October 31, 2012

Reason 31 to fall for Autumn... Costumes (of sorts)!

It was a no brainer that this, our 31st day, 
would reveal the 31st Reason to Fall for Autumn:
Costumes! Dress up! Masks & Masquerades!
(Even if you are not into Halloween... keep reading!)

So - I must say, in full disclosure...
we do not so much 'celebrate' Halloween.
I mentioned in yesterdays' post
that our daughter has never really
experienced 'real' Halloween.

She has a best friend who was born on Halloween,
so for years when they were younger,
she would dress up for a Costume Birthday party.

She also had school parties & Harvest parties at church,
but we just didn't embrace Halloween as something to celebrate.
Personal choice! Even while I LOVE Autumn...
on Halloween, we settle in & spend it as a family.
We'd rather skip it (except for the candy!)
& go straight to Thanksgiving!

However, really - who doesn't LOVE to Dress up?

With aisles & aisles of Costumes,
it's easy to see everybody can grasp the fun
of pretending to be something or someone that you are not.

But these costumes, these masks,
this play-acting is supposed to last only for one night!

(This is where it gets a little non-Halloweenie!)

For years, the Lord has been calling for me to be real.
To take the time (& believe me, it DOES take time!)
to find out who I really am... 
& learn to step into the pieces of me
that are really authentically wholly (holy?) me!

Some days are easier than others,
but once you have been brave on your own,
in the safety of home & family
& small corners of Community,
you will find your true self starting to
peek out from behind the mask!
Stand taller.  Be Bolder.
Know that your God has
created you to be Awesome
(& you are!)

It's understandable to put up a wall... 
to hide behind a mask...
to say everything is fine...
but I beg of you -
don't you do it!
At least not ALL the time,
& with EVERY person!

Take a risk... 
Take a breath...
You can do it
(& ONLY you can do it!)
There is no one else like you
...& let me tell you, looking out over my coffee mug,
I can say that I think you are pretty amazing!

Sometimes, in the midst of loneliness,
of losing our balance & bearings.
it can feel like there is no one who really knows us.
But HE does - and HE is trustworthy with you.
Be honest... ask for help... offer a hand, or a shoulder.
Connect - because if we are too busy hiding behind costumes & masks,
play-acting that we have it all together,
how is it that we are going to actually make a difference
& BE the Love that we are called to be?

I'm planning on pressing in, leaning forward,
stepping into more & more pieces of me!
It's risky, I know...
I will get hurt... someone will harshly judge me,
or worse yet (?) just not like me...
I will unintentionally make mistakes...
but the underlying reality
is that we were MADE for adventure
& I know that I know that I know
that the One Who made me
has me covered!

The fun & joy & excitement we got (or get?)
in dressing up for Halloween
just may be what we are supposed to feel
when we put Him on,
& see ourselves the way He sees us!

...& maybe not to everyone - 
but to SOME ONE - 
you really are a Super Hero;
a Princess; a Cheerleader!

                                                                                      My Girlie, Circa 1999
(Ha - you like that? Subtle, I know!)

I encourage you to take off the mask,
& learn how to be TrueFaced...

So there you have it... Day Reason 31 to fall for Autumn:
Costumes, Masks, Play-acting...
Putting them on, laying them down, & emerging into
Pieces of you!


PS - I do highly recommend the above referenced book, TrueFaced.
It was a part of the process for me...
I am still stretching into who I am...
but it is all about Trust & less about trying to please!
For in doing the one, you will do the other!

October 30, 2012

Day 30 of Reasons to fall for Autumn: Why, CANDY, of course!

OK... I know, I know...
Halloween is tomorrow...
& there will be Candy OVERLOAD
on every front!

And while I am not unlike the typical woman
who LOVES Chocolate...

 my FAVORITE "Fall" candy
is Candy Corn!

Isn't it pretty?
Oh MY!

Now - I had been thinking of this Day Reason for awhile,
& at the last minute, I began to panic...
It is October 30th & I had YET to see, find, or purchase
even one package of this traditional deliciousness...
Not ONE... & it was not for lack of trying!?
I am not a Candy Corn snob...
sure Brach's is the best...

