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. 

thanksgiving this year

Hello, friends. Happy Monday to you.

And this is not just any Monday. This is the first after Thanksgiving, truly Christmas season, twinkly lit Monday. Ooooooo, I'm giddy. Giddy that it's Christmas season. This year has extra sweetness woven through it for me but I shall share more about that later. Right now let's talk about Thanksgiving.

Did you all have a delicious Thanksgiving Day? I do hope so. I hope you watched those big balloons float down toward Macy's and ate that extra piece of pie and had those laughs around the table and played those card games. I hope that you made that list of what you were thankful for and that you aren't going to let it fall to the wayside now but, instead, let it weave a thicker thread of thankfulness into your everyday.

I felt that the Lord deeply impressed that on my heart this year. This Thanksgiving Day is beautifully set apart to ponder and share and remember what we are thankful for but it really ought to be an example of what we are seeking, often fighting, to do every single day -- to "give thanks in all circumstances." That phrase has been whirling around much in my mind this past week and I'm praying that the Lord will help me put feet to it even more. I always have something to be thankful for, even in the hardest of the hard. I always have something to be thankful for because I have Him.

This year we took our time. We woke up slowly. We went for a nice long walk, pausing to notice those last remaining gold and orange leaves and talk about the birds nest J discovered in a tree. We popped a can of pillsbury orange rolls and made eggs with tomatoes and feta cheese and watched the Macy's thanksgiving day parade as we sipped our coffee and orange juice. We made the feast, some things were from scratch because once you've tried Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes you can't have them any other way, and some things were pre-made because it was just simpler that way. We face-timed with our families and relished the fact that we could share stories and laughs with them hundreds of miles apart. We sat down to our decorated table with our plates piled high and gave all the appropriate groans of "I'm so full" by the end. We filled tupperware with leftovers and celebrated all over again the gift of having a dishwasher. We talked of what we were thankful for, we put on comfies and J built us a fire. AK went to bed supremely happy having finished off a s'more and filled with the knowledge that the Christmas tree would be going up the next day. We ate chocolate pecan pie, drank decaf and watched an episode of our current favorite tv show. And then the day came to an end, with several comments of how sweet and good and perfect a day it really truly was. 

It was the Thanksgiving Day we truly hoped it would be. Our hearts did ache missing the company of those precious people we get to call family, but we knew this was what we needed. The Lord gifted us these days to refresh our weary hearts. The past 4.5 days have been a nourishing balm for our little band, filled with all our favorite things that we enjoyed just the three of us....and Winnie too, of course. It was needed. It was prayers answered. The Lord's timing, you guys. I just can't get over it.