Our family has moved several times over the course of my 20+ year marriage! We’ve moved from Utah-> Arizona-> Minnesota-> California-> Texas
Lots of transitions from hot to cold climates and back again!
I have spent a lot of time pondering the value of seasonal changes to the mind, body and spirit. It is very improbable that everyone can live where there are four seasons, especially four ‘perfect’ seasons (Minnesota sometimes enjoys an eight month winter- which in my mind does not count as PERFECT at all), but I think we can all enjoy the benefit that comes from the patterns of natural growth and dormancy that we see as the seasons pass.
My sister lives the ultimate country bumpkin life and she LOVES it! She lives in a small town in Northern Utah where seasons manifest themselves beautifully. As we were talking about the importance of seasons one day, she mentioned that their summers are busy with work and play- they grow gardens, preserve their food for winter months, care for animals, and work & play outside ALL day long.
After three or four months, they are exhausted and ready for the slow down of fall, where they spend less time at rigorous work and more time reaping what they have sown. Good friends join together around fire pits and football games as leaves fall and evenings cool.
Winter brings her family the perfect opportunity to spend quiet time together at nights, sled on weekends and throw snowballs at a very expecting father returning home for the evening. And, after the blanket of winter snow gives way to sun and soil, the entire family is ready to start the process over as they return to work and play outdoors; preparing the land, animals and equipment for a productive and busy summer.
Her’s is a lifestyle that I don’t think everyone would enjoy, but there are some definite advantages to seasonal living. When we lived in Minnesota, the extreme blizzard days were my FAVORITE days of the year. There was NOTHING else you could do but stay at home, cuddle in front of a warm fire, maybe with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa. The kids were drawn outside to the cold and snow even if only for a few minutes at a time. Laughter and cooperation filled the yard as snowman families were born. It did not matter what was on a ‘to do’ list for the day nor did it matter what deadlines were on the calendar- busy-ness was all of a sudden replaced with a simple cozy-ness brought on by a veil of white snow.
Almost perfectly and on cue with the first day of fall, the mornings here in Texas have started to cool! I cannot help myself when the weather turns to enjoy every moment of saying good-bye to the old season and hello to the new. I grabbed a blanket and a sweatshirt and sat on my back porch soaking in the morning chill. I was asked to teach a gentle yoga class this morning; this was a bit of a challenge for me personally because gentle yoga intimidates me- which is an obvious sign that I need it in my life! When I feel slightly intimidated by a situation, I become rather reflective- which led me to a wonderful drive to the yoga studio. I reflected on the beauty of the changing seasons, on sunny days, snowy days, and the beautiful taste and smell of a rainy day.
I arrived at the studio full of peace and contentment. As we settled into a nice and gentle flow, I mentioned the sunflower that follows the course of the sun as it travels from East to West, bending and straining to be in line with the suns rays.
I shared a verse I had read entitled ‘Advice From a Tree’ that offers a challenge to stand tall, remember your roots and be content with your natural beauty.
I suggested that we take a cue from nature, to allow our schedules and our lives to change with the seasons; to be cleansed and refreshed from the rains falling from the sky and to find a little bit of time for dormancy as nature does in the cold of winter.
When we learn to live life patterned after the natural flow and energy of the world around us, we may find that there is a natural flow and transition from one event to the next. We need those times where life is busy and we strain to reach for the warmth and light of something much brighter than ourselves.
As time progresses, this busy-ness can be replaced with a season of cooling schedules and the warmth of family and friends.
The natural flow of life may take us to a time of dormancy, things seem to have slowed down, growth and change is minimal and our interactions may be limited to only those closest in proximity.
And just as surely as the winter turns to spring, growth starts to peek it’s head out from under the blanket of solitude and we re-fresh to a beauty that seemed only a dream the season before.
Find time in your days, your weeks and your months to slow down or to speed up; enjoy the blessings that come from the natural flow of life. Though the winter was long in Minnesota, it ALWAYS released it’s grip to spring’s glory and growth. In one way or another, summer’s frolic and fun will give way to cooler temperatures, sweatshirts and earlier night skies. There is no reason to fight it, to force it or try to avoid it- let the natural flow of life take over and WATCH for the rainbows, TAKE IN the smell of blossoms nectar, and FEEL the warmth of sun’s gentle kisses upon your skin. The process is beautiful in nature, trust that the process will be beautiful in your life too.
Daily Journal Challenge:
Fall is a time to allow the old to shed, making room for the eventual new to sprout. What might it be time to ‘shed’ from your life, your schedule, or your burdens? As leaves change colors and eventually fall from the tree, their change is a slow progression. Your color change and leaf dropping can be just as peaceful and gradual as the tree. And like a child jumping into a raked up pile, allow yourself time for one more jump into the joy these things have provided before clearing away and preparing for something new.
I just have to add this recipe. As I went through the pictures for today’s post, I was reminded of all the wonderful memories our family has had that involve this homemade, in a can, ice cream. This post would not be complete without it.
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups cream
- 2 cups half & half
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Flavorings as desired
- Mix all of the ingredients well, making sure the sugar is dissolved well. Refrigerate until ready to use and shake well to mix anything that has separated.
- Place ingredients in ice cream maker and mix until almost complete. Add flavoring as desired and finish mixing.
- To make in cans: Fill a clean can 1/2 way. Secure lid tightly and place inside a larger can. Pour ice and course ice cream salt between the two cans. Secure lid to larger can. Shake and shake and shake some more. Adding toppings when ice cream is not quite frozen. Shake until desired consistency.
- We got our cans from Home Depot. They sell paint cans that work perfectly for this fun family activity.