...but I will settle for ANY brand!

Still - not a package in site at Walmart...
so I went searching...
you know - for YOU, the reader!
Three stores & who cares how many hours later,
I was able to reach way way back
& pull out the LAST package of Candy Corn in the store!

We are not big Trick or Treaters...
our daughter has never actually GONE out begging for candy.
She had school Halloween parties,
Costume parties for her BFF's Halloween birthday,
even Harvest parties at church...
but never a 'real' Halloween outing.
PLUS - she doesn't even really know what she is missing
because we have lived in this house for 15 years & had
(& I am not joking or exaggerating here)
THREE Trick or Treaters
in all those years!

So - we don't bother to buy bags of candy!
We will get a few little treats,
& you know her Grandma makes sure
that she gets a little Halloween stash,
but the one bag of Halloween candy
that I buy is Candy Corn!

With all three lovely Fall festive colors,
not to mention the yumminess factor,
these little gems have become part of 
what we LOVE about Autumn!

What about you?
Do you go all out for Halloween?
Do you buy bags and bags of candy... Do you run out?
Do you buy bags, knowing full well
that you are buying more than you 'need'?

Lastly, are you falling for Autumn yet?
I really hope you are!
It is (much like Candy Corn)
somewhat Divine!


OH - speaking of Autumn...
the Candy Corn Autumn Mix
(the one with the little Pumpkins...)
sigh... I have yet to find any of those either!

October 29, 2012

Reason 29 to fall for Autumn...

So let me tell ya,
NO ONE is more surprised than me
that I was able to hold out until October 29th...
but here we are...
near the end of the month
& Day Reason 29 is:

Okay... maybe not 'everything',
but how can one possibly fall for Autumn
& not fall for Pumpkin most-things?!

From Pumpkin Decorations & Candles

... to Pumpkin baked yumminess,
from pies to breads,
smoothies to ice cream,
Oh MY?!

to Pumpkin Hunting & Carving
& Roasting of Seeds...

to Room Sprays & Scentsy's,
& Bath & Bodyworks pumpkin anything...

Oh... ok - well,
I suppose it is POSSIBLE
to not love Pumpkin,
say, as much as ME...
Maybe you are not fond of the flavor (what?)
or the smell (get out?)
I'll fill you in on a little secret.
I can tell you something that just may make
even the most reluctant
Pumpkin lover

I promise you that you can trust me on this one...
You can NOT even taste it...
but Hungry Girl taught me a trick... 
You can make a cake
using only a mix & a can of pumpkin.
Because I love pumpkin,
I love it with a Spice Cake Mix
& a little extra added Pumpkin Pie Spice
but my girlie is not so much
a fan of all things pumpkin...
so I use a Devil's Food Chocolate Cake Mix
(& said can of pumpkin)
Mix together... add nothing else...
and bake according to directions.
No frosting is even needed...
this is so moist and delicious
AND you are getting a serving of FRUIT
WITH your cake!

WIN WIN I say!
Check it out HERE.

And speaking of Pumpkins...

(Sorry... I couldn't help myself!)

October 28, 2012

Counting Reasons to Fall for Autumn... #28

I can't believe that we are nearing
the end of our 31 Days series here...
I didn't realize really what I was biting off,
especially committing to doing it
on both of my blogs,
but I have loved it!
Well - most days...
but on the days I was not so in love with it,
those are the best days!
On those days, I had to push myself beyond what I'm used to!
I felt a little bit more like a 'real' writer!
One with deadlines & no luxury of just not writing
if I was not feeling like writing,
or worse yet - if I could think of NOTHING to say...
nothing poetic, nothing clever...
No.  Thing.

Add to that,
the fact that on this PARTICULAR day,
I've been working on the computer for hours & hours
editing a wedding I photographed yesterday!
I'm ALMOST done with them...
but just remembered that I had yet to blog here.

