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(humility)

Taking my Time With Good-bye

It’s our last week in the old homestead. All the pictures are off the walls, the curtains have been taken down, laundered and packed away. The floors are bare and even our slippered footsteps echo on the hardwood floors. It barely feels like home anymore, but even so… even in the midst of the packing and sorting and cleaning, I’m savoring every last minute we have here. As I sit in the almost empty rooms, I am thankful for the prettiness we were able to create here, the contentment we learned here,

morninglroom

the blessing this beautiful home has been to us for so many years.

spring

I’ll remember summer breezes through these kitchen curtains,

ice

and winter ice on my century old rose bush,

frontdoor

tiny woolen coats on my front door,

drtableflowers

bright fresh flowers on my dining room table,

oldstove

and so many warm tasty suppers on my old kitchen stove.

fronthallbench

Bright and early in the morning, on Saturday the twenty-sixth, trucks and trailers will pull up out front and the wonderful men from my church will be here. They’ll pack up our furniture and what’s left of our bits and bobs and haul it all over to the New House. They’ll unload it and move it all inside, and they’ll be very patient while I decide exactly where I want each piece. The ladies of the church will make cupcakes and brownies, and Amelia will have homemade pizza waiting for the guys by lunchtime. Marcia has promised us a dinner for that evening and Deb another one for the next night. My mother and sister will be making the long trek up next week to help me hang curtains and organize kitchen cupboards. It will be exciting and wonderful and we can hardly wait for our wonderful new home.

But until all that happens, I’ll cherish every moment that this house is home.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

Oh look, you’re back! So am I!

mikiwindowseat

Lots of changes happening around here these days, ladies.  Firstly, we’re moving. Yep, we’re moving house. And although I’ll be sad to leave this lovely old Victorian with its oak woodwork, ten foot ceilings and charming little nooks and crannies; I’m more than ready to say good-bye to its leaky plumbing, cracking plaster and frail electrical system. Broken toilet? Flickering lights? No worries! In just a few short weeks such horrors will be easily remedied by a simple phone call to Mr. Friendly Landlord. I couldn’t possibly be happier to leave home ownership behind. And wait ‘til you see the new place… you’re gonna love it just as much as we already do. I promise.

But moving to a new home is only the start of the new adventures around here.  With most of my children long since done with their schooling and Noah teetering on the edge of *sob* high school, my homeschooling journey seemed to be coming to an end.

Enter Arianna.

bigbrotherlittlesister

Since Amelia is caring for our darling little friend fulltime now, and since her mother is interested in homeschooling, and since she’s also a wonderfully obliging individual who’s only too happy to totally make my year, it looks like we’ll be starting all over at pre-school once again. And since Early Childhood Education is one of my passions (and incidentally the subject of my degrees), I am insanely ridiculously excited at the prospect. So while we’re packing and moving house, I’m busy sorting through all of my manipulatives and curriculum and educational philosophy materials.

ariannabirds

Soon it’ll be a little bit Waldorf-y and a lotta bit Charlotte Mason around here. With a smidge of letter of the week tossed in for good measure.

SO STINKIN’ PSYCHED!

And one more teensy thing:  you girls know that I’ve always been all about the baked goods: Monday morning muffins, Friday evening pizza, coffeecake, fresh homemade bread. And butter!

blueberrycoffeecake

I surely do love me a good stick of butter, oh yes! Well my friends, it looks like all of this self indulgence and unrestrained butter consumption has finally caught up with me. Apparently all it took was a little… ahem, episode last April to wipe the smile off my doctor’s face. Some further testing over the summer resulted in a fistful of prescriptions. BMI testing confirmed the fact that I have pretty much become the human equivalent of that stick of butter I love so well. By last month my doctor was looking downright stern as he suggested I acquaint myself with the works of Dr. Dean Ornish. Dean Ornish as in no-fat, no-caffeine, no-refined carbohydrates, fer cryin’ out loud! How am I supposed to live like that??

Why, with a smile on my face, that’s how… what didya expect?

Some things never change.

smilingme

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.

Proverbs 17:22

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So… yeah… it’s been a while, huh?

I didn’t mean to drop off the face of the internet, really I didn’t. I got an email the other day from a longtime reader, gently inquiring as to my well-being since it had been a month since I’d updated. A month? Surely not! It’s only been a couple of days, right?

Or maybe a week?

Two weeks?

GULP

Truth be told I have a hard time blogging when my real life house isn’t in order and truth be told my house has not been in order. Quite frankly, it’s been a shambles. You see, about a month ago I impulsively decided to do a little redecorating… nothing terribly ambitious, just replacing half a room’s worth of peeling and long despised kitchen wallpaper. Well a little bit of a windfall coupled with my pathologically optimistic nature and that sensible modest plan quickly morphed into the gargantuan effort of redoing all of the wall treatments on the first floor, which then (of course) necessitated new window treatments, which then (not surprisingly) inspired me in a slipcover-ly direction, which then (alarmingly) gave rise to visions of decorating schemes which can be changed out on a seasonal basis.

Oh my.

So yeah, lots going on here. And not a lot of tidy-ness happening hereabouts.  And I suppose with that tidbit of information you really needn’t wonder what’s been keeping me busy for the last few weeks, or why I haven’t had the spare time or energy to update… I’m up to my earlobes in paint scrapings and in over my head with half-sewn draperies. Oh my goodness, me.

