What the world gives you

This photo was taken just down the street from our York home during autumn, 2008.

This photo was taken just down the street from our York home during autumn, 2008.

“Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself.”
Shauna Niequist

Today is officially the first day of fall, a season that brings abundant gifts.  All too often, it’s also a season of stress, as we adjust to new school schedules, plan for a host of holiday activities, and fight the psychological dread of another long, cold winter approaching.

At the start of this new season, I am coaching myself to make full use of these September gifts, no matter what other unpleasant or anxious situations may await me in the weeks to come.  As I intentionally savor the small delights that can easily slip by unnoticed, I am calmed and strengthened, able to keep getting up one more time after the disappointments and sorrows that sometimes seem to come one right after another.

You may look forward to the same magical moments Niequist describes in the quote, or you may have other autumnal treats in store.  Whatever good things the world gives you, I hope you will make use of every joy that comes your way. I hope the sights, scents and sounds of fall will bless you with a cozy comfort that wraps you in its blissful warmth and reassures your soul that no matter what happens, all will be well.


  1. Sheila

    Julia, have you ever had someone say to you,”It’s ok!” and it felt so perfect that no more words were needed? I hope I can bring comfort to you this morning by simply saying, “It’s ok” and my prayers cross the distance. Love, Sheila

    • Thank you Sheila! It does bring me comfort. Your words are always positive and helpful – something I really appreciate. The sun is out again today and I am planning on a quiet, contemplative Sunday of counting my blessings. Thanks for setting the tone this morning! Love you back!

  2. MaryAnn

    Fall brings so many blessings: magnificent sunsets top my list! Our preacher has the church “walking & praying for the neighbors”. As I am on that journey, I continue my prayer for “my” Dentons, whom I love…

    • What a great idea for the congregation to go on walks together and get to know the neighborhood! Thanks for your continuing prayers. They are greatly appreciated and answered in more ways than we are now aware of.

  3. I am trying a new recipe today and trying to take deep breaths so that the to do list does not become overwhelming. I hate that I spend my weekends frantically playing catch up on house hold stuff. I will take a day off next month so we can go over to the book fair together. I will look at the calendar tomorrow and give you some possible dates. Love this photo. Have a wonderful fall. Love you.

    • Amy, I know how you feel about weekend catch-up time; it’s what I hate most about keeping regular work hours. I think it will be wonderful if we can head out toward the mountains one beautiful fall day really soon! It will be great with our without the books, of course, but books are always a plus! Hope you have a wonderful fall and hope the trees that surround your home will be gloriously colorful. Love you too.

  4. Thank you for your special wishes Julia 😀 I’m feeling the warmth of the season just by visiting here this fine morning. It’s cool but bright and sunny, my favourite kind of morning. I do think Fall is a good time for reflection for me. I usually get back to a routine after kind of ‘running amuck’ all summer long. There’s so much to do here in the summer, we all go a little mad for a few months before winter sets in. I’m busy planning my trip to San Jose right now, finishing a little project and giddy with excitement. Plus today is my Dads Birthday, so many joyful thoughts there too. Thanks for being a part of my day, Love K

    • You have a lot to look forward to today and this season! If you have a chance, you might want to visit the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga – Jeff and I spent a lovely afternoon there once. I’m sure Alys has more than enough fun things to do. I’ll look forward to your blogs that you post when you return. Happy Birthday to your Dad! I appreciate your being part of my day, too! Love, J

      • Thanks for the link Julia, I’ve book marked for more time. Looks very pretty. 😀

  5. Nancy

    My favorite season, Julia. I love taking the boys to the magnificent State parks here in Middle Tennessee. I’m sure you must be close to some too you can sneak away to for a wonderful outing. Love and blessings to you, Jeff and Matt. Nancy & Boys

    • Nancy, weren’t you with us when we had a girl’s getaway weekend at Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville? We rented a cabin there; I think there were about 6 or 7 of us. It was just a couple of weeks before Jeff and I married. I’m guessing the foliage there is beautiful in the fall! Thanks for visiting here – tell those sweet young men that Aunt Jules and Uncle Jeff said hello!

      • Nancy

        Yes. I would frequently return to that park during my career days when I just needed to get away. Always by myself…quiet, reflective, alone time. I always left refreshed.

        • Tennessee has some of the most beautiful state parks – and I imagine you approved the funding for a lot of their construction and upkeep! 🙂 So I’m glad you were able to enjoy them.

  6. Martha

    So good to see your smiling faces at services this morning. You both are a shining light to all that know you. Fall is a special time to enjoy the scents and sounds of the outdoors and its splendor. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing and inspiration.

    • Thanks so much for visiting us here, Martha! I appreciate your kind words. Hope you have a lovely week.

  7. Not necessarily a “Fall thing”, but see if you can figure how to post the camera-on-an-eagle’s-back video I just emailed you. WOW

    • A friend of ours who had been a grandmother for at least a decade went skydiving – she said “now I know why birds sing.” I thought of that when I watched this video. Thanks for sharing it!


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