Hoping for a bit of grace...
I have hinted at this -
but not actually called it out by name
(or number... or 'Reason')

Day Reason #28 to fall for Autumn:

Fall not only helps to usher in the holidays,
but Fall itself is filled with traditions!
Back to School (& Back to School SHOPPING!)
Fall walks, Football, Pumpkin Patch trips,
Decorations, Comfort Foods, Candy buying, Harvest festivals,
not to mention Halloween or Thanksgiving!

As the air crisps, & frost paints white
on windshields & rooftops
& it becomes visible as we exhale,
something not quite tangible warms our souls,
grabs hold of our perspective
& stirs up Nostalgia, Tradition,
& often a renewed Resolve...

We have a choice to pass down
the traditions that we have held on to!
Some of them are worthy of holding on to for sure...
some of them - however - are not!

We get the freedom to choose
& it is in the Fall when I reflect a bit,
& (re)decide which things
I want the next generation
to continue on!

What about you?
What traditions are you
gladly passing down?


October 27, 2012

Reason 27 to fall for Autumn (31 Days): School Supplies!

I had to look back over
what I have counted already,
& was surprised that I had not yet discussed this...
maybe because I didn't want to get nostalgic,
seeing that this was (possibly?) the last Fall for us
to buy Back to School supplies!

I love that in the midst of all the Changes of Autumn,
comes that lovely excitement of NEW...
New Backpacks...
New Crayons...
(ok - that one has been awhile?)
New Notebook Paper & Pencils,
New note cards, New Pee Chees & Binders...

Just the mere mention of the scent
of a newly opened Crayola box
takes me back & brings tears to my eyes...
It reassures me!
Even with the slowing-down-hesitancy of the unknown...
the not knowing what the changes bring,
there is the nostalgia of years past,
the it-turned-out-great's...
the I-met-my-best-friend-in-that-class memories
that give us - no, that GIFT us -
a chance to let loose of the grip of worry,
& instead lean in to a bit of Excitement!

Autumn, if we allow it, is choked FULL of Anticipation...
of NEW Adventures, & NEW Possibilities!

There is promise of future days to come
in a stack of still-stuck-together ruled notebook paper.
Creativity awaits in boxes of
watercolor pencils, crayons, & new erasers...
Yes - Creativity in New Erasers...
it's a call to jump in... give it a try...
It's OK if you need a Do Over...

This life - this Fall - this season of Gifts & Blessings,
I believe, is truly meant... truly sent -
to stir up in us a sense of Expectation & Glory!

Just as we are called to venture out into the unknown,
we can rest assured that He truly DOES supply
all of our needs, according to HIS riches in glory.
And when He gives us Supplies...
we are well equipped!
YOU are well equipped, my friend!

Let go... & Lean in!

(Now you KNOW I am fighting the urge to photograph piles of school supplies
but by now - they are all opened and are being put to good use - which simply means
that adventures are well on their way!)

October 26, 2012

Reason (Day) #26 to fall for Autumn... (of #31Days)

It's the calm before the storm...
the quiet before the chaos.
It's the Take-a-Breath
before you're Breathless!

I LOVE October...
because of all the Fall yumminess, yes - 
but also because I see the changes outside,
& reflect to see how I have changed on the inside.
I can see the changing colors
& I pull out the Autumn decorations, knowing
- just KNOWING -
what lies around the corner!

My very favorite holiday
- hands down - is Thanksgiving!
Hands. Down.
I love that even in our over-stimulated, rush around,
multi-tasking, too-busy-to-breathe life,
we still take a day to slow down, to spend time together
- really T-O-G-E-T-H-E-R,
& think about things & circumstances & people
for whom we are truly thankful!

It doesn't matter if your tradition is HUGE & over the top,
or quiet & laid back...
if it is crowded-around-tables,
or cuddled-up-in-a-corner-seat...
it may only last for a second
- but it's part of the tradition to stop
- and give thanks!

I love all of that!  
I attempt to live all of that!
I try to maintain a spirit of Thanksgiving year round
& I was counting blessings long before 
I began to call them Gifts... 
(thanks Ann!)

I love that before the
rush of Christmas,
we take time to
hush in giving thanks...

