Monday, September 25, 2017

Fall Traditions that engage the soul and the senses

I didn't grow up in a culture that celebrated the Fall but I am glad that God has blessed me with such thing as Autumn in America. The Fall is one of our favorite seasons and we decided to engage the soul as well as the senses of our family as we celebrate. 

The Senses 
• While we won't feel the crispiness of the air for quite a long time (in Texas is either hot or hotter), we can engage our senses in other ways. Visually, I decorate our home for the season. I basically put up the same decor I save from year to year. I have a wooden pumpkin hanging in my front door that says "give thanks." I also have some colorful flowers and a few pumpkins outside our door inside a wooden wagon. Any guest that comes in can be greeted with those warm Fall colors. I bought a banner for our living room mantle and I spread small decorations in our living room and kitchen. We practice self-control by waiting till the Fall to burn Pumpkin scented candles. It's hard but when the calendar turns, we are immediately filling the house with that wonderful smell.
We also bake my husband's award winning cake and favorite Fall dessert which we call "pumpkin surprise."The cake is super moist and it has pumpkin and heath bar in it. It tastes better than you can imagine!
I don't have an audio tradition for the Fall but this year we are listening to new music my husband has written and several Gospel artists have released. I'll talk about that on another post. 
Every Fall we also take a trip to a local pumpkin patch. Sometimes we buy pumpkins, most of the time we just go to have fun. I used to get our Christmas photo done that day but now I get it when I can. The kids enjoy looking at fields of pumpkins, taking a bumpy hay ride and just playing for a while. We all come home feeling joyful. 

The Soul
• We take our souls very seriously around here. This Fall season we are reminder to 'bless the Lord o my soul and forget not His benefits... (Psalm 103)." We take advantage of the newness of Fall to be quite specific about our reasons for thankfulness. It is wise to be thankful year round but most people wait until November (I know you don't do that my friend!). Our family has learned to verbally express our gratitude on a daily basis. The more specific, the better.
When we had tiny little toddlers, the questions my peers and I had was how to raise thankful kids. I wrote a short post about that. I have learned that teaching thankfulness is quite the organic, fluid matter. It is first of all modeled on a daily basis. It also comes from the heart and by the time it makes it to the lips, God knows if we are being honest. 

Friend, I also have to tell you that celebrating the Fall as an adult has nothing to do with external circumstances. I wish I could tell you how many difficult Autumns (and Springs and Summers) I've had. I often celebrate a new season by faith. You heard it right. Two years ago, the issue before me was to learn contentment in every circumstance. When things get really tough, I think about the brilliance of God's wisdom when He created seasons. They come and they go. Just because I'm having a hard time, it doesn't mean it will be always like this. That's what I mean by celebrating the change of the seasons by faith. The same God who created Autumn is in control of my life. He is sovereign, He sees me and He cares. That's enough reason for me to be thankful!

I want my family traditions to reflect God's goodness and majesty. It might be hard to see that on a trip to the pumpkin patch but when the kids are grown and gone, I hope they will remember to thank God and to celebrate His genius when He created Fall. 

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