I’ve been doing overtime work the past two weeks. That is good both because it’s extra money—which I can use, in a year when my refrigerator and air conditioner both had to be replaced—and because it means the company values my workgroup’s production enough to pay for more of it, which is always a positive sign.

When I noticed today that the house was colder than it should have been, my first thought was that the furnace wasn’t working. That left me worrying that all my overtime money might end up having to go toward buying a new furnace, and what bad luck that would be, and why couldn’t I be rich and have plenty of money for new stuff like some luckier people do.

As it turned out, what really happened was that the door to the garage had been open, letting cold air into the house, and I hadn’t noticed (probably because I wasn’t as alert as usual, with extra work hours taking up more of my mental energy). That was all. And, no need to worry—it’s all good.
 

Word-art that says "Remember, being happy doesn't mean you have it all. It simply means you're thankful for all you have." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

This time of year, when I walk outside to get the mail on a dark afternoon, I sometimes catch myself thinking that the front garden looks ugly. There’s not much in it right now except dead leaves of hostas and other perennials, which I should clean up but haven’t yet gotten around to doing, and some junipers and a yew that haven’t been trimmed in a while and are starting to look raggedy.

So, rather than thinking of it as ugly, I decided to make something cheerful out of it. I snipped off a few of those overgrown branches, brought them inside, tied holiday bows on them, and put them on a countertop next to a little candle in a jar. Now my kitchen looks much brighter and has a fresh evergreen scent, and it didn’t cost me anything. (I already had the green vase in one of the cabinets, and the supermarket was giving away free candles this week.)
 

Juniper and yew branches with red holiday bows. 

Soon enough, the days will get longer again, and the garden will bloom with new spring growth; but until that time comes, there’s no reason to settle for ugly.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I chose a horn of plenty image for my Nurturing Thursday post because, right now, I have plenty of reasons to be thankful. All of my family are in reasonably good health and good spirits. I had some fun adventures this year traveling to rowing regattas with my husband. Everything at work is going pretty well. Although I had a few unplanned expenses this year, such as having to replace my old refrigerator and air conditioner, anything that can be fixed with money is not really that much of a problem. Besides, I like the new refrigerator and air conditioner much better than the old ones.

Wishing plenty of Thanksgiving blessings to all!
 

Happy Thanksgiving image with a pumpkin and horn of plenty. 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

My poor long-suffering backyard willows, which I’ve had to cut back significantly in the past few years because of damage caused by unusually cold winters and hot, dry summers, took more abuse this morning when an ice storm bent their branches all the way to the ground.
 

Ice-covered willows with branches hanging to the ground. 

The temperature got above freezing this afternoon, though, and the ice is melting. I expect that by tomorrow, the branches will have shed their coating of ice and will have bounced back, not much worse for the wear. We could learn a few things about resilience from their example!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

November in America traditionally is a time for reflecting on the many things for which we are thankful. In that respect, I was glad to see such strong participation, especially by younger voters, in Tuesday’s election. Although politics in the United States recently has been marked by cultural and generational clashes, I feel heartened that so many people are not giving up, but are actively working to bring the country together and to build a society where our differences are respected and valued.
 

Word-art featuring fallen leaves and words like "thankful." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Because it has been dark and rainy here, I’m looking for bright colors and cheerful things to perk me up—and surely I’m not the only one feeling this way. When a coworker sent this “positive energy” image in an email, it felt just right to share for Nurturing Thursday! Enjoy.
 

Word-art that says "positive energy" with brightly colored rays. 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Last weekend I rowed a single scull in a regatta for the first time. The race was on Saturday afternoon in Tennessee, and although I didn’t know it, a major windstorm was blowing in from the northwest. When I rowed a double with my husband earlier that day, the water was getting choppy, and we had a difficult time keeping our speed up. We don’t have as much experience in windy conditions as many other rowers because our usual course—on a river in Dayton, Ohio—often has calm water.

When we got back to the dock, I had only a few minutes to use the restroom and pin my number onto my uniform before I was right back out there. I could have waited a little longer, but I wanted to make sure to reach the starting line (this was a 5K race) in plenty of time, which I did. So there I was, just sitting in my tiny boat waiting for my race to start, getting blown all around by the wind (racing sculls are narrow little boats generally, and my boat is more so than most, because I am a small woman).

Fortunately, an official noticed that all the competitors were there waiting and started us early, so I didn’t have too much time to get nervous. Two women who were much better at rowing in choppy water passed me before too long, but I managed to stay ahead of another rower and to make some progress against the wind, while telling myself it would be okay. My time was slow, but for a first race it wasn’t too bad, and I had no mishaps and didn’t capsize—so all was well.

The trip back to Dayton, driving into the oncoming windstorm with our boats strapped to the roof of the SUV, was more of an adventure than we would have liked. My husband was very thorough about making sure everything was well secured before we left; and although the winds got so gusty that he had to stop beside the highway and put on every extra strap we had, it was all okay—except that we had to drive so slowly that we didn’t get home in time to order the pizza we’d been planning to get. No worries other than that!
 

Word-art that says "Don't worry about a thing. Every little thing is gonna be alright." -Bob Marley 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

On what is a bright, sunny autumn day here, keeping toward the sunshine seems just right for a Nurturing Thursday post. Enjoy a great weekend, everyone!
 

Word-art that says "Keep your face to the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind you." -Walt Whitman 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

After a long string of warm, summery days, the weather turned chilly all of a sudden last night. When I woke up this morning, the heat was running and the view out the window was a gray, cloudy dawn.

In past years I would have grumbled something to myself like “oh, yuck, now it’s going to be dark and cold for ages, no more good weather till spring.” But of course, in today’s world there are always fun things to do, no matter what the season. All we need to do is look around with the expectation of finding them, and sure enough, something fun will come along soon!
 

Word-art that says "Here Comes the Fun." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

When I was a kid, my mom always was a major stickler for prompt thank-you notes. I remember several afternoons when instead of going out to play, I was sent to my room to compose a neglected thank-you, while grumbling to myself that it was a pointless chore.

Although it took a while, I did eventually develop more understanding of the thank-you ritual. Rather than just being a rote social script, thank-you notes show appreciation for kind acts, which is a way of giving kindness in return. After visiting my mother recently, I sent a card thanking her for showing my husband and me around her current house, which we hadn’t seen before. That might not have been technically a gift, but I did appreciate her taking the time to do it, and just thought I should say so.
 

Word-art that says "Acts of kindness inspire kindness." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.