A Year of Gifts
And suddenly, autumn is upon us.
Last weekend we attended a beautiful outdoor wedding. The temp was in the low nineties, the humidity oppressive. As I sat on a white plastic chair, waiting for the wedding party to appear, sweat ran down my back. The wedding program, so cleverly designed, proved to be a handy shield against a blazing sun. You never know what kind of weather you’ll get in the upper Midwest in mid-September, but so much heat and humidity was unusual. I kept reminding myself to enjoy the warmth, the light, and the flowers, because we all know what is right around the corner.
Now, seemingly overnight, autumn has arrived.
I approach the fall season with mixed emotions. I love the vivid golds with smudges of red and orange in the trees and on the ground where leaves wait to be raked up or whisked away on a cold gale. Pumpkin spice and caramel apples hold special appeal as the air turns cooler. Sweatpants and cozy sweaters replace shorts and tank tops. Suddenly sandals lose their appeal and chipped polish on the toes hide inside shoes once again. Annual flowers, leggy now after months of heat and North Dakota wind, are cut back and replaced with brilliant fall mums. Orange and white pumpkins begin to grace front stoops.
While I love the fall season, there are fewer things I enjoy about winter. There will be brutally cold days, icy roads and far less sunshine. For those of you that know me well, and despite living in this state all my life, you know that I’m a chicken when it comes to driving on icy roads. There is beauty to be found in bleak winter days but the weather can play more of a factor in our daily activities and its unpredictability can be frustrating. With so many hours of darkness, it’s easy to get lazy, curling up in front of the television and mindlessly watching Netflix for hours on end.
Like so many things in life, the changing of the seasons is inevitable. There is a rhythm in nature that continues on, whether we like it or not. If we are fortunate enough to grow old, we pass through seasons as well: a time of birth and renewal, a time of growth and expansion, a time of rest, and finally the inevitability of death. Never forget to make the most of whatever season you are in and recognize the blessing in making it to each point in time.
There is a predictability to the changing of the seasons and I find joy in the continuity if I look for the good in each stage and try not to fixate on the negatives. The variety can be refreshing. While it’s fun to visit warmer climates during the cold winter months, I don’t think I’d be satisfied living somewhere that didn’t have four definite seasons.
Beyond just the weather, I’m working to practice this attitude in other parts of life as well. This isn’t always easy but I find it useful to keep in mind.
Parenting is a good example. As parents, our role in our children’s lives must evolve over time. Personally, as our kids reach young adulthood, I try to focus on today and not wallow in missing the days when they depended on us more and they were always by our side.
Don’t fight it. Enjoy the variety. Recognize the reminder that change is constant.
Sometimes things happen unexpectedly, “out of season” even. We lose a loved one much too early. Our car breaks down before we have money saved up to replace it. And sometimes opportunities pop up before we think we are ready for them. It can be scary and intimidating. These things test our resolve and push us to be brave.
Last Sunday, we had high-wind warnings in the area. Much to our surprise, a tree blew over in our back yard. We knew the tree couldn’t be saved and intended to remove it come early winter, when the ground was frozen and there was less chance for damage. But like so many other things in life, the fallen tree served as a reminder that you think you can wait for a particular season but some things are outside of our control.
How do you feel about the different seasons? Do you enjoy some more than others? I know some people love the cold of winter and hate the heat of summer.
With only a few months to go yet in 2018, I’ve decided to avoid the temptation to curl up on the couch and coast between now and the holidays. Normally, I love getting a new journal and sitting down with it between Christmas and New Years to plan the year ahead. I plan to do this again, but this year I’m going to first concentrate on accomplishing as many of my 2018 goals while there is still time.
Yesterday, I stumbled across a post about a “Last 90 Days Challenge” put out there by Rachel Hollis. I recently finished Rachel’s inspiring book “Girl Wash Your Face”. I love this woman’s style and think this is a brilliant idea. It isn’t anything complicated, making it that much more achievable as far as I’m concerned. I commit to myself to do a few key things every day for the next 90 days. I’ve mapped it out and the 90 days will take me right up to Christmas. Then I’ll give myself permission to rest during that week before the end of the year— rest and plan out how I intend to make the most of 2019.
If finishing out the year strong interests you, check out Rachel’s challenge on line. I’d love to hear what you want to do between now and then! I’ll also use this blog to let you know how I’m doing with the challenge as I get further into it. It’s always a tad bit easier to stay on task if others know what you are up to!
Enjoy the changing of the seasons, be it in your life or the weather outside your window. Recognize the gift in seeing another season and make the most of it. And if it appeals to your taste buds, enjoy a pumpkin spice latte before they’re gone.
My best to you, Kim
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a self-published fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!