A Little Fall Bucket List

My favorite season is in full swing (even if the temps are still too warm for my liking) and I'm making plans to savor every bit of it.

BLOG-TEMBER: My Fall Favorites

BLOG-TEMBER: My Fall Favorites

I already told you all about how summer isn't my favorite, but now, we get to talk about THE BEST SEASONS EVER. Autumn. People, I adore this season. It makes my heart the happiest

What I'm Learning about Waiting

This summer has been a season of waiting for me. Waiting all summer for my big, exciting road trip. Waiting for my job to evolve to the next stage, the one where my hours and responsibilities grow and my bank account (thankfully) does the same. Waiting to move into a new home with a new roommate in a new part of town. Waiting to launch a website that has been months in the remaking and redesigning. Waiting for the actual seasons to change so the heat and humidity would be left behind.

This past year has been an even longer season of waiting for me, too. Waiting to figure out which city to call home-- a new one, or this one here by the river? Waiting to meet somebody to be my person. Waiting for the community that challenges me, loves me, and becomes my people. Waiting for clarity. Waiting for discernment. Waiting for direction.

Sometimes it can be hard to define waiting. It can be hard to know if we are just ignoring, or if we  aren't ready, or if it's already in front of us but we just haven't realized it yet. But waiting, according to the dictionary, is "the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens."

Waiting is an action.

I picked up a book that had long been on my shelves, one written by an author of fiction that I love, and just fourteen pages in, I was met with this passage that struck me:

Waiting is both passive and passionate. It’s a vibrant, contemplative work. It means descending into self, into God, into the deeper labyrinths of prayer. It involves listening to disinherited voices within, facing the wounded holes in the soul, the denied and undiscovered, the places one lives falsely. It means struggling with the vision of who we really are in God and molding the courage to live that vision.
— Sue Monk Kidd, in "When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions"

I couldn't have written a more accurate passage to bring waiting to life.

Waiting is hard and it can be heavy. It can feel hopeless at times and hopeful at others. It's full of longing and learning. It's a time of cultivation and creation. It is full of so much searching and seeking and learning how to stay, to be still, to speak and to be silent too.

I am not any less because I am waiting. The things that I am waiting for will surely add goodness and richness and beauty to my life, but my life is not bad or poor or ugly right now.

My life right now is good, even though I'm waiting.

My heart right now is full, even though it is still longing for things yet to be.

My identity is confident and sure, even though roles might change and relationships will come and go.

Sue Monk Kidd also talked about how the imagery of cocoons and butterflies resonated with her during her own season of waiting, and I love what she says here about cocoons:

I asked myself what would happen if I could learn the spiritual art of cocooning. Might I discover a stilling of the soul that invites God and a new recreation of life? Would I see that the waiting, with all its quiet passion and hidden fire, is the real crucible of spiritual transformation? Would the posture of the cocoon allow me a way to shed old, embedded patterns of living and move into a more genuine humanity where the authentic self breaks through?
— Sue Monk Kidd, in "When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions"

I'm learning that waiting is both active and passive, that it's necessary even in the ways that it is hard, that it is worthwhile to enter into it fully and wholly and openly.

Only after seasons of waiting can new fruit come forth.

The Best of What's Around

August was wild and full of adventure and movement and nonstop busyness, and I somehow though September would be slower. I was so wrong. I realized today that this month is half-way over, and I've only finished one book. When I mentioned that to my Rethink team, they were actually concerned and wanted to know if they needed to call my doctor...

Safe to say, life isn't slowing down any time soon. There has been less time for reading, more time spent working, more social plans and outings than I've had in a long while, and less time to stop and reflect on it all.

I don't have much to say in this space today, but here are a few things I wanted to pass along:

A new Story Seeker post is coming tomorrow from a friend I love dearly. I can't wait for you to read it.

This post from an old friend is such a good one for anyone struggling with anxiety, control, or feeling like life is heavy and hard.

I'm now writing weekly in a new column on The Rising, and today's post is "When You Go Down to the Deep"

This post on Verily about the "Seven Types of Friends Every Woman Needs" is a good one.

This video below...a beautiful mashup of two beautiful songs. Just listen.

Happy Tuesday, friends. Enjoy this start of autumn weather!

A Farewell and A Finding

This week, you won't find the usual Story Seeker post. This was the story burning on my heart, and this is the story I needed to share. The typical Story Seeker series will continue next week!


There will be people you get to hold, ones you get to hug tight, heartbeats drumming together. Hearts that will crack open so you can slip inside and get comfortable. Homes with open doors and a spot on the couch ready for you, a big blanket nearby so you can stay warm and cozy. There will be hands that fit in yours, filling the cracks between your fingers in a way that just feels right. There will be happiness that crackles and sparkles and shines, lighting up the darkness and igniting joy. 

