Autumn Weekend Staycation

autumn weekend

autumn weekend

I had told Little Miss to stay in her bedroom until 7:30 the next morning. Hubs was working an overnight shift (yuck) to cover for another employee, and I was going to be up late taking care of things around the abode. I knew she’d be up early but I told her to stay in her room and read so I could have a chance to sleep in a few extra minutes.

Not only did she emerge much earlier than 7:30, but she woke Little Man up as well.

Certainly not the start I wanted to my weekend.

I was running from the time I got out of bed, and had been awake over an hour before I realized I hadn’t had any coffee yet. How was I getting so much done?! It’s one of life’s great mysteries, and small miracles.

I got everyone fed and cleaned up after, got them in their outfits for the day and tasked them with entertaining one another. I started the process of canning the black beans I had set out to soak the night before.

After Hubs was done with work that morning, he drove to the church parking lot to snooze a bit before the men’s breakfast event. It was something I half-suggested, half-hoped he would be able to do, and he did it. I wouldn’t have. But he’s a better man than I am, so he did.

The black beans were well on their way to prime deliciousness for future use when he walked in, totally wiped. The kids had about worn each other (and their mother) out, so it was time for the weekend treat: television.

Don’t judge me.

I’ve never liked plopping my kids in front of the television, and I rarely do – but sometimes a mama’s gotta get stuff done, and the t.v. just happens to have some pull in order to make it all happen. I grew up on television and Taco Bell and still managed to turn out pretty functional, so I have really high hopes for my kids.

We had planned to drive to one of the Minnesota state parks that Saturday, but because Hubs worked overnight, changed our plans to be closer to home and hit up our favorite pumpkin patch instead. While the beans were canning and Hubs was snoring, however, the storm clouds moved in. It didn’t look promising for an afternoon trip to the patch. I love the pumpkin patch and all the activities the kids partake in. The carriage rides, the corn maze, the animals (especially the animals) – I love it all. My favorite part, though, is choosing my very own pie pumpkins from a local grower.

It’s the simple things.

Tell me what’s more amazing than an entire vine of pumpkins growing from a single seed, producing these beautiful, tasty pumpkins, and being able to turn them into a delicious dessert (and roasted seeds for snacking). All from one seed! If an entire crop can yield from a single seed, surely God created me to do so much with the gifts and talents He gave me.

A side note about beans: I have a ridiculous bounty of dried beans in my cupboard. I’ve canned 11 pounds of beans already and probably have more than 10 pounds still to be prepared in my cupboard. I love beans. A lot. But the funny thing – that’s not really funny at all – is I’m the only one in our family who likes beans.

Obviously, they have no choice but to become bean lovers over the course of their life, because I doubt I can put away almost 25 pounds of beans by myself. That’s not the kind of achievement I want to be remembered for. / End side note.

Another small miracle occurred that day – it didn’t storm. Not until much, much later. We headed out to the patch-o-pumpkins, and it was one of the most splendid times I’ve ever spent there. It wasn’t crowded. It was windy enough to keep the bugs at bay, but not to send us flying. Even though it was past nap time and a few meltdowns made an appearance, it was an enjoyable outing to be sure. It’s one of my favorite annual traditions and that outing solidified why.

Everyone napped afterward. Everyone went to bed that night completely content and completely tuckered out. It was lovely. So very lovely.

So far, I’m really enjoying fall. And I’m thanking God I’m able to.

Breaking the Curse of Autumn

autumn

autumn

I’m a sunshine girl. I love sunshine, I need sunshine, I bask in sunshine, and I feel better when the sun shines.

The sun is not shining today.

However, every now and again, the cloud cover (and in today’s case, the rain), make for a sense of renewal, fresh opportunity, and even some motivation.

I can say today is one of those good gray days. I think it helped (tremendously) I was able to witness an incredible sunrise, turning the sky a beautiful purple, orange, and pink. As the clouds were moving in and before they could block the sun entirely, the sky danced with color as we started getting ready for our day.

I’ve got my curly-hair-rain-gear on (my kerchief), and after a long meeting, I’ll scurry to the kitchen to get to work on some applesauce and apple pie making. It’s September, after all, and apples are the fruit-of-the-month. It’s quite rewarding to pick them yourself, peel them, and turn them into even more deliciousness than they already are naturally. Cooking is like doing magic in the kitchen. You take ingredients and turn them into something completely different, to satisfy those greedy little bumps on your tongue and rumble in your belly. It’s a pretty amazing process.

Sometimes the autumn season is difficult for me. It’s always been my favorite. I love the smells. I love the crisp air. I love the colors. I love the decorations. I love pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie and apple everything.

But autumn and its drastic change of season carries a weight I can’t aptly describe.  School starts. The wind shifts. The cemetery closes earlier.

Autumn also means winter is coming. I struggle with winter. I struggle with barrenness. Cold. Desolation. Grief.

We had a bizarre spring blizzard that forced us to postpone Harlynn’s funeral a day. It snowed the day she was born and every Wednesday after for a month. Snow is sometimes peaceful and comforting, but it also reminds me, so tangibly, of the worst day of our lives. And it’s about to show up and hang around for months on end.

Winter is coming.

I feel like maybe – just maybe – this year will be different. Since I finally got to process through Harlynn’s birthday in a way I needed to this spring, maybe I can handle this winter better. Maybe it won’t be as gloomy as years past. Maybe it won’t be as bitter. Maybe it won’t be as soul-chilling as I’ve known it to be.

I’m making a determination.

Right now, I’m going to enjoy autumn. I’m going to enjoy everything I can about it. The pumpkin patch. The harvest. The cinnamon. The cider. The apples coming out our ears. The colors, the football, the pies, and the turkey. Rust orange, cranberry red, and the fading green of grass. Whatever this season has to offer me, I’m going to enjoy it, and store that joy away for the months to come.

When winter hits, and there’s no avoiding it, I’m going to retreat to the storehouses where I’ve tucked away the pleasantries I need to draw upon. I’ll warm myself with memories, food, friends, and my favorite sights and smells. I’ll stress-eat on pie and roasted pumpkin seeds. I’ll knit. This year, when winter hits, I won’t have wasted my autumn dreading it’s arrival.

The sun may not be shining today, but the clouds can’t squelch the new dawn coming. Winter may be on it’s way, but it won’t dampen today.

Every season – in nature and in life – serves a purpose. I don’t like it. I don’t have to. It’s going to happen anyway. But this year…. this year will be different. I’m going to will it so.

Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.

~Joel 2:23