Shifting from Fall to Christmas Decor!

Well, the fact that you’re reading a new post from me right now is nothing short of a miracle. Because babies. I can hardly believe it, but sweet Evangeline is already two months old! What even?! And a post is coming (someday) which will feature a ridiculous number of pictures of her adorableness. But it’s a lot easier to sort through 20 pictures of decor versus 20 billion pictures of my new baby…not that I’ve taken that many or anything.

Anyway, because I haven’t gotten to share any of our fall decor this year (though I did document it), I wanted to include that as well as sharing what our Christmas decor looks like this year, since you know, fall is kind of my favorite thing ever…

So, here is a look at what fall looked like at our apartment this year.

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My favorite thing in this setup is either that light aqua throw pillow (from At Home, that giant Home-Goods-on-steroids-warehouse store) or that pumpkin painting, which I did real quick one afternoon.

fall-gallery-wall-2Also, that wreath is my new secret weapon, since I can decorate it for any time of year, not to mention it was $4 at Walmart!! #winning (My mom came for a visit and brought some other lovely things with her, which meant that some of the decor got shifted around and/or improved, but I failed to document that since, you know, it was right after Evie was born.)

I do also love that thankful pillow over on the brown velvet-y chair… It’s always hard to put that one away.

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That painting in the middle is a VERY rough attempt at copying The Umbrellas by the brilliant Renoir. I painted it in college, and it’s so far from perfect (cough* those disproportionately long arms * cough) but it brings me joy so I don’t even care that it’s sort of janky.

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I love that I can feel like the art on my walls has been updated just by switching out pictures! So I had to put up this “Autumn Dreams” watercolor, one of my most favorite fall pieces from the shop. Creating art is my outlet of expressing my unrequited love of swirly hair. Such profundity…

Then there’s the entertainment center. I really wish I had taken a photo after Mom came and I added two orange pumpkins to either side, because it looked so happy! But I was still pretty excited about trying out adding color with books. A-like so:

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Yeah, that cord… it bugs me that it’s in the picture, but whatev.

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I wanted to utilize oranges and blues (cobalt like on the Blue Willow dishes, and aqua because it’s my fav), and grabbing a couple stacks of books with those colors made me feel like I accomplished that.

So, there you go. I wish I had been able to snap photos of it after we’d added some things (including these two cute white and orange houndstooth patterned throw pillows from Target- that I got for like $8.50!!), but I still enjoyed this simple decor for fall. Of course, I still got to enjoy my happy fall wreath on our front door again this year, but you remember that since I think I’ve talked about it for like a year.

And now, Christmas decor!! I did a combination of switching out artwork again, using our normal Christmas stuff, and shopping the house (as The Nester says) for some red accents (i.e. the red pillows in the next picture).

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I also found that blanket scarf that the entire world seems to have at a fall festival for super cheap, and discovered it looks super festive on my couch too! Those white trees light up and change color, so they’re on the coffee table for now since Lucy LOVES them.

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There’s that wreath. I just love it! Plus, throwing a bow on it that I already had was so easy, and now it’s “Christmas” decor. You can find that Christmas print of winter pines in my shop for immediate download or you can order a physical print (but I need all orders for physical prints in by this Friday at the latest!!)

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And the Prepare Him Room watercolor is in the shop too!

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This old painting is another that I did in college of berries in the snow. I like it because it goes along with everything without being super loud and distracting.

And of course, the Christmas tree.

christmas-treeEarly in January this year, we found this prelit tree for something like $25!!! It’s our first year without our wonky little 6 foot tree. (5 foot? 4? I don’t know, but it was falling apart and Ryan’d had it since before we were married!) Lucy gasped when she woke up the morning after he put it up and said, “I so ‘cited dekkate da chee!!”

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I mean… Is that not the most precious thing you’ve ever seen??? Ok, maybe I’m biased.

Moving on.

For the entertainment center, I basically just switched out orange and blue stacks of books for red and green…

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So here’s the big picture.

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Obviously, the ocean-themed baby swing isn’t exactly Christmassy, but it IS necessary to our sanity. (The baby on the other hand makes every room brighter!)


Also, I show you this next photo because of the banister, not because of the fact that it’s a selfie.

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It’s not the most voluminous garland, but you know what? It still makes me so happy. Oh, there’s another of those red bows (like on the wreath above the couch) on the end of the banister.

