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Restoration in the Decoration

The Lord will guide you continually,
    giving you water when you are dry
    and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like an ever-flowing spring. -Isaiah 58:11

We had it all planned out: we would wake up early, feed the kids quickly, get packed up, and hit our favorite trail on our bikes. As summer was winding down, we still had a few hot Pacific Northwest days in the forecast, but wanted to get out while it was still overcast and cool. The bikes were loaded onto our trusty Jeep, kids strapped in, and away we went!

Before long, we pulled in next to the familiar pasture, greeted by the cows that grazed there, and were off on the gravel trail. It was cooler than I thought it would be. The high was supposed to be in the mid-90’s that day, and I had underestimated how cool it would be in the morning. Maybe the kids would be so excited to be out on their bikes, they won’t even notice the cool morning, I thought. As we hopped on our bikes and picked up a little speed, that crisp morning turned downright uncomfortable. Coupled with the shade from the evergreens along the trail, my hands started to get really cold. My husband didn’t say a word, my kids didn’t speak up, so maybe I just had a low tolerance for the lower temperatures. Then…it happened… I noticed my daughter slowing down on her bike. As I came up alongside her, I saw her draw in, “Mama, it’s so cold, can we just go home?”. “No Sweet Pea,” I responded, “You’ll warm up, you just need to peddle faster to warm your body up!”. As she tried to pick up speed, that meant the air around her picked up as well. Again she came to a crawl, “Mama, it’s not working” she cried. I looked to my husband to see what he thought, and saw that he was having the same conversation with my son. “Dad, my hands are practically blue they are so cold, I just want to go home!” We looked at each other, and with a nod of our helmets, we knew our short lived trail ride had come to and end, and it was time to go home and warm up.

Begrudgingly, we drove our small family back home. We were bummed. We had a cherished weekend day off together and wanted to get some outdoor time, and before we knew it, we were already back in the house. I looked at my littles, “hot chocolate?” I asked. The kids jumped in agreement (one of the few things they seem to agree on these days) and I prepared hot chocolate just the way they liked it. As they sipped away with whip cream and chocolate on their noses, I glanced over at my storage bins. Today may not be the perfect day for a bike ride, I thought, but it could be the perfect day to ring in fall in our home!

So as the cool morning transitioned into a warm afternoon, I unpacked my fall decorations and got to work. My daughter jumped in to help where she could, my son and husband were building a Lego masterpiece upstairs, and with the Hallmark Channel playing in the background (there’s no other way to decorate for fall) my daughter and I transformed the downstairs from a bright summer haven to a cozy fall retreat. Orange, gold, brown, and green began to grace the rooms, and I could almost taste the pumpkin chocolate chip bread that I traditionally bake in this season. I lit a three-wick candle from my favorite store, and the smell of apples, berries, and cloves swirled downstairs.

After our decorating was complete, my daughter and I admired our modest but festive surroundings, curled up on the couch, and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon together. My son came down to show me his work of art, and the only evidence that this day did not go according to plan, was the helmet hair we all proudly wore, and the crusty chocolate mustaches that dressed my kid’s faces.

Maybe this was the plan all along?

Maybe what seemed like a failure of a morning to me, was a blessing and a gift expertly crafted by Heaven’s Decorator? My Father knew that life is full of transition for our family right now: my daughter just started kindergarten, my son is trying to build positive momentum in third grade, and my husband and I are navigating the next steps in our careers. I tend to see pockets of free time in my calendar as an opportunity to fill them with something else, to “maximize” my waking hours…my heart believes that God creates those pockets for me to slow down, rest, and let peace flow into me. I’m stubborn, I don’t always rest when I should, yet sometimes, a cool morning is skillfully placed at just the right time, that it becomes abundantly clear that rest is what needs to be prioritized.

I breathed deeply the scent of fall in my home. I felt a quiet calm as my house felt a little cozier, enjoyed the simple little things with my family that often I’m too rushed to see; I felt restored. These crammed busy days can so easily leave me feeling parched, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Yet, our loving God, our ever-flowing spring, reminds us of His promises on failed bike rides and amidst the decorations, that only He can provide the water that will quench our thirst, water our gardens, and give us true peace and fulfillment. I’m so thankful for His beautiful cool mornings that redirect and guide me. Thanks be to God!

Savor the Season

Have you put up your fall decorations yet? If not, I pray the perfect time is coming for you soon to deck the halls for fall! Way ahead of the game? Keep your eyes open to treat yourself to your newest favorite decoration!

Harvest Reflections

As you decorate this year, be intentional about reflecting on the stories captured in each of your decorations, and thankful for the memories and for the time to slow down, rest, and connect. Is there a family member or friend you could invite in to share in the fall preparations and the memories they hold?

Have you had a plan that didn’t go as you thought it would? Take a moment to ponder, how was God at work even as your path took a different turn? What unexpected blessings did you encounter? What did you learn?

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I love fall and the colors and love your decor. Very heartwarming. But more importantly, I love your message . It is deep, inspiring. I wish I had skill of words to express how I feel like you do consistently. You are wise beyond years and raising kids in the best possible way. One day you will look back and will have happy tears and will say to yourself that it was all worth it. The moment when you will see another Chrissy in Ally ❤️ Keep sharing your beautiful soul.

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