Friday, October 30, 2015

DAY 23: do something new. a devotional...kind of.

ok so I was supposed to take a picture of what I thought was true (it was a bible study homework assignment). and the first thing I thought of was a compass. you know, like, a true reading?

So, I grab my compass and my camera and I run outside. (bible study was going to start in 30 minutes. I really am a college student when you consider how proficient I am at procrastinating homework assignments and then completing them right before they're due.)

I put my compass down on the porch so I can take a pic....and the reading is TOTALLY OFF. the needle was pointing due east. what is going on?

I move the compass, thinking maybe the needle isn't level and that's what's throwing off the reading.
the needle moves to north. and then I see the little screw next to where the compass had been. a screw made of metal.

then I started thinking:

WE are the compass needle. we point towards magnetic pulls, which is usually magnetic north, but sometimes that can be offset by other magnetic pulls, like a screw. and screws can be an example for worldly attractions. if we get to close to them, we point towards them instead of north.

and did you know that magnetic north (what a compass points towards) does not point to True North (what the North Star points towards)? so lets just assume that as the compass needle, we get as close to we can to north as we possibly can. HOWEVER, that is not actually an accurate reading on North. The only accurate reading for that is the North Star. and lets just say that the North Star is God. he is North, he is unchanging, he is true.

Sometimes we will think "oh, i'm fine, i'm pointing towards north. other people are way off, pointing towards the world, not towards north, so I'M FINE". but the thing is, is if we keep following our slightly-off reading of magnetic north, we will be MILES off by the time we get to where our destination should be. Our only way to get to NORTH is by saying "ok, so THERE is the North Star, and the general direction of north is the way my needle is pointing, so i'm gonna follow that True north, and make sure that my needle is pointing is the same direction."

our job as Christians is to point towards Him. We need to keep ourselves far enough away from worldy attractions and other magnetic pulls so that we can point towards North, as much as we can.  then, we need to check our magnetic north reading with the True North, the North Star, God, to make sure we're pointing in the right direction.

not to ask the obvious question or anything....but which way are you pointing?

Day 21 - a letter to me in 5 years

i'm just gonna throw this out there. THIS IS REALLY HARD TO DO which is why its 9 days late. so there.

Dear Sam,

five years is a long time. hopefully you've figured out that there is more to life than school and your future career.

i hope you've figured out how to be decent to people on a regular basis, not just when things are going your way.

i hope you've realized

that life is a little less complicated than you make it out to be.
that there are more important things than winning.
that priorities hurt.
that rest is important.
that getting the bad stuff off your mind, easing the worries, all that, it helps a LOT.
that you are beautiful even when you're ugly. at least God thinks so anyway, and his opinion is the only one that counts.
that being alone is different from being lonely. and sometimes both are good.

that you are really really really really REALLY blessed. by friends, family, home, and pretty much everything else. you don't have much to complain about.

that life is much deeper, and much richer, and much fuller than you could ever imagine, and all you have to do is dive in.

that you must look at things from an objective point of view, and at people from a subjective point of view, and at yourself with an introspective view.

that when you care about someone, you do whats best for them, and you put yourself aside.

that you must care about yourself, and put up boundaries. not walls: boundaries. they're different. one says: here is the line; you must not cross it; please respect that. the other says: don't come near me. but nearness is special. you need that.

that listening to respond is different than listening to hear.

that there is a balance around you. sometimes it must be upset; no change is not good. there must be a little change, a little discomfort, in order for there to be growth. but that balance is also a good thing to be able to maintain.

that secrets are not a good thing. you should be open. secrets tend to eat you...from the inside out.

that there's that soft spot inside of you, hidden well. but it is soft, and it hurts if you push it too hard.

that its okay to be scared. it means you're about to do something really brave.

that you know the right thing to do. deep down, you know.

and you know, 5 years is a long time. everything might change between now and then. the only things that won't change are good and bad, right and wrong, light and dark, and how much God loves you. and God. God won't change at all.

and in the midst of all this, i hope that you have discovered new music and new books and new places and made new friends and figured out who you are and how you like to chill. i hope you've made life, in these five years, or at least caught glimpses of it.

live well.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

DAY 29: music faves.


its like air wave therapy.

ANYWAYS. what am i listening to recently?

Ed Sheeran - Tenerife Sea. SO BEAUTIFUL. like, almost makes me cry.

