice concoction every morning. It is good for gout. It is helping with the stiffness and as an added bonus I don’t feel as bloated.

I’m considering trying the AIP diet.

My inflammation was slightly improved, which means the Plaquenil is doing it’s job.

Still trying to figure out how to live with MCTD, but I know that God is in control.

WHAT MY MOTHER SAID

If you’ve been reading here awhile, then you know my mother has Alzheimer’s.  I see more and more every day how she is slipping away, but she still has such a sense of humor and a zest for life about her.  She loves to talk about Jesus and how he is here with us.  She also loves to tease and laugh.  One day recently we were sitting in my living room chatting and I was in one of my silly moods.  I was humming and singing – nonsense mostly.  In the middle of one of my upward progressions (totally a music term (not), my mom looked over at me and blurted out, “Break it down, girl!”  Priceless.  I do love that mother of mine.

 

Breaking it down in grace,

Teresa

 

Mustard Seed Faith (learning curve)

 Today’s post is a list of things I’m learning on my health journey series. If you are just now stopping in you may want to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before continuing. 

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As you can well imagine, or maybe you know from your experiences, dealing with illness is not an easy thing.  There is a lot of uncertainty and waiting. I’m not going to lie or pretend to have it all together – it is scary to be faced with tests and a chronic diagnosis that has so many unknowns. Some days it backs me up against a wall, and I’m frozen, unable to move or think straight.

Faith is hard fought and trusting God’s plan feels shaky.

Even when I waver, I know God is God, and I know he is sovereign.  I know he walks ahead of me on the path seeing what I don’t see.  I know he is with me even when he seems far away.  And, I know that I need to keep moving forward doing the next thing.  I can’t get lost in what if’s and neither can I bury my head in the sand refusing to acknowledge the realities.  It is a fine line that requires the balance of a tightrope walker.

Faith is hard fought and trusting God’s plan feels shaky. 

But, faith as small as a mustard seed moves mountains and God’s plan is sure.

Slowly, but surely I’m learning to trust his plan. He has been teaching me ways to travel:

  1.  Pray hard.
  2.  Rely on Scripture.
  3. Realize I can’t, but God can.
  4. I’m invincible until God says otherwise (words from our friend BJ that he heard from his minister).
  5. I need to operate under the assumption that I am doing well until I hear otherwise (this does not mean bury my head in the sand, but I shouldn’t borrow trouble).
  6. Extend grace to myself and to others (none of us can do it all ).
  7. A perfectly clean house is overrated (don’t’ be slovenly, but don’t obsess – most people don’t go looking for dust bunnies).
  8. Practice thankfulness (don’t complain).
  9. Be intentional about relationships (I need to plan ahead and pace myself so that I don’t neglect family and friends.  They need me, and I need them).
  10. Make time for things that feed my soul (writing and puttering around my house making it beautiful).
  11. PRIORITIZE – it is essential that I learn to embrace what is most important and let go of the lesser things.

This list is a work in progress, but it is a good reminder to keep me focused on the big picture.  The Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) is just one part of my life, and while I want to respect it, I don’t want it to be the boss of me.  I never want to forget that God is the author of my story.  Even in my mustard seed faith, his plan is sure.

Linking up with Emily and others over at Chatting at the Sky for What we Learned in January.  

Learning in grace,

Teresa

5 Things 2015 Wanted Me To Know

100_4469.21. NOD TO THE NOT (it’s ok to pause)

It’s ok NOT to choose a word for the year.  I had chosen a word in previous years but at the beginning of 2015 it just wasn’t a priority.  I survived the year without a special focus word.

Taking a blogging break is ok.  I trusted that my loyal readers, those that are my community, would not forget about me and would be waiting to encourage me when I came back.  They didn’t, and they were.

2. THE WORDS WILL COME, GIVE THEM TIME (After all, you are a writer)

I rediscovered the joy of using a pencil on paper.  Nothing can compare to that sweet, scratchy sound.  I need to practice this art more often.

Even though the writing was meager in 2015 and not writing scared me a little, I learned to trust that, in God’s time, the words would flow again. Because I have to write.

I want my writing to make people feel as if they have come home.

