It's officially autumn. With thoughts of Fall come thoughts of crispy red leaves, roaring fireplaces, candy corn, denim jackets, and unfortunately, Halloween. While I enjoy dressing up my baby girl and taking her to the church carnival, I don't enjoy the holiday. In fact, I absolutely despise trying to watch TV the entire month of October because of all the horror movies being shown or featured. I don't like to be afraid.

Fear is a funny thing. It's a mental emotion that can lead to physical reactions in the form of sweating, adrenaline rushes, accelerated heart rates, etc. It's probably the least favorite emotion of most people in this world. Yet, it's probably one of the most commonly experienced. We fear death. We fear destruction. We fear rejection. We fear pain. 

Have you ever been afraid?

I remember one time as a teenager my family took a trip to a Ripley's museum in Dallas. There was a room with many doors, each labeled with various fears. Most were closets stuffed full of decorations of that specific fear, like spiders, etc. But one door was marked The Fear of Fear and actually was a walk-through path, like in a haunted house. The funny thing about that door, though, was that nothing happened. But the entire time, you were scared that it might, therefore proving their point.

For me, I've always been afraid of clowns. It's a random phobia of mine. It took years for me to accept Ronald McDonald on a fast food playground. The circus is simply out of the question. Not entirely sure how or why this developed, but it did. No Big Top for me, please!

My pastor openly admits to being afraid of the dark, and he's an ex-boxer. His hands are as big as boxing gloves, as if his former career morphed directly into his skin. Yet, he can't stand the darkness.

My good friend is terrified of spiders. Not in the typical girly, don't-want-to-touch-them sort of way, but in the would-rather-sleep-in-the-car-if-she-sees-one-in-her-bedroom sort of way.

So what are you afraid of? Why? Is fear something you'd rather conquer, or avoid altogether?

My fourteen-month-old daughter is scared of the vacuum cleaner. Terrified. She actually claps as soon as you turn it off out of sheer relief. One time when she was younger I actually vacuumed the entire house with one hand, holding her on my hip with the other, and let's just say that wasn't a good idea for anyone—me, her, or the floors. I used muscles that day that I didn't know existed! It took us months of patience to get her to accept the dust buster—a smaller version of her fear. She's wary around it, but okay.

The other day my floors were demanding that she put aside her fears and let Mama clean. So, I told Little Miss that Mama had to vacuum, and it was just a bigger version of the dust buster, and she'd have to deal with it for a few minutes. The carpets were practically moving -- it was past time to clean them. I got out the vacuum, plugged it in, pasted a big "see, Mama is happy, this is a good thing" smile on my face, and turned it on.

Little Miss grabbed Gigi, her beloved stuffed giraffe she hasn't put down in months, and tottered out of the room. She paused in the doorway, Gigi clutched in both fists, and stared, as if making sure I was all right. Then she watched from the corner of the doorway in whatever room I was in as I vacuumed. She never cried, but you could tell she was nervous.

I made my way into the living room. She crawled up in her purple and white polka dot toddler chair with a toy and watched me from the corner of her eye as I cleaned around her. Then, as I got closer and closer to her chair, she realized that Gigi was on the floor about two feet away, directly in the path of the vacuum.

You could almost see her start to sweat. Risk the Beast, or save Gigi from certain destruction? Her eyes darted back and forth between the roaring monster and her dear friend, as I watched the moment the decision was made. She dove headfirst out of her chair, in true military fashion, and elbow-crawled the two steps to Gigi. Then she snatched the giraffe up in a headlock and climbed back into her chair, all in one long fluid motion.