things to love in the fall

I always thought spring was my favorite season, but after returning to the midwest from six years in always-sunny southern California, autumn may be moving into the lead.

It’s especially great in Chicago, because I think fall lasts a bit longer here. It’s November 2nd, we’re still hovering around 60 degrees, and the trees are still filled with colorful autumn leaves. I love the excuse to have a cup of coffee or tea by my side through most of the day. The skies are often gray, but not dark like they are when the clouds are filled with rain. The inside of my house is filled with a cozy sense of productivity, like I could be content to work here for hours.

September brought us into a fall that began with a host of new responsibilities, sources of stress, and an endless list of to-dos. As I sit in my dining room today (pathophysiology books and study materials close at hand) I’m struck by a new sense of gratitude for this season. There’s just not enough time in life not to reflect on the good things that come our way. Of course many of those things are immaterial; the blessings of good friendships, peace in the midst of uncertainty, the license to spend time working toward a meaningful goal. But some of them are very much material. And these, I pass along to you:

I love this stuff. My favorite way to enjoy the morning is to put on a pot of this, burn my pumpkin nutmeg candle, and let the delightful smells of fall fill our apartment.

This is the tea that just might be able to break me of my coffee habit. Smooth, delicate, floral; this stuff is simply a delight. I especially love it with a little bit of milk and honey.

How many times have you been told by avid Harry Potter fans: “you have to read the books.” It took me hearing that about thirty times before I finally dove into the series. Jeremy and I read them one after another in two months, just recently finishing book seven. I loved them. Partly because they’re great stories; I had to force myself to put them down every now and again so that I could continue doing normal life things. But also because they’re great to talk about and ponder over. This has become the best selling series of books ever written and I think it’s important to be a person who can understand why.

Now I’m reading this. I’m only half way through, but I think I can recommend it. First off, I think it’s really healthy to read good books about real things that happened to real people. Fiction tends to be my favorite recreational reading, but often a good biography is just as enjoyable and can be far more rewarding. It gets a little intense at times (I probably wouldn’t give it to my kids to read), but it’s an incredible true story about a rebel kid turned olympic runner turned WWII bomber pilot.

This actually has nothing to do with my fall this year, but in the spirit of reading books (a wonderful pastime for these cozy days inside) I had to mention this. I just realized I never wrote about this book, which I intended to do when I finished it in June. It’s actually real inappropriate that this is at the end of my blog post, because this ishands down the best book I have ever read (barring the Bible, of course). Unbroken is great so far, but it doesn’t even begin to hold a torch to Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Metaxas is an incredible biographer, writing about Bonhoeffer in a captivating yet immensely informative way. This book amazed me, inspired me, and repeatedly caused me to consider my own Christian life. Bonhoeffer will forever be a hero of mine, and I’d read any biography Metaxas wrote.

Well I suppose it’s about time I get back to working on the things that need to get done and won’t do themselves. I’m encouraged by this season, and excited to see the beginning of November. Here’s to hoping and praying for the ability to keep our lives in perspective, always.