& I love that even before Thanksgiving,
Autumn captures our attention 
& our hearts (if we'll let it)
where we can reflect, slow down,
drink in all that Glory-Falling-in-Trees

& remember that He is good...

that He is God...

& that everything changes!

Day Reason 26 to fall for Autumn:
The calmness that comes
before the chaos of the holidays...
the call to quiet yourself,
stop - look - listen...
Reflect on where you are,
where you've been,
and where He is taking you!

Sip something cozy...
sit back... 
give thanks with me
early this year!


Five Minute Friday: Voice

So, for a few weeks now - I have jumped in and participated in Lisa Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday community!  To learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) - click HERE!

The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking, or spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write off of a prompt that Lisa posts at one minute past midnight Friday morning  (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes:
Five Minute Friday - Voice


My desire when I open my home is to open my heart!  I purpose to create an atmosphere where peace is heavy, and burdens lift, and love is felt, and His Voice is clearly heard!

I love to invite people over, whether it be for a regular meeting (like my Monday Happy Intercessors, who have been gathering with me, and with Him, for over 12 years now!) or a game night with friends, or a sleep over for my girlie... I love to see people unwind, relax, and begin to not feel the need to fill the silence.  Taylor Swifts lyric "I've never heard silence quite this loud" always makes me laugh.  That is so true for so many of us!  We live in a society and culture where the silence is hard to come by, and often times when it arrives - it makes us uncomfortable.

But it's in the silence, in the peaceful places where we let are burdens down -and our guards- when He can speak quietly, refresh our souls, and redirect our focus! Oh but if we will only make the time and push past the 'next' on our bossy lists.

So whenever I can - I turn on some worship music, light some candles... create an ambiance and a sense of welcome and warmth! I talk... but mostly I try to listen, and create a space of quiet - so they... so you... can truly HEAR!

Come on over... the coffee is brewing!


So - find your voice - and join the crowd!
Five Minute Friday


October 25, 2012

Falling for Autumn... Day 25: Extra Cozy Blankets

Day Reason 25 to love Autumn:
Why, all the Extra Cozy Blankets, of course!!!

There is something wonder-filled
in pulling up high
the handmade quilt
passed down from 
Grandma or great Grandma...
simply adding that
extra layer
of cozy heaviness
draws us in
& gives us a sense
of safety & belonging!

I don't know about you,
but it seems like it is in the Fall
when we begin to spend more time
cuddled up, cozy, reading by soft lamplight
& snuggled closer, for a little longer
in the chilled morning darkness.

Where we live - it is a Gift if we are able to go a month
in between using air conditioning & heat!
Adding that extra blanket or quilt
can give us a few more days
or weeks...

...& seeing the old quilt,
spread smooth over our normal life
refreshes our sense of home
that started generations back...

...with snuggles, & family readings, & late night whispers
that will continue to help shape our generations to come!

Do you have any treasured items
passed down through your family,
or even just a favorite winter blanket,
that you add around this time of you
that help keep you warm,
figuratively and literally?
If not...
I encourage you to go find something,
buy it - & begin now
to make memories built around it
that you can pass down
to future children 
or grandchildren!


October 24, 2012

Reason 24...to Fall for Autumn: The Pumpkin Patch!

OK... I will be honest...
I was holding on to this one Day Reason
in hopes of talking my not-so-lil'-pumpkin
into a trip back in time,
& a Saturday spent
at a Pumpkin Patch!

                                                                                         Circa 1999                           

she is super busy with SATs, college aps,
work schedules, & DECA meetings!
We just haven't managed to get there yet!

But - come on!? - who doesn't love
a Pumpkin Patch in the Fall?
A flashback to petting zoos,  & hay rides,
picking out pumpkins, face painting,
pumpkin donuts, hot chocolate...
We used to make a day of it,
which provided for TONS
of photo op's!

Of course - that was a few computers ago
& I was unable to locate more snapshots of 
our times spent there.

There is something about being out in the dirt,
that helps to reconnect you.
Spending a day -
slower, filled with fun & laughter,
walking around a harvest of seeds
planted, & tended to well,
stirs up our sense of wonder & trust.
It strengthens our ties,
& loosens our stress.
For me, the colors of Fall come alive there,
& the joy & giggles of discovery
stir me up to
once again

If you are able -
I highly encourage you
to make the drive
- however long or short -
& spend an Autumn Day outside
with family & friends,
in a Pumpkin Patch.

