hello, dear autumn


images via pinterest

images via pinterest

Look at that palette, you guys. It's the picture definition of cozy.

I realize that September will not make it's beginning until Friday, but my heart has fully plunged into autumn.

We are having a darling friend over this evening and she loves this season as I do, so I'm making Irish stew and crusty bread for dinner with pumpkin cake for dessert. And we are going to light our fall candle and have delightful chats around our table and it shall be one of those nights where life just feels rather wonderful.

This week I will be sitting down and making our fall list. It's our happiest list to make each year. Anna Kate has to come to love autumn as much as J and I and I was so full of pride when, the other day, she exclaimed, "Mommy! It's fall and we can carve pumpkins and make the pumpkin things I like and have cozy days!" as she rubbed her little hands together and one of her characteristic scrunchy nosed smiles filled up her face. And that is one of the biggest reasons that this season is my favorite.

If this pumpkin cake is a tasty as I am anticipating it to be then I will be sharing that recipe on the blog later this week. I have been giddy for the day when fall food scents would fill up the walls of our kitchen here in our new home. It needs all the spicy and comforting fragrances to add some character and some life into it. 

I've begun eyeing and pinning sweaters online and thinking through what are the wisest purchases to make for this fall/winter season as I am not my normal size, nor shall be until sometime in the new year. My sweet mama sent me a maternity cardigan sweater and a tunic top from Gap this past week and they are perfect helps to what has been my non-existent maternity cool weather collection. I told her the cardigan is going to be that one that I reach for especially in the last days of pregnancy and the first days of postpartum. Mama truly knows best. I also need to find a cozy pair of slippers. Do you all have a favorite pair of them? 

Always with the coming of fall my book list gets longer and I long for hours of time to sit with my warm beverage and my book. I'm hoping to crack open several bindings that I've been waiting to begin for months now, especially on the days where a nice autumn rain is falling outside. I'm hoping that November especially affords some afternoons with just such a scenario.

So many delights of anticipation, as Anne would say, exist with the arrival of fall.

I'm just so glad to see it come once again. It never ceases to just make life lovelier. 

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." -- F. Scott FItzgerald

"let it go, learn to grow"

So here I wait in hope of you

All my soul's longing through and through

Dayspring from on high be near

Day Star in my heart appear

~ Christy Nockels, The Advent Hymn

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Back at the beginning of November I was in Georgia visiting some of our dearest ones. During the trip my friend, Liz, and I had many conversations about how the Lord was teaching both of us about to let things go; to ask ourselves, "okay, what's most important here?" and to make the most out of the things that He does, and realize the freedom that is found when all the other stuff stops being the big stuff. Because it was 11 o'clock at night and because we are moms of 5 year olds we "cleverly" came up with the line, inspired by Elsa, "let it go, learn to grow." So this has become our mantra, and though it was inspired by exhausted mama syndrome, it has sparked a lot of heart thoughts in me.

On my drive home from Georgia that week I mulled over that little phrase and started praying, "Lord, help me let those things go.....the ones I know and the ones I don't quite yet." And oh! what a swift and thorough answer He has given to that prayer, in just a matter of weeks. He has unearthed so many places where my fingers have held way to tightly to things, and so many of these things are places in life have been things that have nothing whatsoever to do with what the most important things are. It's a humbling road, my friends, when you finally see how obsessive over the minutiae of life you can get.....BUT....(you know I'll always have the but)....has it ever been freeing!

And the part that I have loved, loved, loved about this is the timing of it. It's Christmas time, the beautiful season of advent. The hope of this season, the mystery of the babe becoming man, the resounding joy knowing that our Savior was born and He lives, all of this has been the weightiest part of this December for me, in a way that it hasn't ever been before. It's held more weight because He has helped me "let go" of the things that matter far less than Him.

He's reshaped my vision to focus on savoring the anticipation of His coming and with that all the extra stuff has fallen into place. It's not about me this year. That's the difference. It's not the controlling, selfish, "but I want our home to look THIS WAY" attitude. It's seeing this season for what it is, what's it's meant to be. And every piece of it, imperfect and not-pinterest-worthy though they made be, has been treasured this year.

The paths that our God takes us down start from the oddest places sometimes, don't they? I love that about Him. And I can't wait to look back on the memories of this Christmas because I think they are going to be some of my most favorite yet. 

happy birthday, my love


Happy Birthday, my J

This year. This year has been a full one; the hard kind of full and the really good kind of full. Truly, it's been a significant year for us. The refining that has happened in both of our hearts, in the life of our little band of three, though many times painful, has been defined by the kindness of the Lord. The kindness of the Lord to not leave us to ourselves, to do the unexpected thing (unexpected for us) because He actually knows it's the best thing, to show us how sweet it is to trust Him, to show up with surprises that are filled to the brim with His grace.

I savor the fact that as we've had conversations about all this past year has held, all it has been defined by, that one of the first statements out of our mouths is: He is so good. He has brought us to a greater place of understanding and acknowledgement of the fact that He is so good, all the time. He has taught us to step back and take notice and say, "there's His grace," whether it's the good, the bad, or the ugly that we are facing. He's shown us how beautifully His goodness and His love are intertwined. He's prompted us to see His good, in the seemingly mundane things and in the not so mundane. And He's brought us to a place of craving more of Him, not the good we can get from Him. He's nicked away at our hearts to show us ways we've wanted and/or pursued the "good" rather than the One who does good, and He's changing that. I love that this year has been so significantly marked by these things.

Thank you for flying the banner of these things, my Love. You have lead so well, with words and without them. You have lead in making the rhythm of our home one that sets it beat by the truth. You have lead in change, the kind of change our hearts must have. You have lead in letting us dream, but putting a stop to the "if only" conversations. You have lead in choosing joy and being present. You have lead in desiring that our lives be marked by wisdom and a fear of God alone. You have lead in speaking truth. You have lead in being the one to take the first step of humility. You have lead in stretching us. You have lead in saying, "let's turn off the tv and pick up our books." You have lead in teaching me to not get hung up on things being "just so." You have lead in getting outside of ourselves and looking toward others. You have lead in saying "yes" even when we are tired and saying "no" when our motives aren't right. You have lead in the gentle and needed pushes. You have lead in doing the uncomfortable. You have lead in loving Him best.

 You have lead in this year, Babe. You have lead so well, in a way that makes me whisper many many prayers of thanks to the Lord that I get to be the one lead by you. 

I love celebrating you on this day, J. And it won't ever get told to me that, 9 years ago now, we met on this day. That was a really good day. 

Happy Birthday, my husband. You really are the butter to my bread.

I love you forever.

Me