I guess I could explain that the reason I even have this selfie is because I have a billion photos of my babies on my phone and like, none of myself (since a typical day rarely has me looking this put together right now). Plus, I was headed to see two of my sweet voice students perform in a production of “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” which was great! (I also enjoyed getting to go somewhere by myself. I mean, that is even more rare than me looking put together…)

I’m so enjoying this new season, attempting to navigate life with a toddler and a newborn, a crazy but lovely gift. Hope the little ways we’re making a lovely fuss inspire you to do the same, even and especially if the only place you can afford to shop is your house.

NEW: Pumpkin-Spiced Prints for Your Autumn-y Pleasure!!! Plus an Announcement

It’s almost autumn. AUTUMN, YOU GUYS!!! Beautiful, lovely, pumpkin-spiced autumn. I’m always ready for it, as you know. I wrote a whole series last fall called “31 Days of Enjoy”, which was punctuated heavily by an outpouring of gushing my crisp, leafy love of Autumnal Everything.

 

Last year, I barely made it to October without talking about autumn at least a little. This year, I made it at least to September! I deserve a gold medal. Or maybe an orangey-red medal. You know what? I’ll settle for a pumpkin-spice latte.

 

And I managed to also wait until September to decorate, unlike two years ago(So, make that two pumpkin-spice lattes.) Barely. But I’m totally ok decorating for fall now, because a) baby is due the 27th, but who knows when she’ll come? and b) I’m quickly losing my physical prowess and motivation to accomplish things like decorating.

 

I don’t have pictures of decor today. But I DO have some really special lovelies I am just beyond excited to share with you!!! (And stay tuned for an announcement at the end of the post, too!) I’ve worked hard all summer on projects for the shop, custom orders, illustrations, and lots of new listings- I confess it’s been WAY harder to wait on sharing some of these even than decorating for fall!

So, here are three brand spanking new, watercolor outpourings of autumny happiness I illustrated just to spread my joy further this season! And guess what? They are for sale in the shop as of today!!!

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The first one- a redhead walking in the woods- can be customized with the quote of your choice for a smidgen more than the purchase price!

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For example:

Redhead October Quote

Or maybe you like more swirly writing?

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You can request whatever quote you want (as long as I can get it to fit and look right etc.) and what type of font you prefer, too!

Then the second listing (possibly my favorite) features another redhead- yes, another, because I am one so deal with it- surrounded by a happy mound of pumpkins, wearing a happy scarf, and drinking something hot and delicious. (Oh, and her hair is swirly and why can’t my hair in real life be like this?)

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Isn’t she just happy? I super love her.

 

Last but not least is a precious little family taking a walk in the woods together.

Etsy Family Angle

 

Aren’t they sweet with their little baby boy?

 

All of these cheery watercolor prints are 8×10 and are available as printable downloads in the shop! Visit the shop here to download yours!! Or of course you can order a physical print to be mailed to you as well here.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: If you were thinking of ordering a custom piece from me, I’m only accepting new orders through September 15th- aka you have 10 days to order. 

Since I budget 2 weeks per custom order, that provides me about that time frame to finish up any lingering projects before the baby is due.

 

I hope you enjoy these fall pieces! And dahling, won’t you be so kind as to share a link either to this post or to my shop with people in your world? I would be so honored!

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Happy October Part 1! (I mean- September.)

 

Day 31: A Song for Harvest Time {Really, It’s for You!}

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It’s the last day of this year’s Write 31 Days Challenge- and I made it!!! I wrote every single day of October here on the blog. Just in case you didn’t know, if you click the pic just above this paragraph, it’ll take you to the home page of the 31 Days of Enjoy series, so in case you missed any, they’re all conveniently listed right there just for you!

Speaking of just for you, I wanted to take this last day of the series to share a song I’d written some time last year about autumn (and love… and life… basically I wrapped up every profound subject in this one song. Just kidding, I didn’t, but for a second it sounded that way, didn’t it?)

Harvest TimeI don’t have fancy recording equipment of any kind, and decided only in the last couple of days to record it and share here, so this is just a rough video. But I’m hoping this can be one of those “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful,” moments. I also put the lyrics below, too.