There will be summers that seem everlasting, sunshine soaking the earth for hours on end. Adventures will whisk you away to new places with new faces. You'll blaze new trails and capture new memories of these moments in time. Coffeeshops and cool breezes will carry your conversations well into the night, the stars keeping you company as you wish on each one. Romances will blossom, straight out of a fairytale or a country song, and you'll feel like this is invincible.

There will come clouds and change, shadows and storms, darkness and discouragement. The season of sun will seem far away as the sky stays gray and the beauty falls from the trees. You'll become obsessed with time and the ticking of each second as it echoes in your ears, a countdown looming in front of you to remind you this season will be a long one. Coffeeshop conversations will take a turn down a new path, with questions that make your heart wrench and the tears well up in your eyes. Your pen will spill on paper words you never knew how to say out loud. You'll seal it and send it and then wish you could take it back.

You'll fall for someone who was somewhere else. You'll find yourself stuck in muddy waters where you can't find your footing, and you'll struggle to see how you could ever wash this away. You'll fight it and you'll force it. A text message will come like an interruption, and everything will change. You'll feel every emotion and you'll tell every friend and you'll feel the world spinning out of control for a moment. And then, you'll feel free.

Then clarity will come. Relief will flood you. Peace will surround you. And you'll feel good again. You'll finally feel free. Your hands will relax from the fists they've been clenched in, and you'll realize how sweet surrender can be. You'll know this is an end, but oh, how much more this is really a beginning.

You'll feel the stress slip away, the grip of anxiety release, and the light seep back in again. The feelings that held you down and kept you back have been kicked to the curb, and nothing stands in your way now. No doubt, no worry, no fear. The road was once daunting, and now it beckons to you with the promise of goodness to come, the hope of what's next around the bend.

There will be people you get to wish well as you part from their side, ones you know will go places you were never meant to be. Hearts will heal and hope will be restored. Opportunities will arise as if out of thin air, and you'll find that purpose was behind it all. Friendships will solidify and you'll know undeniably you were never alone.

Your soul will find freedom. Your soul will find rest in this. Your soul will find joy everlasting, blessed assurance, glorious restoration. You'll find yourself full of gratitude. You'll find yourself feeling alive. You'll find yourself worshipping and celebrating and rejoicing. And you'll realize in all of it, you're finding yourself.

Seasons Change: A Friday Freewrite

The season changing gives us freedom to change too.

The leaves falling from the trees they’ve clung to for so long free us to give up our grip on the life we’ve been holding on to so tightly. The vibrancy of their colors reminds us that beauty comes even in the breakaway, even in the falling down, even in the change. The remnants scattered on sidewalks and streets show us all things must come down and find the ground. Nothing can stay the same forever. No life can go on unmoved as time carries onward. We can’t cling to what we know and think we’ll be safe there forever.

The season changing gives us freedom to change too.

No, we must come down, we must let go. We must trust that even though this looks a lot like the end and a death of something that once was alive and beautiful, this is just the preparing for a whole new life that will come again soon.

The winds are cold and seem to get under our skin as they chill us to the bone and steal our very breath. The warmth of summer is long gone, the heat and the sweat a vague memory our layered bodies can hardly recall, but this cold is good for us.

When it’s cold, we gather together. We gather by fireplaces and on couches and around long tables. When it’s cold, we come inside, we sit down, we stay awhile. We have time to pause, reflect, breathe. When it’s cold, we slow down. Our souls have time to rest.

The winter is coming, and it will be gray and barren and seem lifeless outside our foggy windows. But winter is necessary. The cold gives us and the land a chance to just be, to stop trying so hard, to stop growing new things and focusing so much on activity. Winter says, rest, all who are weary. Winter says, stay, be still, just wait.

We weren’t meant to bloom in every season. We need the seasons of letting go of what we worked hard to grow, trusting in faith that we won’t stay barren forever. We need the seasons of vibrancy, of beauty bursting forth, of great and creative art coming out of us, but we need the seasons of stillness, silence, solitude just the same.

The season changing gives us freedom to change too.

Twin Hickory Neighborhood

One of my favorite parts of coming to my parents' house in Twin Hickory is taking walks through the neighborhood with my mom and our miniature schnauzer, Uli. The neighborhood around my apartment is slightly sketchy for strolls, so I always try to squeeze a walk in when I visit Mom and Dad. 

