Woman enjoying autumn
Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation
There's something magical that happens when leaves begin to change colors and the air turns crisp and cool. Cozy sweaters and mugs of apple cider feel like home, and pumpkin patches seem like the perfect place to spend a day. Don't hold back, author Sandra Magsamen says. Let yourself fall in love with everything fall has to offer!

It happens every year without fail: One morning in mid-September, I wake up to realize that the kids have all gone back to school, people are back to work from summer vacations and the light outside my bedroom window is somehow a little more golden than it was the day before.

Late September signals the beginning of a magic season, a season in which Mother Nature transforms the landscape with the most beautiful shades of orange, red, yellow and green, where pumpkins smile and apple pies seem to multiply. Farmers' markets are stuffed with people, and mason jars are jammed with jellies and pickles. The air turns crisp and clear, and sweaters and boots are suddenly everywhere.

If you haven't guessed, fall happens to be my favorite time of year. I like the way life gracefully shifts a little this time of year. As the air turns colder outside, I begin to slowly turn inward toward my warm home. There is a simple joy found in thinking about digging out my favorite sweater as I dream of sitting by a roaring fire eating butternut squash soup with cornbread.

You see, for me, fall is all about nurturing. It is the time to comfort ourselves, our friends and our family.

Fall reminds us to embrace the moment fully, to see and acknowledge the beauty all around us. Take this time to connect and reacquaint yourself with what feels good, what inspires you, what feeds your soul.

I encourage you to discover what nurtures and gives you joy and then give yourself permission to indulge in it. Make a list of the things that are simple pleasures for you this time of year. This will be different for each of us—there are no rights or wrongs, just what you love and what makes you feel cared for.

Some things might include:
  • Feeling the warmth and smelling the fire in the fireplace
  • Tasting the cinnamon in the pumpkin pie
  • Inviting your family over for a big Sunday chicken dinner
  • Feeling the earth under your feet as you take a long walk
  • Wrapping up in a blanket and reading a great book
  • Writing a poem
  • Taking a Saturday afternoon nap
  • Snuggling up in a cozy favorite sweater
  • Hugging your child an extra long time as you put her to bed
  • Lingering in a hot bubble bath
  • Making pancakes and pouring lots of maple syrup on top before your devour them
  • Paying attention to the way the leaves on trees transform before your eyes and understanding that change can be a beautiful thing
  • Taking time to count your blessings instead of what is in your bank account
Let this fall be a time to harvest and gather the things that bring you comfort and joy.

13 things you can do to enjoy autumn
fall bucket list
Image: Lisa Greene
Here are a few artful ideas for falling in love with fall.

  • Visit a farmers' market. Enjoy shopping outside in the fall air. You might browse or purchase local fresh ingredients to make a favorite dish. I love roasting veggies like carrots, squash and onions with garlic and rosemary.
  • Start a journal. Spend a few moments each day reflecting on what you love, what brings you joy and what you are thankful for. Journaling is a wonderful way to connect, reconnect and stay connected with yourself.
  • Refresh last year's cardigan sweaters. Have fun searching vintage shops and flea markets for old buttons. Remove the old buttons on your sweater and replace them with the vintage ones. This makes any old sweater a new must-wear piece.
  • Make butternut squash soup. Serve it with fresh bread to your friends and family.
  • Visit a local pumpkin farm or festival. I love a pumpkin patch, as it is a great place to photograph the family. If you feel like getting creative, purchase a few pumpkins and carve them with decorative touches. This year, I am cutting the top off of pumpkins, cleaning the inside of seeds and simply drilling holes to make a pumpkin lantern. Once I add a candle, the light will shine through as the sun sets.
  • Pack a picnic. Head outdoors! Enjoy the crisp fall air, the countryside and the changing color of the leaves.
  • Bake cookies. Cut the dough into fall leaf shapes (cookie cutters are readily found at bake shops or online) and invite all the kids (no matter their age) to decorate in orange, red and green icing. Sprinkle colored sugar on top for a beautiful, sparkling treat.
  • Take a long walk. During your walk, simply breathe and take in the scenery.
  • Host a potluck dinner. Invite friends and neighbors to celebrate good food and the sunset with each other.
  • Change your sheets. Change the sheets on your bed from cotton or polyester to a soft and warm flannel. As the nights get colder, these cuddly sheets keep you even warmer and cozier.
  • Make a fire. Build a roaring fire in your fireplace. If you don't have one, consider building a fire pit. Invite friends and family to sit around and tell stories. Don't forget the marshmallows!
  • Create a fall centerpiece. For an easy and no-cost decoration, fill vases with colorful leaves, seed pods and branches to create an original, one-of-a-kind centerpiece.
  • Make caramel apples. Roll your gooey homemade caramel apple in pieces of candy, nuts and chocolate chips to make delicious treats. I also love to cover pretzel sticks with the same deliciously gooey stuff!
Fall is nature's way of resting and ultimately renewing itself. The transition from summer to fall is beautiful, a gift to our senses in every way. This year, make a promise to nurture and comfort yourself so that you, too, can beautifully renew and grow to be all that you can be.

What are the simple pleasures that have made you fall in love with fall? Leave a comment below!

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