the fulfillment of promise

we are moving.

to zanesville.

to the house my grandparents lived in and raised their eight children.

to the six acres where I spent my childhood exploring and enjoying.

i remember the cherry tree just behind the house and the pies that came from it.

i remember the broken arm from jumping off the swingset and giant zucchini from the garden.

i remember the love that was there, and the kindness I was shown.

i hope for wild summers with my children and cabins built from scraps.

i hope for abundant gardens and sufficiency.

i hope to learn about the enjoyment of the earth and resting in providence.

i am thankful for promise, and for the fulfillment of the hope that has rested in my heart.

i am thankful for beauty and new adventures.

i am thankful for merchab, for this spacious place.

“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19

66_503839370521_3924_n IMG_20141230_0005 IMG_20141230_0006

IMG_20141230_0002 IMG_20141230_0003

3 2 1 december2014-6870 december2014-6869 december2014-6866 december2014-6864 december2014-6862

winter blues.

Winter this year.

january2014-3161 january2014-3197 january2014-3177

Whew.

I have been hardcore grumpin’ it since the holidays were over. I keep blaming it on the weather, the kids being sick, being stuck in the house, etc. But really? I just have nothing productive to do with my time.

january2014-3199 january2014-8911 january2014-8908

My day starts and I usually wake to a cold house due to weird furnace issues. I roll out of bed usually with the kids next to me and begin to make oatmeal in the kitchen. I clean up kitchen. Throw in laundry or wander around aimlessly. Tend to crying children or clean up a mess. Feed snack. Begin lunchtime prep with a small child who is usually fussy and getting tired. Eat lunch. Clean up food thrown on floor. Clean up kitchen again. Put child down. Play a little with older child. Clean up a mess. Make older child go to room for nap. Sit down intending to fold laundry or something else productive but usually end up staring at a screen or reading a book instead. Children wake up grumpy and ready for a snack. Begin dinner prep. Console crying child. Clean up mess. Eat dinner. Clean up food thrown on floor. Do dishes. Clean up living room. Put older child in time out for not cleaning up his mess. Bathtime. Bedtime. Ahhh.

january2014-8913 january2014-8918 january2014-8924

This day to day stuff has been getting me down. It seems so monotonous, boring and tiring. The other day when discussing how I was going to get my life back on track Brad suggested I do something with my time. Make something, start something. Anything. And then he said the important words “it doesn’t have to be important or helpful, just do something.”

I always feel like I need to put my time to really good use. That if I don’t it’s wasteful. But what is wasteful is feeling like I’m stuck in a rut and ruining my time with others because of it.

january2014-8927 january2014-8949 january2014-8941

So I made a list and I’m doing things.  Trying to make changes and brainstorming new ideas.

january2014-8952 january2014-8961 january2014-8960

I’ve also decided I need to take more daily photos again. I have fallen out of the habit and I miss turning mundane daily moments into beautiful lifetime memories.

january2014-8969 january2014-8966 january2014-8963

You know what? These very small changes helped tremendously. Winter still sucks and I still feel stuck inside but at least I’m creating something new and feeling like a productive human being.

january2014-8982 january2014-8987 january2014-8994 january2014-8989

gardens in july (a video)

I’ve had a lot of thoughts lately but every time I try to put them into words it sounds like a jumbled mess. So I guess I’m just meant to give garden updates all summer.

All of the rain and storms haven’t been kind to our plants. Thankfully the raised beds keeps the water draining but the wind knocked down a lot of quinoa and tore through the tomatoes, and and the excess water has caused diseases and mold to grow.

This is just a little taste of what farmers have to deal with all summer and it sucks. To have nurtured something for so long and then see it fail due to mother nature is a bummer. But we’re doing what we can and learning along the way and still getting so much stuff to eat!

Here’s a kind of boring garden update video!

emerson.

Somehow I stumbled upon Emerson quotes tonight.  I literally loved almost all of them so I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.”

I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.

“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”

“We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.”

“Pictures must not be too picturesque.”

“We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases.”

and the best…

“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”

 

vacation.

This week we are vacationing at my in-laws while they are taking their own vacation.

The thought to use their house for our vacation occurred to me around February while I was researching cabins in Virginia. Once we did the math we realized our upcoming trip to NYC for Thanksgiving and Gentlemen of the Road concert weekend (yay!) had already pushed us over our non-existent vacation budget. I realized that house-sitting would be free, close to home and is as beautiful as a cabin in the woods somewhere.

Their 25 acres set back from the road has provided the perfect spot to go fishing and creeking.

Mornings have consisted of fresh hen eggs and biscuits. Afternoons of reading on the porch.

I know that vacation is not a need. However, it feels like we’ve “needed” for months. A chance to get away from our house. From the stresses of living there, the stresses of our jobs and a chance to be in nature.

