Friday, the Hub's day off and our weekly "date day", we took a drive out into the country.
With the way Portland's urban growth boundaries are, one of the loveliest things about our city is that it's a quick and easy drive out of the city into rural farmlands, scenic, winding country roads and beautiful woods next to rushing rivers.
One of my favorite places to go, not far outside the city,
is this historic old pioneer cabin and little country church.
Friday, evidence that we're only a week away from the official first day of fall greeted me there on the green grass by these old historic landmarks as I saw the first of many more leaves to fall.
It's rather interesting to read why deciduous trees lose their leaves.
Pardon me for using a quote from Highlights for Kids,
but I actually found their explanation to be the most interesting.
I guess this is significant for me, being in what I would consider the autumn of my life, my fifties.
If I liken myself to a tree, then the way I respond to each season in my life is crucial to the way I am going to handle the winter.
I really want to be a person who faces the last season of life, who faces eternity, confident that I finished the race well.
I don't think that's going to happen if I wait until I'm in the middle of life's winter to think about it.
I'm thinking an awful lot about it now.
I really, really want the rest of my life to be the best of my life.
I don't want to waste any more of my days, hours or minutes, trying to change someone else.
I've already wasted enough precious time with that sort of futile endeavor.
I also know that there are a lot of outward circumstances that I have no control over, that I can't change.
But there's one person, with God's help, that I can change, and that's me.
There are a few outward circumstances that are in my control that I can change as well.
Those are the things that I must choose to place my effort and focus on in this season.
For many people, autumn is their favorite season of the year.
Who's to say that it can't also be our favorite season of life?
After all, it's a lovely and colorful season to be in!
My friend, Rhonda Quaney, is co-leading the group with me.
We became in real life friends after meeting at Jumping Tandem.
If you want to be in a group with other "colorful" women in the "autumn" of life,
registration is now open here.
Space in groups is limited.
Click here to check out other (in)courager groups.
There's something for everyone!
In 2012 I followed the prompts in Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare in counting my thanks.
In 2013 I'm going back to the way I did it in the beginning,
just noticing and recording the many extraordinary blessings in my ordinary life.
And so I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal.
(and capturing some of them via my camera or iPhone)
-the grandkid's photos of their first day of school
-a cool morning with fog in the foothills
-talking on the phone to the two oldest grands after school to see how their day went
-a great run
-bbq chicken and homemade coleslaw for dinner
-a nice breeze on a hot day
-crafting and catching myself humming because creating makes me happy
-face time on the phone with youngest granddaughter
-meeting my friend from church at Starbucks
-the Hubs meeting with his mentor
-the Hubs buying the grandkids some crickets to feed the bullfrog we caught last summer
(then the phone call from only grandson reporting that the frog ate all 30 crickets in one meal!)
-the way the hydrangeas change colors as fall approaches
-really encouraging prayer and worship at church tonight
-a ride in the country
-buying some local apples
-a sweet date day together
-talking to and praying with Rhonda Quaney, my (in) life after fifty co-leader
-a husband who says, "you go ahead and go on your run, I'll vacuum for you"
-getting out some fall decor
-trusting God, He's the Rock beneath my feet that can't be shaken, even when seasons change
-worshiping with our church...powerful
-lunch with our youngest daughter
-the excitement of launching our (in)courager group