Ed Sheeran - Give Me Love. just, like, WOW.

Ed Sheeran - I See Fire. (okay, YES i am on an Ed Sheeran kick. but there have been worse things, right?)

Shawn Mendez - Stitches. its such a GOOD angry song.

I Am They. (basically their whole first CD.)

what about you? anything good on the sound waves right now?

DAY 24: lazy days. what to do?

watch the rain fall. as far as i'm concerned, rainy days are the epitome of lazy days.

drink tea. preferably earl grey.


read books.


sometimes, i'll go for a drive because there's nothing else to do.


but usually, on a lazy day, the best part is when i let down my guard. i feel good, because i'm not stressed. i'm okay, because i'm able to rest, just for a day. just for a day. because in my world, lazy days come one at a time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

DAY 27: DIY Halloween Decorations...wut.

i am the worst decorator in the history of holiday decorating. or ANY decorating for that matter. my room has been unfinished for basically FOREVER, and my apartment's only excuse for its sadly empty walls and sparsly furnished sitting area is that i'm a college-aged person with little spending money and all of that goes towards food, clothes, and then into a jar (because EUROPE HERE I COME) so basically there goes anything that makes you think warm and fuzzy and its description contains the words "couch" "furniture", or "apartment".

seriously. i don't even have measuring cups for my kitchen.

so WHY on this lovely green earth would i decorate for halloween?

(ahem: the answer is, i wouldn't.)

BUT its this stupid tag that i signed up for. so dang it i have to at least say my opinion.

Halloween Decorations. (oh shoot, and their DIY to boot.....)

1. Halloween is not halloween without a carved pumpkin.

2. candles. enough said.

3. bonfires. also enough said. 

and honestly, after that? who cares! get a movie and make 4 different types of popcorn and sack out on the couch for the evening. happy halloween!

note: all of these pictures came from Pinterest. enjoy!

DAY 28: what i read in october

i finished this one: my review is here.

and i'm working on this one: so far it has beautiful descriptions and a mystery that I AM DYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENS. i'll let you know what i think of it.

and coming up: this one. it looks interesting, but it will probably take me FOREVER. yay.

my reading skills have diminished greatly. must fix them. any good books that you'd like to recommend? TELL ME! my most favoritest thing on the planet (other than chocolate and travelling and poems that make my heart hurt and pinterest) is book recommendations. I LOVE THEM so don't be shy. :)

DAY 25: this week i did absolutely nothing exciting

i worked. i played a little piano. i started reading a new book that i actually bought. (i never buy books. i WANT to buy books. but my budget is cruel and unrelenting and focused towards more expensive travelling.) and i started making some more journals. (more on that later.)

i baked some pumpkin and looked up a midwifery school. i pondered whether to post my forceful and probably-not-politically-correct post on feminism. i watched an entire season of The Big Bang Theory which is my guilty pleasure show. and i laugh way too hard at it.

i made sure that every time i walked down the sidewalk i kicked the leaves and enjoyed their crunching. i gaped at the frost-glazed trees and the fog bank that is usually much larger this time of year, but had just missed our house. i was disappointed at this.

i looked up Albanian food. it looks lovely. lots of flaky doughs and meat and cabbagey fillings and BAKLAVA. (i have to figure out how to do this gluten free) so that stuff is on the list.

i made sorbet (strawberry and mango) which was really good. oh, and meatloaf.

but this week, other than these things, has been rather quiet. that quietness that comes, not before the storm, but three weeks later when nothing has happened for a while, and you start to think that nothing will ever happen again. its that quiet when you've been walking for a long time and haven't really gotten anywhere. anywhere remarkable, that is. its that quiet right in the middle of everything that makes you tired enough to just lay down and take a nap. its the kind of quiet that comes from everyone watching you to see if you will go through the door. the problem you even see it? its right in front of you. you've gotten somewhere, but you don't see it. you just need to overcome that one last obstacle. go through the door.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Day 17: TAG you're it: a happy list (10 things...:)

it's a great idea, really.
writing down things that make you happy. like counting your blessings.
remind yourself that your life is incredible. even if its incredible just because you're breathing and you've got wi-fi. even if its just because you're in pain - it means your alive.
even if its just because you had ice-cream last night.
even if.
count your blessings.

~~ it is autumn.

~~which means i can wear sweaters and boots again.

~~we went on a train trip to Portland and it was lovely. (more pictures to come, etc.)

