Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Falling for September


I rarely look forward to the arrival of September. 

I wish I liked pulling out sweaters and boots or walking in chilly air or on crunchy leaves, but I don't. 

I do, however, love pumpkin spice coffee. 

So that's reason enough not to write the entire season of autumn off as a loss, don't you think?

And there's Steelers football, too, {which I love} but that's still not enough to make me love fall.



I love summer instead. 

In my girlhood, I dreaded September’s appearance that ended my favorite season and forced me to embark on another school year. 

My hometown of Pittsburgh was rather gray and dreary in the fall and winter and I was glad when I moved to Florida where summer unabashedly overstays its welcome right through the holidays.

But these days, the month of September also marks another year at my job. Nineteen years, to be exact.



That milestone seemed an unlikely longshot when after college I job-hopped to three companies in five years, always keeping an eye out for something new when I grew tired of where I was.

I never decorated my workspace with framed photos and coffee mugs. I liked to think I was traveling light and would have less to pack when the right offer arrived to move on to pastures far lusher and greener than where I was.  

But I've eventually come to realize that no matter where I am, there can be divine purposes in what I'm doing.   



During my art retreat in Italy last summer, instructor Jeanne Oliver gave us handpainted cards with a verse from scripture. 

It's the passage where Esther's uncle Mordecai presses her to have courage and stand up to the king, asking her to consider her place in history.
"And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” - Esther 4:14 {NIV}
All year long I've looked at those words sitting on the little easel on my bookshelf, beside a few grains of sand from the Italian beach and the tiny topiary tree that marked my spot in art class. 

And I think those words are really for us all, wherever we are and whatever we find ourselves doing.



With the clarity that only comes over time, I now see there was much to value during the years I thought I was just in a holding pattern, holding out for something better. 

It was the time and space I needed to learn new skills in technology, design and layout that shaped my ideas and gave me the confidence to create my own blog. And it was where I met the savvy millennials who became my cheerleaders {although it felt more like arm-twisting} as I jumped into social media.

Pursuing opportunities is good and new horizons may be exciting, but there’s also something valuable about settling down to the ordinary and routine that's hard at work shaping our lives. 

There’s always something remarkable to be noticed in the ordinariness of our days, isn’t there?



And there's one more thing about September. 

It's my birthday month. 

Usually it falls {pun intended} on the first day of fall and this year is no exception. 

{I think it unfairly mocks me just to be sure I acknowledge its presence since I'm a little chilly  -- even downright frosty -- toward it.} 

But since turning a year older isn't quite as exciting as it used to be, I might as well warm up to it, shouldn't I?



So welcome, September. 

After all, the first Steeler game of football season is almost here.

It seems I do have several reasons to celebrate, so maybe I'll turn the entire month into a party or gala or bash or some such commemoration. 

{If you have any ideas, let me know.}

So as I reset the clock on the countdown to next summer, I'll be heading out to grab the season's first pumpkin spice latte. 

To go with my slice of birthday cake.




Tell me what you love about September {and maybe I can learn to love it too}!


I'm joining my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Join me there to read posts from my blogger friends!





29 comments:

  1. August is the month that I hate! September means I can bust out the Christmas music (ok, just a song or two), the pumpkin waffles and watch the glorious colors of fall creep up on the landscape. My hubby's birthday is in September (and each birthday post-cancer is a milestone worth remembering).

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    1. Hi Anita,
      Now a plate of pumpkin waffles would make fall a little more welcoming! And I completely agree that your husband's good health journey is definitely worth celebrating!

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  2. Light the candles, girl! Put on your party dress! I love that 'for such a time as this' verse ... especially when we're not quite sure what God has for us. Birthday months are great milestone occasions to evaluate what He's been doing ... and what He might have ahead.

    Sure beats counting the numbers.

    Oh ... I do love autumn, too ...

    ;-}

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    1. Linda,
      Oh yes, counting our blessings sure does beat counting the candles our cakes can hold! :) I'm sure you must have spectacular autumns in your neck of the woods with an array of stunningly colored leaves!

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  3. I had to chuckle as I read this. Your humor is so poetic though! I actually do love autumn best of all. The crunchy leaves make me feel 10 again, dashing through them and springing sky high. I love the lipstick quote. I am seriously thinking about sporting some red soon, or maybe it is from seeing Carolina Cisnero pull it off so well. I did not know your birthday was the day before mine -too neat! You are right, that there is purpose to be found in each season of our doings and beings. Tis about that time to go score me a spicey latte and when I do I'll think of you lol! Blessings, Valerie!!!

