Sunday, October 20, 2019

Weekly Inspiration: Joy in Autumn

Fall is my favorite season! There are so many things that I love about this time of year that I wanted to share them with you and inspire you, too, to celebrate the changing seasons.

I wrote an article for ProHealth on The Joy of Celebrations (and included it in my forthcoming book, Finding a New Normal: Living with Chronic illness). It's all about finding small ways to celebrate to add joy to your life. While the article focuses mainly on smaller holidays, the changing seasons are a great excuse to celebrate as well. Here are some of the ways we've been enjoying the autumn season so far:

Changes in the Natural World
Of course, the first thing most people think of with autumn is the changing colors in the trees, and it is one of my favorite parts of this season. Spotting a brilliant red sugar maple makes me happy.

Red leaves on a sugar maple always make me smile!
If you are able, this is a great time of year to take a short walk in your neighborhood or a local park or nature center. If you can't manage a walk, ask a friend or family member to push your wheelchair along a paved trail. The eye-popping colors will lift your spirits, especially on one of those perfect fall days with a bright blue sky as backdrop. This photo was taken at our local nature center - still lots of green there but with plenty of pretty yellow to brighten up the landscape:

Greens and yellows at our local nature center last week

Even if you are unable to leave the house, look out the windows to watch the leaves changing color, bit by bit - it's amazing how much things can change outdoors in just a day, especially if you get some wind or rain. If the leaves don't change color where you live, check out some photos online of the fall colors. Another ME/CFS blogger, Not Just Tired, started a changing seasonal hashtag. Currently it is #JoyinAutumn. Use it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or your own favorite social media platform to view some gorgeous fall photos and to share some from your own world! I love to share and see others' glimpses of natural beauty (or perhaps your favorite sweater or pumpkin spice latte!).

Changing Temperatures
Ahhh...finally, some comfortable temperatures! I love the weather in autumn. ME/CFS makes me especially heat-intolerant, and we still had temperatures up to 95 and humid in the first week of October here! So, when it finally does cool down, it is a huge relief! I also love being able to wear jeans again (my favorite comfort clothing), along with socks and sweatshirts. That crisp, cool fall air just feels so wonderful after the brutal heat of summer.

Fall Food
Of course, pumpkin spice is everywhere this time of year! That signals fall for a lot of people. I made Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes (recipe at the link from Against All Grain) this morning, with crumbled bacon and chopped pecans (and maple syrup, of course) on top. Yum!! So delicious and definitely tastes like fall. You can find lots more wonderful pumpkin recipes at Against All Grain.

For my family, October means it's time for our annual visit to a local farmer's market, Northbrook Marketplace, for hot cider and freshly made apple cider donuts. This favorite spot of ours used to be a huge farm, with apple orchards and pumpkin patches, hayrides, and even a petting zoo. They sold off most of the land, so it's just a little country store now...but they still have those amazing donuts (which are definitely NOT Paleo!), and we still go every fall!

We went early this year since our sons have very busy calendars. We still buy our pumpkins there, too, which brings me to...

Halloween is one of my family's all-time favorite holidays! It's such a low-stress holiday - no big family gatherings or gifts to buy. It's just a few weeks (or a month!) of fun, spooky themes and one night of costumes and candy - what's not to like? I will be putting up our Halloween decorations today - pumpkin-, skeleton-, spider-, and ghost-themed stuff we have collected over the years (a few examples from past years below). That will get us all in the spirit!

We'll carve pumpkins next weekend, a tradition we all look forward to, and roast the pumpkin seeds while we play a fun Halloween album we've had since the kids were small.


My husband and I do miss the days of trick-or-treating with our sons. We always dressed up with the kids - often with a family theme - and all four of us went out trick-or treating together. I usually only managed our cul-de-sac and the next one over, but it was still a blast to bring to life all those childhood memories of running around the neighborhood in costume on a cool fall evening. Halloween is definitely the best night of the year when you're a kid! So, no more costumes, class parties, and trick-or-treating at our house (our sons are in their 20's), but we still get to answer the doorbell and hand out candy to the adorable neighbors' kids in costume. I also enjoy watching all the Halloween-themed TV show episodes this time of year. And I may not dress up in costume, but I still enjoy wearing my Halloween socks and earrings and some orange and black this season! Hmm...maybe I'll paint my nails orange next week...

Halloween 1979 - I'm the old lady!

Our Star Wars theme with our sons!

Ah, fall! I love it!

What are your favorite parts of autumn? How do you celebrate the changing seasons? Share your ideas in the comments below!


Emma (Not Just Tired) said...

Love this post and the beautiful photos. Thank you so much for the lovely mention

Sue Jackson said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Emma!

Char | said...

Sounds like some wonderful family traditions! Beautiful photos.

Sue Jackson said...

Thanks, Char! We do love our celebrations!