Hope*ologie was great, but Hope*writers is even better. I need a writer(ly) community that says what I do matters.

3. PRACTICE CONSISTENCY AND OBEDIENCE (how hard can it be)

I’m not a morning person, and there is no shame in that.  Not being a morning person may sometimes mean that I do better with my quiet time in the evening rather than the morning.  One thing I’m learning about quiet time is that consistency is key.  Regular time in the word is beneficial no matter what time of day you engage.

Sacrificing for Lent is not the point.  Sacrifice is nothing without obedience.  Obedience is a daily submission to God’s will for my life.  Godly obedience is not the kind of obedience that sounds like a bunch of rules.  Rather, it is a willingness to give Him complete control  It is 365 days a year, including the forty days of Lent.

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4. EMBRACE  THERAPY, ACCEPTANCE, AND RESTORATION  (God is your buckler)

Binge watching 7th Heaven preached to me in lots of ways; it was my therapy for a large chunk of time during the first half of 2015.  One of my favorite posts in 2015 was What I Learned From Watching 7th Heaven.

Y’all, I fell in love with Southwestern Virginia.  We spent some lovely days visiting a friend and explored the back roads near her hometown.  It was restorative and gave me much Joy In My Father’s World. And, lots of pictures.

Back in 2013, I realized that I need to make peace with My mom having Alzheimer’s, but it wasn’t until sometime in 2015 that I was able to accept that it is what it is, and only God has all the answers.  Instead of wasting time grieving over what we’ve lost, I’m starting to embrace the path we are on and I’m beginning to realize that you can never truly lose someone, you just adjust to a new normal.

More than ever in 2015 the truth in Psalm 18:2 sustained me:

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

I  also relied on Psalm 91 and knowing that he covers me with his feathers; He is my buckler which according to Merriam-Webster means “one that shields and protects.”  I have discovered that I love the word buckler.

I also found strength from the support of my husband. He takes care of me and loves me well. I love doing life with him.

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5. ENJOY A SEASON OF STRENGTH AND QUIET (embrace the real you)

I’ve always loved Autumn, but this year I realized that the way I describe Autumn also describes me.  Makes perfect sense.

I see Fall as both a little bit spicy and practical.  It is no-nonsense, but serendipitous all at the same time.  It is a warm hug as well as a brusque nod in passing. It is a steadfast heart that loves without condition, but won’t be trampled.  It is chaotic and fragile, but stands strong in the storm.  It is a little rough around the edges, as well as gloriously beautiful in spirit.  Like me.

2015 taught me that by God’s grace I am stronger than I think.

October loves me – she sent me several postcards this year during the 31 Days Writing Challenge

November is a melancholy month when the skies are gray and somber, and the first real chill is in the air.  Lights come on earlier, and we settle in for quieter evenings. I’m ok with that. Because I’m a little bit melancholy.

Advent is a time of waiting for “Emmanuel, God with us“, or as my mother says, “I’m so happy, God is in the house.”  A welcome note of praise to celebrate the arrival of the Christ Child…

and then, we slipped quietly from one year into the next.

Growing in grace,

Teresa

Linking up with Emily for What I Learned in 2015

Quiet Christmas

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This year is different.  Priorities have changed. Christmas is quiet. Making time for family and friends is intentional.  Hustle and bustle are are not welcome. Instead, we are waiting for Christmas.  “God is in the house” and “Jesus is here somewhere”  are the overriding themes as we prepare him room.  

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One of the ways we have prepared him room is to take a less is more approach.  we’ve been doing this the past few years, but this year we did even less. We kept it basic and simple and left room for peace to enter our hearts and time to focus on the Christ Child.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

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Our hope is that you are finding ways to celebrate that bring peace to your heart and that you too are waiting for Christmas.

Even though we kept the decorations simple, I’ve captured a few photo memories to share with you.  Enjoy!

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Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey,on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

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I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12

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I also wanted to share a picture of the tin can drummer boy my father made – I think it is very folk artsy. And, even though we didn’t put up a tree this year, I took a picture of my parent’s little tree to share and included a picture of my tree from last year.

