Fall: Football, Mountain Trips, & a Heavenly Harvest


Fall is my favorite. 

College football returns to our Saturday routine. Brisk mornings are an invitation for coffee on the deck. Firepits ignite in the evenings under the stars while the Master Artist brushes the leaves with color palettes only He can create. 

And I love to bake fall inspired desserts. (See below for one of my favorites.)

Fall always brings a time of reflection for me. Three of us have birthdays between September and the end of October. Yesterday was our son's birthday. For the first time ever, we weren't able to celebrate in person because he now lives 2000 miles away. (Thank goodness for FaceTime.) Not being together gave me pause to reflect on the times we have had and reminding me how fast the seasons of life come and go. 

Around mine and my husband's birthdays in October, it's a tradition to make our way into the Blue Ridge Mountains for a weekend get-a-way. It was also my family's tradition when I was growing up. The rolling hills, draped in their stunning attire, give me pause to stand in awe of our Creator, Redeemer, and Lord. I can still hear my mom's voice as we traveled through the winding roads, "How can anyone not believe in God when they see the mountains?"

Honestly, I cannot answer my mom's question. I don't understand how anyone cannot believe in the magnificent, majestic Creator of all things. God's love, His Son, His Word, and His ways are not just a part of who I am; they are the very essence of who I am. It's amazing to me how anyone does life without Jesus Christ. Yet, many willingly choose to do so.

Christ in me. I in Him. Hidden in Christ Jesus until He comes again. This is how God intended for us to live our one life well with purpose, hope, and joy.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, 

but Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:20, ESV).

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, 

appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:3, ESV).

Fall is also a time for examining the year's harvest. What are we gathering that's of eternal value? What are we bringing into the barns that is useless? How have we spent the past months? Have we allowed the Holy Spirit to till the ground of our hearts? Did we work with Him to plant good seed? Have we engaged with the Spirit to nurture, nourish, and grow God- pleasing fruit?

When we fear God and keep His commandments (Ecc. 12:13b), we're captured by the holiness of His character. In Him, there is no sin. Being able to share with Him under His canopy of protection from sin should make us fall to our knees in thanksgiving and praise. It should cause us to confess our sins frequently, less our fellowship with the Father is hindered. This eternal relationship is only possible through believing and having faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, who made a way for us to live under the holy canopy of the Father's presence every day and into eternity.

In His presence there is fullness of joy! (Psalm 16:11)

The harvest our heavenly Father is gathering into His storehouses stems from the obedient hearts of His people. What kind of harvest are we offering  Him this season? A joyful, eternal harvest, or one of worthlessness that simply blows away with the wind? May we always seek to be wise with our time, making the most of it. So, when harvest time comes around, God will gather the sweet fruits of our obedience as an acceptable offering of worship and praise.

Lord, as we reflect during this season of change, may our lives produce a bountiful harvest that brings You much pleasure. Keep our eyes, hearts, and minds focused on producing fruit that will last for all eternity. Thank You for inviting us into Your presence and into the fullness of Your joy. May we fall to our knees in humble adoration and gratitude for all You have done. ~ In Jesus' name, Amen.


             (photo credit Sally Quinn - Pinterest)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
(makes about 48 mini muffins)

1 box yellow cake mix (Duncan Hines)
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree (Libby's)
1 Cup semi sweet, chocolate chip mini morsels (Nestle's Toll House)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, use a spoon to stir together cake mix and pumpkin until smooth. Add chocolate chips and fold into the batter. 

Lightly spray a mini tin with cooking spray. Place a tablespoon of batter in each section. Place in the oven and cook for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.                                                                               
                    (photo credit Mel's iPhone)