25 Ideas for Your Fall Bucket List + Coloring Sheets!

 

If there’s a season to fill our want-to bucket, it’s Fall, right?

Fall pinches every sensory to our delight⏤what we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste! So grab that bucket and fill it up with one or all of these ideas for you, your family, and friends!

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, we have had our summer evenings, now for October eves.” Humbert Wolfe

 

Enjoy!

  1. Binge on Hallmark Fall Harvest Movies showing every weekend and some weeknights. (Click here for the movie guide.)
  2. Wait! Did I lose you at #1? Try this instead: Pack for a day trip. Find every back road possible, roll down the windows, (take your Benadryl), stick your arm out, and “ride” the waves of wind. See where the roads take you!
  3. Hike in your nearest National Park.
  4. Invite friends to pack picnics and join you at the park. It’s the perfect way to practice social distancing while munching on yummy food and laughing with friends.
  5. Get a family picture made.
  6. Go to the pumpkin patch and fetch a few pumpkins for you and a neighbor. This year has been one of distance, so simple acts of cheer mean more than ever.
  7. Invite a friend over to bake these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins. Divvy ’em up and both families will have a yummy treat to enjoy.
  8. Purchase bags of individually wrapped candy and donate them to local churches who are holding fall festivals.
  9. Start a new book. It’s the perfect weather to curl up, which leads to…
  10. Try a harvest-flavored tea! Grab the book, slip under a chunky blanket, and pour a cup of tea. Wait. Is that an “ahhhh!” I hear? Scoot over, I’m in!
  11. Throw a “BYOM” (Bring Your Own Mug – filled with your favorite tea, coffee, or cocoa!) gathering with friends in your backyard.
  12. Visit a working farm.
  13. Bake fresh apple turnovers! Here’s an easy recipe.
  14. Host a bonfire. #bringyourownsmores
  15. Stargaze. Bundle up, pour cups of cocoa for the kids, and head outside. If you’re not sure what to look for, this might help.
  16. Enjoy a craft day with the kids. Fall crafts + a meaningful message can be found over at Meaningful Mama.
  17. Collect larger, whole leaves. Write the name of one person you would like to pray for on a leaf. Place a candle in the middle of your dining table and surround it with your “prayer leaves.” Light the candle before dinner (representing the Light of the World – John 8:12), choose a leaf, and pray for a different person each night.
  18. Feed the birds. Lots of easy and fun ideas can be found @ The Homeschool Scientist.
  19. Find a Fall Prayer Partner. I’ll blog more about this in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, find a partner, set guidelines (how often to touch base), and share simple ways to pray for one another.
  20. Go camping or glamping! Even if it’s in your own backyard.
  21. Purchase canned goods and deliver them to your local food bank as a family.
  22. Play “The Monster Mash” and dance like Frank.
  23. Change to flannel sheets.
  24. Read a different section of Psalm 119 every night. Tammy Mashburn of Redefining the Wilderness, is taking readers through a journey of this Psalm.
  25. Encourage-a-person-a-day through Thanksgiving. Handwritten notes, sweet treats, scripture, praise music, a book, written prayers, voiced prayers, and yellow mums on a front stoop. Just some ideas to get those creative juices flowing!

Click here to download a printable version.

With the definition of “normal” being challenged this year, it’s comforting to know that some things never change.

So, is there a favorite idea you’d like to toss in your bucket first? (Or add your own!)

 

DON’T FORGET YOUR COLORING SHEETS!

 

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Thank you for stopping by Creative Pauses from The Tiny House on the Hill!

Bi-weekly posts invite you to come in from the craziness of life, take a seat, and pause awhile, allowing your soul to be refreshed with God’s truth and promises.

Each month, subscribers of this community receive a letter from The Tiny House on the Hill that includes:

  • Practical but meaningful ways to draw closer to God
  • Creative ways to show God’s love to your family, friends, and strangers
  • The latest happenings at the house, my books, and ministry
  • What I’m reading in the Book Nook
  • A favorite (often family) recipe
  • A FUN giveaway…and more!

It’s pithy but packed with grace-filled goodness.

So, come on over and sit a spell. I’d love to get to know you!

 

 

Photo by Unsplash

4 Ways to Offer Someone A Pause this Fall (And a Gift for You Too!)

The words pause and fall come together like a sing-a-long.