This morning, the weather was too perfect not to be out in, so I took Uli and threw on a flannel and my Nikes and set out on a walk. It turns out I can even get lost in my old neighborhood, so our little walk ended up being more than 2 miles, but it was a beautiful way to start my Saturday sabbath.

Enjoy some of my favorite shots from this morning!

All photos were taken on my iPhone.

St. Christopher's Neighborhood

I've always loved fall (no secret there), but this year, nannying two little energetic boys has made me see the season in new ways. We go on a walk around their neighborhood almost every afternoon, racing scooters down hills and digging for worms or slugs and jumping on every crunchy leaf in sight. 

Every day, I'm learning to look up and look down and be present. I've seen beauty in places I might typically have overlooked, and I'm learning to embrace childlike curiosity and wonder in my life more.

All photos were taken on my iPhone.

A New Season of Story Seeker

This summer, I set out to be a seeker. A get down to the nitty gritty, dive in deep, bust open my heart and let it all spill out seeker of stories. I didn't want to go through another summer hiding out in my comfort zone, treading lightly, whispering in hushed tones so I never disturbed another soul. No, this was a summer of newfound boldness. I wore it like a fiery red lipstick or my favorite pair of boots. It was a new thing, but I liked how it felt in my bones. It was exhilarating, a rush that pushed me in new directions. People around me became possibilities with infinite potential where they had once seemed to me like barred up windows I didn't have the tools to break open. Now, I had a tool in my pocket. I had an idea, a project, a plan. I called it Story Seeker and it gave me a whole new kind of life. It gave me motivation to shed my old skin and believe I was capable of newness, bravery, boldness. I could use my pen and my platform to string hearts and words together and knit a beautiful community from it all. 

It's autumn now, and what I thought might fade to cooling embers feels more like a roaring fire breathing life into yet another season and for that, I am grateful.

I'm taking my old expectations and plans and tossing them aside. I'm breaking down the walls that I had built up around this project and letting new ideas come to the surface. I'm keeping my eyes open to the stories swirling all around me and stepping out in faith to ask the ones who are living them to put words around it all. I'm releasing my grip on this project, unraveling the cocoon that was my selfish control, trusting that it will spread glorious wings and soar when I surrender it and stay faithful.

You have a story. If there's one thing I could tell you, one thing I could wrap around you like a blanket, it's that you have a story and it's beautiful and remarkable and so worth telling. You're in the middle of it and sometimes that feels messy and sometimes that feels exciting, but you aren't the only one who feels that. We're all in the middle of our stories. Our lives are winding onward into newness, and all we know is our feet have carried us this far, to this point, with a bundle of chapters tucked into our belts as we keep moving into whatever comes next.

would love to hear your story. I would love to open up a Wednesday morning post for you to share your heart. I would love to hear about your life from the moment you were born to this very day, or hear about one relationship that left you forever changed, or hear about that big move or that horrible disease or that burning passion in your soul or your faith or your friends or your failings.

If you're curious about what this all is about, if you want to be a part of it, or if you just want to connect with me, send me an email through the form on this page. I can't wait to hear from you, brave one.

Loving Lately: Sept. 26

My favorite season is here and I think I could write a never-ending list of all the things I love about it, but instead, here's a list of much more random things I've been loving lately. 

loving lately sept 26

Fun little design projects like this blog header. (I didn't love that goodbye, but that's a different story.)

Pumpkin spice coffee from Trader Joe's.

Stop Singing Oceans. Yes.

HOCKEY IS BACK. Praise. I proudly #rockthered for my Caps!

The final harvest of summer vegetables from our family garden. That final batch of homemade salsa was incredible.

Hope Places and this video.

This incredible group of people on fire for their passions. #fireworkpeople

Dried eucalyptus hanging on my wall making everything smell so good.

Baby pumpkins scattered around my apartment.

The best way to deal with fear is act in spite of my fear, without acting out of it.

The writings that inspired CS Lewis? Loving reading this.

Flexing my creative muscles making fox and viking masks for the boys I nanny.

This playlist: Autumn Acoustics.

"Do great work. Live great lives."

What have you been loving lately? Comment with your favorites or tweet them to me @racheladawson and you might see them appear in next week's list!

A Current of Change

The seasons outside are changing but I feel that more in my heart than I do in the weather. This is a time of change crashing over me like a mighty wave, knocking me to my feet and stealing the breath out of my lungs and leaving me searching for which way is up but knowing I won't drown. This is the edge of one normal as a new and unfamiliar one creeps in. This is a time of not knowing what tomorrow brings,but knowing I have a faithful Guide and the road won't lead to my downfall. This is a time of learning that trust can feel like a blanket and a bonfire and this big thing that soothes your soul when you sink down into it.