~~ + new music to listen to. my ipod isn't even close to full but its got all my faves.

~~ god is patient. god is gracious. god is listening. 

~~ COFFEE: because its always a toss-up between a hazelnut breve and an americano with room for 
cream and sugar.

~~ a new bible study on Hebrews. The Nearness of King Jesus by Lisa Harper. its really good to get out and go to a bible study that isn't based solely on my own motivation.

~~ i'm signing up for college. my brain got bored over the summer and this fall. yay midwifery school. (maybe? probably? unless something drastic happens.)

~~ these little girls, my nieces. (aren't they adorable?) their mom (my sister) took the photo.

~~ the fact that God has everything under control.  Hebrews 4:13 "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

if you read all the way through this post then i tag you. comment below some of the things that you're thankful for! or steal the idea and do it on your blog. :D

p.s. I'm behind on this little Blogtober adventure AGAIN but i promise you that i will catch up. :D

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Day 20 & 22 - Halloween tags and Pinterest roundups

Because i am SUCH a rebel: i'm combining these posts. So, its all from Pinterest. but i'm answering the tag questions. (i know. waaaaat?)

feel free to do this yourself! :)

1- What year did you first go trick-or-treating?

my family and i have only ever gone to church harvest parties and things like that. so, no, i've never actually gone trick-or-treating.

2- Favorite kind of candy?

3- What are you going to be this year?

sadness from Inside Out! (LOVE that movie...)

4 - Favorite costume you've had?

my sister and i did this for like, 3 years straight. cowboys and indians. OH and there was that one time where the entire family dressed up like hicks from the backwoods. there were some reactions to that. 

5 - Favorite spooky creature?

black cats. (the worst they can do is scratch you.) (plus these little buggers are ADORABLE.)

6 - How hyped do you get for Halloween?

7 - Halloween Pinteresty thing that you've always wanted to try?

we made caramel apples ONCE while i was a child. i REALLY REALLY REALLY want to give it another go.  

8- Favorite part of Halloween?

we don't actually GO to the movies. we just sack out in my mom's bedroom and watch like, 3 movies in a row and chow on junk food. 

9 - Orange or black?


NOW: i'm not going to specifically tag anyone, but feel free to steal this. :) Happy Halloween! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Day 16: a poem about fall, and mind palaces, and trees

write a poem, they said.
write another poem about fall.
I already HAVE, I think.
I don't think I have any more, hidden away in the nooks and crannies of my brain.
I'm empty - I've given all I have to give.
you can only describe the crispness of the air
and the odor of the leaves
and all my favorite things about fall
so many times. there are only so may words for it.

But then I think of my writing place.
its in my mind palace,
where I go mentally even when
I can't be there physically.

I built my little office in the corner of my being.
its a little shady, with
warm grey walls and
photos of every good memory I've ever had
strung across the walls.
there's a hammock for when I need to just curl up and cry
there's a tree that has a reading nook
and a branch that forms a bookshelf.
the leaves turn red when I need a whiff of autumn.
sometimes it will even lose those leaves
if I need some winter.

and in the corner of the corner,
there's a little desk
with a little computer
with the perpetually open Word document
that forms the journal of my life.

and when I sit at that little desk, I'm in a
sweatshirt and stretchy jeans
and I can sit with slumped shoulders and criss-crossed legs
and I don't have anywhere to be
my mind calms
and all I can hear is that slight sigh of the tree in the corner
and my own thoughts.
and those thoughts say:

keep writing.
even when you don't have anything left.
because writing keeps you sane
writing tells you what you think because its
your own words on the page.

in the fall time trees lose their leaves,
and they catch that glimpse of themselves on the ground.
they see the front of foliage they are presenting.
they see their face.
and while they are not able to change the way their leaves will look in the spring and even next fall,
you can.
you can look at your writing and decide what you want
to edit
and change
and DO with it.
you can decide what you want it to look like.
you can decide what YOU want to look like
because your writing is a reflection of you.
your writing is your ability to step outside yourself and
look inwards to discover who you are
and then edit.
trees do it.
they edit every. single. year.
they lose everything but their core.
and when the spring comes, they regrow