They swing and sway to the melody of a season that offers natural pauses to our day. Swift breezes encourage us to bundle up and head outside for a walk, or a sit by the fire. Wild muscadines growing nearby release a fragrance so sweet and so strong, it takes root in our memories as tightly as its vine clings to an overhanging tree.

And then there is the mug⏤you know, the favorite one that fits your hand just right and makes you smile every time you pull it from the cabinet. It’s the one that warms the quickest when holding your favorite pumpkiny latte.

Fall offers unique opportunities to slow down, to intentionally engage with God, with others, and with our surroundings. It’s comforting to pause from our chaotic culture. And it refreshes the soul we when we offer another person the same opportunity.

“…those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25 NLT

 

 

1.

Offer soul refreshment to a parent by watching her children for a couple of hours. If there has ever been a year parents need a pause, it’s this one. Virtual learning, various school schedules, layoffs, etc. If you’re on a tight schedule, there’s nothing wrong with specifying a time, like 10 am-noon.

Bonus points:

  • Stay during a lunch or dinner hour so she can enjoy lunch or a quiet time at a park or in a quiet corner of Panera. Nothing revives a weary soul like fresh air and coffee.
  • Before she leaves, quietly hand her a coffee gift card to enjoy while she’s away.
  • Offer to help the children with homework.

 

2.

Offer a cooked or carry-out meal to a teacher, depending on how well you know her. One less meal to cook creates a bless-her-socks-off crevice of time in her schedule she’ll not soon forget. Goodbye, busy grocery store, preparation, and clean-up time. Hello, pause. A few favorite go-to sites for quick and easy meals include:

iowa girl eats

Our Home on Purpose

Mom’s Dinner

Have more money than time? Write a card that includes a restaurant gift card or a delivery service like GrubHub.

 

3.

Invite a new neighbor over for a cup of tea outdoors. Low humidity, no mosquitoes, and just enough chill in the air to appreciate a warm mug or teacup, all make for a welcoming time outdoors. Keep it simple or fancy it up. If you choose simple, Poetry Teatime offers easy treats for tea.

 

4.

Heading to the apple orchard this fall? Grab an extra bag for someone you know who especially needs to be reminded of God’s love. Or divvy up the bag and create smaller, separate bags for a few people. Apples are yummy but it’s the message that matters here. You can add this tag, based on Psalm 17:8, to the bag.

 

 

Every month, subscribers receive a holy, sensory-based pause to use in a particular setting. Like, the garden, or during a storm, or by the lake. It’s quickly becoming one of the most enjoyable downloads in their monthly letter.

Today, I offer you this “Fall Pause” as a “thank you” for becoming a subscriber. We’re a community that understands and appreciates the power of a pause⏤an intentional step toward moving closer to God as we choose to set the life we’ve created aside, and welcome the presence of our Creator.

Simply enter your email address in the top right sidebar. That’s it! {And of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.}

 

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Thank you for stopping by Creative Pauses from The Tiny House on the Hill!

Bi-weekly posts invite you to come in from the craziness of life, take a seat, and pause awhile, allowing your soul to be refreshed with God’s truth and promises.

Each month, subscribers of this community receive a letter from The Tiny House on the Hill that includes:

  • Practical but meaningful ways to draw closer to God
  • Creative ways to show God’s love to your family, friends, and strangers
  • The latest happenings at the house, my books, and ministry
  • What I’m reading in the Book Nook
  • A favorite (often family) recipe
  • A FUN giveaway…and more!

It’s pithy but packed with grace-filled goodness.

So, come on over and sit a spell. I’d love to get to know you!

 

Photo by Maria Shanina on Unsplash

Your Invitation to Gather Around the Campfire + Mug Giveaway!

This kind of encounter with God drops me to my knees.

It was an ordinary day of packing up my laptop, cords, books, banana, and water before heading up the hill to write. At the last minute, I squeezed in my sketchbook. It’s heavy and cumbersome, two reasons that make it a rare haul.

I climbed the hill, spread out my goods on the desk, and prayed. Lifting up our community here on the blog is nothing new, but over the past few weeks, I’ve also prayed for our NEW Facebook Group, Creative Pauses. It’s a newborn babe and I feel like a first-time mother.

 

But something more was stirring.

 

I opened the sketchbook and laid it flat with bright white (and blank) pages facing up. I didn’t want to form a Facebook Group just for the purpose of saying I have one or for polishing up a book proposal.

 

If life has taught me anything it’s that authentic community is a rare and treasured gift.

 

And this is when God moved in such a way that all I could do was hang on for dear life. In rapid-fire delivery, specific images along with words, sentences, and paragraphs targeted my sketchbook.

