Fall = Apple Flavor

The air is cooling. The leaves are starting to show off their colors. The breaths I take smell of dry leaves and all things fall. When the weather changes like this, childhood memories surface and fill my minds with pictures and longings.

When I was young, fall meant a drive into the mountains to visit our favorite “apple barn” – Wooden’s Apple Farm. We’d take the winding mountain roads, despite some of us being inclined to motion sickness. We would tumble out of the car taking deep breaths to clear our lungs of the car’s smell then start pestering Mommy about what kinds of apples we wanted this trip.

Red? Gold? Green? Pink? Tart or sweet? Crisp or grainy? Which ones would be best for baking and which ones did we get to snack on?

We usually bought 2-4 big boxes of pre-picked apples. Then we would head into the store of Wooden’s to get our treat…apple dumplings!!! Mommy used to make us split the huge dumplings covered in vanilla ice cream. As we got older, we protested that we could eat a whole dumpling individually. Of course, she told us “no,” for various reasons that we chose to ignore as selfish children.

Oh! How I miss those apple-seeking adventures! With so many apples at our disposal, Mommy put a limit on how many we could eat a day. And we made lots of applet treats! Apple pie, and crisp, and slump, and dumplings…sometimes she even let us peel and cut our apples then sprinkle them with cinnamon, white sugar, and brown sugar. Despite how many apples we ate, we never grew tired of them.

Even now, I long to find an apple orchard to gather apples for treat making. Fall just doesn’t feel the same if I don’t make some delicious apple treats. 🙂

What are your favorite apple treats?

Do you know some good apple orchards in the Philadelpia area? Please let me know so I can go on an apple gathering adventure this fall.

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Taking the Next Step

A few months ago, I graduated from college.

Wow. That hasn’t quite sunk in.

I gravitate toward the “back to school” sales, and then remember that I don’t have to. Doesn’t stop me from buying house stuff that’s on sale 😉

Everyone asks during your senior year, “what do you plan to do after graduation?”

Talk about pressure!

Thankfully, I had already felt God’s call to the beautiful city of Philadelphia. I had visited and attended dance classes and researched months before my first semester of senior year started.

My reply was usually, “I’m moving to Philadelphia. I’ll work as a nanny (pays better) and take dance classes. I’ll audition for the companies in the area. And I plan to start freelance writing.”

Ha!

I knew what I wanted to do. But it’s been a lot harder than I expected, even though I knew it would be hard based on my research.

1. Nannying 8 hours a day is exhausting. At school, I worked with children occasionally, but I mostly worked as an office assistant/receptionist and as a writer. Very different type of work.

2. Driving and parking in the city…for a girl who grew up in small towns – frightening and frustrating.

3. Figuring out how to set up my own utilities, internet, and transferring my state residency…it’s been a real pain. But it’s slowly working out.

4. Everything is so much more expensive and I have had to find new stores and brands for much of my regular buys.

5. Making connections and new friends is also a long process. I’m a friendly person, but I also tend to stay home if I have no reason to go out.

Even with all the new challenges of living alone and paying for all my expenses myself, I am thankful for the people I’ve met and the places I’ve gone over the past few months. As I move into my first fall out of school, I look forward to a new type of business and scheduling. And I pray that my fellow recent grads are trusting God as they figure out their next steps. 🙂

Planning & Preparation & Perfectionist

Planning and Preparation.

2 of my least favorite words starting with “P”. Probably because I feel like I’m always trying to do both. They go hand-in-hand.

Perfectionist. Hi! That’s me.

The reason I don’t like planning and preparation is because I am a recovering perfectionist.

I say recovering perfectionist because I’ve come to realize that I can’t control everything. At some point, every plan (except God’s plan) goes awry.

I can plan for hours and think that I’m prepared and suddenly BAM! Something unexpected happens!

You realize your car isn’t registered and you’re an out-of-state student.

You start a senior project and halfway through discover that you’re nowhere near where you thought you would be.

You lay out your homework schedule and have everything planned just right, then spend an hour on the phone with Mom or Dad having a much-needed conversation. So some of the homework doesn’t get done because you value sleep or you lose sleep to finish the homework.

However the plan goes awry or different than you imagined, something catches you unprepared.

When I was a perfectionist, I couldn’t stand that!

Now, I’m learning to find value in the unexpected, the unplanned for, the things that find us unprepared. I think it opens my eyes to the beauty around me.

It forces me to look around and say “wow, thank you for the life I have.” Sometimes, the unexpected is something as simple as a sunset. It also actually helps me better appreciate the planning and preparation I did.

*pc Me

A time to change

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

In my 21 (almost 22 years) I’ve often wondered why we make resolutions for the new year. I thought it was ridiculous because most people break them anyway, right? Most of my resolutions have been rather silly and then I didn’t actually keep them. Probably because I made it on a whim . . . which isn’t really a resolution is it?

I’ve thought about it a lot over the past few months. Every season has a time and my season is changing. I’ve been considering all the changes that are coming up. . . graduating college, moving, trying to get a job, making new friends, actually adulting. . . sometimes it’s rather terrifying. But, it’s also exhilarating. My time now is a time of transition, a time of change.