I can't help but wonder
what is wrong with this method?
nothing. nothing about it is bad.
what we absolutely have to have,
we should save in our trunk.
we should make those things our core,
letting them engrain themselves in us
(pun intended)
and the rest
the worries, the problems
the stuff we hold onto for no reason
and the stuff that weighs us down:
we should let go of those. we should shed our leaves
and let the snow cover them up
and then in the morning, we should start writing again.
in the spring, we should grow new leaves.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Kisses From Katie (book review #5)

What would cause an eighteen-year-old old senior class president and homecoming queen from Nashville, Tennessee, to disobey and disappoint her parents by forgoing college, break her little brother’s heart, lose all but a handful of her friends (because the rest of them think she has gone off the deep end), and break up with the love of her life, all so she could move to Uganda, where she knew only one person but didn’t know any of the language? A passion to make a difference. Katie Davis left over Christmas break her senior year for a short mission trip to Uganda and her life was turned completely inside out. She found herself so moved, so broken by the people and the children of Uganda that she knew her calling was to return and care for them. Her story is like Mother Teresa’s in that she has given up everything—at such a young age—to care for the less fortunate of this world. Katie, a charismatic and articulate young woman, has gone on to adopt 14 children during her time in Uganda, and she completely trusts God for daily provision for her and her family, which includes children with special needs.

To further her reach into the needs of Ugandans, Katie established Amazima Ministries. The ministry matches orphaned children with sponors worldwide. Each sponsor's $300/year provides schooling, school supplies, three hot meals a day, minor medical care, and spiritual encouragement. Katie expected to have forty children in the program; she had signed up 150 by January 2008; today it sponsors over 400. Another aspect of the ministry is a feeding program created for the displaced Karamojong people—Uganda's poorest citizens. The program feeds lunch to over 1200 children Monday-Friday and sends them home with a plate for food; it also offers basic medical care, Bible study, and general health training.

Katie Davis, now 21, is more than fascinating, she's inspiring, as she has wholeheartedly answered the call to serve.

GOOD: INSPIRATIONAL TO THE POINT OF TEARS. i kid you not. this was a really incredible book in the genre of testimonies and auto-biographies. this girl dropped everything - i repeat EVERYTHING - for God so that he could move her across the world and have her start a non-profit ministry that would care for +200 kids not to mention an uncountable number of adults. Oh! and in the process she adopted 14 children.

BAD: it took me a bit to finish this book. it was a little slow at first. i really like the last half of the book, maybe just because i was more focused and i didn't have other things distracting me? it was a little slow, but totally worth reading.

DIFFICULTY: harder than Ranger's Apprentice, but easier than the worst book you read in school last year. (that's not vague at all. *sigh* just go with it.) (the ONLY problem that i had was that it didn't involve dragons. but i say that about every non-fiction book i read.)

1-10 SCORE: 9. seriously guys, it was that good. GO READ IT.

OVERVIEW: to read a book that tell sthe story of a girl who felt that she wasn't comfortable inteh cultural norm REALLY spoke to me. that she did something about it was INCREDIBLE. and that God worked through her even when she didn't understand what was going on, but then later she was able to look back and see his hand prints over every single moment is TOTALLY COOL to me. i really really really really liked this one, guys.

that's what i got out of it.

Rangers Apprentice #8, #9, and #10 (book review #4)

When a cult springs up in neighboring Clonmel, promising to quell the recent attacks by lawless marauders, people flock from all over to offer gold in exchange for protection. But Halt is all too familiar with this particular group, and he knows they have a less than charitable agenda. Secrets will be unveiled and battles fought to the death as Will and Horace help Halt in ridding the land of a dangerous enemy. 

The renegade outlaw group known as the Outsiders has journeyed from kingdom to kingdom, conning the innocent out of their few valuables. Will and Halt, his mentor, are ambushed by the cult's deadly assassins when Halt is pierced by a poisoned arrow. Now Will must travel day and night in search of the one person with the power to cure Halt: Malkallam the Sorcerer.

When Horace travels to the exotic land of Nihon- Ja, it isn't long before he finds himself pulled into a battle that is not his - but one he knows in his heart he must wage. A kingdom teeters on the edge of chaos when the Nihon-Ja emperor, a defender of the common man, is forcibly overthrown, and only Horace, Will, and his Araluen companions can restore the emperor to the throne. Victory lies in the hands of an inexperienced group of fighters, and it's anybody's guess who will make the journey home to Araluen.

