Thursday, January 7, 2016

Taking Christmas Back

I have a Christmas hangover.

It's 13 days later and I'm only now starting to unfold myself a bit after the marathon that is December. Is it terrible to confess that I'm so relieved that Christmas is over? I know that's probably some kind of sacrilege to say, because, obviously, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. However, I honestly think that if it had lasted even one minute more, I might have keeled over. 

Don't get me wrong. I heart Christmas. And I love this new season of sharing Christmas with kiddos. And yet, for the past few years now, I find myself feeling like I might not survive until January 1st. I've considered hiding out somewhere until it's over, but so far, that's not a teneble solution.

This year was especially chaotic because our refrigerator decided to stop refrigerating around 10 p.m. the night before Christmas Eve. I came insanely (key word there) close to round-kicking our errant fridge, but I refrained, because that would have been immature. However, I might have said a bad word (or a "cowboy word" as my mom refers to them) in place of the kick. And the fridge totally deserved it because it had BACON and EGGNOG that it was supposed to be safekeeping for me. #badfridge

Despite a cooler full of ice in the garage and nearly 80 degree temps outside, nobody ended up getting food poisoning on Christmas Day, despite my ominous predictions. A Christmas miracle indeed.

In our house, Christmas is bookended by Sam's birthday a week or so before and then Matt's birthday on New Year's Eve (which is a bummer birthday because everyone's having a party, but none of them are for you). So, our month looks like this: birthday party for Sam, birthday day party for Jesus, birthday party for Matt. In case you're wondering, that stuff will wear a mama out. 

I talked with a friend of mine this morning who is home on furlough from mission work overseas and she shared how she actually felt sorry for mamas in America during the Christmas season because of all the crazy that we have to navigate. Her description of their simple Christmas on the mission field sounded rather dreamy. Obviously, she missed her family and the imagined trappings of a Christmas at home, but the reality is that a lot of the good stuff of Christmas gets swallowed up by all of the STUFF. Her version reminded me of a Little House on the Prairie Christmas, when you were elated to find oranges and newly darned socks in your stocking.

Every year, I daydream about the quiet Christmases with my family growing up. We would sit around our piney-smelling tree after dark, lights twinkling, eggnog in our cups, and Vince Guaraldi playing in the background. It felt like there was loads of time to contemplate and wonder at the magic and the beauty of Christmas. 

And yet, I'm guessing my mom probably felt as run-ragged as I do now as a mom at Christmas, but she never let on and did such a lovely job of keeping things simple and beautiful and just enough, so that there was space for us to enjoy all the things about Christmas that matter.

A conversation with Matt a few evenings ago had me confessing to wanting to escape every December and he seemed a bit puzzled by my having felt so frayed over the holidays. If you know me at all, you know that I'm somewhat high-strung, slightly neurotic, and a raving perfectionist. So, he wasn't totally surprised at my having felt a little stress. But, the truth is that I felt more than just a little stress and I'm so over letting it steal my joy every Christmas. 

And so, here I am declaring that I want to take Christmas back.

I want there to be more time for thoughtful Advent readings, and time to ponder the beauty of the season. I need more quiet and less hustle, more intentional time with my kiddos and less errand running. I want to sit by our tree and read the Christmas story, unhurried, without the nagging feeling that there are five other things I should be doing. I don't want to worry about the budget exploding because we overdid it, trying hard to be sure we "got enough" for the kiddos. 

I want to be free of the commercials and the terrible, awful jingles that pass as Christmas music now. I need more Charlie Brown Christmas and less Justin Bieber holiday specials. 

I want more Jesus and less Santa and his creepy elves on shelves.

I'm not even sure I know how to describe the Christmas I long for every year, but I do now that it isn't what we're doing right now. 

So, I'm going to be mulling over this for a while, trying to navigate us away from the frenetic flurry of present-buying and party-planning and overdoing it. 

I don't plan on throwing out the tree or only giving my kids socks and underwear. But, I do want to include more depth in our family's celebration of Christmas. And I would love to incorporate ways to teach our kiddos to think about others during this season and not just themselves. 

