An Ode to Autumn
We’re Living Through this Season with Intention
For many years, but especially since launching S+S Goods, we’ve been taking moments to set a tone that’ll help us transition into a new and intentional season. Sometimes these seasons flow with the calendar, corresponding to holidays and various times of year, and others they seem to be completely random and rooted in what God is teaching us in a given moment.
Can you believe we’re already most of the way through November?! Christmas will be here before we know it, and we can’t wait to share with you what we’ve been thinking about heading into this holiday season. Every year, we typically rotate between visiting each of our families on major holidays. This year, we’re doing Thanksgiving in Austin and Christmas in Dallas. We recently brought a new tradition to the table of our families where we give everyone these special little envelopes as a symbol of our prayers and intentions for them in the upcoming year — let us tell you a little more about it! We take time to thoughtfully assign each loved one a word or theme, then put the “good word of the season” in an envelope before family time. During dinner, we go around expressing what we feel is special about each person, what they brought to the table in our family this year and why we chose this particular word for them in the upcoming season
For the upcoming holidays, we’ve really been loving the word gather for our S+S Goods family. Oftentimes, the fall and winter months are considered the “season of memory”, so we wanted to create a space for ourselves and you, our S+S Goods fam, to reflect and think back on those precious moments of loved ones coming together. We believe these are the moments — the ones when we’re simply together — that set the stage for and, at times, even changed the course of our life.
“Gather” might be an obvious word with Thanksgiving so near, and as much as we absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving, we want to approach this seasonal theme from an angle different from the typical “What are you thankful for?”
S+S Holiday Throwback
Growing up, we were both blessed to be a part of families that gathered often and gathered well. We wanted to take a minute to give you a glimpse into our lives pre-Stevie and Sazan, since they really set the foundation for both our marriage and the family and future we’re now building for ourselves and the girls!
I lived in a small apartment with a lot of people, so I grew accustomed to a loud, rowdy, beautiful mess decorated with smells of Mom’s cinnamon rolls coming from the kitchen and sounds of Dad’s Christmas movies on the TV. I didn’t grow up in the Christian faith, so gratitude and gathering were at the foundation of what I knew about the holiday season — being present and being together, that’s all that mattered.
What I’ve learned looking back on my childhood is that traditions are so important. Traditions are something to look forward to. They provide a set time for families to interact and bond together. In the good ol’ USA, there are so many cultures with their own traditions, but in my family, we had to make our own. The things I fondly remember around this time were attending a Christmas Eve church service and enjoying a Christmas eve dinner together at Macaroni Grill. (You know 7-year-old Stevie was ordering at least 5 Shirley Temples.) We eventually outgrew our old stand by Macaroni Grill, but we have kept the tradition of a Christmas Eve dinner alive because the most important thing was simply spending intentional time together. My hope as a parent now is that I can form traditions for our family throughout the years that my girls will look back on and smile.
Perfectly Imperfect — A Note from Sazan
About five years ago, when we were living in L.A. and I had just had Valentina — she was around three weeks old, so I was in the thick of being a new mom — family from both sides came together to celebrate Christmas along with the birth of our precious baby girl. Being in that place of postpartum (beautiful) chaos, I was really not in the mood to celebrate. I was feeding around the clock, exhausted and frankly, not feeling much of the holiday spirit. Much less, hosting felt like a real chore, no matter how grateful I was for our healthy baby girl and for both Stevie and my families to be able to gather around her. To make matters worse, several of us ended up coming down with a nasty stomach bug (talk about timing)!! Needless to say, this is one holiday memory that’s far from perfect.
BUT, despite its less-than larger-than-life moments, I would be remiss to deny that even with all of the wonderful holiday celebrations when I was younger, this is one of my absolute favorite memories of all time. Sometimes I even wish I could go back and relive it, for better or worse. Why? Because, as hectic as that Christmas was, when I look back on it, my mind isn’t filled with the feelings of exhaustion or sympathy for the stomach bug sufferers. Instead, I just think of those little moments; when the siblings went shopping and grandmas stayed behind to babysit, when we all drove around aimlessly and went for hot chocolate. Full of laughter and joyful storytelling and memory sharing, these are the moments that make or break a holiday. The moments in which everyone is simply together.
Togetherness is a funny thing — magical, almost. It has the ability to heal hurts and restore broken places as well as to build foundations that last a lifetime. We can’t wait to tell the girls about all of the times our families got together so they can appreciate the traditions they’ll get to help us carry on. As time goes on and babies grow — slow down, Valentina! — we’ve begun to realize how important it is to enjoy those special moments when you are surrounded by the people you love. It’s far too easy to take those times for granted.
So our challenge for you as the holidays approach, beyond taking every opportunity to feel and express gratitude, is to simply be present. Get together with the people you love, gather and cherish every second you spend with them. Make memories to last a lifetime and remember that even those imperfect moments are absolutely precious.
How is the weather inside you?
As we’ve begun processing how to implement this word of the season into our hearts and minds to create a more intentional time with family, we’ve noticed ourselves doing more check-ins than usual. One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a time of gathering is to make sure there is nothing to distract you. Stress, hurt, fear, anxiety — these are all the enemy of peace. And peace is the key ingredient to a beautiful time of gathering. (Of course, there is no perfection in life so be careful not to take on more stress as you attempt to de-stress.) We urge you to simply check in, to ask yourself, ask your loved ones, “Are you OK?” and to walk through anything that might take away from your ability to have an incredible time of building memories with those you love.
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