GOOD: guys, these are the Rangers Apprentice. I HAVE NO COMPLAINTS. (other than the fact that certain characters who are supposed to be romantically involved with one another are STILL NOT TOGETHER. #problems like, seriously. i'll be dead by the time they get married.) The entire series is really cool, not too hard to read (either by actual reading level difficulty or mentally/emotionally. You know how some books  make you think about the purpose of life? these...not so much.) its basically about a boy who learns his trade as a woodsman-type guy. Think Robin Hood hired by a good king to be the sheriff and then he grows up to be one of the best Rangers that there is and saves the country 7 times...or something like that.

BAD:  Sometimes, the stories drag on and on. Basically its: they come across a problem, send the Rangers and the Rangers buddies to deal with it. Which usually ends up with tactical obstacles and sometimes they need an army to defeat their foe, but they're all so resourceful that they never lose. (predictable? NEVER.) in the later ones there are also a couple of swear words, too, so if you've got issues with that then probably don't read them. (although i think there's only like, 7 swear words in all 12 books.)

DIFFICULTY: not too bad at all. If you're looking for an easy, entertaining read, DEES BOOKS URR GUD. 

1-10 SCORE: 8.76 (i'd give them a 9 but a) cussing and b) predictability.)

OVERVIEW: my reaction= DAAAAWWWWW *throws books across room* WHY ARE YOU SO CUTE? these books make you feel like you're 8-years-old again and your only problem is that your homemade bow and arrows aren't actually real. plus this lovely series is HILARIOUS. (i snort-laugh [its a thing] at the amount of sarcasm in these humorous tomes.) I was driving in the car with my mom one day while reading one of these and started hysterically laughing to the point where she was worried about me. AWESOMENESS. plus, you know, they have Skandians, which are the equivalent of our Vikings. SO COOL. they even have accents. SO READ THESE whenever you get bored and need to fill out your TBR list with +12 books. 

that's what i got out of it. 

Day 14 and 15: memories buried in pages

i don't have a particular favorite fall memory.
they've all sort of mashed together into a magical feeling of loveliness that oozes from me every time the word "autumn" is mentioned.
i can visit that feeling anytime, because its bottled up inside. its the same feeling i get when i think about the smell of books, the sight of towering mountains, or the sound of ocean waves in my ears. its labeled home and nostalgia. i can visit anytime i need a quiet place to collect my thoughts back to who i actually am.
the year upon year upon year of going to the mansion, rolling around in the leaves and grass until our noses were pink and our hair filled with twigs and dead leafage. the collection of school books, being excited by the bleachy odor of new notebook paper, woody pencil shavings, the wax-ish aroma of colored pencils, armed and prepared for the battlefield of the coloring books. the morning crumpling of newspapers for the fire, lit by the match that my mother could always strike on the first try, the flame seducing the paper to burn, burn, soon followed by the crackling of pine wood. and behind it all as a backdrop is the warm settled feeling of applesauce in my stomach.
each of these is layered in the pages of books i have read. memories lovingly wrapped in the fictional newspapers of places that i have only been in my mind. memories more precious than great-grandmother's china, cupped and cradled by the minutes of meetings that only took place on paper. 
books were my ground, my dirt for growing. woven through my childhood memories was the privilege of a library. a narnian war took place three weeks before christmas one year. laura ingalls and her father were crossing the prairie when easter rolled around, and the boxcar children found their grandfather just before halloween. even later, Redwall fought for its inhabitants as i recieved my final grades for the year, and the Wormling found his identity before the summer was out. 
now, Kisses from Katie has wormed its way around my heart, reminding me what i'm actually supposed to do. i'm supposed to be a missionary. i'm supposed to love others and be a light and have constant communion with God and be available and open as a person. it speaks of following Him wholeheartedly, and what that looks like, how we can carry that out in our everyday life. i've finished that book now, but its rather haunting me, asking me to objectively look at the way i live.

i look forward to All the Light We Cannot See. i've heard wonderful things about it. a blind girl learning how to live in Nazi-invaded Poland. a story of struggle and perhaps triumph. (i don't know about triumph because i haven't read the end yet.)

its book season as much as it is autumn season. its nostalgia and home. its my comfort zone.

Day 11: RANT: what if we were Jesus-oriented

ours is a performance oriented world.

doing your best is no longer the standard that you live up to.
it used to be. God is happy with our best.
if we give him everything
if we let him work through us
but for everyone else, it isn't enough.
the new standard is everyone else's view of your best, which is labeled "perfect"
in a scrawling, ridiculous, unreal script.