I'm way open to suggestions. Who's living the Christmas dream out there? I'd love to hear how you're celebrating Christmas without the chaos. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


So, I should preface this post by confessing to being up way, way past my bedtime. I've spent the last hour cutting out batman masks and taping them to toothpicks. SO, if I say something that makes you feel awkward, can we just agree to blame batman toothpicks? Thanks.

We just got back from an overnight trip to Nashville, which means nine hours in the car, six hours sleeping, and ten actual waking hours spent in the city. (I may have done that math wrong because, batman toothpicks.) The trip was a little more whirlwind-esque than our usual day-to-day lives (like five-hundred times more so), but Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God tour was happening at the Ryman and it felt like a good idea to go.

The thing about Nashville is that I spent four rather significant years of my life there in my early twenties, and being back in the city felt a bit surreal. Every street had a memory attached, every building reminded me of someone I'd known or something I'd done over a decade ago. It felt a little like a city of ghosts to me last night. And in the midst of all that weirdness, I couldn't help but compare the self I was 11 years ago to the self I am now, which made for a crazy handful of feelings that I'd really love to talk with you about over coffee for about five hours.

But, I digress.

Here is what I really need to talk about with you right now: ADOPTION. During the intermission of Andrew Peterson's BTLOG, he showed a video from and if I hadn't been totally and completely boxed in to my corner of a wooden pew, I would have ran to the lobby and purchased one of those classy plastic glasses of wine I kept envying the people in front of me for having. But, I couldn't escape and so I sat there and felt my back stiffen as I braced myself for a heartbreaking/heartwarming story of a mind-numbingly precious, special-needs, orphan girl in China. My throat literally ached at the end of it with the valiant effort I had made trying not to ugly cry there in the bright intermission lights.

Y'all. I have yet to write anything about this situation with adoption in my life before, but I feel like either I have to start writing about it or I will drive Matt literally insane from my pulling an adoption filibuster every time we have atleast 5-7 minutes to talk without interruption. I don't mean for this to happen. I just have a running monologue in my head going on about adoption most of my waking hours. It's weird and Matt is probably starting to wonder if I think about anything else. I do: chocolate and Fixer Upper.

I've known for a long time that adoption was probably supposed to be part of my story, and when Matt and I started talking about marriage, I mentioned it. Now I mention it a lot.

The issue with adoption and me seems to be that every single video I see about adoption, every picture of every orphan that flashes on my computer screen, every mention of a child without a family in a newspaper article, they all have Mae and Sam's face. I can't look at or hear about one of those children and not picture one of mine. It makes me want to adopt a hundred children. All. The. Time. 

I did have a moment of realization last night when my throat nearly closed up over the potential ugly cry I was holding back during that video. Something about becoming a mother to my two children, who I love in a way that I don't even have words for, has tripped some wire in my heart that makes me almost catatonic when I see images of children who are abused or neglected or unwanted. I've crossed some line somewhere that makes me unable to unsee those kids, and also makes me grieve their lot in life in a way that is right, but that can sometimes have an element of hopelessness to it. Last night, I wondered at the intensity of the emotions I feel when it comes to adoption and the great need associated with it, and if those emotions are a little too similar to the grief of "those who have no hope" (I Thess. 4:13). I think I need to wander around in that possibility for a while to determine if I've been seeing orphans through a gospel-empty lens.

Regardless, I can't get away from this feeling that the word adoption is somehow being needlepointed onto my heart. It sits on me a lot more than is comfortable lately and the things I prayed for years ago that would make it possible for us to adopt are starting to be realities. And, so, it's hard not to fill out the forms online right this second.

Matt isn't as sure as I am about this whole thing. And, I get that. He's so open, though, and the amount of patience that man has with my constant wall of words about adoption is pretty commendable. He probably needs a medal or something.

So, here I am, still thinking about that video, still wondering how adoption is going to fit into our story, still hoping that there is a child out there somewhere who is on a divine trajectory into our home and our hearts.

