Experiencing Autumn

I love seasonal changes. It is the perfect balance between newness and vitality and stability. The seasons come over and over but each time a new one begins it feels fresh and new.

If any of my readers are Myers-Briggs personality junkies like I am, I will admit that I’m an INFJ. We are the introverts who often function as extroverts, the dreamers with our heads in the clouds, the worriers, the ones reading everyone in the room and ignoring our inner self. Our five senses are often underused.

My husband is an ESTP. They’re the comedians and people persons of the world. Think Jim Carey and take it down a few notches and you have my husband. The great thing about him is he will take a morning walk with his oatmeal, not caring a bit who sees him, to breathe in the fresh air, look at the trees, and chat with anyone who comes by. He often stops mid-sentence in awe of creation.

This year I’m trying to think in those same terms. Fall is my favorite season and I adore the weather and blue skies of October. There is nothing else like it to me. So I’m trying to slow down and experience it. Here are a few things I’ve done:

  • Tried new recipes with fall flavors
  • Slowed down during my meals, really tasting my food
  • Eaten outside
  • Taken walks to new places
  • Watched new-to-me movies with my kids…mostly to experience their laughter and joy
  • Traveled
  • Read books that had fall settings
  • Changed up my fitness routine

Are you a person who experiences life or is so busy in your mind and with your hands that days slip by without notice? Share with me your tips and tricks for really experiencing the here and now.

Warning: Reading this Blog Post Could Cause You to Nap!

We live in a world of extremes. Extreme diets, extreme exercise, extreme work schedules…which leads to extreme anger and confusion and exhaustion. And frankly, social media is a huge culprit in perpetuating this. I refuse to be one of those bloggers, people, or friends.  I’m all about being well in mind, body, and spirit. So you won’t see the terms “eat clean,”  “go big or go home,” or, my personal favorite, “suck it up so you don’t have to suck it in.” Seriously???

 

In the quest for whole-body health, we need balance. Movement is vital because, anatomy wise, we were made to move! Food is a necessity but should be about so much more than just “fueling your body.” It’s time to slow down, enjoy family or friends, and savor life with your five senses. Work is important so we spend our lives helping others and being productive (and yes, staying at home counts as work)! 🙂 But the vital link so overlooked today is rest.

 

I’m not talking about SLEEP. You’ll see plenty of articles on this necessity~although many are geared toward getting enough sleep to optimize your physical training and results…whatever that means. I’m talking about deep, peaceful relaxation. True soul rest. It’s rare and often confused with laziness.

 

Stick with me while I unravel something for you a bit. I’m sinking into some language arts and foreign language nerd talk…taken from my studies of the Bible. And even if you don’t believe a bit of that is true, hang with me because you will learn something important for living your best life.

 

The Bible is written in several languages such as Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. These languages are much richer than English as they often have multiple words for what we express in only one. The word rest is one of those. In the first half of the Bible, (the Old Testament before Jesus was born), there is more than one word for rest. The one I want to highlight today was known as nuach.

 

This word means rest, relaxation, stopping work. But it also has a meaning I absolutely love: settle down or settle in. I think of my dog Tucker, pictured above, turning around multiple times to pick just the right spot to relax. He finally lies down, sighing deeply with obvious contentment. Settling down.  Or imagine getting ready for movie night. You get your favorite blanket, snack, family or friends or pet. You get comfortable. You dim the lights. You settle in.

 

We have got to stop and let the dust settle. Regularly. I would argue DAILY, even if it’s just for minutes at a time. If we don’t, we become grumpy, angry, frustrated, and isolate ourselves. Our productivity wanes and we lose our sense of purpose and joy.

So how do we rest? Find something you love to do for the sheer pleasure of it. Throw the list of goals out the window and just think of what makes you feel joy. I find this in looking back at Cheri as a kid. I loved to go outside, to read, to sing and listen to music, to daydream, color, and write in my journal. So daily I try to do one of those things for at least a few minutes. And one day per week, I take the time to do something for several hours that just makes me feel alive.

 

What makes you happy?  Shopping? Hiking? Having coffee with a friend? Drawing or painting?  Promise me you will do it. This week. Today. And drop me a line and tell me how it makes you feel.

 

As for me, I want to color with my favorite pencils and go take a short nap. What will you do?

 

 

 

Confessions of a 50 Something YA Reader

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Okay, it's out there. I would rather read Harry Potter and The Hunger Games than Fifty Shades of Gray (I mean, yuck!) or Mary Higgins Clark. Somewhere along the way of homeschooling for the last 14 years, I continued my love affair with Children's Literature (does it get any better than Anne of  Green Gables or Charlotte's Web?) and then developed a crush on Young Adult Literature. I read the Harry Potter Series and The Hunger Games with my avid teenage readers and even ventured into Twilight land (interesting but not destined to be a classic by any means).

My two sons began reading other things I wasn't as interested in (like books on fly-fishing and gaming), but my daughter and I kept having similar tastes. We still do. Today I thought I would share a couple of series in this genre I've read and what I enjoyed about them. Who knows, maybe you'll discover a new world in books too.

The Dusk Gate Chronicles

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Breeana Putroff has created a magical world in her Dusk Gate Chronicles. You get modern-day life intersecting with medieval times in this fantasy.  Quinn Robbins is a high school girl who is smart, has a job, and two younger siblings, a mother and step-father who love her. And, she is now dating the most popular boy in high school. Yet she is intrigued by another boy, loner William Rose. After noticing that he seems to disappear once, she begins to follow him and crosses over a bridge…into another world. She can't get back for two weeks and nothing in this world is like her own. Yet, she is oddly drawn in.

There are seven books in this series and I devoured them this summer. I loved that all the characters involved, including several of William's siblings, have a richness to them and were complex, human, and believable. They were also all well-developed over the course of the seven books. I loved the intersection the two worlds and how the story progressed throughout the series. And the idea of being caught between two worlds and two sets of responsibilities, where someone will "lose", so to speak, is something so relatable to me. Definitely, give this series a look-I believe you'll love it.

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This series is by Julie Kagawa and is a bit older. It follows high school junior, Meghan Chase, as she finds out that she is destined to be part of the world of the fey, including many characters from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Meghan too is caught between two worlds, and two boys, and is drawn into intrigue and adventure. I like the world of the Fey because it's gritty and terrifying. But it's so very human too, as we can all be very self-centered and focused on "winning." I loved watching two of the Fey, in particular, come to the realization that their past lives and decisions don't have to continue to shape their futures. There is danger, war, violence, and romance in this series. If you liked the vibe of The Hunger Games,  this series may be a great match.

I love Young Adult Literature because the authors often paint characters who have flaws that are exposed in difficult situations.  I get to see growth, have set backs, do things they never thought possible. That's so much what life is like, isn't it? love being whisked away to worlds so different from my own. Fantasy encourages me to dream and think outside the box about the complexities of my own life. And it reminds me to take "the road less travelled" and embrace adventure. As a person who tends to be a homebody and crave security, I always need that reminder. 🙂

What types of books do you read? Do you like Young Adult literature like I do? Share some of your favorite books with me so I can find a new read!