Fantastic Autumn Joy

Yesterday marked the beginning of Autumn. I’ve already swapped out the summer clothing and flip-flops in my closet for my favorite Fall sweaters and knee-high boots. I love this time of year.  In fact, I’d be willing to say it’s my absolute favorite Season, except that you’ll hear me say that about Winter, Spring, and Summer too.

Since moving to the East Coast, I’ve discovered something very delightful about this time of year. The amazing colors of nature as the season takes root. Already the leaves on the trees in my front yard are beginning to change.

The once perfect green leaves are now turning a stunningly bright red. Looking out the window I notice a burnt orange beauty falling to the ground. There’s a pile of leaves forming which I know my girls will not be able to avoid pouncing in, with uncontrollable squeals of joy in the coming weeks.  And the crisp Fall temperatures. A much-needed break from hot and humid.

And of course, now that I live in Steeler Nation I can’t write about the joys of Fall without mentioning football. Seriously, the people here have a passion for football! There’s no getting around it.  Anywhere we go, football will either be a topic of discussion or will be on TV.

Well, I’m one of those moms who are all about enjoying family traditions and creating memories.  So with the beginning of Autumn, I thought it would be fun to have a celebration to welcome in the new Season. This celebration consisted of…

  • Pulling out all of my fun Harvest decorations from storage (the hard part is keeping the kids from using my decorations as toys – they have such imaginations!)
  • Baking yummy Fall cupcakes with Abby (some special one on one time while big sister was in school)
  • And having the kids do some creative painting to help decorate for the season (find some great Fall Kids Crafts by visiting Myra at My Blessed Life?)  

For myself, I also bought some delicious Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer and added cinnamon scented pine cones as well as real mini pumpkins to the Fall decor around the house.

This just begins our family Fall traditions that I strongly believe in. We still have to plan a trip to the apple orchard, the local corn maze (this year’s maze is in the shape of a fire engine!) and of course the pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins.  There are Halloween costumes for the girls to choose and our traditional family pumpkin carving event towards the end of October.

Unplug Yourself

In this day and age, it seems everyone has a technological device. Even kids as young as six years old can be seen on their iPads or tablets or smartphones, constantly updating their own Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook accounts. The fact of the matter is that if we don’t change, change will get us!

With such a prominent social media presence, there is often a lot of pressure to keep up. I know that my friends and I are certainly guilty of being on our phones incessantly, either checking our accounts to see what our peers are up to or posting our own pictures and statuses.

On social media, people post pictures of themselves doing fun and exciting things, activities and news they want to share with their friends. Although informative and fun, because this flow of information is never-ending, it can easily become overwhelming. We should actually read a lot more, and too often, we tend to compare our own lives to the lives that we see other people living through social media, causing us to be less focused on our own reality.

It becomes easy to forget – or even ignore – that everything on social media is purposefully posted; people want to make sure they look good in their photos, that people see all the fun places they are going, etc. Facebook and Instagram mostly show the highlights of a person’s life, creating merely an image that someone has created of themselves.

Unfortunately, this leads us to compare ourselves with others. We see pictures of our peers traveling to different countries or meeting celebrities, and we wonder “Why can’t I do the same things?” Sometimes we assume that everyone else is always happy, always out doing exciting things. And because our lives do not mimic those portrayed on social media, we become unhappy with our own lives.

Although the comparison to others cannot be easily avoided, our tech devices can. I know that personally, it can be a huge shock to turn my phone off or let it lie facedown on silent for a while. For the first few minutes, my phone is not glued to my hand, I feel left out; I feel as though I am missing out on a slew of need-to-know information. But as time goes by, I feel freer, much more open to my actual surroundings. I am able to spend real time with my family and friends, and I notice and learn so much more about reality.