And, so, I wait. And wonder. And wait some more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Good, Hard Work of Motherhood

So, I had the chance to speak at a moms' group in Tennessee last week and while it was kind of intimidating to be talking to other mamas about being a mama, it was also kind of freeing. I told them about the time our kids flooded the bathroom just as company was coming over for dinner and about the time Sam brought one-week old Mae to me, dangling by one arm, after having just pulled her out of her crib (insert large-eyed emoji face here). I also shared about how we drug Sam all over Dollywood last week while he had an escalating fever, which we didn't know about yet, and instead kept telling him to stop being "so grumpy." (I apologized 500 times to him afterwards). Basically, I laid it all out there so they'd know that I am in no way some ideal version of a perfect mom who never burns dinner and only instructs her children with straight scripture verses.


Now that you know that I am totally in the trenches with you, I'll share a few of the things I shared with those sweet mamas in Big Orange country last week...

Firstly, have you read the article "Your Child Is Your Neighbor" at the Gospel Coalition's website yet? If not, go print that out for yourself and read it out loud every morning before commencing parenting. I'm considering having it tattooed on my forehead so that I see it every time I spend 23 minutes applying all my anti-aging products every morning and evening. It's that good.

OK, so along the lines of our children being our closest neighbors and all that that means biblically for us as parents, here's a verse that reiterates that same idea:

John 15:13 "Greater love has no man than this: to lay down his life for his friends."

If you have small friends (a.k.a. children) in your home, eating, sleeping, playing, doing somersaults on your dining room table, then you get this verse in a particularly personal way. Laying down your life for your small people is just what you do. It's like breathing and sleeping and riding a bike at this point.

Maybe you've just had a baby for the first time and you're figuring out that this motherhood gig asks for literally all that you have and then asks for a little bit more.

Some days it feels like too much, like too big of a sacrifice. And those are the days where I daydream about running away to the mountains or the beach or to Tar-jay.

But, what you and I are doing when we hang in there and keep offering our whole selves, when we keep showing up, when we keep laying down our lives for the crazy little people who live in our houses, this is a valuable thing.

Every sticky, peanut butter-scented, dirty-diapered, Lego-covered, crayon-graffiti-ed moment matters. And I don't mean that in an, "Enjoy every minute because it's over so quickly"/grandma-in-the-grocery-store" kind of way. I mean it in a Kingdom of God kind of way. In a Larger Story kind of way. In a God is using you in his Redemptive Plan for the World kind of way.

You and I are participating in the redemption story that God is writing when we faithfully do the hard work of motherhood.

Everywhere you look in our culture today, the idea of mothering children is being devalued. It's an inconvenience, it's a drudgery, it's less important that a million other things.

I was listening to NPR the other day and on a humorous show called "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," they discussed how, in a new scientific study, German scientists had concluded that "having children is the worst thing that can happen to you." Worse than a divorce, than a spouse dying, than losing your job. They laughed about it, but I couldn't help feeling sad.

It reminded me that that mentality is backed up by the almost 58 million terminated pregnancies that have taken place over the last forty-two years.

Every day a child's value is placed lower than: a job, an education, a busy exam schedule, personal freedom, relationships, etc.

But, as one author has so wisely put it, "Children are not a distraction from the important work. They are the important work."

Right now, for me, as a mama of two little people entirely dependent on Matt and I, that important work includes:
 - cleaning the rug on my hands and knees after someone has had the stomach flu
 - taking care of the accidents of potty-training small people
 - cooking dinner during the time of day when I am the most tired and am also wielding sharp knives while my children wrestle around my ankles    (I like to call this my "recipe for disaster").
 - buying my child a new coat instead of the pair of boots I've been dreaming about for five years.
 - getting up fourteen times during the night to comfort a sick or frightened child

And the list could go on. This is all included in the good work of motherhood and all of it has value.

There are so many children who don't make it out of the womb because they were deemed less valuable than something else. And there are so many children who make it out and then spend their childhood being neglected and abused and unloved. YOUR children have been given the gift of being yours, which means they are loved and wanted and treasured.

