The First Day of Autumn

It has arrived at long last.
Today marks the beginning of Autumn. 
Oh glorious, happy, wonderful and beautiful season. 
I’m wearing sparkly socks and my leaf necklace to celebrate. I put my Berrylicious candle away and lit the Vanilla Chai one. I brewed some peppermint tea and ran around my office straightening it so I could sit down and drink my tea and blog in peace. 
This is the season of memories and coziness. Of breathtaking beauty and brilliant colors. Of long walks and quiet moments. This is the season of dancing in the falling leaves and running with the wind. Of curling up to read a book and of star gazing. Of apple cider and soups. This is the season my heart. Where I want to hug the entire world and share joy and happiness with everyone. This is my season and I’ll be forever thankful that I was raised in a location where autumn is so glorious. 
This is also the last week before my birthday and I’ve been scrambling around trying to finish my goals and challenges that I set for my twenty-second year. I’m pretty happy though, because my biggest challenge I still have to work on is writing four more book reviews. That normally wouldn’t be hard, but this is a huge week at my non-writing related job, as well as a pretty big one with my writing. That means I have two big time-takers slurping up my hours.
I’ve also been working on finishing up the last of my five baby blankets and researching crisis pregnancy centers to send them to. I love getting to work on these blankets and thinking of the adorable little babies who will be wrapped up in them. It’s thrilling to know that I can make a difference in the life of an overwhelmed mother and her little one. 
I’m hoping to make at least twelve blankets during this next year and possibly seeing if I can volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. Every life is precious and beautiful and I’m no longer okay with sitting back and doing nothing. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these very real people. 

 I’m still coming up with the rest of my challenges for my 24 before 24 challenge, so if you have any ideas please comment with them over here. I’ve been delighted with y’alls ideas so far and need to compile them into a list along with the ones I’ve come up with. I really feel like my 23 before 23 challenge helped my year be more productive and fulfilling, so I’m excited to see what I accomplish before I turn 24.

What about you? What is your favorite season? And, what is your favorite thing about Autumn? 

Changing Seasons

Autumn is in the air. Golden rod is blooming in all it’s glory, skies fluctuate between brilliant blue and somber gray, there’s a nip in the air and the leaves are turning to a symphony of colors. 
A week or so ago I was bemoaning to one of my friends about how hard change is. I don’t want things to change. I’m happy, content. Life is going well, I wish it would stay this way. Only, there’s this thing called growing up, and when you grow up… Well, it’s just impossible for everything to stay the same. 
“Just think, if there wasn’t change, then you’d never have your favorite season.” 
My friend’s words brought me up short. I’ve long expressed my delight with living in a state with all four seasons. I’m captivated while watching one season morph into the next. Seeing the change happen before my very eyes is something that never grows old. 

Change. Maybe I’ve been looking at it wrong. How come I take pleasure in watching the physical seasons pass by and yet I resist the season in my life changing? Maybe it’s because I don’t know what will come next, it’s not a science like summer turning into autumn is. Maybe it’s because I don’t think life can get better than it is now. Maybe it’s because I’m not trusting, resting, leaning on the Creator of seasons. 
It took me several days of probing questions to suddenly realize the obvious truth: I had been caught in the snare of finding my security in normalcy. Normalcy isn’t a savior. When I rely on normalcy to help me stay content and happy, I’m bound for disaster. My strength, my joy, my purpose needs to come from Jesus. 
And just like the changing of summer into autumn leaves me breathless with it’s beauty, one day I’ll be able to look back and see how God’s plan for my life is far beyond my wildest dreams.

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” Ephesians 3:20

Being Me

Life has been crazy recently and promises to continue with that trend for the unseeable future. Which is a good thing. What provides more story ideas than living a jam-packed full life? And of course autumn is in the air so craziness is good. 
(You can see my logic is really impressive there: If it’s happening in autumn, it must be good. Riighht.) 