 

It began with a campfire.

 

So I drew one in the center of my page, and these words quickly followed:

I imagine a campfire with roaring flames in the middle of a wide-open field.

 

The field is surrounded by homes of all sizes and shapes. Inside, are imperfect people from all stages of life who love, create, wrestle with sin, offer grace, homeschool, and worship. They are our homes.

 

One-by-one we make our way toward the campfire blazing in the distance.

 

Moving closer, we hear crackle! and pop! from well-seasoned wood and catch the indelible scent of smoke flowing through the field. Eventually, we all move close enough to notice benches and blankets placed around the fire. Picnic baskets overflowing with the finest of foods fill in the spaces.

 

We didn’t gather the wood.

We didn’t split the kindling or light the fire.

We didn’t prepare the food or pour the Chick-fil-A tea.

 

God prepared it for us.

A place for us to come and gather around the campfire to share our stories, to tell of His goodness, to marvel at His handiwork, and to consider His great love for us.

“Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD.” Psalm 107:43 NIV

When we intentionally choose to step away from our to-do’s to pause and reflect on the goodness of our God⏤and receive it⏤we cultivate a life of continuous worship.

 

The kind of life God uses to help heal relationships, bring change to communities, and impact the future generations we will never know.

 

When we get up and return to our homes surrounding the field, we continue to feel the warmth on our backs.

 

And our clothes still carry the holy and exquisite scent of biblical community.

 

 

I fully believe this “download” was for us⏤for this community of believers who believe there’s more to the Christian life than checking off a list of scriptures read, and a prayer prayed while scurrying out the door. Both are valuable, but we are confident that one of the many benefits of being His is being able to meet with Him⏤to listen, and to receive. As Lysa TerKeurst says in her book, “Made to Crave”:

 

We were made for more.

 

And this is why I created our Facebook Group, Creative Pauses. It’s simply an extension of the community we share here. But there, we can all join in the conversation. By joining the group, you will also have access to helpful downloads, fun giveaways, and special events like this one coming up on September 17th:

 

Do you feel the warmth of God’s presence in this place? Here are two ways to move toward the campfire:

  • Simply type your e-mail address in the sidebar (just below “Coloring Pages” with the bird in flight) to subscribe to the blog. I post every other week and you’ll also receive a monthly letter. You can unsubscribe at any time.
  • Join our Facebook GROUP, Creative Pauses!

 

And, what campfire would be complete without a mug full of coffee (after the Chick-fil-A tea, of course)?

Share in the comments your favorite part of a campfire and your name will be included in a random giveaway for this delightful mug!

 

See you there! Creative Pauses Facebook Group

 

Image @ Canstock Sportactive

Coming Face to Face with My Addiction to Sugar

The word addiction seems so harsh.

And yet, when everyone else flooded grocery stores in March to stock their freezer with chicken, I was in the Chick-fil-A drive-through stocking up on ice cream. Their styrofoam cups supposedly keep the ice cream fresh in the freezer for weeks. Unfortunately, I can’t prove it.

 

I would say that defines addiction.

 

Weight has been an issue for years. Some were more successful than others, as shared in my post How to Lose 14 Pounds in 8 Weeks with Weight Watchers⏤but most years have been a struggle. A thyroid issue since the age of twelve makes success harder, but not impossible.

When Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food was released in 2010, I ignored it.

 

I wanted to find my satisfaction in God, but not to the point of choosing prayer over pastries.

 

The simple act of writing those words breaks my heart but it’s what God is showing me.

All summer I played hide-and-seek with my sweet cravings. I hid the fact that my struggle was much deeper than the freezer holding my ice cream. I sought God’s help, then caved to the first scent of sugar, then asked God to forgive me for my lack of self-discipline. Rinse and repeat. It’s an exhausting cycle.

So ten years after the published date, I bought the book Made to Crave and began reading. I only made it as far as the introduction before I scurried down the hall to fetch a bright yellow notebook. (Reminding me that brighter days are ahead!) Lysa’s reflective questions are worth their own space. They slip in the “back door”, tip-toe past the fridge, and lift my chin heavenwardly.

One of many WOW! moments underlined in my book:

 

“We can’t ignore the fact that the serpent used food as a tool in the process.” The process of the human downfall, that is.

 

Later, she adds, after sharing about Jesus being tempted in the desert, “Here’s the significant difference between Eve and Jesus. Eve was saturated in the object of her desire. Jesus was saturated in God’s truth.”