Don't underestimate your value in being their mama.

In our little mama communities, it's so important that we remind each other that this season of little people is valuable, that mothering is valuable, even when it feels so mundane and isolating.

Let's choose not to use terms like "mom fail" or "bad mom" to describe our mothering. Because that's not the story that God is writing for you and for me. He's using mamas like us in his big, huge story of redemption as we sacrificially love our children. Let's not waste any of our precious energy tearing ourselves or other mamas down.

Let's speak life over each other. Let's SEE each other as valuable and say it out loud.

As you give and give and give to small human beings who cannot pay you back, to those who are too small to even speak a "thank you," to those who don't understand the life-sized sacrifice it is to be their mom, you can be confident that you are participating in the redemption that God is working out in the world.

As you daily lay your life down for your little ones, God's redemption is being worked out in your home and that will absolutely have repercussions in the world outside the walls of your little house, whether you ever see it or not.

Don't underestimate your value as you do this beautifully hard work of motherhood.

You have value. Your work matters.

Go forth boldly, mamas.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

All The Feelings I Am Having About Being Almost Forty

My grandma will be ninety years old this next spring and she still lives on her farm in South Georgia, where I have a thousand memories of naming cows, petting goats, jumping off hay bales in the barn, walking with my granddaddy down the worn path into the fields, and eating bowls and bowls of buttery grits in my grandma's kitchen.

My dad and I drove down to visit my grandma a few weekends ago and while I was there I had a chance to do some reminiscing, which is a luxury I almost never get to indulge in. (I think that may have something to do with every one of my waking moments being filled with unending cries for "Juice!" and "Shows!" and "Snacks!")

Being somewhere for twenty-four hours without Matt or the kiddos opened up the floodgates of complete thoughts, childhood memories, and emotions that I've been vaguely unaware of since 2009 (Sam's arrival on Earth). I felt a little teary, the good kind, during a large portion of those twenty-four, rather non-eventful hours. There's something about being in a place that lives and breathes in a rhythm that isn't hurried or overly busy or straining to be something that it's not. Places like that remind me that most of life's beauty is often tucked into the pockets of the simplest things.

The sunset that night we were there was fiery red and orange and it backlit the horizon behind the trees and the fields and the barn. My grandma saw it through the window and called us all to come look at it. Something about her appreciation of that sunset, despite the reality of her daily life in an aging body with all its aches and pains, was significant to me. There was something poignant about her valuing that display of beauty in the sky that night and it made me hopeful.

I think my grandma is most likely 24 years old in her mind and the reality of her 89 year-old outside seems so incongruent with her youthful spirit. It's hard to see someone who has always been so vibrant and energetic making her way into the last season of life. But, at the same time, she still drives her shiny red Buick to get her hair done every Friday morning and she still gets "gussied up" to go to church, and her eyes still light up when she sees my two little ones running around her yard hunting for pecans.

Lately, I've been having a hard time with the fact that at 37, I am no longer a proverbial spring chicken, which mainly means I've had to ban myself from shopping at American Eagle. I've also been spending some free time researching magical wrinkle potions and solutions to crows' feet. It's been a little bit of an issue for me, and as it turns out, Matt's kind of over hearing me whine about it. Apparently, he doesn't feel the same angst over the fact that my neck is starting to look older than my face. I, however, am considering a Kickstarter fund to "Save My Neck." Feel free to join that.

But, despite all the weird emotions I'm having these days about my fears of getting old, I'm struck by the simplicity of the life my grandma is living right now and how she's not whining about her lost youth or her less than perfect skin tone. She's too busy taking in a late summer sunset from her back porch. And this reminds me that the kind of beauty I should be wanting isn't something I'll find in a $78 bottle of "magical" skin-firming cream.

