Onward to Autumn

“But you think perhaps you can smell caramel wafting through the evening breeze, beneath the crisp scent of the autumn leaves. A subtle sweetness at the edges of the cold.”

(Erin Morgenstern)

The windy shift from swimsuits to scarves is a happy one around here, and I don’t want to miss a single sensation. The music in my house has lilted away from turquoise and turned toward golden, the blankets from pastels to deep plum. Fall tastes like cloves, smells like wool, feels like being understood, sounds like a campfire, and looks like home. I’d love to offer a few practical bits of housekeeping (literal and otherwise) to ease the transition for us all. Let’s prepare our hearts for a gentle season of echoing the trees in the letting go of dead things.

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The Bride Victorious

As the iron bars thunder upward, you’re deafened by the roar of the drunken crowd. Alcohol sloshes from their cups, greasy meat clinging to the corners of lips placing bets on which of your family members will die first. Music. Cheering. Heckling. Flirting. Time slows to a crawl, and you notice how Rome’s breeze scratches against your exposed skin. Guards push you forward with the end of their spears, a mixture of boredom and disgust in their voices, and after weeks of being chained in the dark, the sun’s heat washes you white when you step out into that holy circus where so many have gone ahead. “Jesus,” you whisper, “make me brave. Don’t let me fail You now.” Then the gate across the arena trembles, beginning its agonizingly slow ascent toward the freedom of lions starved for days. Your last breath is a hymn.

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Sorting and Settling

So you’ve sat with your mess for a while. The jumble of life (inward, outward, or both) has been bravely acknowledged. You’ve managed to draw close to Jesus in the middle of the chaos, and He assures you it has no power to define who you are. What a cool place to start untangling the strands, right? (If you have no clue what this looks like, check out last week’s post.)

A practical tip: this process is a million times more pleasant if you begin by lighting a candle and turning on some good music. You’re establishing a rhythm to work by already, and it’s exerting your God-given authority over decay.

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Heart Strings

You know that season of life where everything falls into place? Where each responsibility is a personal joy and gets fulfilled with prompt excellence? The season that allows you to balance work and rest, and where both are equally satisfying? Where birds harmonize with your cheerful wake-up tune and laundry folds itself?

Oh. It sounds foreign to you, too?

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Spiritual Checkup

Dentist appointments. Eye exams. Annual physicals. Though not particularly fun, they are helpful. We’re not talking anything earth-shattering or life-changing here; just routine evaluations to keep the body as healthy as possible. Many people don’t think twice about prioritizing their physical well-being in scheduling these checkups (while I haven’t been to a dentist in the last decade). These exams establish a baseline and make it easy to spot possible signs of danger early. But when was the last time you evaluated your spiritual health?

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God’s Bucket List

As soon as people witness my dance skills (read, “my inadvertent ability to impersonate an epileptic chicken”), they write me off as ye average white girl. And they are very, very right. So it surprises many that a significant portion of my childhood was spent on Kauai, a world whirling with island rhythm and swishing skirts. (I tried, I really did. There’s video footage of me attempting to mimic a hula dancer in a crowd and falling over like a loaf of bread. Sigh.) Life there was beautiful, but I think my favorite memory is an honest-to-goodness luau, a feast by the waves. Because I enjoy nostalgia to a weird degree, one of the items on my bucket list is to host my own beachside bonfire at some point.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Crows exult in the last fragile wisps of summer as a school bus rumbles by. Farmers’ markets and county fairs burst into full bloom, leaves just beginning to ponder the virtues of the color yellow. Oh, I hope your heart is turning toward the sun these days. Soak in as much beauty as you can to carry you through til spring. Autumn beckons you to share in its wonderment at the Creator of all good things—will you say yes?

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