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    1. Meg,
      We are September birthday girls?! {I feel like that explains a lot, don't you?!} I love how crunchy leaves make you feel like a girl again -- and I think red lipstick would look stunning on you!

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  4. I always look forward to the first fall breeze. I always say that I can "smell" fall coming, which is ludicrous, since I think I am mostly just excited. Fall is great, think of the colors, and pumpkin-y foods, and annoyingly silly sayings! So much fun! It's fall ya'll!

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    1. Since you are the queen of puns and silly sayings, this season seems tailor-made for you! So happy you love fall a-latte! :)

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  5. Valerie, I have shared a lot of those same reluctant Fall thoughts that you wrote of here--even to having a September Birthday just a few days before yours! When I was younger, I wanted so badly to have a Spring Birthday, since THAT was my favorite season. Alas, I grew to accept my fall Birthday, and even look forward now to the Fall blooming Asters, and prettiest birthstone of all of them: we are Sapphires shining in God's Kingdom! --Hugs to you, September Sister!

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    1. Bettie,
      Hello fellow-September-baby! I always wished my birthday were in the summer! :) And I do have to agree with you that I have always loved my birthstone - - a sapphire is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on fall -- love them! xo

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  6. Valerie. I always smile at the way you seem to say what I think
    I never really liked autumn either. Until I got into high school and started really observing the sky. I started to notice how different it looked in the fall. It's more blue. Less haze. It's crisp. I think October skies are gorgeous. A lot of times they have brilliant blue and deep purple clouds sharing space with the sun. I also love now the fall traditions. I wish it was longer.
    The main reason I don't Rush to love septembers arrival now is because it means winter is knocking. Now winter. I don't love.

    Big milestones for you this month and I am with you. And the whole pumpkin fan base. I love pumpkin flavored things that abound everywhere now.
    Congratulations on staying in the same place for awhile. That's a big deal. Especially now! Loved your thoughts on the glory of the ordinary. I really related to the idea of looking for more only to find what I most need is what I didn't know I already have.
    Great post friend as usual.
    Happy September

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    1. Hi Somer,
      So happy to have your words here today! I love how you describe an October sky! It does sound breathtaking! I somehow can't shake the sinking feeling that school starts in September even though it's been ages since I've been out of school and I don't have kids to relive it with. Maybe if I took a trip somewhere in the fall, it would jolt me out of that rut! :) Thank you for your sweet September wishes, dear friend! xoxo

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  7. When autumn weather sets in, I get more gloomy as I know we're heading into winter and the cold, but I'm trying to find the beauty in every season. Your words here remind me of how I sometimes look at a fall leaf blown by the wind, skittering on to who knows where. Where do they end up? What do they see and hear? :)

    I always love the verse "for such a time as this," so thank you for reminding me of it and the truth that God is working remarkably even in our ordinariness. Blessings and hugs to you, Valerie!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      You are inspiring me to find the beauty in every season and I love how you envision a leaf's thoughts and travels -- what a lovely idea! Oh how right you are if we'd only realize that God is working in our ordinariness to help us seek the beauty right in front of us! xoxox

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  8. As one who just logged 10 years at the same job, I can totally understand how 19 seems surreal! But I think your post captures it all- that there is divine purpose no matter what season we're in. And seasons eventually change... I'm more partial to Fall and Spring but I can find things I love about summer-- like garden tomato BLTs...and a few other things that make it bearable until Fall comes. What I love the most about Fall: the quiet... no A/Cs whirring just windows open and breezes blowing. The warmth of spicy smelling candles to combat when the chill does come on... It just feels homey to me. So thankful for our friendship and that we can walk through all the seasons together. Praying for an extra special Birthday for you my dear. xo

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    1. Hi Heather,
      Ahh -- we are fellow longevity sojourners at our jobs! (Is that even a phrase??!) And did you have to tantalize me with garden tomatoes on BLTs? Sounds downright scrumptious! But I must disagree about the A/Cs whirring -- mine goes full-tilt year-round! :) Thank you for your lovely fall and birthday wishes, dearest friend! xo

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  9. Oh man, I'm a total fall girl so I'm clutching my heart at the idea that you aren't a fall fan-girl like me! :) I love the way the light shifts and the world takes on an amber glow, the way the air smells earthy, and I oh do love getting to finally don my scarves! Thank you for reminding me there's purpose in every season. I am not a fan of spring (which I feel like would make a lot of people faint) but oh how we need spring! And in my life it's a funky season, so I'm trying to remember there's purpose here too! Such a great post, as always!

