I don't know how to write about fall and all the emotions it stirs up without sounding trite. This is our first fall since we moved back to the midwest, and it's been refreshing, on a surface level yes, but also for my soul. The leaves turning gold and red, the crisp mornings, wearing a hat and a cowl, seeing my breath outside, holding our baby, all bundled in handknits. The days are getting shorter, and the days are getting cozier, and my heart always feels a little more joyful, a little more refreshed this time of year.
And since this is one of my favorite times of the year, here are some of my favorite things from the last few weeks:
- breakfast for dinner, usually sausages with pancakes or waffles on Fridays (sometimes little rituals have a way of creating themselves, no?)
- watching Great British Bake Off after the baby's bedtime (also on Fridays)
- baking one fun treat for us each week (typically cookies, muffins, apple crisp, or a simple cake, etc.) I enjoy the process, and we enjoy the results. Plus, we enjoy having a treat to enjoy while we watch GBBO. ;)
- a cardamom and vetiver soy candle
- tinted moisturizer from w3ll people
- knitting Christmas gifts (best for me to start them early!)
- finishing a sweater for Cooper, blog post forthcoming
- keeping my eyes open for the best fall color, on our walks and drives around town
- baking apple cider donuts with my sister-in-law
- how adorable Cooper looks in a vest
- embracing dirty mirrors, smudged by the sweetest curious baby hands
- the way that Cooper giggles with Nicholas
- a sleeping baby on my lap (needing extra TLC after a vaccine and some sleep regression)
- oat milk lattes, enjoyed on the drive to the pediatrician
- walks nearly every day, in the sunshine
- wearing handknit socks nearly every day
- snuggles with Cooper in one of the quilts my mom made for him
- enjoying tea at night for bedtime fika, especially this new-to-me blend
- listening to Tom Rosenthal and knitting, to wind down at the end of the day
- another trip to the apple orchard, this time with my sister- and mother-in-law. It was an afternoon of apple picking, cider sampling, donut snacking, and baby wearing. We browsed for pumpkins and donuts, and bought a few of each. Such a fun day!
And this morning, all three of us went downtown. Nicholas and I wore sweatshirts and jeans, and I wore my clockwork shawl. Nicholas needed a haircut, so while he was at the barber, Cooper and I walked around, looking at the leaves (or at least I was, Coop got a nap in the stroller). I stopped by a local store to do a little early Christmas shopping for Cooper. Then, we met Nicholas and tried a new-to-us taco place, which we loved. And then we went home, changed back into comfy clothing, and I wrote most of this post while Nicholas played games and Cooper napped.
Today, I was thinking about these words from Ephesians 2:10:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I'm quick to notice God's handiwork around me, in the trees and the cool mornings, and the baby giggles. But sometimes, I stop there, just after noticing the beauty. I forget that what's even more miraculous than fall color is how He created His children and prepared good works for us. How, despite our brokenness, He chose to redeem our relationship with Him by sending His son to be broken for us. How, if we trust in Christ, we can live in true freedom, embracing that we are His handiwork, embracing what He has for us to do — on fall days, beneath pretty trees, and on every other day. The point of this verse is not to highlight or glorify us, but to show that He is good and He did good work in His creation of us. He gets the glory. And we get to see glimpses of that glory if we're truly looking.
A few weeks ago, our little family of four made plans with my father- and sister-in-law for an early Saturday morning at the Lake. When we arrived in the eight o'clock hour, it was breezy, in the low seventies. At this particular beach and time of day, we had our pick of spots; only a few families were there before us. I chose a spot pretty close to the water and Coop dumped out his new beach toys out of his mesh bag and got busy building and digging. Soon enough, Nicholas, who had been parking the truck, and my SIL and FIL joined us.
Here we are, on the very cusp of July, and I've neglected to share about our garden. Nicholas and I had a plot at a community garden when we were engaged back in 2013, but we haven't had a vegetable garden since—until this year, that is. I wanted to share a bit about our garden this year: what we're growing, how we're growing it, and how it's going so far.
If you missed my last post, I shared about the passing of my beautiful mother-in-law. I don't want to continue on in a "business as usual" style, nor do I want to neglect to share about joyful things in our life. Again and again, I'm learning that grief and joy coexist in this life. And what a grace that is! Grief can highlight the joy, make it more precious in my eyes. And so, I wanted to share about a little day trip I took with my SIL, Katelyn, Cooper, and Finn back in mid-May, since it was a good thing, a sweet day spent with some of my very favorite people.