When I first set out to create a Country French Fall Porch Tour, the only thing I could think about was capturing the essence of Fall.
If you’re new here, I live on a tiny island in Florida, and truth be told, we have to create our own Fall season every year.
Sometimes the weather dictates what kind of Fall we have because we’re still in the middle of hurricane season.
Other times, we’re able to find a tiny spark of Fall inspiration and make the season our own.
This year, I was bound and determined to create a Country French Fall Porch Tour inspired by that feeling you get on a lazy Saturday when the sun warms your face on a chilly morning, a cozy cable knit sweater with a cross-body bag and a scarf around your neck, antique brown and white transferware treasures in one hand and a pumpkin spice latte in the other.
The only things in front of you are wide open spaces of vintage goodies, the sweet smell of apple donuts, gobs of mums, bales of hay, heirloom pumpkins, and friendly vendors.
And while we’re dreaming, there’s nothing to do at home.
Everyone is safe and taken care of which means your only goal for the day is to relax, slow down, and enjoy the essence of Fall.
Just writing those words makes me all kinds of excited for the good things coming our way this season!
So, armed with a fabulous game plan, and lots of ideas from our Country French Fall Home Tour, I asked my bestie S who also helps run the TCG website if she could tag along to the garden center.
“THIS is the year I’m going to have lots of white mums, S. I’m going to have so many white mums on the Country French Fall porch, it’s going to look like white mums exploded,” I giggled as we waited in line for coffee.
Ever the realist she said, “You say that EVERY YEAR. And every year you have a hard time finding white mums. I don’t want to rain on your parade but don’t get your hopes up, ok? It’s been years since we’ve seen the kind of white mums you’re talking about.”
Truthfully, she didn’t have to worry about raining on my mum parade because deep down, I knew it was a long shot.
Besides, we were already running against the clock.
The first night we drove across town to 3 different stores. There were some pretty options and even a few mums.
But it’s still relatively warm here which means summer flowers and colors were everywhere.
We planned to drive across town in the other direction the following morning with one difficult caveat.
It would be the only day for nearly two weeks we’d have enough room in our schedule to ride around town finding mums.
The next morning it was pouring buckets of rain and I knew immediately we’d have one shot at finding the elusive white mums.
It was just too nasty to be out and about.
Feeling the pressure, we pulled up to what would be our fifth and final garden center.
And as the glass doors opened, my heart sank.
No white mums.
In fact, there weren’t any mums even blooming yet.
It basically looked like our front lawn – everything was green.
As an introvert and a recovering perfectionist with an anxiety disorder, I freely admit, that it’s hard for me to make decisions on the fly.
My hands get clammy, and I struggle with racing thoughts almost instantly.
Learning how to pivot is something I have to work on constantly.
Up for the challenge, I scanned the racks of mums willing myself to let the vision of a Country French Fall Porch with gobs of white mums go.
Then I spotted a tiny pink mum.
I called S over to the rack and asked her to help me find more pots of pink mums.
They mostly looked like white mums with a few pink mums mixed in between but it was the closest we’d found to white mums in two days, so I took them all.
To complement the yellow centers in the pink mums, we bought yellow celosia that reminded us of wheat growing in the fields.
Because there weren’t enough pink mums to fill all the pots on the front porch, we also had to buy purple mums and Raspberry Angelonia as well.
It was all extremely colorful and nothing like I had originally envisioned.
In fact, I’ll just be perfectly honest, I second-guessed everything we bought on the way home.
But as I carefully dug each plant out of its plastic container and placed them into their pots, I realized it’s a true gift to know how to pivot and compromise.
I can’t tell you how many times the “all or nothing” mentality soundtrack has threatened to hold me back.
Maybe it’s holding you back too.
Have you ever realized you didn’t have time for a full workout, so you skipped it completely instead of fitting in the 20 minutes you had available?
Ever woke up planning to clean out your closet, the garage, bedroom, or office only to be interrupted all day then wind-up doom scrolling Insta or Pinterest instead of getting started on one small task because the day didn’t work out as planned?
What about inviting a big group of friends over for a dinner party only to receive a smaller than expected number of RSVPs, and instead of enjoying a more intimate group, you decide to just cancel the whole thing?
Perhaps you want to give your living room a full makeover, but an unexpected bill or life change came up so instead of shopping your house to give the space a quick refresh, you scrap your plans completely.
Were you excited about creating an amazing Fall inspired tablescape only to walk away when it didn’t turn out in real life like you thought it would in your head?
If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that the art of compromise and learning how to pivot with grace might be one of the most important life skills we ever learn.
After all, progress no matter how big or small paves the path for a growth mindset instead of keeping us stuck in a fixed one.
While our Country French Fall Porch Tour might not be exactly like I had originally envisioned, every morning when I walk out here with my generous mug of pumpkin spice coffee and watch our sweet rescue Piper hunt for lizards and play in the grass, I’m reminded sometimes we don’t get want we want, we simply get what we need instead.
And that my friends, just might be the truest essence of Fall.