When we moved to Georgia several years ago, we left North Carolina at the height of a colorful Fall. Admittedly, I was afraid that the classic Autumn patchwork I loved would not show up in the South.
But I was completely wrong.
Three days after we moved into our new home, a parking lot made me cry. In my new favorite spot at my brand new Target, I shut off the car and looked up– straight into a row of fiery red trees. Hot, happy tears brimmed my eyes. Because as crazy as it is, I thought we were moving away from a proper Fall — and I was more than happy to be surprised.
In seven Autumns, I have been educated on all the things that surprised me about that first season. I know that our house requires sweaters and cozy socks beginning in early November. I now know what shade of blue an October sky is. I know that Halloween is often balmy and warm. And by the time I stand in the kitchen amidst pumpkin pies and cranberry sauce– our backyard is ten thousand show-offs of a finally realized Autumn.
With every single October that starts steamy and ends crisp & colorful– I am home all over again.
In all this slow realization that I am more settled with each season, I find the deep desire to relish my today. To know that I mustn’t cling where I haven’t been grounded. To remember that God is good, no matter how I feel.
Do you know how it is to be caught between a once home and a not-quite? I do. I’m not in that place of change anymore, but I might find myself there again one day. That knowledge makes me want to be the one who speaks into the places you’re feeling green, and new, and not yet comfortable. I want to tell you it’s ok even if it isn’t easy yet.
Because it takes time to make a place in a new location. Our hearts need room to settle slowly, one new memory at a time.
We do different things now than we did back then. Our Sundays are different. Our Saturday mornings, too. Our coffee shop has changed and changed again. But in the years that we’ve learned the song of our opening kitchen door, we have found it– the familiarity of place-making. Still, I feel like home is more an act of surrender than it is an address on our electric bill.
You might feel that– at least the painful part of the surrender. You know it doesn’t always come easily. Sometimes the work is in the love that we choose for the place we are given. We make accidental memories and then return to them again like a child in a twirl. Sometimes we build it with conscious decisions to celebrate the present. Other times it is built in us despite our desire to run away, back to what was familiar.
But I know that even when we are not yet comfortable, God is good. I know that when we would choose to change a thousand things, He is doing a thousand things deep within us. In that place that is only uncovered in the uncomfortable, He is at work. And He can be trusted.
One of our family’s accidental traditions has grown into a brief, yearly trip to the Georgia Mountains. This year we picked apples in late summer and hiked and rested and laughed until the very last minute was over. My sweet mother in law made this delicious Cinnamon Apple Crisp and we’ve made it three times since then. See what I did there? Accidental tradition. It’s warm and simple and spiced and delicious. Make it. You won’t regret it.
- ⅔ cup melted butter
- 7 cups sliced, peeled, cored apples
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- ⅔ cup All purpose flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp white or raw sugar
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon plus ½ tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375' F
- Butter or spray a 13x9 Glass Baking Dish
- Layer apples in the bottom of the dish, sprinkle with lemon juice, tbsp of sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon
- In a large bowl, combine flour, pecans, brown sugar, salt, oats, melted butter, and cinnamon. Mix.
- Sprinkle topping evenly over apples
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until light brown.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.