As it always does

Fall chases out summer with a dazzling color show all its own.
Bar Harbor, Maine, September 2007

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out…as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed…”
Stephen King

As I write this, Hurricane Florence is forecast to strike the Virginia and North Carolina coasts in a few days, and our beloved York home is pretty much in the center of the expected path. Between the memories of mid-September two years ago and this new threat, it’s a bit hard to think of September as an old friend. Still, though, I’m always happy to see fall roll around.

I spent yesterday afternoon stashing away pretty much everything in our back yard that might blow into a window and smash it, but the real threat will be all those lovely tall trees that surround our lot. The year before we moved here, Hurricane Isabel, “only” a category 1 storm, sent trees into the roof of the home we later bought, as well as those of many of our neighbors.

Isabel turned out to be the costliest disaster in Virginia history. According to the weather site linked above, “Our top intensity models unanimously predict strengthening of Florence into a Category 3 or 4 hurricane by Tuesday, and the storm is also expected to increase in size.” Wow.

Beyond reasonable preparations, I’m not going to worry about it too much. Most of us who read this blog have been riding out all sorts of storms for many years, and have learned to survive by taking one day at a time.

Meanwhile, life goes on. We had some pretty intense heat this summer so the cooling weather will be appreciated. I’ve enjoyed seeing the beautiful chrysanthemums appear at the hardware stores, groceries and plant nurseries. Have you put any flowering fall color out yet?

Here’s wishing you weather that is sunny rather than stormy, and temperate instead of tempestuous. If you are in the path of the hurricane, my prayers are with you and all who are preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. Hope is a better way to live. I STILL really believe that.


  1. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. ☕️ We are definitely in the danger zone of Florence and we know we’ll be affected, just not sure to what extent. We have extremes of behavior already. Some are carefree and sunbathing (visitors) while others are boarding up and tying everything down (homeowners). “Too soon to tell” has become a way too familiar phrase over these years of living on the edge of the beautiful Atlantic. Guess when (and where) Jim Cantore shows up we’ll know more! Sometimes, quite often, we laugh to keep from crying. Sure love you and Matt and pray for your safety! ♥️🙏🏻 🌊 🏠

    • Well my friend the outlook for your area is worse according to what I heard this morning; for my area it is slightly better– although everyone on the news keeps repeating variations of the “too soon to tell” phrase, because it certainly can never be predicted with 100% accuracy. I had to look up Jim Cantore because I had no idea who he is! That will give you an idea how out of touch I am. Yes, laughing to keep from crying has been a theme of my life. Lately it has been much, much harder to laugh. A good reminder that I need to plan “humor breaks” into each day! I’m sending up prayers on a continual basis for all who are in the path of this storm, and especially for YOU. Love, gratitude and concern are part of my frequent thoughts of you — remember you are always welcome here in Virginia. Stay safe! ❤

  2. Mike

    I pray that Florence may choose a more watery path. She is a fickle lass perhaps?
    Have you seen “Nights in Rodanthe.” Apparently there really is such a place and the house in the movie was bought, moved away from the berach and is infact now a “B and B.”

    • Hi Mike, Florence is indeed proving fickle, but hopefully in a good way? I did not see that movie. What I heard of the plot did not appeal to me at all. The beach setting would have been the only plus, and that can be found elsewhere. WOW, it must have been expensive to move a whole house. Wonder if it turned out to be a good move, financially speaking?

  3. Chris

    Hi Julia,
    That’s about all you can do; prepare and hope for the best. I’m praying for all in the path of the storm. Keep the faith, don’t worry; you’ll get through it. September is peak hurricane season for us on the Gulf Coast. We go through the drill every year, and some years it’s multiple times. Not fun. Have a blessed week!

    • Chris, at least you can say you have become a “seasoned” (no pun intended) pro at enduring hurricane season. I would imagine living on the Gulf Coast has many benefits that balance out the stress. When the winter blizzards hit, you can breathe a sigh of relief and say “that’s why we live here.” 😀 Let’s keep those prayers going up. I truly pray that whatever direction the storm moves, it moves AWAY from people and out to sea.

  4. Amy

    We are scheduled to leave to see Aaron on Friday so I am hoping that our house will be OK. We have some trees that are a concern. Oh well. Like you I am putting inside anything that might fly away. I bought some mums that are very pretty. Not much else since I will be gone but when I return I plan to put out all the fall stuff. It’s my favorite season. God bless. I’ll be praying the York home is OK. Love you.