 

I could no longer run away from or ignore the truth: this was a spiritual struggle.

 

And I admit to debating whether or not I should write this post yet. I mean, I’m only in the third chapter of the book. What if I fall flat on my face? Or fail? Or what if the victory is short-lived?

 

Yes, but what if a spiritual breakthrough is just around the corner?

 

Either way, I want you, or someone you know, who may also be struggling with this addiction, to know they are not alone.

The desire for sugar is not whipped by any means, but my desire to crave God more than a cupcake is decided. Does this mean I’ll never wipe buttercream frosting off my nose after diving in too deep? It doesn’t. Lysa’s book is written from her journey in cutting out all sugar. And while that’s ideal, I’m confident our victory⏤mine and God’s⏤at least for now, is my cutting back to one small sweet a day.

 

Is there a food that whispers sweet nothings in your ear? Can you relate? If I’m not alone, lemme know. 💕

 

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food. (By purchasing the book through this link, I’ll receive some pocket change to put toward the cost of my ministry, but it does not affect your purchase price.)

{Lysa TerKeurst}

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Thank you for stopping by Creative Pauses from The Tiny House on the Hill!

Bi-weekly posts invite you to come in from the craziness of life, take a seat, and pause awhile, allowing your soul to be refreshed with God’s truth and promises.

Each month, subscribers of this community receive a letter from The Tiny House on the Hill that includes:

  • Practical but meaningful ways to draw closer to God
  • Creative ways to show God’s love to your family, friends, and strangers
  • The latest happenings at the house, my books, and ministry
  • What I’m reading in the Book Nook
  • A favorite (often family) recipe
  • A FUN giveaway…and more!

It’s pithy but packed with grace-filled goodness.

So, come on over and sit a spell. I’d love to get to know you!

 

© Can Stock Photo / stryjek

Coming Full Circle: The Story Behind the Instagram Picture

There’s always a story behind the scenes, right?

This story begins in the sixties when Ma-Ma (my paternal grandmother) coaxed me into her big ol’ car with the promise of a fudge sickle when we returned. She knew my love language was sugar.

Within minutes, we arrived at a worn, brick nursing home.

 

The floors were beige linoleum squares with bright specks and the walls were lined with wheelchairs, holding people who longed to be held.

 

With one folded arm, Ma-Ma held her purse that snapped taut on top, and with the other, she held my hand along with a bag of hard candy. Although we were there to visit one of Ma-Ma’s friends, she handed out peppermints to everyone, covering their hands with her nubby knotted fingers, ravaged by arthritis.

Driving home, Ma-Ma talked about how much our visit meant to her friend. The long goodbyes and multiple hugs made that obvious even to an eight-year-old little girl. I wish I could say that over time I joyfully lept into her Oldsmobile without a fudgy coaxing, but it felt like drudgery… until the ride home.

 

Twenty years later…

 

I had two little boys of my own. Below our church sat a small brick assisted living center. I’d not visited one since those days with Ma-Ma but I was drawn to it like an eight-year-old to a fudge sickle. The first morning I visited, the stench of soiled sheets was so strong I could barely catch a clean breath. But then I saw a familiar sight⏤wheelchairs lined along a cement block wall, filled with people who smell it every day, all day. I could smell fresh air later.

Over the next eight years, I smuggled in 2-liter Dr. Peppers, fig bars, cards, postage stamps, and hard candy.

On some weekends, our whole family visited. Brian played the guitar, I shared a devotion, and Brandon, still in elementary school, dressed up like a clown and juggled for the crowd. Zach, the youngest son, was petted and passed around like a cute puppy. After our visits, we’d head to TCBY, the modern-day fudge sickle, and I repeated Ma-Ma’s words with a smile. You have no idea how happy you made them today.

 

Twenty years later…

 

The boys have children of their own. They, along with their wives and children, serve the Lord faithfully (all glory to God). Zach’s family lives twenty minutes from us, and Brandon’s is in Ohio. Before the pandemic struck, Zach’s small group at our church, including the kids, began visiting the residents of a local assisted living center.

 

Two Weeks Ago…

 

While driving the two older grandchildren home, we talked about pulling out my rubber stamps and making cards. Six-year-old Gabe asked if we could make cards for those “older people who all live in that one house together,” perfectly describing the residents at the local assisted living center. Smiles stretched across both of their faces and plans were soon underway. I upped my insurance policy and began digging through the closet to find craft supplies from long ago.