Even as I write this out,
I realize - I must simply make the time!
Surely the little nieces & nephews
will want to go...
& that will help to talk my girlie
into carving out a little time!

P.S. - See? Not so little anymore?

October 23, 2012

Reason 23 to Fall for Autumn: Fashionable Ponderings

Day Reason 23 brings us
to another Fashionable post!

I am sure you can guess -
since I have already discussed my love
for sweaters and scarves and boots... 
here we are... 

Day Reason 23 to Fall for Autumn:


Oh yes!
I love them...
colorful and cozy!

So what is your Go To clothing item
that lets you know that Fall has arrived?

This got me to thinking... even the BEST Peacoat cannot compete
with the clothing our Creator gives to Autumn...



October 22, 2012

Falling for Autumn... Rainy Day (22)

There is a quiet, holy hush
that sweeps in with
a morning rain...
Fall has arrived
and in the midst
of all her glory,
she is drenched...

With the downpour outside,
comes a snuggling closer inside...
just a few minutes longer,
skin to skin
under the warmth
of piles of fabric.

As the rain covers the rooftop,
and splashes the windows,
there is a longing for
a washing of my soul.

The Autumn rains seem
to usher in the cold...
they soak up the bright
glory of the trees...
the leaves drowning
and browning
and fallen
to the ground.

 Who hasn't felt the
clinging grasp of the
"No, Not Yet!"
...Who doesn't -
at one point or another -
want a "Do Over"
... a Second Chance
to Shine...

But with the Rain
there is the struggle of
both worlds colliding.
The passing of the
grasping "No Not Yet"
and the longing for the
next "Second Chance."

...and just then,
with mug in hand,
and praise on lips,
the Sunshine breaks through!

(Day Reason 22 to
Fall for Autumn:
Rainy Days!)


October 21, 2012

Ahh - the return of Fall recipes - warm & comforting!

So... if you don't count the posts
surrounding coffee, or foodie SCENTS
- it's pretty amazing that we are already
on Day Reason 21 and I am just now
getting to Fall food!?

Now I know that a LOT of
Fall Food is also known as
Comfort Food
but I have been trying to
eat healthier and have also
come to really love and crave
other Fall foods...
not just the Pot Roast or Lasagna,
but the endless choices of
Homemade Soups and Chili...
not just the Mashed Potatoes,
but the roasted fall veggies
that are fresh and in season!

What is it about the weather turning colder
that stirs up the need for comfort and something 
that warms us and stirs up a sense of home?

When it is hot and breathless outside,
we long for something
cool and refreshing...
but when it is frosty and frozen,
we desire something that
will cut through the cold
and thaw us from the inside out!

You know I could turn this into a post
about how God is our great Comforter,
and HE feeds and nourishes us...
how we tend to look everywhere else first,
 to satisfy our cravings,
when He is really the only One
who ever really could!
But - I am not going to do that...
do you know why?
Because it is quite literally
dinnertime here
and it is simmering on the stove
as I click away at this keyboard...
the family is circling the table,
awaiting full plates, and full hearts.
It IS, afterall
Sunday night!
(ANOTHER reason I love Fall...
after the busyness of summer
and everyone out and about,
Autumn brings the return of routine,
and homework and dinnertime,
and yes - even bedtime!)

For Dessert?

Oh yes.. Pumpkin...
that may just warrant it's OWN post!


P.S. As a somewhat Foodie
- you KNOW I have pictures of meals,
but I thought I would have mercy
and NOT try to entice you!
(Your welcome!)

October 20, 2012

Reason 20 to Fall for Autumn: Orchards!

Here we are, already on Day Reason 20
in our 31 Days series and I can't believe
I have yet to talk about Apples!
I live in Washington State, after all,
and Apples are everywhere!
But - more specifically,
Apple Orchards!
Oh... I love them!

