I’ve never been among those who hurry out and buy pumpkin spice products as soon as they show up on the store shelves in late August, but I can understand the feeling. As the season changes and the days get shorter and darker, we need to surround ourselves with fun little things to keep us feeling cheerful, even on stormy afternoons when we can’t get out and do much.

So, I’m sharing a harvest tapestry image for Nurturing Thursday, even though it’s not quite fall yet:
 

Seasonal word-art with leaves, pumpkins, and autumn-related words such as "harvest" and "thankful hearts." 

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, often there are storms rolling through the area when my husband and I go rowing after work. We can’t always tell from looking at the weather forecast if we’re likely to get wet. So, we sometimes drive down to the boathouse, which is not too far from home, and then look at the sky and check the weather radar to get a better idea if any storms are near. We might row one lap and then stop to take another look.

What often happens on such days is that we have the river to ourselves because other rowing club members decide to stay home. They look at the sky, see dark clouds, and don’t want to risk the possibility they might be caught in a storm. As a result, they miss out on a lot of days that turn out to be good after all.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that anyone should take foolish risks. If we hear thunder while we’re rowing, we hurry back to the dock and get off the water like we’re supposed to do. But if we’re not sure that it will rain, we generally prefer to err on the side of adventure rather than caution.
 

Word-art that says "Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure." 

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 had a conversation on another blog this week about writing affirmations and how that can make them feel more concrete. I said that’s how blogging can be too; we attract readers for whom our words resonate, and we affirm the content of our blog entries in our own minds.

So, at the risk of getting a little bit goofy (which seems to be the way this summer has been going for me anyway), I decided that my Nurturing Thursday post would be about sharing fun affirmations and good vibes with my readers.
 

Word-art that says "Sending good vibes your way! Zazzle! Zing!" 

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 daughter and her dogs visited again last weekend. In between looking at new cars and talking about all the things she’d like to do, she came down to the river to row with us and her brother. The next day she went kayaking with a friend. Toward the end of her visit, when the dogs started snoozing on the floor, I thought she was going to doze off right next to them! That would have been okay—even though people in today’s world get used to always being busy, we need to give ourselves a little downtime too.
 

Word-art that says "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." 

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 husband bought a waterproof bag for his mobile phone so that he can keep it with him when we go rowing. The bag is designed to allow operation of the touch screen through a clear front panel.

This morning before he left for work, he held up the bag with the phone inside to show it to me. Then he told me to smile and took a picture of us both smiling at the camera. That started the day out on a cheerful note!
 

Word-art that says "A smile is a curve that sets everything straight." -Phyllis Diller 

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 a coworker recently sent me the image below, I thought it was cute, but couldn’t quite decide whether it would be suitable for Nurturing Thursday. I put it in my media library anyway.

Then I saw it again while I was sitting at the computer just now, trying to make up my mind what to write for today’s entry, and I had to laugh at myself. I certainly wasn’t being decisive! So, in the interest of not ending up as Nurturing Thursday roadkill, I went ahead and put the image into the post. Hope you all enjoy it!
 

Word-art that says "Remember, right or wrong, be decisive. The Road of Life is paved with too many flat squirrels that couldn't make a decision..." 

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 summer the rowing club bought some new boats, and this year they’re selling older ones. Because the boathouse manager was going to be out of town when buyers from another club came on Wednesday evening to pick up two boats, my husband volunteered to meet the buyers at the boathouse.

We helped them to take off the riggers for transport and to lift the boats up on top of their truck. It was sunny and hot, and we ended up being about an hour late for our usual Wednesday evening row, but it worked out all right. By the time we got on the river, the temperature had cooled off and felt very pleasant. The water was very calm, and we rowed most of our usual distance before it started getting dark. It turned out to be a beautiful day on the river!
 

Word-art that says "How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it." -George Elliston 

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.

Sometimes (and I’m sure this happens to many of us) when I sit down at the computer intending to write a blog post, I find myself wandering off and reading other people’s blogs instead. Then I feel as if I’ve been wasting time because I sat there for so long and have no creative work to show for it.

Looking at it from a broader perspective, though, it’s not really a waste of time at all. Not only do I learn more by taking the time to read more, I’m also contributing to the development of a kinder and more nurturing society when I write encouraging comments on blogs. It’s also fair to say (and I actually did once say this to my manager) that blogging and participating in writing groups for many years improved my feedback skills, which are valuable in today’s team-oriented workplace.
 

Word-art that says "No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." 

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 the weather around here has been hot and sunny for some time, I’ve been watering the row of willows in my backyard with a soaker hose. They used to be lush and healthy, as shown in this photo from 2015, but they’ve been dying back for the past few years after having been stressed by several cold winters and hot, dry summers.
 

My backyard willow hedge, bright and green in summer. 

I’ve read that because they are such fast-growing plants, they generally grow back well after being topped, so they’ll probably be okay. But after all the time I spent cutting off half-dead branches, I ended up feeling that those willows had turned into a giant time-sucking chore.

Truth be told, I hadn’t paid enough attention to them in previous years. Because I never took the time to prune them properly when they were smaller, they got overgrown with low branches that were in my husband’s way when he mowed the lawn.

Now, as they grow back, they’ll be in much better shape. So I have to say that I’ve learned a few useful lessons about paying more attention to routine maintenance, which I’d do well to appreciate rather than judging the willows as nothing but an unfortunate chore.
 

Word-art that says "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant." -Robert Louis Stevenson 

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 began this year with a New Year’s resolution simply to be present in the moment. There was no daily routine associated with it. I wanted to train my mind, very gently, into a habit of noticing more of what went on around me.

Even though I hadn’t tasked myself with actively working on any problems, after a while I began to feel that they were getting solved anyway, or at least put into better perspective and taking an appropriate place on the priority list. By noticing more of my surroundings without judgment, I planted seeds for thought, giving my subconscious mind enough space to let new patterns grow naturally.
 

Word-art that says "Every problem contains within itself the seeds of its own solution." -Stanley Arnold 

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.