When we step onto the stage of life,
the lights blind us.
we stagger, dazed, confused, disoriented.
until someone pulls the rug out from under us.
and then we know exactly what happened.
our best - our dazed, disoriented best -
that trying in a tough situation
wasn't good enough.
and someone said so.

it doesn't matter that they don't know what it feels like to be you.
they said it. and it hurt.
like stubbing your toe, or hitting your funny bone.
enough to bring tears to your eyes and attempt to curl into the fetal position.
but not enough to kill you.

They say.
its not good enough.
you're not good enough.
work harder.
do better.
because otherwise we will throw you to the crowd
and who knows what they'll do to you...

You wonder why you are even on that stage.
you wonder why you're there.
who put you there.
there's a faint memory of wanting to be on the stage
of wanting to please.
but now it just doesn't seem to matter
it's pointless to try to please someone who can't be pleased.
they'll only make fun of you
as they rip the rug out
once again
and laugh as you fall flat.

So why try?
because suddenly
as you're laying on the floor with a sore bum and
a sore pride
you wonder why their opinion matters
why you ever used their measurement, their standard
in the first place.

We weren't made to be successful.
We were meant to be faithful.
We fail at it; we are faithless
and yet we serve a faithful God
who's standards never change.
who never changes.
who does not judge performances
because they will never be perfect.

our value to him is not what we can do
but the fact that we are us
and nothing can really change that.
the fact that we are a work in progress
a blob of clay
that will be put through formation,
burning heat in the kiln,
drowning in glaze,
and then burnt again.
sometimes we are even shattered and then pieced together again.
but that is what makes us beautiful
we are art.
we are ever changing,
when he is not.
we are us
and he is him.
can we be Jesus-oriented,
rather than performance-oriented,
focusing on the journey rather than the applause?
we serve a God who loves us
because we are messed up.
not because we are perfect.
Why can our value not come from God?
that the value is I am a work in progress.
I'm not perfect.
But I'm better than I was yesterday
and I'll be even better tomorrow.
Why can our value not be based on whether we nailed it
or not.
but on the fact that it's been worse.
why can we not be valuable because we are us?
Why can our value not be because Jesus was nailed?
because our ledger no longer runs red.
because it is as clean as a new driving record.
a blank cd
an empty wall
or a white canvas.
Why can our value be the fact that we have jesus
tattooed across our heart.
not the fact that we fail to have perfect
tattooed on our foreheads?

It seems this is the struggle of our generation.

forever looking to others to define us.
what do you think of me? my writing, my room,
my weird art projects, my future, my strange taste of music, my *insert whatever here*.
we care about what other people think.
But is that right?
what if unimportant opinions are being applied?

what if we applied the opinion that mattered.
the one that shaped us into our very literal best on the standard that mattered.
not the one that didn't but was used anyways.
what if we used correct
rather than incorrect.
and left the rug, the stage
the facial tattoos that were once so critical
because they didn't matter.
and we were jesus-oriented
rather than performance-oriented.
what if.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Day 10: stayin cozy (with gifs. YAY.)



Step 1: buy internet data.

Step 2: never get out of bed.

Step 3: surf Pinterest and Facebook and blogs ALL DAY LONG. 

And that’s it.

The only problem with this is this tiny little thing called finances. In order to have successful finances, you have to have a job. Which requires getting out of bed. (unless I missed something. If you know a way around this little roadblock LET ME KNOW.) because my life is basically me doing things but in my head i'm going:

For the first 7 months of my job i tried to figure out how to dress appropriately. (Qualifications include temperature of clothing, applicability to the season of the year, and is-this-nice-enough-to-wear-there.) AND I FAILED MISERABLY for the first 7 months. It was awesome. At this point though, i'm barely keeping myself warm and cozy, so i don't know how my advice will help. you're probably just here for the amazing gifs. 

So here’s what I do, because I have a job and, unfortunately, no internet connection at my house:

STEP 1: Dress as cozily as possible. (Guys, I don’t know how you do this. I am not a guy thus I don’t know a) how you dress and b) if you ever get cold because you didn’t dress warm enough. I’m assuming you don’t have issues with this because you were all built with those blasted internal furnaces that God forgot to put into girls. *pointed look at God*.)