Autumn sun is sinking low
The spark in the air is one I know
Something grand will soon begin
Something’s coming in, something’s coming in
.
So come along with me
Let’s run away to the place we go
When October rolls around and the winds may blow
But I’ll hold you close, I’ll hold you close
.
{Chorus}
Bright autumn days remind me
Rejoice in this harvest timing
The earth is ablaze, earth is ablaze with the light
In the harvest time
.
Everything’s aglow
Trees and fields aflame as if they know
That it’s time to burn bright
And time to find a voice
Time to rejoice, time to rejoice
.
Springs and summers may come
Winters may go, but in my heart it’s fall
It’s the one I like best of all
Though we’re blessed in them all, blessed in them all
.
{Chorus}
Bright autumn days remind me
To rejoice in this harvest timing
The earth is ablaze, earth is ablaze with the light
In the harvest time
.
Like light in the darkness shining
There is a harvest inside me
Seasons may change but you stay the same
And bring life, you bring harvest time
.
 .
I confess, I’ve loved every minute of this challenge! I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have! (See what I did there??) 
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Please feel free to share this song with others, and you can also visit my youtube channel for more songs here (provided you aren’t a Judgey McJudgeypants… the quality of that video is how the others are too. Also, my piano resides in my daughter’s nursery, so prepare yourself for a lot of pink stuff in the background.)
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 I realized only in the last couple of days that while I’ve talked about music a couple of places in this series, I hadn’t shared any of my own. I struggle to be brave enough to do this, because of all the disclaimers I am prone to make (you know, like in that last paragraph), and because I always feel like I could do better. But making music is just my favorite beyond favorite thing to do. Even more than blogging, or art, or- gasp!- eating. (I did manage to share a few songs last month, because that was a huge, amazing thing that happened to me. But it still took some mustering of courage to share, somehow.)
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Really, I hope this can just be an encouragement to you, to boldly enjoy the gifts God has given you- often I think those are made to be shared with others. So, share! Create!
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Enjoy!
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(And thanks for reading/commenting, whether you’ve been with me every day, or only on a few. It’s a huge blessing and encouragement to me!!)

Day 30: Fall Family Photos

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Family photos. They’re just one of those things… You know? Those things people do. Those small luxuries we cherish in the name of family. (And I do mean family photos in the professional sense.)

But it’s not a luxury we’d enjoyed before. We were able to get a jump drive of some lovely, precious, dear photos of Lucy the day after she was born (because be still my heart! even though the jump drive itself was overpriced, the pictures themselves are priceless to me). However, we never had pictures taken of us as a family (we reminisced this past weekend about our lack of engagement photos)… Until now!

When we were down at Milligan last weekend, we stayed with my beautiful, dear, talented friend Kara, whom you at least know a little bit by now, if you’ve been around here awhile. While we were there, I begged of her a short session to- finally- take some family photos in the fall gorgeousness of East Tennessee.
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I love how Kara’s photographs reveal her unique style- her mysterious and magical gift of capturing the beauty (both hidden and in plain sight) of a moment.

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These ones… oh, my heart!

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Of course, a quick shot in front of The Coffee Company, because of what I mentioned earlier this week.

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And she got this one of me, messing with my hair and being distracted by the leaves on the ground… So, you know, my default. (And I told you I loved that dress didn’t I?)

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One reason why this was so fun was watching Lucy discover leaves (or “leaf” I should say, since she mostly just carried that specific one around the whole time) and pine cones and trees… And then catching those moments on camera! Ah- so wonderful.

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walking

Lucy Light

Oh, and this. This is my Lucy. Her name means “light.” Can’t you just see it glowing from inside her here?? (Sheesh. That picture alone would’ve been worth the whole session, even if all the others somehow turned out terrible! Which of course they wouldn’t have, but I’m just saying…)

These are just a few of the moments Kara caught up in her lens. She has good eyes, if you know what I mean.

And I know sometimes looking at somebody else’s family photos leaves me feeling like their life is somehow perfect and there’s this weird jealousy thing that happens (to me, at least). So, even though I can’t imagine you’d feel this way looking at mine (we weren’t even in perfectly coordinating outfits, you guys), I encourage you that these photos were just one more way to savor and enjoy this moment- this season- in which we are living. Your season is just as beautiful, just as important.

I hope these beauties, these holy gifts framed between four walls encourage you to see that in your own life, too.

You can find more info about Kara at her website here.

Day 19: Covered Bridge Festival!!!