I didn’t realize how much I missed living in the country. It’s been 10 years since I moved away from Chandlersville, away from my childhood home of 10 hilly acres complete with a “crick”. I finally miss it.

I had forgotten how good it feels to step outside for some fresh air when I’m feeling frustrated. To take a walk without worry of my surroundings.

I don’t know how to balance this desire and love for nature with my love of the city. Metro Parks are beautiful but getting there is work. To step outside your door and immediately be in and one with nature is a wonderful, peaceful feeling.

The first day of vacation Theo kept asking permission to do things. We would send him outside to roam and play and he would immediately come back in wanting us to go out with him. Free play is something that is sadly impossible in our neighborhood. Our yard is not fenced and our neighborhood is not really safe. After a few times of us sending him back outside by himself he finally started to get it. I would see him wandering around outside, going in and out of the tent we put up. Imagining scenarios and playing them out.

In the shower I began to realize that our relationship with God is similar. At first we keep asking God to reassure us that he’s really there. That no matter what, he loves us and desires to be in relationship with us. He reassures us of our lives, of our purpose and we go back out. After a few times of this we become more comfortable with ourselves and of the role that the Spirit plays in our lives and we find ourselves doubting less and living more.

DSC_6278

DSC_6358 DSC_6423 DSC_6440 DSC_6441 DSC_6453 DSC_6459 DSC_6464 DSC_6470 DSC_6580

simple.

Simple has been on mind lately. How to be simple.

When we set out on our trip nearly 5 years ago we sold and gave away the majority of our possessions. Somehow 2 kids and a house later we have SO MUCH STUFF again.

We have a bazillion kid toys, many snack choices in our pantry, enough clothes to go for weeks without washing AND a lot of stress and frustration that arises with too many choices.

In this age of advertising and Pinterest I realized that I’ve been feeling a major guilt over not providing my kids with many choices of toys, food and types of play. I recently observed that a lot of Theo’s negative behaviors were coming out when he had too many things to choose from. I’ve been trying to limit the choices I give him and it has been helping tremendously. For breakfast I offer him cereal or toast, nothing else. He might complain for a second and ask for a bagel (or even grilled cheese…ha) but once I reinforce it he is perfectly happy eating toast.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of stress and frustration about trying to get out of the house with two kids was centered around my wardrobe. Being a new mom, a lot of my old clothes weren’t fitting correctly and even though I had a closet full of many choices I wasn’t able to find things that fit and “went together”. In order to stay sane and not get angry before we’ve even left the house for the day that I needed to purge, purge, purge my clothes selection.

I went through and donated the majority of my clothes that were what I call an “occasion only” wear. Something that I might wear once or twice a year but wasn’t very versatile for everyday use. I then added a few colors of my favorite tank top and t-shirts which I can wear under simple cardigans. I invested in two pairs of good quality and well-fitting jeans (most of the pairs I owned were from the thrift store and didn’t quite fit right post-baby) which are easy to throw on and will hopefully last for more than a season.

This has helped me tremendously. I no longer rush around trying on things that don’t fit, but I instead throw on a tank, a cardigan and sometimes a scarf to change up the look. Perhaps that’s boring but I’m finding that my desire to be fashion forward is also dwindling.

We’ve been purging toys that I call “one use toys”. Toys that once their initials luster wears off find themselves stuck in the bottom of a toy box for all eternity. Instead we are putting a few things like simple wooden blocks, train tracks and legos in Theo’s play spaces. His imagination is growing and he no longer wanders around looking for something to do.

One of the biggest simplifications that we are about to embark on is the way we eat. I’ve recently discovered the “More-with-Less” cookbook which is a collection of wisdom and recipes from Mennonite families on how to eat healthier, less processed foods. They believe that getting back to basics in terms of cooking will bring more joy and satisfaction into our lives.

Last night I presented a challenge to Brad and he accepted. I asked him if we could use the 40 days of Lent to try this new type of cooking. That for 3 meals a day we would use recipes from the “More-with-Less” cookbook and set out to make our own cereals for breakfast and simplify the foods we eat for lunch and supper. There is so much that I want to share about this challenge so I will write it in another post. For now we are going to take the next month (Ash Wednesday is on February 13th) to eat through the “junk” and prepackaged foods we have in our pantry and refrigerator.

Being simple is more than just saving money or saving the environment. It is freeing. Once I realized that I am not under the control of our culture or what ad agencies are telling me, I also realized that I am smart enough to make good decisions for my family. We are perfectly capable of going through this life without the latest fashion, without the latest toys and without the insane amount of food choices that we have access to in the United States. In fact I daresay that we would be much happier and fulfilled that way.

534214_10101175591112904_1927680098_n