So girls, listen up:  
Leggings, flannel-lined pants (#heaven), and warm skirts with leggings are your best bet. Then, layer your tops: tank-top under a t-shirt or long-sleeve under a sweater and/or  a scarf. Then, warm socks and boots, or just regular shoes if you’re feeling brave enough to conquer that terrible condition known as ice toes. Next: DON’T FORGET THE COAT. Get something warm. As much as I hate long coats, they really are lovely in the midst of a short yet frozen walk downtown. (I believe my words were “MY LEGS ARE ICE LEGS.” …or something along those lines…)

STEP 2: DRINK WARM LIQUIDS. Yes, you will have to pee. But tea is lovely, as are toilets. Can’t have one without the other.

Also coffee is great, although you will suffer the consequences of addiction and HYPERNESS. NOT GOOD. Sometimes even hot water with a little stevia extract is nice, or lemon and honey tea. OR whatever other lovely liquid you’ve conjured up. (I love new ideas so let me in on your secrets.)

These are what I do, all autumn, and all winter. My sister thinks I’m crazy because I don’t do Step 3 like, EVER.  But let’s be honest: The cold never bothered me anyway. 

(Except for days when I didn’t get enough sleep. Then it bothers me more than an itch I can’t reach.) (And I can reach most of my itches.)(So that says a lot.)

STEP 3: TURN UP THE DANG HEATER. Sometimes that’s all you can do to keep the cold monsters at bay. My sister’s room usually feels like a sauna in the chilly early morning hours because someone decided to put wall heaters in our rooms. Lexy uses hers like the rapture might happen and goodness we want to get our use out of these before then, now don’t we?

(this is how lexy looks at the heater whenever i turn it off.)

But really. The best course of action is to stay in bed under a pile of blankets and hope no one notices you. (Maybe you’ll be able to avoid the job police.) (Let me know the success rate on this. I’m considering doing it myself.) 

(seriously sometimes i nope so hard i turn into this octopus.)

And offer tips. I love it when people give me new ideas of how to not freeze. 

Days 9 and 13: my favorite part of fall and a menagerie of photos to boot...

Autumn. I love it. I don’t love it the way some people love summer or winter or spring, loving it because it gives me nicer weather or skiing or vacations. I love it because it makes me giddy. I love it when the leaves skitter down the sidewalk like scared cats and the trees chuckle their response, tossing down more deceased foliage for amusement. I love the slight breezes and the way the cold crisp mornings smell clean. I hate the way summer comes back in the afternoons, too hot for the leggings and sweaters that I so desperately adore. I crumple up happily at the odor of musty leaves and sigh deeply when the bitter, tantalized odor of coffee wafts into my nose…the same nose that I bury deeply between scarves and aviators.

I love the way autumn sinks into winter, the black hole of seasons. Foliage turns from green to must to yellow to red to brown and then disappears altogether under white snow. The warm summer days get nippy in the mornings, then that cold begins to stretch long fingers deeper under the skin of the day, until I can wear my jacket when I walk to my car after work, and then eventually I need a coat because let’s be honest, forty-five degrees is just too cold for only a sweater.

I love the ache that comes with the anticipation. The waiting for that day when you finally realize its only forty-four days until Thanksgiving (which is, according to the Sami Calendar, National FOOD Day) and only sixty days until my birthday and only seventy three days until Christmas (which is Second National FOOD Day).  This gets me thinking about Christmas shopping, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: the best Christmas shopping is done in autumn. Creative juices aren’t so frozen then, prices are just a little lower, and everything is a bit more open as far as gift options go. Yes, the anticipation for these days and then after that, spring.

I love autumn because it is the calm before the storm, the beauty before destruction. It is the gray hairs among the black, the silver strands. It is the sunset before the night. The happy ending before the next adventure. It is the fuel before the long journey. The midnight snack because heaven knows that we wouldn’t make it to the morning without that fridge-light-flooded search for something to put us back to sleep. It is the reward because we’ve made it this far through the year.

I love autumn because it is the beginning of the trail that leads to my self. It is alluring, calling to me: fall into me. Fall into autumn’s embrace, which will be enveloped by winter, which will be buried in cold and then from this death spring will arise and there will be new life. I love autumn because I relate to it. It says get rid of the unneeded, for a new journey begins. Dwell not too long in one mindset, but seek newness and freshness always, learning from the past and pressing forward into the future to try out newly acquired knowledge. Be new, be rewarded, be you.

This is why I love this season. It falls into autumn into December into me.