October, You Say.

October, You Say.

I love October. It comes with many challenges, and I feel a bit wary coming into it this year. But I’ve been working on having hope, even when the logical side of my brain wants to point out all of the Worst Case Scenarios. I’m attempting to face October with a brave heart and a gentle spirit.

And lattes! And scarves! And jeans and boots! And sweaters! And oh, the gorgeous leaves. And, you know, a marathon!

See, I do love the month. I’m choosing to focus on the good, the joy, the love waiting in the nooks and crannies of falling leaves and dipping temperatures. To help me focus on the good, I’m participating in a couple of challenges.

October Challenges

1. #15in31: Katie let me know about a great reading challenge for the month. #15in31 is hosted by Andi at Estella’s Revenge. The point, of course, is to read 15 books in 31 days. I’ve been a reading fool as of late and I want to stick with it, so I decided to join in. I’ll be reading novels, non-fiction, YA, and middle grade fiction. I’ve been reading a lot of middle grade fiction to find books I think the boys might enjoy and I have a large pile right now.

Here’s a bit of what I might read this month. (Or not.)

Books I Might Read in the October #15in31 Challenge

Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story by Jewel. I’ve already Instagrammed my love for this book. I should finish it tomorrow. I’ll likely review it at some point.

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai. A middle grade, diverse book that I really can’t wait to read.

George by Alex Gino. A middle grade, diverse book focusing on a transgender youth.

A Window Opens by Elizabeth Egan. A novel about mid-life changes in family, career, and so on. Looked intriguing.

Call Me Home by Megan Kruse. I grabbed it off the new releases shelf. It sounded interesting as a parent is forced to save one child over another. Diverse book featuring LGBT issues.

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton. Another middle grade book featuring diverse characters. You can sense a theme in my recent middle grade research, no?

Sit! Stay! Speak! by Annie England Noblin. It had a dog on the front. ‘Nuff said.

The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne. “What if you found your own grave? And it was empty?” A middle grade book with a great cover and an interesting theme. A random grab at the library again!

These are just the books I have in house right now. I may or may not read all of them, but it gives me a good start. Let’s read!

2. Periscope with Purpose: This challenge is hosted by Blog Clarity. I’m intrigued by Periscope, but I don’t quite know what to do with it, how to use it, all the why for of a video social platform. Periscope with Purpose is supposed to help get participants used to the medium. I’ve said time and time again that I’m not a video person, but I can’t bring myself to delete Periscope from my phone. So I’m going to play with it for one month. I didn’t do it today, the first day, because I lost track of time. I’ll start tomorrow and catch up at some point.

Periscope with Purpose

My Periscope channel is JennaHatfield. Maybe you could poke me if you don’t see anything as broadcasts are only saved for 24 hours.

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I would have loved to participate in 31 Days, but I couldn’t decide which topic to write about for 31 days. And when I say I’m going to write about a certain topic for 31 days, I find myself intensely bored with the topic by day seven. Or even day two. Basically, if I pigeon hole myself, I end up hating the project. I’d love to see what you write if you participate in it though!

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This month I hope to continue cleaning out things we don’t want, need, or use. I just worked my way through my short sleeved shirts drawer. As the warm summer season draws to a close, it was easy to look at the stacks of shirts and pick out the ones I didn’t wear once all summer. I also went through my long sleeved shirts and made some hard choices ahead of the season, picking out ones that I know are no longer flattering or didn’t match my style anymore. I even tackled the hardest drawer: my running and exercise shirts. I’ve done similar things with the boys’ drawers, though I have some more work to do before I can say I’m done with their things. My main goal for decluttering this month is the… playroom. It’s… not okay. I need to walk in with eyes to see things to pass on to nephews, things to donate, and things that have seen their last days as a toy. It’s very Toy Story 3 up in here.

Finding Joy

Last year, October felt hard and really pushed me into a tailspin of not-so-greatness. I’d like to focus on the good this year, to find the joy in the midst of lots of overtime by my husband, my unemployment, mud being tracked inside, running a marathon, busy schedules, football games in the rain, and all that other stuff that can drag a soul down. There will be so much good happening this month. I really, really want to find it.

I’m excited for October. Let’s do this!


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(Not-So)Rare Butterfly

A few weeks ago during an especially hot and difficult run, butterflies covered the country road on which I ran. Every step, another butterfly.

My grandmother helped me make an outfit I wore repetitively my senior year of high school. The skirt, long and to the floor before maxi skirts were cool, was covered in brightly colored butterflies. Butterflies were my thing in 1998. I wore jeans with embroidered butterflies on the back pockets. And shirt upon shirt featuring butterflies. When I made the skirt, we also took a white v-neck t-shirt and ironed various butterflies from the fabric onto the shirt; it’s long since been ruined by coffee and the yellowing of age.

I was downstairs in her basement, sewing the skirt together, when I yelled for her.

“Grandma! I accidentally sewed the bottom of the skirt!”

She came downstairs laughing. “So you made a big pillowcase?”

I did. She helped me fix my error and encouraged me to finish up the project.

Rare Butterfly
I am wearing this skirt with the matching shirt and platform, butterfly sneakers in my senior yearbook for class superlatives; I was voted Most Likely to Be Famous. Of note, this picture was taken today. Why yes, it still fits. Pillowcases usually do.

I feel like she was with me on my run that day, too. I didn’t want to be running, especially in the heat. But every time I kept feeling as though I couldn’t carry on, another butterfly fluttered in my path. I’ve experienced this during a run at the cemetery shortly after her death that Friday in 2014. And in other places. Butterflies are my sign that Grandma is near, is with me. Well, that and shoes in the wrong place, but that’s a harder one to explain and makes me feel/look crazier than necessary.

I’ve accepted the signs simply because I need to believe I’m not without my Grandma. We’ve endured the first year; we’ve interred her ashes with Grandpa’s. Sometimes I fear that I’ll forget the bits and pieces of her I want to hold close, the ones I swear I’ll never forget. I worry I’ll lose her in the busyness of my life, only thinking of her on holidays or anniversaries.

I suppose she keeps sending butterflies because she refuses to be forgotten. She’s kind of stubborn like that.

Of course, she shows up in my cooking, in the way I match my purse to my shoes, in the way I painstakingly hunted out new curtains. I am thankful, however, for the butterflies.

Rare Butterfly

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I finished reading Rare Bird today, on the four year “crapiversary” of Jack’s death. It wasn’t intentional, though I worked at BlogHer when he passed away. I chose not to read Anna’s book when it was released in 2014 because last year was the hardest year I’d endured in my life. I’m glad I read it today, and take it as a sign of faith as I continually struggle with my own. Many thanks to Anna for sharing her story, and for Jack and Grandma for showing up in necessary and appreciated ways.