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Thanks for stopping by!  If you’d like to see how others are decorating for Christmas, be sure to stop by the Nester’s tour of homes where several other bloggers are linking up today.  If you have a blog you may want to link-up as well.

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I’ve been writing a weekly advent devotional – you can find them by clicking the titles: Waiting On Pure Delight (week 1), Watching For God With Us (Week 2) and Preparing To Make Him Room (week 3).  Come back next week and join me for Week 4 where we’ll talk about Praising his coming.

 

 

Quieting in Grace,

Teresa

 

Learning in October

I see Fall as both a little bit spicy and practical.  It is no-nonsense, but serendipitous all at the same time.  It is a warm hug as well as a brusque nod in passing. It is a steadfast heart that loves without condition, but won’t be trampled.  It is chaotic and fragile, but stands strong in the storm.  It is a little rough around the edges, as well as gloriously beautiful in spirit.  Like me.  (Teresa L. Hardymon)

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I always refer to October as mine.  I mean, I’m happy to share her with you, but she is my October.  And, she did not disappoint this month.  The color came on slow, intensified just when I thought she was going to fade without much splash, then lingered just a few days before blowing away on the winds of change.

I went on a girls excursion last week with a friend.  We left on Wednesday and remarked that there wasn’t a lot of color yet.  By Friday, October had exploded all over the place and the color was wonderful.  It was enough to make me shout praises.  I went crazy and took lots of pictures which I shared here.

Then, a couple of days later, when the color was still good, but falling and the light was more gray than bright, I took a gander around my own small, hometown and took lots more pictures which I shared here.

October sent me several postcards which I shared on several days as part of the #write31days event.  She really loves me a lot, which is why she sent me the cards.  Just to remind me of all she has to offer.

In addition to all the love, there were a few things I discovered this month that I thought I’d share with you just in case they might be of interest or help to you too.

THE PERFECT PURSE –  How did I not discover the perfect purse before?  For years, I have struggled to find a purse that I love to carry and that loves me back.  I find a bag, love the look or color, imagine that we’ll have a long relationship, but then disappointment inevitably settles in and I’m once again on the hunt.   I think the hunt is over!  I discovered the bucket bag (mine is similar and this one is on my wish list too).  It has been wonderful. It was half-price which was great as well.  In September I wrote about what was in my purse.  I loved that orange bag and still do, but it is frustrating to carry, because everything shifts around and I’m always digging to find stuff.  NO MORE!  The bucket bag keeps everything exactly where I put it!  I started carrying this bag around the first of October and I have yet to be frustrated.  Everything has a place and stays there.  I can find things.  The strap is adjustable so I can balance it just right for me.  It sets comfortably on my shoulder without slipping.  I finally have a bag that is stylish, roomy, comfortable and organized.

NEW FAVORITE ARTIST –  I love good music.  I love being in a small intimate group listening to live music.  I had the opportunity earlier this month to do just that.  One of our favorite little pizza hangouts, Pasquales, has been having live music.  Many evenings, it includes my nephew, Austin, and his friend, Andrew, who make up the band The Mountain Sound.  On the particular night we went to Pasquales they were performing with other musicians from the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music which is part of the MSU music department.  They performed as Blurred lines and I met a new favorite singer,  Becki Alfrey.  The girl can sing.  She did a lot of Patsy Cline numbers and it was just heavenly.  She doesn’t have a CD out yet, but I’m hoping she does soon.

GO TO YOUR CLASS REUNION –  I’ve never gone to one of my class reunions. ever. Until this October.  And it wasn’t an official reunion.  It was a non-reunion year, when a group from our class wanted to have a little get together at a local bowling alley.  They set up a Facebook invite and invited everyone they could think of from our class.  I received the invite and thought maybe, but probably not.  My friend T and I discussed it.  We were both leaning towards not.  I said, well, let’s keep our options open.  The day of I was pretty sure I wasn’t going, then T called to check in and said we were going.  So, that was that.  I AM SO GLAD I WENT.  It was just a small group, but it was a great time of catching up and remembering.  We loved it so much that everyone decided to make it an annual thing.  I can’t wait to go next year.  I won the prize for being married the longest (31 years).  I don’t know why I waited so long.  Sometimes it was logistics because I lived too far away.  A lot of times it was the awkwardness of not having seen anyone but a handful of people since high school.  What I learned from this event is that in many ways we are the same people we were then, but in so many ways we have matured into the what I want to be when I grow up version.  We have lived life with it’s challenges, lessons and gifts.  We know how important friends can be.  We have a shared history together, as well as our own history lived apart.  Going forward we will make new history together.