I remember hearing Beth Moore explain once that, in her opinion, women increase in beauty until age forty, and after that, they increase in wisdom. Part of me wants to tell Beth to keep her mouth shut because at 37, that means I've got approximately 2.5 years left to be remotely attractive. And yet, at the same time, I'm starting to see in an up close and personal way that youth very literally fades and, if I'm honest, I really do want to value wisdom over what I look like in the mirror. I'm slowly starting to believe that the state of my heart really does matter a bit more than the state of my skin.

I hope that if I make it to 89, that I won't be sitting around feeling bitter about my gray hair or my imperfect complexion. I hope that I'll be standing on my back porch watching the sun light up the twilight and that I will still feel grateful for simple joys.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Pretty Stuff Matters

{Sidenote: I wrote this post about a month and a half ago. And then I took a part-time job. So, here I am posting it six weeks later, thus the frequent references to summer...}
This summer was full, the good kind of full. Our little family swam at the pool, we went on day trips, we ate ice cream, we had friends over for dinner, we went to the circus, we went to the movies. You get the idea. Good times. And while I love reminiscing about all that fun we had and I'm so genuinely grateful for it, I'm also not complaining that school has started back and that I have an hour here or there to have complete thoughts. Alone. All by myself. Just me and a jar of Nutella. 

But, while all that carefree, summery fun was happening, there were a lot of things happening in the world that weighed pretty heavily on me and kept me up at night wondering what the heck was going on out there. I won't make a list of terrible world events for you, because I'm fairly sure your Facebook feed and email inbox was full, like mine was, of petitions and updates and news reports of all sorts of disheartening things.

In the midst of that influx of heaviness, I felt my heart being weighed down a little more each day. At one point, I even found myself wondering if it was okay to enjoy going to see a movie or eating out at a restaurant anymore. In light of all the suffering and grief bombarding my inbox and my mind, I subconsciously started to question if it was okay to even be happy. I felt guilty about how comfortable our home is or about the fact that I sometimes go shopping for things that aren't really necessary. Guilty for thinking about anything other than all that terrible suffering.

All this to say, I think I let my perspective get a little skewed. The fact is, I can't make the world's suffering go away by refusing to feel joy or ignoring the good and beautiful things about our life. 

{That isn't to say that I should pretend like suffering isn't happening or that I don't act whenever I can to relieve someone's suffering. Of course, we should all be intentionally pursuing ways to do that, because if those of us who know the Redeemer of All Things aren't offering actual hope and sharing real joy with the suffering, who will?}

Genesis 12:2 talks about God blessing Abraham so that others can be blessed through him. I think God is absolutely still doing that now, through us. SO, I think a conclusion I'm coming to is that, regardless of what's happening in the world around me, God's goodness in my life isn't something to feel guilty about, but rather something to enjoy, and perhaps more importantly, to share. 

The other conclusion I'm coming to is that beauty matters. Even if the world is falling apart, it is still important, even necessary, that we recognize and enjoy and create beauty. It's a vital part of our humanity and of the way we reflect our Creator. C.S. Lewis' classic chapter, "Learning In War Time," (Weight of Glory) speaks to this. Essentially, his argument is that learning and creating and appreciating beauty are always valuable, regardless of the volatile state of the world. Beauty transcends all of that turmoil and by appreciating it in all circumstances, we reaffirm our human-ness and our connection to a world that is completely other from this one. A kingdom, in fact.

And so, in light of this simple revelation I had and am still having, I thought I'd share a few pictures of the things that have brought a bit of happy, or I should say beauty, to my little beating heart recently: 

A cup of tea and pretty magazines. Le sighGetting to read a magazine cover to cover feels like the ultimate luxury now that I'm a mama to two. Add a chocolate-filled croissant and this situation is basically elevated to the equivalent of a mini-spiritual retreat in my house.

Here's our guest room after I added a fun "Hello" sign that my sweet (and crafty) friend Sarah May made. I still have some work to do on the bookshelf and I'm planning to actually hang the Swedish alphabet sign in the left corner as soon as I can figure out how to do that while someone small isn't also jumping on the bed.


A pretty party dress is always a good idea. This one has fancy(ish) gold threading, which you can't see in the picture, but it makes it sparkle. 

