A 5-Senses Kind of Fall

I am one of those people who loves the change of seasons…and ESPECIALLY the change from summer to autumn! I get really excited about the crisp smell in the air, the change in temperatures, and the process of trading out flip-flops for my Dansko clogs, and pulling out my bag of scarves and knit hats. There is something exciting about it, isn’t there?

Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot

I think it’s lovely to acknowledge the change, and the dawn of a new season welcoming us. It causes us to be aware of life, to be aware of creation changing and shifting, and aware of what might be simultaneously adapting, moving, and morphing in our own lives. Just this week my husband and I spoke with a mentor and friend about the leading of the Spirit of God, and the way it feels when the winds of His guidance come and escort us to new horizons. A stirring, an awakening, a wooing. Are we aware of these subtle yet significant movements within?

Time rushes forward. Days can slip through our fingers like sand. So I encourage us all to practice awareness and to observe what is happening in our midst, within and without, as the dawn of autumn fast approaches in less than one month from now. What do you sense? See, hear, taste, touch, and smell?

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
~John Donne

To capture the personal and communal significance of the changing seasons, I like to do a number of small, but meaningful things. Efforts to memorialize this moment in time and what is special to me right now. Some traditional and common, others more specific and tailored to me. I welcome you to see what might suit you.

  • Enhance your living space with symbols of the new season’s arrival. For me, this changes year to year, but I especially want to mark the change of seasons this fall with scents. I have become a bit of a Yankee Candle groupie. The scents allow me to SMELL the season. Pumpkin Wreath, Harvest, Vanilla Chai, Pumpkin Apple. The list goes on! So I purchase a few that will draw me into the soon-arriving autumn. Our place glows with those warm golden and red hues–creating a soft and inviting atmosphere. You would be amazed at what a few candles can do!


  • Get out and celebrate nature and its beauty! As the leaves begin to change and the days get cooler, take a nice walk and be intentional. Observe and enjoy your surroundings. Snap a photo on your phone, pick a favorite bench or local coffee shop window where you can look out and SEE what’s changing. In colorful Colorado, the mountain aspens are stunning! Vast spreads of golden leaves on long, skinny white trunks. Or how about the bursting reds of maple trees?! Gorgeous!


  • Try journaling. During my times in prayer and in scripture reading, I like to write in my favorite red leather journal. It has become a log of the many times I have felt the Lord speak to me, and it reflects the various seasonal changes in my life, both spiritually and otherwise. I also enjoy writing dates in my Bible by the passages or verses that I feel the Lord has laid on my heart, so that I will forever remember that they were significant. I even write the places down where I felt certain passages were impressed upon me, such as Portugal 2003, or Tulsa 2006. Documenting my studies in the Word and prayer is a reminder of God’s faithfulness over the years, and it keeps me focused on the things I FEEL He is moving me towards in prayer. While this is not the type of feeling or touch that we refer to when discussing our 5 senses, it is a practice of tuning in to the Spirit, aligning yourself with the scriptures and God’s ways, to engage in intentional prayer and study. Through this we can each feel the move of the Lord in our own lives. So I encourage you to try these simple things in your own devotional time. You will look back and see the handiwork of God in your life.

Journal & Bible

  • Psalm 34:8 (NET) says “Taste and see that the Lord is good! How blessed is the one who takes shelter in him!” I have always loved this verse. It invites us to not merely think about the Lord’s goodness to us, but to experience it with our senses. TASTE and SEE that He is good! It’s that real to those who find their safety and refuge in Him. So on a side note to that, I encourage us all to TASTE the Lord’s goodness through the flavors of the season. Taste the fruits of the harvest that He has blessed us with! Butternut squash, pumpkin, apples, corn. Or try brewing some aromatic tea…such as the Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice herbal tea, or Pumpkin Harvest tea to taste the season (and if you live in Colorado, I strongly encourage you to take a day trip to Boulder to do the free Celestial Seasonings tour through their facility!) Sample, taste, smell. Ahhhhhh. So lovely.


  • Last but not least…listen and HEAR the change of the seasons. One of my all time favorite things is to step on a cluster of fallen leaves. The crunch underneath my feet sounds amazing! It takes me right back to my childhood, in the front yard of our home, as my brother and I piled brittle leaves into a heap and dove into them!! Crunch, crunch, crunch! Or try creating an autumn playlist. I look back at my iTunes library and smile at the different seasonal lists I have compiled over the years. Here is a sample of what my autumn playlist included when I lived in Concord, CA in the fall of 2009:

~We are Man and Wife by Michelle Featherstone (my best friend sang this at our November 19th wedding during communion, and it is one of my most favorite songs…EVER).

~Best I Ever Had by Vertical Horizon

~Jamie’s Song by Kristine Mueller

~Red Ribbon Foxes by A Fine Frenzy  (my token Christmas-anticipation song…pointing on to the next change of seasons!)

~Honey Honey by Feist

~Song for You by Michael Buble

~Love is Waiting by Brooke Fraser

These are simple ways to enjoy the upcoming shift from warm, sun-filled, cricket-chirping summer days, to cool, leaf-crunching, warm-tasting autumn days. I hope you will join me as we welcome the changes, both within and without!

Sweet blessings to you, my friends.



When you just need to rest and reconnect

While attending grad school for my master’s degree in counseling, I had to complete what were known as “Professional Development Plans,” which required me to select growing edges that I was hoping to develop. I remember feeling like I needed to learn how to rest, and to simply “be.” What I didn’t realize at the time was that true rest would be unobtainable if I was always striving and working to be approved of. Not just by others, but by myself. Wearing myself ragged to prove my own value. Earning those top-notch grades, saying yes to avoid offending others, forfeiting my own health just to prove I was doing something worthwhile, and not wasting space or time. What a tiring rat race. How do you win such a marathon? Is there really an end in sight when you cannot accept a “well done” or “good job,” out of a fear that you still haven’t proven yourself worthy of such compliments?

The word Sabbath was not in my personal vocabulary, though it always should have been. I heard people discuss the importance of a Sabbath, and I knew my own husband had lived amongst many Jewish people who devoutly observed it. It sounded lovely for THEM, but not possible for ME. I was just too stinkin’ busy! AND…I didn’t know what I would even DO with myself on a Sabbath! But even that should reveal something. The point is not to do, but to rest. The point is not to achieve and work, but to relinquish those things for a holy and sacred time of non-work. Of thanksgiving, of rejuvenation, and slowing down (or coming to a screeching halt in my case!)

I still have a lot of work to do on this front, but I am learning. Isn’t it amazing how there are certain times when you simply cannot keep barreling ahead full-steam? When unexpected circumstances, sickness, or life-transitions simply forbid the norm and the onslaught of appointments, calls, meetings, and madness? Those moments when you can’t keep up, when you can’t run with the pack as usual. Thank God for those moments. Thank the Lord that we have a limit, and that we are continuously called back to an observance of holy rest and rejuvenation.

I have returned many a time to a specific Gospel passage, and today it resounds again in my heart. It is not on the topic of Sabbath, but on knowing the importance of when there is something greater than work and preparations in our midst. It is about knowing when Jesus is in our presence and available, and whether or not we are open and aware of it.

Read with me: Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he said. But Martha was distracted with all the preparations she had to make, so she came up to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work alone? Tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the best part; it will not be taken away from her.” ~Luke 10:38-42 (NET)

Sometimes we simply need to sit and listen. We rush about, to and fro, with worries aplenty about temporal troubles. But we’re called to choose the greater thing…that which will not be taken away from us. Maybe Jesus is calling my name today. “Haley, Haley…”  Maybe He is calling yours.

Candle Burning