December 1, 2016

What I Learned... Fall of 2016

I didn't necessarily mean to take a little Thanksgiving break, but it turns out that is what happened!  I pray your holiday was blessed and filled with warmth and love...

I meant to come back and officially congratulate Amy for winning the Gilmore Girls Giveaway... (which -- you know, will be on it's way to you in a day or two... because: apparent Thanksgiving break!) And OF COURSE I wanted to talk all things Gilmore... but (a little) more on that later... 

Right now, it is time for Emily Freeman's quarterly(ish) link-up on What We Learned, and it's my favorite... so you know I had to make myself sit down and reflect back over this fall (and scroll through Instagram) to remind myself of what we've been learning over the past couple of months! A lot of lessons have been heavy, right? But we will keep these mostly light!

I am not only an internal processor... but a SLOW internal processor... so often what that means for me is that I don't fully process the lessons until I've intentionally slowed down a bit and focused on remembering what they were! 

10 Random Things I Have Learned...

1. I (re)learned how much I love living in a small town...

Now I know... if you are a regular around here, you may notice that I 'relearned' this the last time I wrote a What We Learned post but here's the deal: I keep learning it because I keep discovering more things to love about our town! While it's not as tiny or quaint as Stars Hollow, there really is a great community spirit rising up and oh my how we need it!  Our town is far from perfect but I am so thankful that God is bringing a new wave of locals who actually LOVE it here and are doing their best to give our city good press! 

From Sunset Concerts out on the Green at a local golf course (Swoon... perfect date night --but also great family outing!)...

to our annual State Fair...

to introducing friends to local finds (restaurants, recreation, shopping... we are all about keeping it local!)...

to all the Autumn-y things to do... there really IS just so much to love about small town life!

2. I learned how to say goodbye...

It's not like we didn't see this one coming, but I will say this: I am 46 and losing Jonah Boy (our cat) was the first pet I have ever watched die.  In fact, other than our girlies gerbils or a fish... I had never lost a pet to death yet.  We had a couple little dogs as a child, but they were given away (or at least 'given away', right?) and we got Jonah for our girlie when she was 4. Yeah... 4.  He was 17 and simply the BEST pet ever.  We all adored him, but over the past year, he was moving slower, and jumping less.  Over the last month, he was barely eating and we didn't want him to be in pain.  We all three made that horrible decision and had a vet come to the house. We agreed that if she thought he could recover, we would treat him (within reason/budget) but if she thought it was close the the end, we would show mercy and put him out of his pain.  I called my Honey and our girlie to let them know, we gave him the shot, and they both rushed home to say goodbye.  The way he curled his paws around my shoulders and clung to me as he took his last breaths... precious and heartbreaking.

I wasn't really sure how we would grieve and still, it comes in unexpected waves but it's always followed by such praise and thanks for having him in our family for as long as we did.  Graciously - the day after we buried him, well... we left town! (Which meant we would have a few days of forgetting about our new normal at home... which was just a little quieter and emptier... leaving my feet a little colder, too!)

3. I learned that as much as I love this town, it is vital to my soul to have a change of scenery and breathe in a different kind of air now and then!

We have always been big on vacations... but raising a family on a single income didn't afford us lots of plane trips or fancy Spring Breaks. Instead, we learned to budget our vacations around a long weekend and pack the car and hit the road and oh my how those are some of my favoritest memories.  And then, before we knew it, we were empty nesters (#dontblink) and we got used to the idea of little impromptu weekend getaways! (#romantic)  And then we started a church and our weekends soon grounded us here in all the best ways... but grounded us, nonetheless.

So as I discovered I was at the beginning stages of losing my ever-lovin' mind and maybe a bit of my salvation, we packed the car and hit the road and sweet baby Jesus - it was EXACTLY what we needed!

Which leads me to... 

4. I (re)learned how much I love me some Portland!

I mean... Portland is fun and funky and full of so much goodness (and coffee... and FOOD, y'all!) We did an accidental Food Crawl one day just roaming down one side of a street and back up the other! Delicious!

5. I learned that my soul NEEDS the salty ocean air to make room for the shifting of the Spirit!

I had been longing for sand between my toes for months... but again-- grounded (in all the best ways! Read: #notthattheresanythingwrongwiththat.)  My soul felt exhausted and like I could not quite take a full breath.  I knew part of that was simply Him teaching me how to breathe differently but I also felt a squeezing in and a swallowing hard that was not at all the Holy Spirit. I needed wide open spaces to let my heart feel... race... heal.  I needed to inhale fully through my nose, taking in the smell of the sea... and let that salty air work it's way through my lungs until I could finally feel them take their fill again.

We arrived and headed straight for the shore... parked the car on the edge of the road and walked straight out to where the sand meets the sea. 