We went on a short vacation with our family recently and this was the day after the day that it rained buckets on us. There's almost nothing better than staring out at the ocean and dreaming about what's on the other side. 

I see these little collages of pretty things on Instagram all the time, so I thought I'd just make one of my own with some of my favorites. * The pillow is a little anniversary gift that we found at The French Market cafe and bakery in Pine Mountain, Georgia (site of my run-in with Kirk Cameron earlier this year. Ha.)  * The perfume is Marc Jacob's "Honey," straight from a T.J Maxx's shelf. * I finally found a planner that wasn't $500 and, obviously, it came from Tar-Jay. * Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist is one of the best food memoirs I've read and I highly recommend it to you if you love food, friendships, and Jesus (not necessarily in that order.) * The candle was a gift from my friend Alli and it smells as pretty as it looks. * Those candies are Chimes ginger chews and they're the perfect bit of sweet/spicy after dinner. * Lastly, the Handy-Tizer hand spray is from Rinse, a local store that offers handmade soaps, lotions, buttery lip balms, etc., all made in-store from natural ingredients and essential oils. Check them out at

There you go, friends. What makes your heart sing when you look at it, taste it, hold it? What lovely thing is good at reminding you that there is more to this world than Facebook and scheduling and fast food? I'd love to know. 

Every single day, do something that makes your heart sing. -Marcie Wieder

Monday, September 28, 2015

How to Make A Difference and Dinner at the Same Time

I heart being a stay-at-home mom, and feel super grateful that
the man I married is on board with being the main breadwinner of our home. (sidenote: I did take a little part-time job recently, but more on that in another post).

But, even as I love the job I've got raising my two munchkins, there are times during the day when I'm elbow-deep in dishes, or knee-deep in laundry or being buried alive by the obscene amount of Legos that live in this house, and I find myself feeling grieved for the world outside the walls of my house and grieved by how limited I am in my ability to help. While I fold laundry and cook dinner, I mull over all the stories of suffering in the media - stories of refugees and unwanted children and abused women. And sometimes I can't help but wonder if I could relieve at least a small part of that suffering if I wasn't over here sorting socks and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

Even while I'm confident that I'm doing exactly what I should be as I raise these children and keep our family washed and fed and hugged on, I can't help going over and over in my head all the things I wish I could also be doing, being, offering to provide some relief for someone, somewhere.

Anybody else out there feeling any of that with me? 

Well, if so, I have a couple tools to share with you to enable you (and me) to reach outside of our little worlds and into the lives of those who need hope and rescue, all while we're still keeping up with the laundry and cooking dinner for our people.

Online for Life's Prayer App                                                                                                               

You get real-time updates on your phone about women considering abortion so that you can pray as they meet with a counselor at a crisis pregnancy clinic. The app will text you if and when that woman makes the decision to keep her baby. It's hard not to feel the tears well up when you get a text like this one: 

"Baby number 3394 was just saved in Detroit, MI. Thanks for praying."

You can watch a video explaining how it all works at and download the app at the Apple Store. Such a great way to be a front-line prayer warrior for women and their babies!

The second suggestion I have for you is:

Noonday Collection Trunk Show 

You may already be familiar with then, but if not, essentially, they set up avenues for women in struggling countries to sell their handmade jewelry and accessories, giving them the opportunity to support themselves and their children in a dignified, professional way.

Between now and November 1st, any trunk show you host (set up by a Noonday representative), will give 10% of its proceeds to a family in the process of adoption AND enter them into a drawing for a $14,000 grant toward their adoption costs. What a great way to have an impact on a child in need of a home without ever changing out of your yoga pants, well, unless you have a fancy trunk show and need to put on something with less spandex.

