So much of this country life I am living revolves around the seasons. And I am so thankful that each season is unique and brings its own version of blessing as well as challenges.

Winter is the season of rest and my season to reflect on the past year and maybe even dream a bit…what do we want to accomplish in the next year.

Spring, here in Northern Wisconsin, could almost be broken up into two seasons. Early spring here in my neck of the woods should just be renamed…something like mud season, or messy season, or “Please winter, just give it up” season. But our late spring is wonderful. It is the season of hope as the birdsong wakes me in the morning and the season of promise as we wait for the days warm, the mud to dry , the grass to green, the trees bloom and the baby farm animals arrive and oh how my heart sings at the potential. This is my second favorite time of the year because it is so full of hope and possibilities. It is like a fresh morning dawn, beautiful and unspoiled. Or, in the words of Anne Shirley, “it is fresh and clean with no mistakes in it…yet”

Summer is the season of hard work and very long days. Often, here on the farm, my days begin before dawn and end long after dusk. But these days are as rewarding as they are long. Days of tending and watchful waiting. Days of sore muscles, sore backs, sunburnt faces and necks, days of riding by the moonlight because that is the first opportunity we have had all day. Sun burnt hot days that are perfect for hay (as long as we can get a long enough string of them) and looking forward to a jump in the lake after a long hard days work.

And then there is my favorite season of all. Fall. I have debated on why this is my all time, hands down favorite season. I love Winter’s Christmas and Springs Easter. But there is so much about fall to love. The colors of fall are my absolute favorite colors of all! And every day, God amazes me with a brilliant splendor of color and light. The bright crisp days and frosty nights around the campfire, the fact the routines return to our life with the start of school and church programs. Maybe what I love about fall is I never can seem to get enough of it, in the blink of an eye the wind denudes the trees and I feel like the celebration is over. The other seasons span months, fall only has six to seven meager weeks before the leaves are gone and the snow flakes begin to fall. Maybe I am just conditioned to want more of what I cannot have. I love what fall represents, harvest and reward for the hard work of the spring and summer. Routine and a readiness for the restful time of winter. Yup, Fall is definitely my favorite.

With the beautiful fall colors all around me, the crisp cold nights, the golden sunshine of the days…I have been struck with how my life has become so seasonal…not just with the farm and horses, but with my family also. I think that John and I are in the fall season of our family, most of the kids have grown and moved out, some starting families of their own. We just have the two youngest still in school with one graduating this year, and the other next year. They are even beginning to think and dream of spreading their wings and delving into their own season of planning and growing. This summer, we became grandparents for the first time reaching a milestone that just two years ago seemed far, far down the road. Yes, I truly feel this is the fall season of our life, I want want to linger in it…I want to enjoy each moment and savor each event.

I love this parenting season I am in…reaping the harvest of all those springs and summers of hard work as the majority of our children are grown and on their own. The memories of late nights and long prayers. The precious moments of guiding, mentoring, praying and encouraging. Those were the seeds John and I sowed to reap the harvest that we now are beginning to see. Watching our children grow and spread their wings, find love, start families, make their way apart from John and I and begin to leave their mark in this world. This is what we were working for all of those years. To raise independent, vibrant, caring young men and women who would in their turn do the same for the next generation. See – it is the cycle of the seasons!

But as John and I walk thru this season of fall in our families life I have to remind myself that fall is a brief but beautiful season. It is over all to quickly.

I wish I could sit down with the “spring or summer ” me over a cup of coffee. For the “Spring” me, I would encourage her to not be in a hurry for the little ones to grow out of the phase they are in. I would tell her to make more time to read books. Never miss an opportunity to tuck the little ones into bed. To linger over a craft project with them and to not worry so much about how many toys are strewn over the floor. After all, she is in the sowing season and the more seeds she sows, the bigger harvest she will reap.

I would tell the “summer” me to make an effort to stay up late to talk to the teenager or college kid, to not be quite so quick to give my opinion but to ask them questions to help them come to good conclusions for themselves. To be willing to see their perspective. To judge less and love them more and make our home a rest and refuge for them away from the chaos and confusion of high school or college. I would encourage them to really know themselves before they begin relationships. I would do what my Heavenly Father does for me. Love unconditionally.

I wonder what the winter me will want to tell the fall me? Probably a lot of the same things I would think. Be patient and linger in the season you are in….because in the end, they all pass to quickly.