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It FINALLY happened. We FINALLY got to go to the fabulous covered bridge festival I love so very much!!! This past weekend, we headed over to my parents house a couple hours away, and go to spend a couple lovely days with them (including a simple, restful Saturday), and Friday was the day of covered bridge wonderfulness.

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This is called an I-forced-husband-to-selfie-with-me-because-of-my-overabundance-of-excitement Selfie. (We were in the car… not even to the festival yet.) 

Bens Pretzels

Of course, about 50- eh, maybe 75%- of the wonderfulness of this covered bridge festival is due to Ben’s Pretzels. YOU GUYS. They are the biggest, softest, warmest, most delicious pretzels to ever pretzel. If there were such things as autumn carols, there would be one devoted specifically to these pretzels. So, obviously, we bought them promptly after our arrival… followed within 10 minutes by the consumption of a bag of mini fried doughnuts which were so good they basically just melted in your mouth. (Because that’s what you DO when you are at the covered bridge festival, friends. If you’re not eating at least 2-3 kinds of baked/fried bread and/or meat/cheese/butter, then you’re not doing it right.)

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Mimi showing Lucy around one of the super cute booths.Mimi and Lucy 2

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festival booth

Fake berry garlands? Of course I want to visit this booth!

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Lucy and her grandpa!
Me and Lu

Was it too much to ask Lucy to smile into direct sunlight?? Possibly.IMG_3460

Hubs contemplating the rustic brands of cream soda and root beer available at the old mill. (Isn’t he handsome???)

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I love this pumpkin patch area. (I mean, it’s obviously not an actual pumpkin patch, but it’s the designated pumpkin area, so what do you want from me?) This picturesque spot may have been featured last year, too.IMG_3458

I love these boots. Getting to wear them on a chilly day is a small thing, but a lovely thing. IMG_0419

Um. It’s a metal lawn-ornament minion family. How could I not take a picture of them? I have never had a desire for lawn ornaments (in part because I live in an apartment, people), but these almost tempt me. Almost. IMG_0416 IMG_0413

My girl. Inspecting all the pumpkins, presumably to make sure they measure up to her high pumpkin standards. (She’s very thorough.) 

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I just love that sweet face!

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One of my top 5 favorite days of the year. Easy. (Until next time, pretzels. Next time…)

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I think Lucy had fun… She certainly took a good nap afterwards. (She’s cuddling her new Pinky Pie, purchased for her by Grandpa, of course. I don’t think it took much to convince him. Basically, I set her down and she ran right over to the My Little Ponies exclaiming, “Pie! Pie!” So… that was the cutest thing ever.)

Any special wonderful fall places you love visiting with your people this October?

Day 13: How to Paint Leaves (And Other Awesome Things)

31 days of Enjoy squareToday, I wanted to share some of my favorite youtubes of people teaching techniques or demonstrating watercolor products! These have really helped either inspire or teach me as I’ve been working on watercolor and hand-lettered projects for the shop!

This is another great video of hers:

Now admittedly, this artist has an extremely intricate, realistic style, so if you’re watching them having a panic attack, join the club. Then, if you’re exactly like me, you can take a deep breath and remember that it’s ok to not paint just like her! But she’s clearly masterfully good at it, and I wouldn’t say no to learning from her manifold wisdom. (I think the last time I remember someone using the word “manifold” was Mr. Collins. Don’t hold it against me.) 

Here’s another great video!

I LOVE the smoothness of her style, as well as the warmth of the finished illustration.

I like this video, especially for beginners, because it shows how to create some basic structure to hand-lettered pieces, and for me, structure isn’t the most obvious go-to. (My brain is like, “You mean I can’t just make swirly doodles around everything and expect it to be polished and desirable?!” No, brain. No you cannot… or I cannot. Whatever.)

I enjoy these videos because they spur me on and inspire me to be excellent. Excellence is something crucial to seek as a disciple of Christ, and as an artist. Ultimately, it won’t come from copious amounts of youtube-watching, it’ll come from practice. Perhaps very smudgey practice.

But if you need some inspiration and some great teachers to watch, start with these!

Day 12: The Frost is on the Pumpkin

31 days of Enjoy squareWell, maybe the frost isn’t technically on the pumpkin quite yet. Not really. But still! I couldn’t help but add this to the shop this weekend, to further celebrate general autumn wonderfulness.

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If you want to purchase, click either pic to see the listing itself!

