Fall reflections

October 1st. I love this time of year! A bike ride to the park reveals the fall colors on the trees, as though nature is putting on its greatest show before it slinks into hibernation. It's also a time when some of my favorite foods end up in the grocery store aisles. I went shopping today, and as I was looking for lettuce and peppers and broccoli and such, I spotted cranberries! Okay, so I wasn't jumping up and down giddy, but when I checked the back of the package and found my favorite cranberry salsa recipe on the back, I could not resist. I bought a bag, along with the cilantro, jalapeño, limes and green onions, and made some tonight. Here's the recipe:

Cranberry Salsa

1 bag of cranberries (12 oz.) 1 bunch cilantro chopped 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and chopped fine 1 bunch of green onions chopped in 1-inch pieces 3/4 cup white sugar 2 limes juiced

Put everything in a food processor and combine until mixed well but not soupy. Refrigerate. Serve with blue corn chips (or whatever suits you). Tastes great as a meat accompaniment too.

Fall brings so many great tastes - like caramel apples and pumpkin bread and squash with honey and butter and well, I could get hungry just thinking about it! I made a sweet potato quinoa soup a week or so ago that will definitely be on my fall menu.

This season also means looking ahead to the holidays and family birthdays. And the memory of my dad's journey to heaven. If pumpkin pie exists in heaven (and I'll bet it's way better than it is on earth) then I can imagine my dad savoring a delicious bite! (Or as he would joke - a whole pie all by himself!)

Fall is a reminiscent time, and a time to reflect on our blessings. (Thanksgiving is just around the corner!) I was reading in Thessalonians the other day and it struck me the way Paul began both letters. He started out telling the people there how thankful he was for them, for their faith, their hope, their love. And I was thinking how awesome that must have sounded to those people. Imagine getting a letter that starts out - "I thank God for you!...and here's why..." It's so easy to pick out the criticisms and focus on the negatives.

And I was thinking - how often when I pray do I point out all the things I want God to fix in someone, in myself, in the world? And surely there are a lot of things that need fixing. But there is a lot to praise Him for too.(The Jewish Sukkot celebration began today and lasts until next Sunday. It is the biblical Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles - a celebration of reminiscence and joy and dependence on God for all He has done and trust in what He will do in the future.)

And while I won't be building a booth and living in my backyard this week, I still have great reason to celebrate. God is good! And He shows it in every detail of His creation. A bike ride to the park shows me the squirrels He has made that scamper on either side of the path and make me laugh, and I wonder if I'll have to brake for one that decides to rush across my path. I can't help but smile as I watch the sun's rays burst around white puffy clouds as though it can't hide any longer! And my eyes feast on the colors, while I listen to praise music and still hear the birds and insects buzz in the trees around me, and I am grateful that I am able to observe and enjoy such things.

And when I think about those I love and all of the wonderful ways they have blessed my life, how can I not celebrate? God has surrounded us with some great gifts.

As another fall comes around and seasons bring change, I look forward to each thing with joy. Maybe not the jumping up and down giddy kind, but joy just the same!