I love the way they look,
and smell when the trees
are heavy with fruit,
and I love what they represent...
a Harvest of Goodness
arriving Fresh
in the Fall!

In my town,
we are surrounded
with Orchards.
All kinds really... 
but it's driving through
the outskirts of town,
around the curves,
and up and down
the hills,
where I stumble
upon such
as this:

How can you look at this,
and not Fall for Autumn?
At least just a tiny bit...
It's such a picture
of God's Provision...
the trees twist and turn
with the winds
and the leaves are turning
from green to Glory,
and the Fruit makes them
Heavy with Blessing!

Is that not like our God?

Happy Fall!

October 19, 2012

Reason 19 to Fall for Autumn... Friday Night Lights!!!

Day Reason 19
to Fall for Autumn...
why - Football, of course!

Now - I have to 'fess up
& let you know,
I was not raised to be sporty...
we did not attend live sporting events
nor gather around the tv on Sundays,
(or Mondays)
...sports - and particularly - football
was not a part of family or tradition
or anything like that!
For me - in high school
it was a social event...
a gathering place...
a place to connect with friends
& sometimes pay attention to the field,
but let's be honest,
I was 16 & I had no clue about the game...
I was there to watch the boys!

But as an adult who married into a Sporty family,
I have come to not only mostly understand the game,
but I 'get' it... the love of the game,
the teamwork, the coming together to cheer on a victory...
My love (dare I say it?) for football
only deepened when I got to
'discover' Friday Night Lights
via Netflix
with my girlie...
We would have FNL marathons
in the family room
for days... 

If we will let it,
Football (or any sport, really)
can teach us some
valuable lessons!

This video, however,
that I found via Ann Voskamp's blog,
teaches us even more...

So Day Reason 19 to Fall for Autumn
is the return of Friday Night Lights...
of football games in the cold...
of support, and challenge, and the fight...
of community, and wins and losses...
It is the reminder
that we cheer on others around us...
(on our team, or not!)
because every one matters!
Every. One!


October 18, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Look

So... I found this amazing little (well - not so little) community of Bloggers and stumbled upon this Writer's Challenge last week.  It's called Five Minute Friday... Here are the Rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

I tried my hand at it last week and LOVED it!  The hardest part (besides the vulnerability of no editing) was not reading everyone's posts first - I wanted to let it flow from within me... uninfluenced.  But what a treat to go and read all the posts once I was done!

So - this week was harder... keeping up with a crazy schedule in my 'regular' life, in addition to blogging twice a day, every day.  Todays' posts were time consuming and draining and WHY I am back on this computer is beyond me... but here goes!

Five Minute Friday Prompt: Look


Yesterday... I was given the chance to change... While spending time with a good friend - and by good friend I mean a friend who has the gifting and boldness to honestly say what she is thinking, who will challenge and encourage you all in one breath... I was spending time with her, and she said, "You know - you say 'It's really hard' a lot."

Hmmm... really? I do?  I don't want to say that I PRIDE myself (but really... I do!) on being a positive person, who truly does speak life and hope and joy, but I will say that God has helped change my natural bent. I rarely battle negative (non-self) thoughts or focusing on the dark side of a situation for too long.  That is not how it used to be! I've been transformed and now I speak on purpose, with purpose.  I believe in the power of Declaring and Decreeing.  I believe that there is power in what we say. (PLUS I really have a thing for Words!)

So when she said that, it made me freeze in my tracks and consider the truth in it.  She has a way of making you stop and look within.  I am so thankful for that because I really don't feel or think or want to believe or proclaim that things are 'really hard!' Because in reality - they are not! Things are really good... overall. When I look around me & even within me, even as Ann is stirring me up to count my gifts 3 at a time, I see clearly how blessed I truly am - even on the 'It's really hard' days!

So now I am asking the Lord to check me whenever that begins to come out as my confession.  Afterall - NOTHING is too difficult for Him!


I hope you have friends like this - who lovingly call you out on the carpet... knowing who you really are - and that sometimes what you say (or write) doesn't quite line up with your true identity!

To read other amazing Five Minute Friday posts - or to play along with us... click here:
Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday!

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