3 Things I Learned this Fall

Of all the seasons, Fall is my favorite with her leaves blazing on branches against the fading skies before skirting the trees' knees on the way to winter. The smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and pumpkin always help me slow down and savor the shifting light.

The Wonders are changing too. Everything is a first for them (leaves and pumpkins!) and seeing the world through their eyes is helping me pay attention to small delights.

The Blueberry photo by Monica Conlin.

Sweet Pea photo by Kate Sanders.

If you're like me, you have to write stuff down to process it and keep track of where you're headed. Every month or so I flip back through my pages and see what God might be showing me in the patterns of what I'm reading or who I am spending time with. (see the Wonders above)

Today I thumbed through my common place book to see what I learned this autumn season and I joined a community of writers also looking back at what they learned. I used to do this every month. Now it will come to you each season. You can follow the link at the end of this post to see where I fit into this community of learners.

Here is what I learned this fall that you might find helpful, inspiring or just plain old quirky.

  1. The Simplicity of 3

Life is busy and we have dreams.

How can we accomplish what we set out to do?

I have started writing down my projects in three's:
*3-month viewpoint
*3 goals per month
*3 projects per week
*3 steps per day

This 90 day planning cycle is not my original idea, lots of professionals use it and we have likely all heard it before, but the concept of a simple 3 is what finally clicked for me.

I have been applying this concept to my writing and my faith, but you could apply it to whatever you're working on: meals, a body plan, school, home organization or parenting. I have only been practicing it for my first 90 days, so I don't have it dialed in yet, but I can already feel the benefits.

I hope to write a whole post that explains my wobbly planning process, so stay tuned if you're interested.

In the meantime, try your own Simple 3.

2.Tears and smiles tell you a lot about your heart and soul

That might sounds strange, but I have learned a few things by paying attention to what brings unexpected tears and unexpected smiles both in myself and those I know and love. Im not taking about obvious places like sad movies or celebrations, but more ordinary moments where you could miss the nudge. There are tiny clues in these moments to where you might want to invest yourself in big ways.

Here is what I noticed recently,

I feel joy when I light a candle in my home early in the morning hours before the house is awake.

I feet tears prickling behind my eyes at worship songs about being rescued.

Books about finding your voice and living your purpose give me happy sighs and wake me up with purpose.

I notice I smile whenever I drive over the mountain pass to our cabin in the woods.

I get excited about collaborative, creative projects about home, craftsmanship, faith in Jesus or soul keeping.

I feel a thrill when I see a pattern of story unfold and a loss when I know there is story that isn't being told.

I can see how this has already been informing my current projects and is breathing new life into them while strengthening my yeses to new endeavors.

What make you smile unknowingly or brings surprising tears?

3.An app called Wordswag is good for your favorite quotes

I had the honor and delight of being on several book launch teams this past fall which means I got to read an advance copy and to cheer for an author's dream leading up the book hitting the shelves. Since I had a printer paper copy of the advance book and not a beautiful cover copy, this is how I shared the author's words until I could purchase my own copy.

You could use it for verses of scripture or poetry or your own words too.

Someone suggested Wordswag, a phone app to "add awesome text to your photos in seconds". They have some skins you can use like the gold heart at the bottom, but since I love taking photos I mostly used my own iPhone photos. I added text right on my phone.

Check it out at http://wordswag.co

I used the Wordswag app to make the images below.

Here is a list of affiliate links to the books I helped launch into the world as part of the author's team. Any of them would make great Christmas gifts.

Al the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth A memoir full of Edie's Southern charm and wit telling of her deep love for God and a broken Daddy.

Falling Free by Shannan Martin Shannan has a dry wit, tough mind and tender heart for following God's call out of her perfect farmhouse dream and into the city of broken sidewalks, public schools and loving her neighbors.

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp A poetic and vulnerable writing from Ann's broken heart about broken things and all the beauty they bring to our lives by God's design.

Come Lord Jesus by Kris Kamealy Kris gives you all of the Scriptures about the coming Messiah and her own tender heart to read for the Advent season.

I am better for having read and cheered all of these words into the world.

Those are my lessons from fall.

To see a whole list of what other writers are learning this fall, see Emily P Freeman's blog What We Learned this Fall

To see what I learned last season, visit What I learned this Summer