This morning I’m trying to write a post for a blog I’m guest posting on. My problem? I really like this blog. It’s the most helpful and inspiring writing blog I’ve ever seen. Therefore, I feel kinda like someone who’s going to go and talk with their favorite celebrity or something and I want it to be perfect. And y’all know me. I’m passionate about what I do, but I don’t generally consider my writing perfect. (“Don’t generally” as in never…)

And, it doesn’t help any that I lost track of time and didn’t answer the blogger’s email until five days after she sent it. Ooops. When I looked back at the email this morning I kinda got this sad, sickish feeling and set to work right away on the blog post.

I’ve been feeling continually behind recently and I don’t like that feeling. I’ve decided there is no way I can possibly do all that I want to do, so I pick and choose what to focus on. Only, some times the stuff that is important falls through the cracks and it’s not very cool. I’m guessing y’all can relate to that.

Over all though, over all, life is great! It really is. I’ve been able to hang out a lot with some really great friends and my amazing family so that really fills up the memory bank quite fast. Plus, I have a fantastically busy week at work, but it’s fun work and I feel so blessed to be able to do it! And, of course… Autumn.

What about y’all? What have you been up to? 

Glorious, Beautiful September

For all y’all who don’t have the delightful privilege of living in a state where autumn is entering the world, I just want to take a moment to say: I’m sorry. I know life isn’t fair, but hopefully these pictures will help make your existence just a wee bit better. 
No, actually, I hope you’re happy and content and leading a wonderful life wherever you live. And, of course I realize that just living in the glorious season of autumn doesn’t actually guarantee a magnificent life. (I say this from experience. For some odd reason yesterday was pretty tough.) And, if we must get technical, it’s not even autumn yet. But it’s September, and in my book (haha, not really, of course) autumn begins when September begins.
Autumn is my favorite season by far. (Understatement of 2014.) In recent years, I’ve had to limit my thoughts about autumn during the rest of the year or else I begin to pine for it, and of course it’s hard to live in the moment (something I strive to do) while pining for the most beautiful time of the year. If you want to be reminded of what you have to look forward to, you can look at these posts from last year. Hereand Here. It ends up that I was so crazy-busy this year that Autumn kinda snuck up on me and suddenly I awaken one day to find out that OH MY LANDS, IT’S SEPTEMBER ALREADY?!?! It’s still sinking in. 
September. October. November. December. These four months are filled to brimming with beauty. 
The world starts out with a canvas of vibrant colors. Bright green grass, azure blue skies, gleaming white clouds, vibrant yellow and purple flowers. 
As the season progresses the world morphs into a kaleidoscope of energetic browns, greens, reds, yellows, oranges and every shade in-between. Fog so thick you can feel it rolls in to soften early mornings. Stars are bright and crisp at night, hanging down so low it makes me want to stay out below them all night. 
Then the bright colors grow muted and subside to be replaced with a gray world of angry looking skies providing a beautifully provoking canvas for the imagination. The trees, quiescent. The grass, dormant. The world, peaceful. 
Then comes the snow. First, minuscule flakes whooshing around, tempting our appetite. Afterward, fluffy flakes, falling thick and silently. Filling up the landscape. Covering the gray. Leaving the world glistening like a million jewels. 

Autumn makes me think of Apple cider. Chili and cornbread. Campfires. Sweaters. Crisp mornings. Aliveness. Memories. Books. Beauty. Contentment. Apple trees. Longing. Family time. Long walks. Creativity. Laughter. Soups. Fireplaces. Warmth. Love. Scarves. Bundling up. Refreshment.

I am so very grateful to have grown up with autumn. It’s something I’ll always treasure. What about you? Do you like autumn? (Please, please do!) If so, what’s your favorite part? What’s your favorite season? I’d be delighted to hear all about it! 🙂 

Thankfulness // Autumn

This past month of my life has been so very, very busy. Actually, this past year of my life has been extra busy. And from what I’ve heard, the busy-ness only increases with time. Goodness! I have quite the life to look forward to I guess. =)
On the way to my adopted parents from the Creation Museum. So totally beautiful!

As of Sunday night when I arrived home at almost midnight my total amount of traveling this year now peaks over three months. Ninty-five days is my best estimate. I know of at least two more over-night trips planned, and who knows what else will pop up in the meantime?

