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Thank you, Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout

image by Darwin Bell

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
would not take the garbage out…
brown bananas and rotten peas,
chunks of sour cottage cheese…

As the words of this delightful Shel Silverstein poem come to mind this morning, I cannot help but let my all too stoic lips (as of lately) curve up a bit at the corners.  A little levity is just what I need to help me evaluate the heavy concerns that have been my recent and oh-so-relentless companions.

Just like Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout let pizza crusts, dried mustard and chicken bones pile up until they “raised the roof,” I realize that I have also acquired a hefty collection of garbage.  And while my trash hasn’t yet run off my neighbors, it has certainly been threatening my personal ability to feel confident and hopeful.  

Holding onto hurt feelings is like brown bananas.

Lack of exercise is my rotten peas.

Worries of things which I cannot control are no better than sour cottage cheese.

 “(Insert full name here), it’s time to take the garbage out!” A closer inspection of my junk reveals that I have been giving some things in my life too much attention while neglecting others. (Yep, time to make adjustments and find that balance… again.) I will sort through my piles and discard those things which have lingered beyond their expiration date– too many social media connections, tasks that take inordinate amounts of time, and negative thoughts and feelings.  I can use the freed up energy to progress in areas more deserving of my attention–  reaching out to friends, planning healthier meals, and nourishing spiritual beliefs.

So, while I feel completely unqualified to offer words of wisdom and encouragement right now, I instead share a little of my own struggle to recognize and take out the trash before it overwhelms my soul.

At last the garbage reached so high
That it finally touched the sky.
And all the neighbors moved away,
And none of her friends would come to play. 

And lest I meet the undisclosed “awful fate” of Silverstein’s Sarah, I’m taking the garbage out.

What are your brown bananas and rotten peas? When you throw them out, what will you do with the gift of more time and energy?

 This article was written by Clair Dickson.


Living in New England, the days tend to revolve around the shifting seasons, the variable weather, and the fluctuating availability of local produce. The arrival of cooler temperatures and brilliant hued leaves means it’s time to start transitioning towards winter. I think most New Englanders see the end of summer as the start of the countdown to the freezing temperatures and mountains of snow that define winter around here, but thankfully we do get a few perks in the fall that gift us happiness and good food: bushels of squash, filled-to-the-brim apple trees, roasted vegetables and flannel sheets. Yes, flannel sheets. I am the first to admit that flannel brings me joy and happiness, especially when I am sadly longing for the over-too-quickly summer days.

Tuning in with the natural rhythm of the seasons feels right to our family. As the light fades, we gravitate to earlier bedtimes, heartier meals at dinner (hello stew!) and playing board games by candlelight after dinner. By accepting the transitions, rather than pushing against them, I feel closer to what is happening both outside my door and in my home. I feel more rooted to the Earth and able to enjoy each moment. I treasure the gift of a hot pan of roasted delicata squash, the taste of freshly made apple crisp, and of course, those super soft flannel sheets when I slide into bed at night. My days, while they seem shorter by daylight standards, feel fuller somehow. Once I settle into the shifting season, I begin to think of all the good things around the corner – the holidays, craft fairs and hot mugs of tea. As I grow older, I am finding myself to be ever more grateful for these seasonal transitions, teaching me that life is to be cherished one moment at a time.

This article was written by Kimberly Peck.

Easy Apple Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love planning and cooking a huge meal for my family and friends. I love how my house smells when the turkey is roasting, and I love the days leading up to this holiday. Grocery shopping, prepping, cooking – all of it. I have cooked this meal for 5. And for 35. It can seem overwhelming and stressful, but I’m here to tell you that it is completely doable. All you need is a plan.

I recently wrote The Thanksgiving Game Plan to help you have a stress and anxiety-free holiday. Everything is broken into small pieces and done over the course of a few days. On Thanksgiving Day you can kick back, watch some football, and hang out with your guests. 

I like to keep it as simple as I can. And that includes the centerpiece. This apple and herb centerpiece could not be any easier, but is so fresh and pretty on the table. I use some greenery that I buy in the floral section of the grocery store and the same herbs that I use to cook the meal. Rosemary, thyme, and sage all look beautiful. Not to mention, they smell amazing. 

  • apples (I like to use different colors, varieties, and sizes)
  • Candle Carver
  • tea lights
  • greenery
  • herbs (thyme and rosemary)
  • platter

Line a platter with greenery.

Core the apples with a candle carver. (You can also use a knife.)

Add tea lights. Arrange greenery and add herbs. Light and enjoy!

Click here to purchase The Thanksgiving Game Plan

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