Charmed Living

Month: October 2017

How to Hardwire Your Brain for Happiness

Fall Glory

How I love this time of year.

It’s easy to find contentment with life in October. This time of year is like a custom order for happiness.

I like the cooler, drier days of October. The sun gets up later each day.  Every morning I rise before the sun,giving me a chance for a moral victory.

I wash my face, brush my teeth, make the bed, pour the first delicious cup of hot coffee. I appreciate my own industriousness and good cheer.

So far today, all goes according to plan. I’m spared, so far, dealing with my own or other’s limitations, quirks, shortcomings.


Fall's Porch

The perfect spot for a morning cup of coffee.

The hot cup of coffee warms my cool hands. The brown, pungent smell of coffee is especially inviting as I step onto the back screened porch to catch the crisp morning air. The sun’s rays light up the technicolor world around me. The orange, burnt umber, crimson, naples yellows of the trees and bushes slowly emerge from the dark grip of night. The slow, gray dawn eases into another brilliant blue day. I drink it in. All is well.

Here the trouble starts. I move from liking this moment, relishing this moment to wanting this moment to continue…forever.

Just now as I put the cup to my lips, enjoying the warm dampness of coffee steam and the earthy early morning smells I cherished this moment. In the next second I cling to this blissful mood.


Falling fall leaves

Relishing falling fall leaves

I move from liking and savoring to attaching to these feelings. I crave more of these moments.

As soon as I start clinging to this moment, it disappears. The sun breaks the horizon, a cold breeze makes me shiver and cools the coffee.

When we slip from enjoying to grasping we’ve slipped from abundance to scarcity.What we focus on is where our head and heart stay.

Fall Bounty

Sengun brought me a bag of locally grown, organic apples. They taste wonderful in a bowl of oatmeal, or just plain!

Our Choice

A Beautiful Fall Day

Along the Iowa River

That cool wind on the porch cooling my coffee, making me shiver presents me with a choice. Do I bang into the house irritated that my lovely moment passed. Or do I walk calmly into the kitchen, top off the cup with hot coffee, enjoy the warmth of the cozy kitchen, listening to the sound of my beloved coming downstairs for his coffee and a kiss?

Do I cling to the moment passed, or move into the next moment noticing the grace it holds?

Want to read more about the differences between liking and wanting? Check out the book Hardwiring Happiness, the New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence by Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

What will you spend time enjoying today?  Leave a note in the comments below.

  • Fall Glory
    How I love this time of year.

How to Grow Amazing Japanese Anemone in the Fall Shade Garden

Fall Leaves

Warm, sunny afternoon. But where is the color?

These days when we wonder if the craziness exists in the mind of a long gunman or our civilization, it’s good to ponder the wonder of the Japanese Anemone.

So far fall here at Bee Cottage is a dud. The falling leaves are dry, brown, desiccated. We’ve had no significant rain since early July. September was the sixth driest month on record.

No Color Here

The calendar may say October, but Mother Nature still thinks its fall!

Despite the drought, the Japanese Anemone bloom prolifically. These lovely Anemone came to my garden by accident.

When Prince Charming and I moved in, the yard looked like your typical suburban blank slate with a slab of concrete out the back door.

back-yard patio with white wicker chairs

Bee Cottage’s back yard today



I envisioned turning this house into Bee Cottage. I beg, borrowed and stole (only occasionally) plants and seeds where ever I could get them.

Happy Spot

A Bed of Japanese Anemone

This is a tough spot to grow anything. There is lots of shade and it is a low spot in the yard, making it wet and mucky.

Bee Cottage’s yard and future garden faced challenges. This spot by the shed was awful. A patch of gooey mud where even the weeds refused to grow. Dense shade from Oaks, Maples and pines kept the sunlight out. It’s the lowest spot in the garden, making it a muddy, wet mess.

Our first fall here, I asked David, our occasional gardener, to plant Anemone in this awful muck.

In the spring the pretty petite alpine Anemone sprouted with their lovely pink and white flowers.

Spring Anemone

Spring Anemone. Photo Courtesy

Pleased with the progress, I celebrated.

In late July, these big, burly guys showed up. What in the heck were they?

Mystery Plant

What are these?!

My gardening philosophy is to leave anything alone I don’t recognize until it declares itself friend or foe.  I’ll admit it was hard to keep from pulling these big guys out. I left them alone to see what they would do.

And did they deliver?!

Japanese Anemone Up Close

Japanese Anemone give a wonderful POP of color to the fall garden.


Anemone means wind flower in Greek. Derived from the Greek anemio or Greek wind gods.

Victorians considered anemone a symbol of forsaken love. Greek tales say Anemones are Aphrodite’s tears over the grave of her dead lover, Adonis. He was killed by the other jealous gods.

Japanese Anemone

They look just like Aphrodites tears

For me this year, they are one bright spot in the garden. While our nation cries our own tears over the graves of so many innocents this week, let’s soak in the peace and beauty of the Japanese Anemone and pray for peace and healing for those suffering.

Three red, fall Maple leaves

Some of the Maples are just beginning to turn color.

  • back-yard patio with white wicker chairs
    We've turned the page to October, but Mother Nature didn't get the memo

Give your Garden Spectacular Fall Color with these Amazing Japanese Anemone

  • back-yard patio with white wicker chairs
    We've turned the page to October, but Mother Nature didn't get the memo

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