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To Everything There is a Season

Today, it strikes me that cooler temperatures are here to stay, the long hot days of summer are once again behind us. It causes me to take a moment to consider the change of seasons and how we cope with change. It is at this time that we have a decision to make, will we spend the next weeks and months mourning the loss of summer? Or do we look back and celebrate the time we had, the beauty of summer, and relish in the last glimpses of the green leaves and grass, knowing it will be months before we see the vibrancy of their color again.

It is about the attitude you choose. It isn't just about the seasons, it's your life as well.

Look at your children, do you see them and panic because they are growing too fast? Do you spend time mulling with regret over things you didn't teach them, didn't do with them, time you didn't take. Or do you look at them, celebrate how far they have come, rejoice that you have had the privilege to be a part of their lives and look forward to the years to come? It's a choice.

If you don't have children, maybe you agonize over your career, your workplace, how the economy has caused it to change. People being let go, responsibilities changing, priorities shifting. Sometimes it is hard to see the silver lining, even if you can't, you can choose your attitude towards it all.

So, here are my thoughts on how to make good choices in this time of change, you can probably find lists of lists online, but here are some of my thoughts...

1. Acknowledge change. Sometimes just hearing the words come out of your mouth, helps you cope with the change. "Fall is here!." "My children are maturing.," "I might lose my job." It's fact, acknowledge; "What is, IS"

2. Talk about it. Find out how other people have coped. You aren't the first to be in this situation, seek out others and learn how they dealt with similar change, ask their advice. Having talked with a few friends who lost their jobs over the past several months, many have taken that opportunity to explore new vocations, new opportunities and look back and see that the change as a good one. Thankful for the impetus to rethink what they were doing, or where they were doing it.

3. Look for the silver lining. As much as I dread that fall signals the coming of winter, there are a lot of things that I do like about fall too. I love colorful leaves, the crispness in the air, a big cozy sweater, and hot spiced cider. Maybe it is taking a trip with a child where you can do things you both like, or perhaps it is sleeping in, having lunch with friends. Whatever it is that you now have the opportunity to do, find a way to incorporate a little of that into your life each day.

4. Dream. Spend some time thinking about what your dreams for the future are. What are your wildest dreams, what about your simplest dream? If you never spend time thinking about what you want, how do you work toward that, how do you know when you have achieved it. Maybe it is having your Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving, a tropical vacation, maybe it is having saved money, lost weight. Maybe it is as simple as wanting to learn to ice skate this winter (my dream), maybe it is sharing that with my girls. Perhaps it is a long held dream for a profession change, a "some day I want to...." Think about it, have fun with it. There is time, it's never too late.

5. Set a goal. Now that you are dreaming, let's start working to make that a reality. Put some real life times, dates, expectations down on paper. Outline some steps that you can take, small steps, to get you heading in the right direction. Try to do something every day.

6. Use affirmations. Find little things that lift your spirit, remind you of your dreams, and inspire you to continue on towards your goal. Write a little note to yourself, and inspiring quote, maybe posting pictures of what you want around your house to keep you focused. Maybe it is a song or a playlist of songs, that make you feel good, inspires you and lifts your spirits. Something to remind you to make good choices, to make the most of today.

7. Be present in today. Now that you have a goal, a roadmap, find a way to show gratitude and love your life for today. Cherish those around you, learn from those you can. Soak in the beauty of the season, of the wonderment of a child, the colleagues you currently have or the perks your employment affords you. Tell people what they mean to you and just take time to "notice what you notice." At the end of your life you don't want to look back and see that all you have done is worry over the future and lament over the past. Even if today is the worst day of your life, take moment to be present, notice how you feel, and how you will one day look back, amazed with the strength you had to carry on. Live in today.

There is a Bible verse that says it well and I will leave you with that today...

  There is a time for everything,
       and a season for every activity under heaven:

 a time to be born and a time to die,
       a time to plant and a time to uproot,

 a time to kill and a time to heal,
       a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
       a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
       a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,
       a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
       a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
       a time for war and a time for peace.

                   ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

A time to make a choice. Make it a good one!

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