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    1. Kylie,
      You are making me laugh about your passion for fall! But oh how you've articulated the light falling and the amber glows -- my goodness -- maybe fall is only that lovely where you live! :) But oh -- how can you not love spring and the newness and freshness of yet another beautiful season?! I know -- I should heed my own words and look at fall a little more kindly! Thank you for showing me the way, friend! xo

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  10. Happy Birthday! And I've had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte already! I, like you, am excited that it is the season for Pumpkin Lattes. But I love fall. September and October are my favourite months of the year, as well as my favourite time to visit the Rocky Mountains. Maybe if you got a touch of the Rockies in the fall, you may have change of heart. Your summer pictures and posts were fabulous and I'm glad you are a summer girl who conveyed her talents to me over these past months. Yes, there is a season for everything under the sun, and we are born in this time for a reason. And I'm happy to know the seasons took you to exactly where you are right now, connecting, inspiring, and ministering here.

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      I'm jealous that you're already a pumpkin spice latte ahead of me!! :) Ahh -- now a trip to the Rockies might make me love fall -- except I'm not crazy about mountains --(did I just admit that??) Thank you so much for your sweet words here and your birthday wishes. I'm so grateful to have connected with you via our blogs, friend! xoxo

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  11. Hi Valerie- I love the title of this post!! It is just perfect! and the thoughts it introduces are just as wonderful! I really love fall- it is my favorite season- But in Virginia most of September still feels like summer - I do like September though- maybe because I like school- and the smell of newly sharpened pencils and unopened textbooks ! I like to smell my books! hahah so weird I know but it makes me happy - just that fresh new smell - I think thats why I like september-It feels new- maybe even more so to me than January 1. It’s a fresh start with the hope of undiscovered things ahead! :) Anyway, your words from Esther speak to me and this thought as well. "But I've eventually come to realize that no matter where I am, there can be divine purposes in what I'm doing.” How I needed to hear that!! I have been caught up comparing, wondering about my purpose in the everyday ness of my life. Thank you for reminding me that even things that don’t look it from the outside have divine purpose. Happy Birthday!! I hope you have a wonderful celebration full of pumpkin spice lattes, and all things beautiful!! xoxo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I'm with you on the scent of books! It's definitely a distinctive aroma but I like the scent of old books and new books and even used books remind me of my childhood! They're intoxicating aren't they?! (To bookworms like us!) :)

      Those words from Esther are intriguing since maybe most of our lives aren't a blaze of glorious colors but stand out all the same with making the ordinary beautiful in its own unique way. And thank you for the September wishes and the indulgence of pumpkin lattes -- I know you'll join me in spirit with your tea! :) xo

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  12. Dude, September is still really really hot. I am good. I love those perfect fall days where it is comfortable to be outside. :) toward the end of September is when I start to notice it. The air changes a little. I can wear boots and leggings with a big flowy tops. Then it gets too cold for me. But without the really hot and really cold days, I wouldn't appreciate the perfect spring and fall days.
    Happy birthday! As someone born in the gloomiest month of February, I feel you. Enjoy your day if only to spite the calendar. ;)

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    1. Sarah,
      February is the month of love, not gloom! :) I love your sonnet to September (hmm, that sounds like a better blog title than this one -- maybe I should save that one!) and all you enjoy about it! :)

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  13. I sadly disagree with (except the Pumpkin Spice Latte ; ) ) fall is the best season. Now I do understand those dreary winter months of Pa. Kinda grumpy but not fall. The leaves start to change colors and because this state is filled with mountains and trees, it is a sea of colors. Breath taking. Isnt Florida warm for the most part all year around? I bet that was a bonus when you took your job down there. Love your post though : ) have a good weekend.

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      I think you have joined the crowd here by trying to turn me into an autumn-appreciator! :) The blaze of colors of the fall leaves are certainly stunning and since we don't have much of it here, maybe that colors my thoughts about fall! xo

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  14. It's your birthday month so you should definitely love it as it's a celebration of you! :)

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    1. Hi Amy!
      So excited to see you here, old friend! :) And thank you for the sweet wishes -- miss you! xo

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  15. Lovely post, Valerie! I have to say I prefer October because it's more consistently colder (at least in Kansas) and after a long, hot summer, I crave cold. And for me, pumpkins belong on my porch or in bread, not in drinks or pies. :-)

    But September also holds a very special place in my heart. It's the month, many years ago, that we closed the book on infertility treatments. And also the month, two years later, that we adopted our first daughter. Talk about redemption! So yeah, I love September because of that. (And also football season ... Go Chiefs!)

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday next week!

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