Our weather has definitely changed this past week and I love it. Fall is here and there is a nip in the air. We finally turned our heat on this week; it’s been pretty chilly in the house in the mornings! I love this time of year when we start leaving the blinds open instead of closing them when the sun starts streaming in. We close windows instead of leaving them cracked at night. And after using the oven I leave the door open to fill the kitchen with warmth. For the summer months I work hard to keep the fans going the right direction and closing blinds in the afternoons to keep the house cool. It’s nice in the cooler months to not mess with all that! And, drum roll please…we’re supposed to get our first snow this week! I’m excited! The kids start fall break on Thursday, the day it’s supposed to snow. Anna said, “Maybe we could go sledding for fall break!” Since we had a blizzard in May, why not have snow over fall break too? I do love snowy weather, but I’m sure not ready for our flowers to be frozen so early.
We’re all looking forward to the kids being out of school for a bit. We actually started one of our fall break traditions already this last weekend. For the past several years we’ve watched the Anne of Green Gables movie over fall break. And, weeks ago, the kids started asking if we could watch it again. Since Kenny had to work this past Saturday, we decided to start the movie early and finish it over break. I love that James and Anna have fallen in love with this story too and expect to watch it every year. Traditions are so important to little people. I think traditions and routines help them feel safe and secure in this world. That may be part of why I value traditions so much. Traditions also carry importance because they help us mark who we are a family.
On Saturday we also mixed up a new batch of hot cocoa mix. My mom has done this for us for many, many years and it’s become a staple in our house every fall and winter. We altered her recipe slightly so of course we had to sample several mugs of hot chocolate along the way. We finally found the right ratio of ingredients and declared it a success. Bring on the snow – we are ready!
Something else I’ve been thinking about this week is the importance of conversation. This past week I talked with four different people on the phone for an extended time – each for about an hour. One local friend is in her 80’s and does not have a computer or smart phone, so email and texting is not an option. We write letters to each other and chat on the phone and it is lovely. We enjoyed a wonderful conversation catching up with each other after months and both appreciated the time on the phone so much. Another friend just moved across country and while we’ve texted back and forth since she left, a phone conversation was needed to hear the other’s heart, tone of voice, and emotion. Things that are often absent in a text or email. She needed to vent, to cry, to be reminded of the good, and to pray together. Again, these are ways we build each other up in relationship that are nearly impossible using social media.
The third conversation was with a long-time friend and we just needed a catch up to keep our friendship moving. It takes effort to maintain friendships and while a quick text to say ‘I’m thinking of you’ is kind and helpful, it isn’t the same as a conversation to hear how the other is doing. And lastly, I had the privilege this week of talking on the phone with my sister in England. We typically Skype each other with all the kids so they continue to maintain cousin relationships despite the distance. But every once in awhile we’ll carve out time for just the two of us to chat and it is one of my most favorite things. This time I made a cup of tea and sat down to chat with Sheila – it was the middle of the day for me. She had a glass of wine – the end of her day. I miss her so much and these conversations definitely keep me going.
Of course we all know that face to face time is still the best form of communication – facial expressions are present! Phone conversations are the next best thing, though, and I’m thankful for that means of communication. I still send my fair share of texts and emails but after this week I’m hoping to pick up the phone more often and maybe even write a few more letters.
What are your thoughts on communicating with friends and family? Do you have a favorite way to communicate and maintain relationships?