I am typing this on September 22nd, 2016–the day of the Fall Equinox. This is the day when the dog days of summer officially transition into the crisp, colorful season of fall. Here where I live in northern Colorado, we are already experiencing cooler temps and the leaves have begun to change. I will always be a sun worshiping, summer lover, but even so, I have to confess that there is something special about this time of year that makes me look forward to it every time it rolls around.
I think one of the things that I love most about Fall is the coziness that it brings. Whereas summer is a time for frolicking outdoors and spending the long days adventuring in the sun, sand and surf; Fall is a time to bring it all home. The days are shorter and the evenings have a nip in the air. We spend more time at home with the people we love and settle in as we prepare for winter. We watch football, make soup in the crock-pot, swap out our tank tops for sweatshirts and exchange (at least in my case) our ball gloves for knitting needles.
Regardless of how you like to spend your fall days, here are seven suggestions on ways to usher in the season and celebrate all that it has to offer…
When 2016 began, I chose the word SAVOR to be my “word of the year” (you can read about that decision here) I chose it because I knew that I was bad at taking time to slow down and truly appreciate all of the goodness in my life. It’s not that I didn’t know that I was blessed, it’s just that my personality type tends to be one that is constantly striving for the next great thing and rarely takes the time to soak in all of the FabYOUlousness of the present moment.
As a part of my SAVOR ’16 challenge, I decided that I was going to write one blog post a month about the particularly savorable things that I had enjoyed during that month. Last month was easy to write about because I had just returned from a week long vacation with my family on the gorgeous island of Oahau, Hawaii (you can read about that experience here–but be prepared to be jealous!)
Every month for the last several months, we have focused upon one of the top twelve contributing factors to a FabYOUlous Life as determined by Dan Baker, Ph.D and co-author of the book, What Happy People Know.
This month’s Fab Factor is HUMOR and that seems appropriate since we started the month off with April Fool’s Day and today (here in Colorado where I live) we are dealing with Mother Nature’s sense of humor as we dig out from a spring snowstorm (after it was in the high 70’s last week!)
If you regularly follow FabYOUlous Life, you know that my “word of the year” for 2016 is savor. If you are new to FabYOUlous Life, welcome! You can read about how and why I selected savor as my word by clicking here.
Because savor is my word, I’ve decided that I am going to post every month about some of the things, people, experiences etc. that I am savoring at that moment. I am hoping that these monthly posts will serve two purposes: 1.) to help me to slow down and think about the incredible, savor-worthy things that are happening in my life and 2.) to inspire you to do the same.
As I look back over my month so far, I have to say–it has been one outrageously incredible month. I mean–how often is it that one gets to enjoy a full week in Hawaii with family and NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR IT? Yep–you read that last part correctly…I just returned from spending a week in Hawaii (the island of Oahu to be exact) with my family because I won a national sweepstakes that paid for our trip. The prize included airfare, hotel accommodations for all of us, a dolphin swim excursion, sunset jazz cruise, Island bus tour, Lei greeting and a spectacular Luau (plus spending money, rental car and restaurant gift cards!) We were truly blessed to have won this once in a lifetime experience and I now have memories that I will savor for the rest of my days. Here are just a few of those savorable moments…
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love the smell of the turkey, mashed potatoes and desserts wafting from the kitchen and the enjoyment of family as the men huddle around to watch football and the ladies make jokes about the men. Mostly though, I love the way Thanksgiving focuses our attention upon all of the incredible blessings that we have to be thankful for. Things that we should be grateful for every day but oftentimes take for granted.
I hope that this Thanksgiving day finds you delighting in the sights, sounds, smells and TASTES of the holiday and that your heart is full as you count your many blessings. If however; you’re struggling this holiday season and not quite feeling the thankfulness vibe, please take heart and take a look around. Even when things are difficult, there are still so many wonderful things for which to be thankful.
In order to help jump-start a gratitude groove, I’ve compiled a list of 50 things to be thankful for.
As a child, I was blessed to have grown up in a very close knit family. My mom and dad loved my brother and I and they loved each other. Additionally, I grew up with the tremendous blessing of having all four of my grandparents nearby and very involved in my upbringing. Despite some craziness during my teenage years (for which I will now and forever blame *Buddy Kittle–I’m pretty sure he won’t ever read this, so it’s safe to blame him–ha!) I grew up blissfully unaware of the difficult challenges that many families faced. Oh sure, I’m sure that mom and dad had their moments of wanting to strangle each other (as all married couples experience from time to time) and lord knows that they had plenty of moments of wanting to strangle me–but overall, we were a happy and for the most part functional family.
As a child and teenager, I took my nice, stable, loving family life for granted. As an adult however; I now have a much greater appreciation for the sacrifices and efforts that my parents made on a daily basis to ensure that my brother and I grew up in a secure and loving environment. A supportive family unit is so crucial to the emotional well being of every member of the family. If there is strife between members, every individual in that family suffers as a result.
If you are feeling as though your family isn’t as close as you’d like or maybe you’re just a little out of sync these days, keep the following points in mind to help strengthen that all important familial bond…
Okay–I’ll confess…I originally wanted to title this article “I love them, but sometimes I want to kill them” but I was a little concerned that someone would take me too seriously and I’d have Child Protective Services showing up on my doorstep.
Please don’t call the authorities…I really do love my teenagers (with all of my heart!) and would never ever want any harm to come to them. My boys are the absolute joys of my life and are by far my proudest accomplishment. They are however, teens and with that comes a whole new set of rules for an entirely different ballgame.
As a mom to two teenage sons, of course there are times when I get nostalgic and miss the days when I could just scoop up my babies and smother them with kisses while they giggled and wriggled in my arms. I get a lump in my throat every time I browse through their baby pics and see their pudgy little baby bellies and cherubic toddler grins. I miss the days when I, as their mama, was the center of their universe and they delighted in my love and affection.
There it is. I said it.
I love my kids more than anything in this universe and yet sometimes I feel like they are literally sucking the life right out of me. I mean, it probably isn’t as bad now that they are teenagers as it was when they were toddlers (thankfully they no longer need my help to go potty) but still…I find myself giving so much of my time, energy, emotions and MONEY to my children that I often feel like I have little left over for myself.
The crazy thing is though–I almost feel like this “Martyr Mom” syndrome is something that we moms wear as a badge of honor. I’ve been to playgroups where it felt like there was some kind of twisted competition going on to see which mom was the most exhausted, overextended and frazzled and then for some insane reason, that mom was dubbed the winner because obviously she was the one sacrificing the most for her beloved offspring.
Hello?!? Exhausted, overextended and frazzled ARE NOT FabYOUlous. Exhausted, overextended and frazzled SUCK.
There are numerous studies that show how beneficial a happy family life is to one’s overall health. In fact, it has been shown that a fun and supportive family life can even add years to one’s life expectancy. So…that, being the case; it’s a no-brainer that we should do all that we can to ensure that our family is a place of safety, acceptance and fun. To make your family even more FabYOUlous, make sure that these five crucial keys are a part of your family life.