Autumnal Musings


My current favorite word is "autumnal".  I love how the silent "n" in autumn becomes subtly pronounced by the addition of "al".  Autumnal.  Say it out loud.  I saw this autumnal maple leaf sticking upright in the grass when I came home from the gym this morning.  I parked my bike, ran inside to grab my camera, came back out and layed on the ground to get this shot.

I don't do that nearly as often as I'd like to.  Why not?  Frankly, I'm a little scared to be observed taking pictures. Why?  I don't know.  I observe my daughter taking self portraits with her ipod about a hundred times a day, and she cares not that I see.  Why should I care if someone happens upon me taking a picture of a leaf?

A quote ran through my head that I hadn't thought about for years:

"Do one thing every day that scares you." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Somebody recently asked me if I was scared of anything.  "Less and less," I answered.  It's true.  The stronger I get, the less I fear, at least in terms of personal safety.  For years I've been afraid to even touch a gun, but after a few trips to the range at my husband's insistence, it turns out I'm a pretty good shot.

i've got guns

Does this picture scare you? I'm a little afraid to share it!

Yet, if I'm to be honest, there is a long list of little things that scare me.  I'm rolling up my sleeves and tackling a few:

Public speaking.  At a recent 4H meeting, I stood up and made a plea to the audience to start bringing healthier snacks to community meetings.  My kids were not happy about it.  They love the Oreos and Hawaiian Punch that seem to be trademark 4H snacks.  We'll see by the offerings on the snack table at our upcoming meeting if anybody was listening to me.

Sharing my creations.  Every once in a while I'll share something I make here, but by far most of my creations get shoved in a drawer, never to be seen by anybody but me.  My husband pointed out that I don't always accept creative criticism.  Yes, criticism can be scary.  Sharing what I make and opening myself up to opinions makes me feel painfully vulnerable.  Yet sharing my creations is liberating, and it's part of the creative process for me.  When I create and share, new ideas seem to flow more freely.

Lifting heavy weights.  It is scary to lift heavy weights, especially over your head.  There is a particular lift that has challenged me since starting CrossFit: the snatch.  I have a mental block against this lift, but I'm determined to conquer it.  I'm scared that I will hit my head with the heavy bar.  A few weeks ago, I worked my way up to a 93 pound snatch.  And guess what?  I hit my head.  Turns out it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared.  Fortunately, my arms are strong enough to keep the bar from crashing down on me.

Teaching.  It seems strange that, as a homeschooling mom, I am afraid to teach.  I teach every day, all day, but every day I have that nagging fear that I'm doing it wrong, that I'm making mistakes.  Because, truth be told, I do make mistakes.  I'm fairly confident they will both survive my inadequacies.  I constantly tell them - and myself - that making mistakes is how we learn best.  Let's hope I'm not mistaken.


Yesterday, I taught a group of children (and several curious moms) how to can.  I was so scared beforehand I even thought about canceling.  I usually can alone.  My kitchen is small.  I'm a self taught canner who still has a lot to learn about canning.  My canning pot has a rust spot. Excuses, excuses.

But in the children came, and we gathered around my table, and we packed hot jars with green beans and spices, filled them with boiling brine, immersed them in a boiling bath, then waited quietly to hear the sound of canning success: tink.  Each of the thirteen jars sealed.  All ten of the children learned something new.  I taught my first canning class.  It was so un-scary, I'm already planning to do it again.

canning labels

How about you?  Have you done something today that scares you?


  1. It is good to face your fears. Putting them in the blog world took courage. Good Job.

    1. thank you, bonnie. for some strange reason, spilling my fears in the blog world isn't something that scares me. maybe it should!

  2. Food preservation is one of those things that was always passed from mother to daughter and from friend to neighbor. It's natural for you to share it! Keep it up!

    1. oh marisa, thank you for your encouragement. i was thinking about you during my canning class - and referencing your dilly bean post from a few years ago! i'm so excited you stopped by!

  3. A wonderful post Molly.
    And I love the shot of you taking a shot. You got some guns holding that gun girl!!
    I am just starting to share my creations more. I am such a novice (sewer/knitter/etc...) that it is a bit scary...

    1. thank you, dawn! can't wait to hear more about your creative workshop!

  4. Molly...that picture is pretty badass. So is a 93lb snatch. I don't know if I will ever be as strong as you but I hope I will be as cool as you. :P As for doing something that scares me... I have quite the list. lol Way to conquer your fears! :)

    1. amber, you're bound to be stronger and cooler! see you thursday morning!

  5. I actually just invited my new friend, and her family, (and now her brother and cousin & their family) to Thanksgiving! We're all New England transplants who aren't headed north this year. Doesn't sound scary, BUT I haven't met some of them, and we recently moved into our "fixer-upper," and it's not nearly done. It only has one bathroom right now, oh and the kitchen counters aren't in yet (plywood anyone?). Oh the excuses that put off my invitation. But, we have a beautiful range (my dream one from Blue Star!) and our own turkeys waiting to be processed this weekend, and our garden veggies waiting in the freezer, and are so happy that we may be able to share with our new friends (if her husband says yes...fingers crossed:-)

    By the way, I, am I'm sure many others agree, think you are a wonderfully talented crafter & photographer. Would love to see some of those projects you've tucked away if you're feeling braver...