Have I mentioned recently that I’m tremendously satisfied and thankful for my life? Not that everything is easy and that I don’t sometimes feel completely and totally overwhelmed, because I do. Over all though, it’s pretty amazing.

Shooting a cross-bow for the first time… That is a cross-bow, right? 

Thanksgiving is this month. That rocks because I like Thanksgiving a lot. Being thankful ranks pretty high on my list of necessary characteristics. Every morning when I awake up, one of the first things I do (as in as I’m pressing snooze on my alarm) is think of ten things/thank God for ten things I’m thankful for. It’s one of the coolest habits I’ve ever incorporated into my life. It’s an absolutely wonderful way to start out the day with the right mindset! (I know I’ve probably told y’all that dozens of times!)

The rest of these pictures I took on a walk this morning. 

A random list I just wrote, writing the first things that came to mind:
1. I’m thankful for gray skies
2. I’m thankful for getting caught up with letter writing
3. I’m thankful for being back with my family after being gone for 12 days
4. I’m thankful I could be with my adopted parents for a week
5. I’m thankful I got to ride Cowboy
6. I’m thankful I could go on a two mile walk today
7. I’m thankful for my amazing cousins and sisters
8. I’m thankful for my fun blogging community
9. I’m thankful for the retreat starting at work today
10. I’m thankful for paleo pancakes and sugar-free syrup

Being sick for six years gave me a lot of practice in finding things to be thankful for. It’s hard to when you’re laying in bed, listening to everyone moving around downstairs. It did make my time a lot better though when I would decide to stop feeling sorry for myself and make a list of things that I had I could be thankful for.

Oh my goodness, so I had more to say about that but I had to stop, because LOOK AT THE PICTURES! Seriously! Aren’t they totally beautiful? I can’t get over how breathtaking they are. I know some people don’t enjoy Autumn as much as I do. Ok, let’s face it, in reality there probably aren’t that many people who could. (I can just imagine the world being overrun with autumn-crazy girls who gush over blue skies and gray skies and sunny skies and rainy skies and…)

Quick sad note here: When I was in Georgia I missed out on the first snow at our place. Oh well. I got over it. I’m still pretending like it never happened. Just imagine! Snow. Yes, we have finally entered upon the snowy part of our year. Yes. Life is looking up 

Yes, this post is random and not totally what I started out to say, but it fits my mood pretty well. And now I’ve got to get busy at work!

What are y’alls favorite things about November? Or, what’s a list of things you’re thankful for? 

12 Months

{If you’re looking for the GUTGAA bloghop, click here. If you’re looking for the Summer Fact or Fiction bloghop, click here. Oh, and I did a fun interview over at Sierra’s blog. You can see it here.}

September: Sweater weather, brilliant skies, leaves begin to change, curling up with a blanket, apple cider, candles

October: Cool nights, scarfs, breath-taking colors, campfires, falling leaves, pots of chili simmering away on the stove
November: Gray skies, first flurries of snow, family togetherness, Thanksgiving, warm suppers

December: Jolly music, baking cookies, dancing around the house, secret gifts, Christmas
January: Snow angels, early nights, hot chocolate, quiet family evenings 
February: Hurrying to finish projects before warmer weather, cozy barns, being snowed in, sledding, crisp star-filled nights
March: Kidding season for goats, basically living in the barn, sleepless nights, first signs of spring, mud

April: Daffodils blooming, not being able to figure out if it’s hot or cold, rain, rain, rain, beauty, pastel colors everywhere
May: Barefoot time, greenness, cutting grass, creek-walking, creepy-crawly creatures, working in the garden

June: More grass cutting, laying outside looking at the sky, haying time, weeding, babies around the farm growing up

July: Heat, salads and sandwiches, butterflies, picnics, bike rides, weeding, weeding, weeding, swimming, washing feet up before bed

August: Hiding out in the cool house with a book, harvesting from the garden, trying to 
stay cool, cutting grass, school 
{All pictures in this post taken by my ‘adopted’ mom}
My, I live in one of the most beautiful places ever… And the seasons… I’m so glad we have seasons where I live! So, what is you favorite month? What do you think my favorite is? =)