October Blessings

autumn_railroad_by_celem-d5ogfhqI love October. It’s absolutely my favorite month of the year.

I don’t think this will come as a galloping surprise to anyone – I mean, LOTS of people consider autumn their favorite season. But for me, October specifically is my favorite, for several reasons. (And no, I didn’t take that picture; it’s one I found somewhere online. But I love it!)

And okay, yes, full disclosure: my birthday is in October (the 11th, if you’re wondering). I remember as a kid feeling a kinship with others in my school grade who shared October birthdays. I seem to recall that Paul Christian and Carlene Chandler were two in my class who shared this month with me. Later, I learned that my best friend from college, Kurt Stallings, has an October birthday, and my brother Jimmy and wife Christy got married in October. (On Kurt’s birthday, as a matter of fact.)

Of course, once you get over the age of 10 or 12, people stop making a big deal out of your birthday. Still, I enjoy mine. But that’s not the only reason I love October.

Getting to October means that we’ve survived another Texas summer. This is not a small thing. Summers around here are brutal, and September is nothing but a tease. The calendar may say that summer is over, but really, it isn’t – even in late September, the highs can easily reach the upper 90s or more. But October is a different matter – there are still warm days, to be sure, but the evenings and mornings have a delicious chill about them.

Another thing I like about October: postseason baseball. By this time of year, only the best teams are still playing. Playoff baseball is a thing of beauty – even more than the regular season. Big players make big plays in big games. And there’s a reason nobody in baseball is nicknamed, “Mr. April.” (Thank you, Drew Bowen!) So bring on the World Series, and Let’s – Go – Rang – ers!

The changing season means some changes to the menu. I love a good pot of chili, and there’s something about good chili – especially venison chili – that is warm and comforting and satisfying. I don’t know why we don’t eat chili when the weather is hot – we eat other soups and stews – but chili is the ultimate cold weather comfort food. And I know, at some point before the calendar changes again, I’ll be making a pot of it.

October means the holidays are coming, but not here yet. We have the excitement and anticipation of those good things, but don’t yet have to put with the craziness of too many events and too little time to do them all. I can, and do, look forward with a child’s excitement to the approach of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I love the colors of fall: red, orange, yellow, golden brown. Even though we don’t have the brilliance of New England or Appalachia (or even East Texas!), it’s still nice to see the changing colors of leaves, and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation.

In some ways, autumn is like a parable. The changing colors can inspire us to glorify God by taking up a new interest and exploring new opportunities to grow. The loss of leaves can remind us that sometimes we need to let go of some things, to allow old habits and destructive patterns drop away.

October is a reminder that nothing is permanent. Seasons change. Life is transitory. Make the most of every opportunity. Summer’s over, winter’s coming, but for now, October is here. And I’m happy about that.

Let’s enjoy it while we can.

My Favorite Season

autumn_railroad_by_celem-d5ogfhqI love autumn.  It’s absolutely my favorite season of the year, for several reasons. (And by the way, no, I didn’t take this picture, I found it on the Internet.  Sure is pretty, though.  I hope the owner doesn’t mind me using it.)

Autumn means we’ve made it through another long, hot, dry Texas summer.  Autumn means crisp mornings and warm afternoons, but with a hint of coolness.  It’s the time for hot chocolate, hay rides, and a good bowl of chili.  (It’s also time for my birthday, and I’m still enough of a kid to enjoy having it come around!)

The fall means Friday Night football, the beautiful fall foliage, and of course, anticipating the holidays bringing fun and fellowship with family and friends.

Autumn can be a sad time for some people.  It can be a time for regret, or becoming distracted by unmet goals, but it doesn’t have to be.  We can make autumn a wonderful season of refreshment and reminding ourselves of what is best, if we will.

Here are some thoughts on making the most of your autumn.

Explore some new colors.  One of the best things about the fall is the bright colors that we see around us –beautiful crimson, the harvest gold, bright yellow, all shades of brown.  Autumn is a great time to take up a new hobby, read that book you’ve been meaning to start, take a trip you’ve been dreaming about making.  Trying new things can be as invigorating as a cool fall morning, so go for it!

Let go of anything holding you back.  Trees are shedding old leaves and dropping their dead stuff.  Sometimes we need to do the same.  Let go of past regrets, self-condemnation and old grudges.  Let bygones be bygones, and forgive.  We forgive, not because others deserve it, but because WE do  As long as you’re holding onto that pain, you’re giving the offender the power to keep hurting you.  When you forgive, their power over you is destroyed.  And forgive yourself, as well.

Appreciate blessings while they last.  Autumn in Texas doesn’t last long; winter will soon be here.  We need to appreciate the blessings that God gives us while they last.  As C.S. Lewis once observed, “The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and pose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”  In other words, enjoy the blessings that God gives, but realize they are never permanent.

Here’s wishing you and yours a blessed and happy Autumn!