 

Last Weekend…

 

Before we started stamping, we talked about how a lot of people assume older folks know Jesus, and how it’s not true. So each card includes a scripture verse or a written reminder of God’s love. That night, before bedtime, we prayed for the people who will receive the cards.

I couldn’t help but wonder if Ma-Ma was peeking down from above with a smile as she witnessed her kindness toward an often forgotten generation coming full circle.

We celebrated the completion of our twenty cards with the first batch of homemade ice cream in our new maker. After all, some things never change.

 

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Thank you for stopping by Creative Pauses from The Tiny House on the Hill!

Bi-weekly posts invite you to come in from the craziness of life, take a seat, and pause awhile, allowing your soul to be refreshed with God’s truth and promises.

Each month, I send subscribers of this community a letter from The Tiny House on the Hill that includes:

  • Practical but meaningful ways to draw closer to God
  • Creative ways to show God’s love to your family, friends, and strangers
  • The latest happenings at the house, my books, and ministry
  • What I’m reading in the Book Nook
  • A favorite (often family) recipe
  • A FUN giveaway…and more!

It’s pithy but packed with grace-filled goodness.

So, come on over and sit a spell. I’d love to get to know you!

Ready to Create A Travel (with God) Journal?

If you’re ready to start your own travel journal, buckle up sister!

I’ve kept many types of journals over the years — prayer, gratitude, health, etc. — but when I cracked open my first “Travel Journal” in January, life changed.

I first read about a travel journal in Allen Arnold’s The Story of With, a book mentioned in a past post, Three Books I’m Reading This Winter.

It reads:

“Those brave enough to carry a travel journal for their adventures with God reveal hearts of expectancy. There is such freedom when you live in this posture of expectancy while letting go of all your expectations. There’s no demand on how the Story of your life will go. Relinquish the script you’ve been holding so tight and replace it with an expectancy for all God desires. Not just for you but that He wants to do with you. The journal reminds you of the adventure you are on with God.”

 

What could happen if I created a designated spot to record so-called “random” ideas and sparks of God’s truths?

 

Well, let me tell you.

 

Your spiritual eyes do more than see. They quicken with insight and wonder.

 

It’s why my little leather journal stays with my Bible at all times. Observations leap from the paper-thin page onto the cream-colored thicker ones. Most times, I jot them down immediately. Later, I’ll ask God to show me how or where they could be applied. Some get straight to work, while others take their own sweet time.

 

Your spiritual ears⏤those that God transforms from hearing to listening⏤awaken.

 

For instance, while watching a movie several weeks ago, the father of the main character, a violinist, noted a specific issue in her playing. She may have fallen for the idea that she was simply reading from a script but in reality, God answered a question I’d jotted down weeks ago.

 

Becoming intentional is a simple gesture of faith — engaging this belief that the Spirit of Truth peels back the obvious to reveal a deeper reality if we’re willing to show up.

 

In a greater sense, I think of Mary visiting Jesus’ tomb that early morning. She came with spices expecting the obvious — a body in the beginning stages of decay. But what she found was a large stone rolled away, an empty tomb, and two men in dazzling white clothes asking why do you seek the living One among the dead? She showed up because of her love for Jesus and was blessed by experiencing a glorious new reality.

This same living One lives in us, with us, and us with Him. Are you ready to join the adventure?

 

Tips for Creating Your Travel Journal

 

  • Pick a journal without lines. Being a visual person, I sometimes draw out an idea that’s forming and I have a feeling I’m not alone, so avoiding lines is a plus. Also, no boundaries on a page remind me that all things are possible with God.

 

  • Keep a designated pen nearby. So far, I’ve used only my go-to Pilot Precise V-5 in black for the entire journal, but whatever you choose, keep it handy because as the Chinese Proverb reminds us the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.

 

Creating a travel journal has deepened my relationship with the Lord so how could I not offer someone else a head start in creating their own?

Share a favorite place to travel and consider yourself entered into the random giveaway for this genuine leather journal!

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I hope you’ll decide to stay awhile. If you’d like to become a part of the community, simply type your e-address in the top right-hand sidebar. >>>>

Bi-weekly posts offer a pause of goodness to your busy days. And once a month, you’ll also receive a fun but pithy newsletter with the latest happenings in the Tiny House on the Hill, along with practical ideas for drawing nearer to God and loving others well.

So, come on over and sit a spell. I’d love to get to know you!

 

Image by Dirk Vetter from Pixabay

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