muddy pumpkins

I have a long metal tray that I bought at a friend’s at-home home decor party because it was the cheapest thing in the catalog. Fortunately, I really do like it. But it’s so long that I have a hard time figuring out how to use it. This fall, though, I found the perfect home for it.

That long metal tray is happily living on my kitchen counter with mini pumpkins and tiny jack o’lanterns sitting inside. I decided I need to fill the bottom of the tray with something and the most festive, seasonal thing I could come up with was candy corn. CANDY CORN. As a decorative item.

Decorative. Candy.

I just bought my fourth bag of candy corn today.

[In related news my jeans don’t seem to fit very well this fall.]

Adrienne is in love with our front porch, because I let her help me decorate it. It’s nothing fancy, just a few pumpkins and two pots of mums. And, fine, a hay bale. (But just one. I bought three but realized that was just overkill for our house and took the other two back to the store.) I’m a little bit in love with it, too, but today I realized my mums might be dying.

I googled how to save them, which led me down the rabbit trail of tips on planting them in the ground, which is not a thing I do. So I’m just going to try watering them more often and see how that works.

And one more thing. Those pumpkins I put on my porch (and my dining room table and on a chair in the corner of my living room)? They kind of stressed me out, post-Africa-trip style. I mean…guys? We buy FOOD and use it as DECORATION. Am I a jerk for doing that or a jerk for feeling guilty about it? I can’t even figure it out. But I what I know for sure is that the resin pumpkins at Hobby Lobby are crazy expensive, but at least I wouldn’t throw them out on October 11 (may the tiny, moldy pumpkin from my toddler’s bedroom rest in peace).

All that stuff, though? Doesn’t even matter. Fall is absolutely still my favorite season. The cooler temperature, the apple and pumpkin spice everything, the colors, the trees: I love it all. But that doesn’t mean this season is perfect.

Just like every stage and phase, autumn has its high points…and its low ones. But all the allergies and moldy pumpkins and wilting mums can’t steal my joy in this season.

Not if I don’t let it.

Last weekend Annalyn turned nine and we had a superhero-themed party for her. She and a few of her new friends had a blast and didn’t seem the least bit bothered that neither the craft (no-sew capes from t-shirts) nor the cake were Pinterest-worthy. They giggled and posed for pictures and danced to the Cha-Cha Slide and talked about which boys in their class are the cutest. (KILL ME NOW.) It was lovely and low-key and the birthday girl loved it.

It wasn’t a perfect day or a perfect party, but it was good. Just like my seasonal decor and my overpacked schedule and all of our runny noses. Those are just imperfect parts of a really great time in our life, when we’re settling into our home and spending extra time with friends and family at brunches and birthday parties and fall festivals and weekend visits. I don’t know that there’s an up side to hay fever, but keeping the air conditioner on to keep the pollen out does mean we sleep well at night, bundled under our many blankets as we are.

In the past I’ve let any little mistake or dilemma derail my enjoyment of my favorite things. If the things I look forward to don’t go perfectly according to plan (and expectation), well then, I guess it wasn’t worth the waiting after all. But that’s not right and that’s not healthy — and that steals the joy of so many seasons and experiences!

So, this year I’m determined to {ahem.} choose joy no matter what the season brings, because just like Anne (and every woman wearing skinny jeans, boots and a giant scarf right now), I’m glad I live in a world with Octobers.

How about you? Do you ever sabotage your own happiness when your favorite something isn’t perfect enough? Could you make a different choice this time, count the positives and choose the joy? Will you join me in appreciating this season, moldy pumpkins and all?

Real {autumn} life works for me. Is it working for you this fall?

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