Fall, Friends, and the Winds of Change

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. Well, since I have been living in Kentucky anyway. I think in Florida and Texas, I preferred spring. But up here, we get to watch as the leaves change from green to yellow (and red and orange in some places), slowly falling along the way, eventually leaving the branches bare and yet still beautiful.

Green

Changing

More yellow

Almost Done

I am trying to breathe it all in and capture what it looks like … what it feels like as the winds of change sweep through, bringing a chill to the air and an anticipation of the things to come. I’m trying to remember it all because this will be our last fall here. We are headed back to Texas. It is something that makes us both happy and sad at the same time. Happy to be seeing those we left behind when we moved up here, sad to be saying good-bye to the new friends we made. Happy that we won’t be experiencing another super cold, snowy winter. Sad that we’ll have the super hot Texas summer instead of the more enjoyable temperatures of Kentucky. Of course our tolerances to the heat and cold have changed somewhat, so we will have some adapting to do … again. But, we look at it all as an adventure to be embraced.

Home is where me, Bart, and Bella are together. It doesn’t matter what state it is. As long as we feel like we are following God’s plan and are operating within his will rather than stubbornly trying to make our own way, all will be well.

Bella_Bart_Nina

And, of course, we’ll always make sure we have a room for Noah. The great thing is we will be closer to Bart’s family again for a while; we’ve missed them. And maybe, one of these days, we’ll be closer to my family for a while. You never know. For now, we are going with the flow and enjoying the show.

Red

To my Kentucky friends, I just want to say thank you. You accepted us and made us feel welcome. In a place where we knew no one and had no family to rely on, you became our brothers and sisters and our friends. You touched our hearts and changed our lives. We will miss you so very much. [So happy to be connected to many of you on Facebook.]

Orange

To our Texas friends and family … WE’RE BACK! (well, almost) We’ll both be there by the end of November. See you all very soon.

For anyone else going through times of transition, you’re attitude makes a huge difference in your ability to get through it. Breathe in the positive, breathe out the negative, and embrace the winds of change.

Seasons of Life

As time moves on, our individual seasons or stages of life pass and change–sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. Regardless of the speed or whether we are currently where we want to be, it’s a lot easier to navigate if we are open and receptive to the continual ebb and flow of life. If we hold too tightly to where we are and resist change, our hands will not be open to receive the new gifts before us, and we may find ourselves forcefully swept off our feet. On the other hand, if we wish away each day until a “better” season comes, we’ll miss out on the beauty and wonder of the here and now and that wonderful feeling that comes with knowing (regardless of the “bad” times) and accepting that you are where you are supposed to be.

You know, even if you are going through a difficult or uncomfortable time in your life, you can’t let it fill the entire window of your view on the rest of the world. You’d be better off, perhaps even happier, seeing it as simply one of the many panes to view your life and the world through. Whether you realize it or not, there is so much more going on around you and inside you: growth, change, learning opportunities, loving moments, blessings. If you make an effort to adapt your focus, you will begin to think about things that may not be readily visible … things that really matter.

When you look at your life, what do you see? I found these words from Lysa TerKeurst: “Do I see the incredible spouse I married, or do I just grumble about his faults? Do I see the health of a son who can play sports as a good thing, or do I just grumble about his sweaty laundry? Do I see how fortunate we are to have enough food to eat, or do I just grumble about a kitchen that never stays clean?” Think about it. What do you see?

It sort of reminds me of conversations I have had with friends about my job as a coypeditor. Overall, the evidence of my work is not visible to most people because they don’t see the mistakes that were caught and fixed. However, if I’m not doing my job or I do it poorly, people notice; some might even be quick to point out the mistakes. Similarly, some people tend to focus more on what is wrong in their lives than what is right.

Do you ever think about all the good things God is doing for you every single day? Things that you don’t even notice? I imagine the good things that go on in our lives because of Him are not noticed nearly as much as the things we determine are wrong or inconvenient or “shouldn’t have happened.” And we sure seem to pray or talk to Him about all the things we wish he would take away or fix more than we thank Him for all the good He has done. I know I am guilty of that.

For example, sometimes when I’m driving, my mind goes elsewhere. Suddenly, I find myself at my destination with no real recollection of the drive. (I do pay attention most of the time. Really.) Have you ever thought about how many wrecks you didn’t have because God was watching over you? Do you thank God every day that you can get up in the morning and you can breathe easily and walk steadily and you aren’t in pain? If you’re like me, I think we tend to take stuff like that for granted, until we experience the opposite.

After suffering whiplash from an accident and dealing with some other issues, my sister Elizabeth commented on a Facebook post recently:  “so today was totally opposite from yesterday and was a very bad day mostly. woke up in severe pain, baby is teething and in tons of pain, lost all my contacts in my phone, power went out, etc. But like I told my brother, today has made me realize how many wonderful days I have and how very very few bad ones. I love my life even when it is a bad day :)” She’s got the right idea. Thankfulness and prayer can help turn your inner turmoil into peace. Peace about who you are, where you are, and what is going on in your life, no matter what the season. And with that peace comes hope.

My friend Matt Wagner wrote this: “Hope can spring up in any circumstance, any scenario. Like joy, it’s not a product of our surroundings; it’s a product of us. At times it is a simple, inexplicable feeling. Just as often, it is a conscious decision that we make. Either way, hope is always a good thing. It is a catalyst to inner strength, the root to persistence and a defense for happiness.”

So, if you haven’t already, take a moment now to be grateful for who you are, who is in your life, what you have as well as what you don’t have … and be sure to truly experience and learn from the here and now of this season in your life.  It will be gone before you know it. But you won’t need to look back with regrets; there will be a new day to live right in front of you.

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And now, moving on to something a little lighter:
I’ve got an easy “seasonal” recipe to share with you.
Anything Goes Pizza

 

I started with a Freschetta wheat crust. You can use whatever you want: Pillsbury pizza dough, a Boboli crust, pita bread, tortillas, English muffins … it’s up to you. (If you choose muffins, pita bread or tortillas, and put out a variety of toppings, everyone in the family can create their own personal pizzas.)

Next, I got my selection of toppings together. I was going for a Greek pizza, so I chose Prego Veggie Smart sauce, grilled chicken breast strips, black olives, spinach leaves, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and feta cheese. Here is where you can mix things up by selecting seasonal veggies and/or adding in your own personal favorites. I would have made it without the chicken, but I added the meat for Bart.

I layered all the ingredients and baked on 350 for about 8 to 12 minutes. If you choose a crust that needs to be baked, you’ll need to follow the directions on the package before adding your toppings and popping it back in the oven. The only part of this recipe that takes a little time is chopping your toppings. Other than that, this is a quick and easy meal and could turn out to be a fun/creative event for the family. Enjoy your time together and your fabulous pizza!

To those who follow my blog, I apologize for not posting anything for about three weeks. I was enjoying family time with my stepson who was in town visiting us, and then I had to get caught up on work. Thank you to Angela who checked up on me and requested a new post. 🙂 It’s always nice to hear you are missed.