With all the things floating around in my brain (One semester left of papers, tests, and being with the people I know. How will I deal with leaving this place I’ve lived for 4 years? Should I buy a car for myself? Where should I look for an apartment? How do I get that job? What about utilities? I want a cat, how long should I wait? Will I be able to start working right out of college? Or will I have to live with my parents for a while?) sometimes I forget to rest. I forget to give myself space. I forget to trust. And then, I go back to the verse above…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

And I take a deep breath as I read the rest of that passage in Ecclesiastes 3.

“2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”

It’s still stressful. And my season is still one of change. But each season has its time, and mine will shift from change to something else. There are a lot of unknowns, but there were a lot when I prepared for college 4 years ago too.

I guess my resolution this year is to keep my head up during this season of change and keep trusting God to bring me through as He has before. He has the unknowns that try to worry me in His hands along with all the seasons of my life. So, I’ll keep my head up, my life and heart on His altar, and do my best to love Him and love others in my time of change (and after).

 

Restless Musings

Sometimes, I get so tired of the same old things.

Over and over and over, just playing like life never changes –

Follow the same old schedule…

Don’t wish for change. I remind myself “you

Might receive a shock…a friend dies. You lose your job.

You find yourself in a panic for no apparent reason.

You get sick and have to skip days of work or class. ”

“So, don’t wish for change”, I tell myself. So I stop

Wishing for change and just want my stability back.

The same old things over and over and over.

But I am so ready to go! And go! And go!

To live on my own and prove to myself and

My friends and family, that I can be responsible.

I want to throw away that restricting schedule,

Ignore the deadlines and get over the stress –

Escape into God’s beautiful creation and hav

All the time in the world to tell Him how much I love Him!

Focus girl, just breathe, back to the grind.

Get enough sleep, or drink enough caffeine. Be kind

And considerate and share God’s love. Be professional

And be on time, or rather early as you were trained.

Finish your homework, explore your project…

No, do not get distracted by those tv shows and movies

That you love so much. You just have no time for them.

Back to the grind, back to the grind, back to the grind –

But I just wanna go! Get out! Get away from it all! Travel and

Learn as I want. But I can’t…Why is my soul so restless?

Good Friends…

Good friends keep me on my toes

Reminding me what it means to be

Loved and to love, and helping me

Find funny moments whenever my hope I lose.
These are the people who make me feel

Seen and alive and inspired, creativity

Flows from their choosing to be by

My side when over I’m just ready to keel…
From exhaustion or stress or maybe just

A little too much coffee – no such thing –

Lol, And to my attention they bring

Much needed love when I’m ready to bust.
Good friends are always ready to be there

Ready to laugh with you and at you

ready to help you through when you’re tired

and always ready to love you for you.
So thanks so much to my good friends!

*Photos are mine, they are selfies I took this past summer. 

A Reflection: Overcoming Moving with a Sprained Ankle

It is three months before my fifteenth birthday and my father has started interviewing for a new coaching job which will better provide for my family of seven.

This is also when I sprained my right ankle for the first time ever. The sprain is a problem for me since I am a “ballerina in training” as I like to call it. But it is a minor sprain so I push through it because I love dancing so much.

Move forward to a month after my birthday…My dad is living in a different state having started his new job. As for me, I have sprained my right ankle a second time. Of course it is worse than the first one as my ankle is still weak. We are in school, packing the house, dealing with bullying, and trying to keep the whole family together without too much anger and frustration.

May comes around. My ankle is almost well! I will be able to play games, play the piano, and dance without hurting myself constantly! I am pumped up and decide to play a game with my friends, one which involves much running.

Running and I’m going to score!

They will all congratulate me!

A misplaced step, finding myself on the ground so sudden, and feeling…PAIN!!

Pain from my toes up through my back, I can’t move, tears streaming down my face like a river. Blurry faces, being carried, my mom, arriving at home…”You need to ice your foot” … EXCRUCIATING PAIN! “I can’t do it, I just can’t!” I cry and scream in pain.

What has happened to cause so much anguish? I realize that I have stepped into a large hole in the ground while running backwards. I have severely sprained my RIGHT ankle…again!

Next few weeks pass in a blur…crutches, ice, trying to help pack and feeling useless and in the way as a cripple, goodbye tears, moving, new faces, and fear. Living in a small town, near to where my father works, my family enjoys walking into town. This is a frustration for me as I have a sprained ankle and must limp everywhere…when limping 10 feet makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry. Eventually things begin to settle…

You may ask why I decided to relate this in the way I did. It is simply the way I relate to those frightening and painful months. So, what kind of meaning does this contain to me?

I view those months and incident as a lesson for me. I learned in a painful way the consequences of not waiting until you are fully healed to begin participating in fun events. I have seen what it means to be helpful and how to “see the job you are capable of and do it” as my dear mother likes to say.

Those months were long and hard for me.

depression-1250870_960_720

The feelings of uselessness, of being a cripple, and other such thoughts can cripple one mentally causing a difficulty in learning and in relating to others. I had to learn how to overcome these feelings and those of fear, anger, and sorrow.

“How can I move with this ankle? I can’t do anything! Couldn’t we wait just a little bit longer before we move?”

These are just a few of the self-pitying thought I had. I had to overcome this!

I knew that this was tough for my mom and my siblings, especially my older brother. I was determined to be strong for their sake.

In the dark and when alone, did I truly feel this way? Of course not, but I thought it was necessary.