    • Hi Amy, fall used to be my favorite season too, but for obvious reasons it has been quite difficult to endure the past three years. Not that the other seasons have been much better. Have a great time away and we’ll keep those prayers going for everyone in the path of this storm. Love you too.

  5. MaryAnn Clontz

    HOPE in our Creator is the BEST way to live! I wholeheartedly agree! Paul & I are enjoying Max Lucado”s new book & online daily devo “Unshakable Hope”!
    In CA, we are in what some call “Indian Summer” with temps in high 90’s. Ouch! I will be praying for you & Matt as you ride out the current storm.
    Much love in my heart for you both!

    • Hi Mary Ann, I didn’t even realize that Max had a new book. Sounds like a theme I could use right now! WOW, for California, those are some high temps! Of course the great thing about living where you live, is that you can always drive into the city (San Francisco) anytime you want to cool off. Although this is the warmest time of year for them. But still, I don’t remember ever getting hot there, even in the fall. Sadly, their current problems are NOT weather-related. Maybe I should say “drive to the coast” to cool off! BTW I have to tell you something funny. Recently when Matt and I were saying our prayers (we take turns naming people we are praying for) when I said “please be with Ms. Mary Ann” Matt interrupted to say “who means so much to us!” 😀 He is right!! ❤

      • MaryAnn Clontz

        “My” Matt loving me from afar! Warm fuzzy for sure!

  6. Ann

    Here in South Carolina, we’re being told that the hurricane will strike at the NC/SC border! Maybe it will veer out into open seas!

    take care

    • Ann, that matches with the latest I have heard, this morning. I even heard it might move closer to the SC/GA border. Who knows how this will end up. Stay safe! ❤

  7. Dear friend, I am praying for you and Matt as you go through this storm. Please be safe! You are loved so very much!💖😍💖

    • Cherie, thank you so much! It means a lot to know that your thoughts and prayers are always with us. We are safely ensconced in northern Virginia (for now) and it’s not supposed to be bad here. Just a lot of rain predicted.

  8. Judy from Pennsylvania

    Julia, keep us posted on how you’re doing with the severe weather that’s due soon. Some of us follow you on Facebook and can look there for updates. My son and his family live in Richmond, VA and so I’m keenly watching the weather that affects all that area. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Matt and that whole SC-NC-VA area.

    • Hi Judy, you probably know from the weather reports and from your son that Virginia seems to have an improved outlook, and the storm (last I heard) appeared to be moving down the coast closer to Georgia. Northern Virginia, where Matt and I will be staying, is not supposed to be affected except for lots of rain and maybe power outages. Our York home is in evacuation zone B (Zone A is under mandatory evacuation as of yesterday) but I’m hoping the latest forecast means that our neighbors will not have to evacuate. Thanks for being here, and for caring.

  9. Good morning, Julia!
    Flowing fall colors sound like a good thing. I’ve had a couple of colorful days myself, lately: plucking deep blue-purple plums and making jam, and harvesting a gorgeous crop of “wine cap” mushrooms, which made for a lovely, rich risotto.
    A farmers market is also an explosive pallet of colors this season.
    I’m praying for you and your York neighbors. I hope that they have safe places to be. Colors that we are looking for do not include black-and-blue, so I hope everyone stays safe!
    I hope that Colonial Williamsburg can be fortified against the storm, too!

    • Susan, your colorful days sound wonderful, and bring a smile to my face just thinking about you staying happily busy with seasonal treats. Until you mentioned Colonial Williamsburg, I hadn’t even thought of it. But it is farther inland, so it should be OK. The outlook for southeastern Virginia had improved considerably as of the last forecast I heard (a couple of hours ago) but of course my thoughts and prayers are with EVERYONE who might be affected. The main risk for me and my York neighbors is likely to be the tall trees that line the creek behind our homes. The heavy rains tend to loosen the roots of these very old trees, and I’ve watched one falling after nothing more than a rainstorm. It was terrifying to see, and made a very loud BOOM! but it only destroyed a section of our fence; luckily, it barely missed our detached garage (which is now the guest house where you stayed). So, good thing your visit was timed to come earlier in the year. 🙂

  10. Harry Sims

    Try to keep a dry pocket.
    Seriously, I hope you can feel the love.

    • Harry Sims

      Surely You or anyone else can find something here that will bring on a little grin —

      • I didn’t read all of these yet, but I like the ones from Chesterton.

    • So far we’ve had relatively little rain in NoVa. York County may be a different story, though.

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