Here's the link with all the information you might need to be a hostess:
So, there you go. I hope you feel as encouraged as I do about being able to have even the smallest impact on lives beyond the borders of your yard. I'd love to hear ways that you have found to make a difference while also making dinner. (-;

Friday, August 14, 2015

Confessions of the Fall-Obsessed

It's the end of summer, sort of, at least according to our family schedule. However, here in the Deep South, the weather is stubbornly indifferent to the fact that school has started and that GAP is happily marketing their fall cardigans and skinny corduroys. Starbucks, and every other coffee shop from here to Portland, is gearing up for their pumpkin-spice latte-palooza when they'll push that beverage like it's a drug and droves of people (myself unabashedly included) will run to order one like we've spent the last ten months in PSL detox.

The perfect apple-picking hat.
Within mere weeks, women will overtake social media with declarations of their unbounded love for tall boots and they'll wear them like autumnal badges of honor with their darkest, skinniest jeans. And soon enough, floaty scarves and puffy vests will be as ubiquitous as the Kardashians, and all this before our awkward summer tan lines have even come close to fading.

And yet, where I live, it's still absolutely and completely summer and so all this almost-fall-ish business is making my autumn-loving heart a little overanxious for this hot and humid season to wrap itself up.

I want it to be fall already. Actually, I want it to be fall all year long. Sometimes I wonder if this is some sort of clinical condition that I have, this pining for days when the yard is covered up with multi-colored leaves and I'm snugly buttoned up in my cardigan, cradling a steaming mug full of tea with both hands. Oh, and in this perfect fall moment, there's also a flannel blanket tucked around my feet and You've Got Mail is streaming on Netflix and the pumpkin cookies I just baked are cooling in the kitchen. And maybe there's also a pumpkin spice candle burning somewhere in my house.

This fall obsession business could be a sickness, really. But, if being clinically obsessed with fall is wrong, maybe I don't want to be right.

Sometimes, to make myself feel better about it still being summer, I order a latte and sit in the car with the air conditioning on full blast, staring out at the sunny day, imagining that it's not a blistering 97 degrees or that I could bake Break and Bake cookies on my dashboard if I turned the car off for approximately four minutes. (#gross)

Let's get cozy. (
I'm aware that I have become a complete and utter stereotype with my love of cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, pumpkin farm visits, etc, etc, etc. And, while all that's true, I genuinely think there's more to my affection for this particularly fleeting season. There's something nostalgic and romantic and magical about autumn that can't adequately be expressed in any kind of way that captures it well enough.

Even in the midst of all the PSL drinking and burning candles with names like "Harvest Farm Apple Caramel Pie with Roasted Marshmallows" while wearing my coziest GAP cardigan,  I can't help feeling a little miffed at all the commercialism that swallows up fall every year.

Starbucks has brilliantly cornered the market on a beverage that has come to signify the official start of the fall season. And, while I obviously can't deny my love of a steaming PSL (despite it's 5,640 calories and possible pesticide residue, if you believe Food Babe), I wish that a marketing department's bottom line wasn't so obviously overshadowing the beauty and quiet melancholy of the season I love best.

Yes to this.
I read an article the other day that tried to parse out the reason why people, women especially, love fall so ardently and the author theorized about romanticizing a particular period of time or lending significance to a time of the year based on events or experiences one might have had in the past. And maybe that's true. Maybe the allure of fall has something to do with the fresh start a new year at school might have represented or, if you're Southern like myself, perhaps the allure is simply the hope of glorious relief from three months of HOT.

For me, fall's appeal has something to do with the way my perspective changes whenever the shadows begin to lengthen and the sunlight slants through the trees in the late afternoon. I love the feeling that nature is giving itself a rest and that the summer riot of the growing season is finally taking a breath and giving in to the repose that nature demands. The slow march to winter, the gradual quieting of nature, the leaves lit up like the last glowing embers of a dying fire. Autumn is nature's long and golden sigh before it slips into its winter sleep and I plan to drink in each and every fleeting minute of it.

And so, despite the heat and humidity outside my window and the fact that fall won't arrive in my part of the world for at least another six weeks, here's to anticipating it's coming and savoring its moody loveliness.

It was November,
the month of crimson sunsets,
parting birds,
deep, sad hymns of the sea,
passionate wind songs in the pines.
L.M. Montgomery


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