In the Fall of 2009 I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Not doing a great job of balancing the demands of parenting / work / house, I was feeling parched and worn thin—my soul was lacking. I wrote about this on my personal blog, My Merlot; as I reread that original post, I realize I could pretty much write the same thing today, word for word.
Life is busy these days and work has been hectic and in the midst of it all I feel like I’ve lost my soul. I spend so much time fretting about the house that seems to always be in utter disarray, worrying about money and if we will ever sell these duplexes, and feeling guilty for being generally impatient and stressed out.
I want to laugh more and stress less. I want to start family traditions and make memories that will forever be etched in Keaton’s mind. I want to live more fully, more purposefully. I want to be a better mother, wife, and friend.
I’ve put together a list of things I want to do this season. Things that I hope will remind me what’s most important in life. Things that will hopefully renew my spirit and energize my soul.
I continued a “Soul in the Season” segment on my personal blog for two full years, rarely missing a season, but these posts came to an abrupt end in the Winter of 2011. This does not surprise me at all; it was in December of that year that we lost everything in a house fire. Just fitting in the daily tasks of working full time, parenting two small children in an unfamiliar house, itemizing every. damn. thing. we lost for insurance, and getting enough rest to keep my pregnant body going for the next day was enough. I had no room to think about feeding my soul.
But it wasn’t just that season I missed—I never did come back to this segment—and it’s been nearly three years since I’ve made a Soul in the Season list. The fire had a lot to do with this; documenting our insurance claim took us an entire year. But there was more to it than just that; part of the reason I didn’t come back to this is because it was starting to feel more like a to-do list rather than a to-feel list, and my type A personality doesn’t do well with missed items on my to-do list. When something is causing you anxiety rather than the calm it is supposed to instill, the best thing to do is walk away from it. I have felt on-the-brink since the fire, and I simply have not been able put any more pressure on myself to get things done.
But I miss it. I love the changing of the seasons, I find each one energizing and refreshing it its own rite—the seasons provide our family with a much needed rhythm, a rhythm that is sorely lacking in other aspects of our life.
When Ember and I first starting thinking about The Sunlit Path and what role we wanted (needed) it to play in our lives, we both knew almost instantly that we wanted to revive Soul in the Season and give it a permanent home here. But! We didn’t want it to become a seasonal task list. While some items on our list may be “to-do” in nature, by in large we wanted to dig deep into our souls and think about the things this season that will awaken us: sights and scents and sounds (and activities, of course) that will provide the much needed refreshment to our souls.
In order to help us (and you!) with this, we realized what this segment needed was a theme element, a word (or words) to guide us through the coming season. With that I am so excited to introduce you to The Sunlit Path’s first Soul in the Season.
When Ember suggested the theme word Nourish my heart leaped. What a perfect word for this season of harvest and for this time of revival of Soul in the Season. Individually we sat down and thought about what things will feed our soul this Autumn; what sights and sounds and activities will keep us mindful and present—what things will give us life.
Here are the main things Em and I plan to focus on this season, with our families, to nourish our bodies and souls:
- Make (my first) homemade Pumpkin Pie — My mom’s rolling pin has a white cloth cover that is worn thin from many years of baking—baking pies and sugar cookies in particular. That rolling pin comes out at various times throughout the year, but most frequently in the fall: apple, pumpkin, and pecan pie seem to be the crowd favorites. A year and a half ago I had no idea what I was doing, but armed with a good cookbook, a rolling pin, and lots of flour I rolled out my first pie crust. Now I’m hooked, still a bit timid, but hooked. I tried my hand at apple last year, and this year I want to attempt to bake my first pumpkin pie.
- Enjoy the changing of the leaves — My all time favorite sound in fall is the crunching of the leaves. I haven’t been running much (at all) lately but in years past this sound was a cadence to my ears. This year I want to take every opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the leaves—the changing of the colors and their sound underfoot. Ideally, I’d like to take our family on a weekend hike or trail walk.
- Go to the corn maze — There are so many fall family traditions that I love, but this one seems to be the favorite with the boys. If we do nothing else, I hope we can at least find time to take them to the corn maze.
- Cook more meals at home — We always seem to go in cycles where we eat out, or buy convenience foods, more when schedules are really hectic. As much as I know we can’t do away with these “quick and easy” options once in a while, I want to make a concerted effort this season to cook more from scratch, to really nourish my family’s bodies with wholesome and hearty food.
- Continue our pumpkin patch tradition with the girls — The past three years, we have visited Post Family Farm as a family during the month of October. My Mom has gone with us each time, and the first time, Lily was extremely heavy in my pregnant belly (she was born on October 20th, 2011). The girls remember the place well and look forward to the pumpkin donuts, apple cider, petting the goats and other farm animals, playing in the hay, and taking a hayride out to the pumpkin patch to pick out their own pumpkins. (Pssst…I’ll let you in on a little secret: the adults have just as much fun at the little ones do!)
- Take more pictures — My poor DSLR camera…I have been neglecting it for many months now. I really miss my Nikon. So, my goal is this: We go on family walks in the evening pretty often, and as we continue to do that this season—enjoying the fresh air, pointing out how the leaves are changing color on the trees, and listening to the rustling sounds of nature around us—I want to capture more images to remember this season. The same goes for making memories of time spent raking leaves in our backyard, going to the pumpkin patch, and taking field trips to the apple orchard and farm markets for school with the girls.
What about you? What sights and scents and sounds…what activities and tastes…are you looking most forward to this fall? What things will sustain you through the long (often grueling) days of balancing the demands of life? What will nourish your soul this season?
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