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My mom used to read James Whitcomb Riley’s poetry to me when I was little. Especially that one and Little Orphan Annie (which actually is little creepy… when you’re 5, I mean). Also, if you’re concerned, yes I do know that it’s technically “punkin” in the poem.

I hope you enjoy it like I enjoyed making it! Please feel encouraged to share this and the shop in general if you are a fan!

Day 7: Enjoying Surrender.

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As Communications & Events Director for If Then Movement, I have had the privilege of attending and helping with a few ITM events since I took on the job almost a year and a half ago. (I usually just say Communications Director… but the official title sounds schmancy right?) Each one I go to speaks to me differently, as I see God working in both my life and the lives of those who attend.

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(Their decor was ON POINT, people. It was a fabulous fall explosion. But in a good way. Though, come to think of it, I can’t really imagine how fall could explode in a bad way…)

This weekend’s was no exception. It probably held greater depth for me in part because it took place at the church where I grew up, watching my parents minister on staff. I love that place!

And I love seeing what God does through our retreat called “So Be It: Brave Surrender to God’s Call Every Day”.

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This is my favorite retreat that we do. Because it gives women a chance to dig deep and let their hearts open up to the truth that surrender is how we experience the goodness God intends for us.

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Sometimes I have a hard time yielding to that process. Sometimes, all I can do is put one foot in front of the other, rejoice in simple things like autumn wreaths, incredible things like God’s grace, and continuously surrender moment by moment. And sometimes, surrendering is putting pieces of a necklace together that function as a small, beautiful, brave stake in the ground for the kingdom of God.

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That’s what attendees got to do together this weekend. My dear friend chose this necklace, and I confess that the phrase is one of my favorites. (I have a necklace with this same artwork in it… because we’re the same person. We even wore matching colors.)

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What you don’t see in the picture is the small piece of paper that gets buried behind the artwork and the glass tile; that piece of paper serves as a place to write something you feel God laying on your heart to surrender to Him, or a verse He’s leading you to cling to, or a person you need to keep praying for, etc. I love that it’s a tactile, tangible representation of the message.

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The other thing that gets buried in this necklace is a tiny seed, which represents the fact that in order to bear fruit, the seed itself must die. This stands out to me especially, because God has been reminding me that even if I’m afraid of losing or surrendering something to him, doing just that is what bears fruit.

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(This is a candy bar. Get it?)

For someone who professes to be a creative person, I can be really uncreative when it comes to looking past what I think is good and instead trusting that God’s best is better. (Or best… or something.)

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Later in this series, I plan to dig up what God says about enjoyment, but for today, I end with this verse:
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
                        – Psalm 36:7-8

Day 6: Laziness vs. Leisure

31 days of Enjoy squareLeisure is an important part of enjoyment. But sometimes, leisure gets a bad rap. Because we’re human and imperfect, and that often translates to taking something like leisure and turning it into laziness.

I struggle with this like any person does. Remember back when I wrote about how Netflix plays an important role in marriage? Well, obviously there was a degree of the facetious in that post, along with the serious (as is common here). And I confess, sometimes, binge-watching stuff on Netflix renders me incapacitated, and the thought of getting up off the couch to get more cookies seems as daunting as climbing Mt. Everest.

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That’s how laziness ruins leisure. There’s nothing evil about leisure in and of itself. But laziness? It renders me whiny and self-absorbed in a matter of a few pajama-clad, cookie-filled hours. At that point, am I really enjoying anything?

In those moments, maybe what I really need is some intentional enjoyment. That’s just another reason I love fall; I find myself doing specific things like going to covered bridge festivals, showing colorful leaves to my daughter, buying pumpkins (after laboriously looking for the one with the most character- aka warts and such), etc. And it’s not even that those activities are somehow better than watching Netflix.

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It’s just the searching and seeing that takes place when I experience those things.

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I develop an awareness of beauty; I tune my heart to the blessings of a moment. And even though fall comes every year, the awareness still- always- brings me delight.

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It’s a holy enjoyment.

So, with that said, may your leisure lift you up this season. May you become more aware of the unearthly beauty that graces the earth so generously with itself. Breath it in deep. Enjoy… whether you find yourself pajama-clad and cookie-filled, or wandering through a pumpkin patch.

Kara Faith Photography- Autumn Leaves

Today’s glorious pictures are brought to you by Kara Faith Photography!