RACCOONS ARE NOT AFRAID OF US, Y’ALL –  My parents have had a raccoon visit them several times this month.  It nearly attacked my dad on the first visitation, brushing against him on it’s way by his chair.  Then, on another evening, when my mom was sitting on the porch by her lonesome, he got a little braver and they made contact which resulted in a few scratches on her hand and ankle.  She yelled pretty loud and I heard her while siting in my kitchen.  I called to make sure everyone was ok, and went over to check on the scratches.  I called our local animal control guy, who said he didn’t have a trap and wanted to know if my dad had a gun (not sure exactly what his job description is supposed to be, evidently it doesn’t cover coons).  We thought about borrowing a trap and trapping him, so we could make sure he didn’t have rabies.  But, since the scratches were surface and the coon hadn’t shown any signs before or after the incident of being rabid, and after reading up about such things on the internet, we decided my mom was safe and not in danger of getting rabies.  Since it is now was well past the incubation period  and nothing has happened yet, I think we’re safe.  The coon showed up a couple more times, but hasn’t been seen recently, so I’m guessing he has moved on.  We hope.

I CAN’T DO EVERYTHING –  I’ve been slowly, but surely, giving myself permission to slow down and not worry if every “i” is dotted or “t” is crossed.  I’m trying to look at what I have done and be thankful, rather than feeling guilty about what I haven’t done.  Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than others are, and we set higher expectations than necessary.

TAKE THE MEDICATION ALREADY – I have also been learning that sometimes taking medication is our best option and if we are willing, it can help us to feel better.  I’ve recently been diagnosed with MCTD, an autoimmune disease (I hate that word). Thankfully, it appears that I’m not showing major attacks on my body yet and my doctor wants to get it in remission before it gets worse, so I’ve had to take a new medication to help build up my immune system and help with pain. The aches and pains are better, however the deep, deep fatigue lingers.  Which is why number 4 is necessary.  Taking naps is also becoming a necessary part of my daily routine and this too is a learning curve.  I’m sure this journey will teach me many things.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

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I am learning in grace,

Teresa

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman and others over at Chatting At The Sky for the October What I Learned.  Won’t you join the party?

Post Cards From October

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My series

(If you are new to this series start at the beginning for the explanation, if you have been here before scroll down for the table of contents.)

It’s that time of year again – Write31Days – where a bunch of bloggers decide to join a link-up and commit to writing every day for the month of October.

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My sister’s series

My sister and I are tag teaming this year, so some of the days she will be posting on her blog, but don’t worry, I’ll direct you over there.  Let me explain.

This year October is coming to you in the form of Post Cards and Pictures!  That’s right!  During the next 31 days we will be receiving post cards from October in all her glory.  She belongs to me you know, but I am going to share her with you.

October will be reminding us of all that is great about this season and giving us permission to enjoy all her bounty.

In response to the post cards from October, my sister will be posting travel pictures to share with October (and you too, of course) to show her appreciation of the season.  She will ask you to caption them in the comments. That way you get to be part of the correspondence.

Won’t you join us on this little adventure as we celebrate the loveliness of October and all the treasures that await .

In fact, I received a post card from her just today. Enjoy!

Table of Contents 

Click the banners to see the daily post cards (on the days my sister posts it will direct you to her blog).  

The links will be live on the date in October that corresponds with each post card number.

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For days 23-27 instead of post cards, there is one post full of fall pictures taken at Shaker Village. Enjoy!
For days 23-27 instead of post cards, there is one post full of fall pictures taken at Shaker Village. Enjoy!
For days 28-30 instead of post cards, there is one post full of fall pictures taken around my home town. Enjoy!
For days 28-30 instead of post cards, there is one post full of fall pictures taken around my home town. Enjoy!

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