As the wind whipped my hair, it untied the knots that had been strangling me.  It's funny how sometimes you don't even realize that you can't breathe... that you are all clinched up and tight... knotted and bound.  Breathing that ocean breeze and letting it have it's way -- letting myself and my soul be wild and windblown gave me the freedom I didn't even know I had lost hold of.

Plus, waking up like this was not too shabby, y'all:

6. I learned that, once again, when God gets bossy and tells you exactly what you are writing about, you go ahead and write your 31Days series and watch and see what He will do with it!

I'd love to tell you that since He gave me the subject and title of every single day that it was easy... or even not as hard or tiring... but it was still hard and tiring. And I am still watching and waiting to see what He will do with it! But I can tell you this: I learn as I write and so writing for 31 days about Prayer and the power of Prayer... always a great idea! I hope to go back and read what I wrote soon.  As I said in the wrap up - writing during the #Write31Days challenge is no joke!

7. I learned I really AM a fan of delicious flavor and I really DO love Pineapple in everything! This Hawaiian Chili Crockpot Recipe is a MUST!

Y'all! SO good!

8. I learned that Every Year I fall more in love with Fall... and my Honey... and spending Fall with my Honey!

We got married on what Hallmark said was "The Sweetest Day" in October and that simply amplified my love of all things Autumn! We celebrated our 24th Anniversary this year and as has become our custom, we ventured over to Leavenworth, WA to stroll the quaint town shops and meander along the path down by the river.  I also learned/relearned how much I love Word Art and buying little mementos that remind me of our trips!

9. I learned how much I LOVE the new show, This Is Us! (We are also watching Designated Survivor and Madame Secretary... as well as Netflixing Gilmore Girls again and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, of course!)

Seriously... when Parenthood ended we thought the actual gathering around the TV in real time was over... but then came This Is Us... 

That includes my Honey texting me in the middle of a meeting to remind me to get home soon and our girlie texting me through out the show with all her feelings!

We are also enjoying the other shows but let's be real: It's been ALL Gilmores, ALL month (year/decade...whatever.) long! We re(re- re- re-... you get the picture) watched the entire series... just to 'prepare'... #thankyounetflix

And then, after a little Black Friday shopping - - we stocked up on Gilmore-approved snacks and coffee, and binge watched A Year in the Life.  
OH HOW WE ADORE Stars Hollow... (This time around, Rory-- not so much! But Emily... yes, please! 

I won't give away any Spoilers or tell you what the #lastfourwords were, but if you haven't watched it yet I'm not sure how much longer you will be able to not know things!)

10. I learned that our Thanksgiving Tradition goes on... and we love it!

You know how sometimes you don't really intentionally start a new tradition, but a few years later you realize this is what has happened? Yeah... well - I accidentally did that several years ago when it came to Black Friday Shopping with my girlie but I also did it quite on accident when it came to taking our family hike along the bottom of the Canyon on Thanksgiving morning! 

We bundle up and head out in the morning --after coffee, but before all the cooking begins... and we head to a local trail just 10 minutes from our house.  It started out as a family walk... a couple of years it was just my Honey and I, and this year... well...

This year, we added a few new friends and the tradition goes on!  We had a blast and -bonus: got a little workout in before the big meal!

What about you? What have YOU learned this fall?

As usual for this post, I am Linking up with EMILY FREEMAN

P.S.  I'm also inking up with these lovely writers:

Kelly Chripczuk  for #SmallWonders 

Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday

Lori Schumaker for #MomentsofHope

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

I'm serious! What did you learn in the last month or two? New apps, new recipes, new books, deeper truths? 

Fill me in! I'd love to hear!


  1. Great post! We must have been on the same wave-length because I did a similar post this past week. :-)

    Thanks for sharing with us about what you have learned this past fall.

    I was sorry to hear about the loss of your precious cat. Losing pets is so hard. We lost our beloved German Shepherd this past spring and there are still hard days.

    I think as I am getting older, I am learning to be more present in every season. And like you, I especially enjoyed this past fall. :-)


    1. There really does seem to be this shift when we get older... away from wishing time away to counting the moments and pondering them... taking 'pictures' with our minds and hearts to remember later! It's a gift! I'm sorry to hear about your puppy... I think they become so much a part of our families that there will always be hard days when we miss them!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. Loved this! And, of course, I cannot get enough of This is Us either!

  3. Loved catching up with you Karrilee! Such a fun read and lots of great pictures!

    1. Thanks Gayl! Praying you made it home safe... was sorry to hear you missed your flight --so close, but ...ugh! As always, happy to have you here in my little corner!

  4. You get me! Internal processor ... SLOW internal processor! Yes, yes, yes! It kind of makes for a headache and exhaustion now and again, right? Love all that you learned, friend!
    Blessings and smiles,

    1. Oh yes and amen! ;) So thankful for you, my friend, and for how the Lord has connected our hearts!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!

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