    1. how awesome! one day i hope to harvest our own turkeys for thanksgiving, or at least take down a wild turkey in the canyon behind our house :)

      i too am scared to entertain, especially people i don't know very well (yet), but every time i do, i love it! we've lived in a fixer upper for 14 years now (haha), so i understand your dilemma. if i waited to have the perfect house, i'd never entertain, and i'd definitely miss out on a lot of great occasions. enjoy your thanksgiving!

  6. I love this post. It's vintage Molly.

    You are such an action movie hero in that photo of you taking aim. You even have the arm muscles!

    One thing that scares me--or at least that I dread--is asking people for help. Isn't that a silly thing to fear? I really put myself out there with the book I'm self-publishing, asking people to help me promote it. I *hated* doing that. And some folks didn't respond--but others overwhelmed me with their generosity. And that made the putting-myself-out-there worth it.

    I saw you chatting on Twitter last night. Wish you'd come hang out there more often! It's become my go-to way of keeping up with people, because it only takes 140 characters!


    1. oh tricia, i too fear asking for help. i'm also not very good at helping out, though i have good intentions. things slip my mind, time gets away from me, i can't see beyond my sink full of dirty dishes. excuses, excuses.

      thanks for noticing my arm muscles! they seem especially pronounced with my iron grip on that scary weapon :) squeeze the gun, not the trigger!

  7. Taking pictures in public - yes, there are definitely times it scares me. I'm convinced that someone is going to call the cops on me for taking a picture of their house because I love the architecture or what they've done with the yard. This isn't the only thing that scares me. I'm petrified of the phone - making calls in which I don't know the outcome of the conversation, or answering a sales call and not being able to say no. Yet, I will text and even blog with abandon. I think many of our fears are outwardly irrational, but they are ours. We must own them, then do as Eleanor Roosevelt says and face them - one day at a time. Or perhaps, one week at a time. >_<

    Great post. Thank you.

    1. i can relate to the phone fear as well. i hate making phone calls! especially when i have to ask for something. i'd much rather send an email :) unfortunately, my children have inherited my phone fear. good thing they live in a texting world!

  8. What a great post. Molly, you are an amazing (and strong and brave too!) person. Your children are so fortunate to have you for their Mother.

  9. I am really enjoying your blog. I am a new reader and found you through a friend while searching for paleo recipes. I love that you are a Crossfitter AND a crafter! I knit and Crossfit.
    I'm scared evreytime I walk into my little box! I too am afraid of heavy weights especially when they are over my head... like an overhead squat. I am also scared of boxjumps and it takes me about 20seconds to talk myself into my first jump and then I'm good to go. I did my first rope climb last month and did well considering I was terrified! I also am a little nervous when it comes to teaching. I will be teaching my crossfit trainers how to knit soon : )
    If you are ever in Carnation, WA please visit our little box, it's in an old barn in the beautiful Snoqualmie Valley. It's not big or fancy but we get to run by fertile farm land and watch eagles fly over the Tolt river, makes running a lot more enjoyable!

    1. congrats on your rope climb! recently, while climbing the rope, i said to my coach, "this is dangerous!" his response: "everything you do here is dangerous!" too true. i'd love to work out at your barn-box someday! sounds beautiful.

  10. My grandma used to make dilly beans and my brother LOVED them!!

  11. gun crime scares me - the right of americans to have their own weapons is very scary

  12. You inspired my post today, Molly. Thank you for the encouragement to go and do something that scares you.


  13. I'm a homeschooling mom and I recently taught a canning class to a bunch of homeschooled kids. I use to feel really hesitant about sharing my canning knowledge but more and more friends kept asking me and their all still alive. So I was finally feeling confident enough to offer my "expertise" as a visiting artist at my young peoples co-op. All went well and everyone had a great time and the young people learned so much from the experience including things I hadn't even thought. It was very rewarding.

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  15. My biggest complaint about the baseball league that my boys play in is the fact that parents rotate bringing "snack" after games. It drives me crazy on multiple levels. I don't want anyone else feeding my kids a snack especially considering that they typically consist of just what you described. I brought cheese and apples for our turn, and most kids refused the cheese!!
    Btw-you look pretty tough with the gun. I have my own 38 special. I haven't shot it in years though. Maybe I ought to. I admit, I have grown to be a little afraid of it.

  16. I love the word autumnal, also in Spanish "otoñal"> How can you now love a word with an ñ? (eñe) love love loveeeee. I am borrowing your pic for my facebook, if that's ok. I get inspired by pics and write a poem, but disclaim the photographer. If you want to see it, I am Lucia belen Metcalf. :)

    Hope you have a great week!

  17. what a great post, thank you Molly! I'm curious, what product are you using to create your labels? I'm about to clear out the pantry with fall canned goods for Christmas gifts and would love to make some as well. so pretty!

    1. Hi Melissa - So sorry I didn't respond sooner! I bought a package of full sheet shipping labels from the office supply store. We call it sticker paper around here as we can draw or print any kind of sticker we want. Hope this helps!

  18. Try it in Italian: autunnale (the last a pronounced long), really beautiful! Thank you for your post, so honest and true.

  19. Thanks for sharing these autumn picture.

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  27. Hi Molly! I hope all is well with you and yours. How is your December going? No pressure or anything...but, I hope you post soon. LOL! I can't help it. I just enjoy your blog! I hope you are having a fantastic holiday. Have you been doing any Christmas crafting?


Sewing Crafts


email: mollydunham@sbcglobal.net
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