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.

Books: It’s time to refresh those reading lists! Scoop up a legal pad and new pencils, and hash out your perfect blend of evening reads. If you don’t know where to start, check out this post or ask your friends for recommendations. Regardless of how you go about it, just load up on some great literature. Bonus points if there’s a pumpkin-scented candle involved.

Amenities: Turn an eye toward your home’s “guest services.” Is there a space that needs sprucing up? Should you restock your warm beverage selection or grab a couple of new coffee mugs? Do you have basic ingredients on hand if last-minute hospitality knocks at your door? Also consider the way your house smells. I’m crazy about the scented wax cubes (pumpkin spice ALL THE THINGS) I can pick up on my next grocery run.

Clothes: I weirdly love purging old clothes. I’d rather have five items that I love than fifty I don’t. Whether they don’t fit anymore or you’ve grown out of them mentally, take the time to pack them up and move them out. Then check to see if any autumn staples need to be replaced: boots, scarves, jackets, etc.

Relationships: Have you ever sat down and taken a friendventory? Me either, but it sounds intriguing. I like the idea of thinking through the people in my life and discerning where I need to pour in more kindness, patience, or grace. This is also a chance to weed out any toxic or overly draining relationships that have crept in. Loving others well takes intentionality, so it’s okay to put it down on paper.

Projects: What a great opportunity to identify ongoing (or unstarted) fixes around the house to wrap up before the onset of winter! It seems like every year, Riley and I don’t realize we should’ve painted something until it’s too late. Meander through your home, noting the big and little issues you’d like to eventually address (I see you, loose hallway baseboard). Then prioritize and get a timeline going. You might not be able to tackle everything, but the most pressing problems can be addressed.

Meals: Autumn is prime for lugging out the cookbooks and trying some new recipes to warm your people from the inside out. If you get started now, those soups and chilis and breads will be perfected by the time holiday guests come calling.

Thoughts: Fall cleaning isn’t just an external activity. What psychological habits have made a nest in your brain over the past few months? Nitpicking? Comparing? Worrying? Defending yourself? (You’re in good company.) Let’s sweep away those dusty patterns, making space for Jesus to settle in for the cooler weather.

Take heart, friends! Autumn is a picture of the continual process of the kingdom coming all around us. Keep your eyes open for the glory of our King as He sings the leaves downward and chimney smoke rises in the distance.

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