Fall

There was a tiny taste of fall this weekend.

Friday began hot and the air was heavy and muggy. It was sunny and uncomfortable and then in a split second near the end of the school day the sky turned black and roiling and the heavens opened. The rain poured and poured and there was thunder and the lights flickered and turned off. We ended the day herding students out after the storm, with the sky still dripping and power gone, loading kids onto buses. The roads were full of branches and trees had fallen onto power lines and houses.

And with the end of that storm, cool air blew in. I wouldn’t call it fall yet, but the nights are turning chilly and it feels SO CLOSE. Fall is my favorite season. Summer feels like swimming through humid air and sweating and uncomfortable sunburns. Fall feels like sweatshirts and mittens; it feels like roasting marshmallows around a fire that you huddle around for warmth. Fall tastes like apples and cinnamon and pies; it smells like huge cups of tea. Fall is gray, but gray in layers. The sky pulls blankets over itself and snuggles in.

I’d like to go apple picking and bake now. I’d like to start packing away warm weather clothes and unpacking piles of blankets to drape over everything. Changing seasons spurs cleaning up and wrapping up loose ends. Changing seasons makes you feel like time has flown. Fall already? Every year my dad laments the beginning of football season; he marks the passage of time with the start of football. Each year he feels like the Super Bowl has just ended and week one of games is already over. I’ve never been a football fan and have only begun watching, so this is the first year that I feel that. Time flies and seasons change faster and faster each year and I hope I remember to slow down sometimes and grab onto moments.

Gratitude

School has started. Routines are solidifying, I’m waking up before the sun, late nights are impossible.

Everything feels centered again. I’ve missed this; over the summer, I don’t always feel necessary. I like to make sure my time is spent in a meaningful way. When I’m here, working, I feel like I am giving to people. I wake up every day feeling like my job is special and worthwhile and lovely.
 
 
My birthday was last week and with the start of school and the start of my 27th year (WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?) I have tried to remain aware of the blessings I’m surrounded with and the lessons I’ve learned. I’m trying to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, because when I do I feel at peace. It’s much more satisfactory to live in a world you are grateful for rather than a place you resent.
 
 
 
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So some gratitude. I have a full schedule this year and my time at work flies by, filled with students who are quirky and funny and clever and really quite beautiful. They say funny things and are vulnerable and strong all at once and run towards life. These kids want experiences and crave good conversation and learning; they see the magic in books and silly songs and they make me see the world as if it was new.
 
 
I’ve had a chance to finish classes this summer and have applied for my middle school endorsement which means I’ll soon be able to apply for actual middle school teaching jobs. I have the chance to see my middle schoolers from my summer mission trip and my 8th grade group of girls from church and I love them deeply. They are filled to overflowing with energy and potential and pain and confusion all at once and they are ready to change the world around them.
 
 
 
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My life is also surrounded by a family that, while small, is full of love and sarcasm and joy and encouragement, a family that taught me how to love to read and what cooking looks like and how to support people through crisis. My family shows me what stability is, and compromise, and how to help someone see the potential they have. My family saw the potential in me even when I couldn’t; they have encouraged me through times of doubt and have been with me through every difficult season. My family taught me to laugh at myself and how to take in each day and appreciate what I have.
 
 
And of course, I have a larger community as well. These friends grow more into family each year. I’ve been blessed to have conversations that change me and push me and help me grow into something better. Some friends and I went to visit my old college last week. We drove out to Michigan for the day and went to my favorite places in the world and stood on the shores of Lake Michigan and were sprayed by waves. We invest in each other. We share experiences and wisdom and love and I know that I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people like them.
 
 
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So now it’s Friday. Another week has flown by and September is already here which means it’s basically almost Christmas. My goal this year is to intentionally cultivate this attitude of gratitude, to let go of the bad and embrace the good. Life is too short to do anything else.
 
 
 
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