But it’ll all be worth it. Soon.

At least that’s what I keep telling the kids.

yup

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Alas

I got so distracted, not that I’m usually distractable or anything like that, by the turkey and the tomato soup cake and Beth’s great pumpkin pie it’s a layered dontcha know and Nana’s amazing stuffing….

O be still my heart….

Anyway I got so distracted by all that and the cups of coffee in my mother’s little fiestaware cups and the after dinner chatter that lasted until nigh about supper time, but hey’s who’s hungry for supper anyway? and my terribly handsome nephews…

O be still my heart…

So yeah. I got a little distracted, collapsed into bed wayay too late and then slept wayayay too late this morning. And I neglected to take the time to finish up that final Relevant post…. you know, the one I promised you?

So yeah…. sorry about that. How ’bout we try for Monday morning?

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Relevant 11, Post #3 (Otherwise entitled: Sometimes I’m clueless)

Start at the very beginning… it’s a very good place to start! Post number one in this series is HERE, and el puesto numero dos esta AQUI.

I admit it. I felt like a bit of a fraud when I walked into the Sheraton that Thursday afternoon. I wasn’t even sure I should be blogging for heaven’s sake. And let’s face it, as I looked at all the professional, competent women around me, I knew I was completely out of my league. I had barely posted a thing for months on end. My stats were plummeting, which, in case you didn’t know, is what happens when you barely post a thing for months on end. I didn’t know the first thing about SEO, or monetizing and for the life of me I couldn’t understand Twitter. I don’t have a smartphone, heck I had never even seen a smartphone* before.


But I soon found out that those professional competent women were also warm and friendly…. and excited! They were happy to meet me, they said and they seemed genuinely thrilled with the little felt business card holders we’d made…

or at least they were gracious enough to feign a thrilled state, which was nice.
I surely do like that quality in a girl, mmhmm.

Our hotel room was beautiful, my roommates (neither of whom had smartphones either) were positively darling and they even brought their babies along. Which I thought was an especially considerate gesture, since yanno, I had to leave my own personal babies at home.

Now, it may not surprise you to hear that smartphones and Twitter weren’t the only things I was clueless about heading into this conference. I also was completely unaware of Who’s Who in the World of Big Blogging. Foolishly, I’d neglected all of the preconference goings-on over at the Relevant website. I barely even knew the names of the conference leaders and speakers, much less how impressive and accomplished they are. But oh, my goodness… best-selling authors, homeschooling pioneers, compelling bloggers with huge followings. Why, it could make a gal feel downright unaccomplished and tiny being in the midst of such Biggies, O yes it could. However, I’ve noticed that when one is unaccomplished and tiny, it tends to make things very easy. You see, when you’re tiny, you just look up to everyone. Easy peasy. No fuss, no muss. Kinda like…

You’re here? You’re awesome! Wow.

So yeah, I happily muddled along talking to this older grandma and that young girl. I spent the most delightful coupla hours with my beloved old bloggy friend Becks and my beloved-old-friend-of-the-future Deanna. I had dinner with this lovely lady and spent most of my time admiring her beautiful baby girl. I struck up a conversation with this even-more-beautiful-in-person and offered her one of my business card holders. The very first night I sat across the table from this adorable little thing. I kept trying to start up a conversation with her because I thought she looked lonesome. Little did I know she was one of the speakers (and possessor of a great theological mind) and was just gathering her (probably great theological) thoughts, which I imagine is kinda hard to do when some person you’ve never met is pestering you to pass the salt. And the salad dressing. And, and, and…

…I am so not a networker. sigh.

Photo credit to Darcy of Life With My 3 Boybarians

So when this gal got up to speak, in her cute little jeans and cotton top, I just plain didn’t know enough to be impressed.

Tune in Friday morning, same time, same place for the final installment in this gripping tale of high adventure and derring do… aka Relevant 11, Post#4

*I now want a smartphone.

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Relevant 11, Post #2 (Otherwise entitled: On the road ag’in)

Start at the very beginning… it’s a very good place to start! Post number one in this series is HERE.

I almost didn’t go to Relevant.

The tickets went up for sale when I had no extra money in my checking account and by the time I had put the money aside the tickets were long since gone. But then I got word of someone’s spare ticket they wanted to sell, and I quite miraculously still had that set-aside money in my bank account. And then Trina said yes, she was going and yeah, she’d be happy to drive us. Then Gretchen joined the party which made the cost of our rooms ridiculously affordable. Noah went up into the attic and brought down my suitcase completely unprompted, Amelia set aside an entire day to help me make little gifts to bring along and Millen offered to lend me her pink sparkly Bible... just for the trip, of course.

It was almost like the Lord was packing my bags and pushing me out the door. “Go, go, go on!” He was saying. “Have a good time and I’ll meet ya there!”

So go I did. Louisa drove me to Trina’s where I had chicken curry for dinner and shared a bit of light reading with her little Claire (who is so so heart-meltingly similar to my Amelia at that age.) I discussed monster trucks with Jesse and was suitably impressed with Jeremy, (her delightfully MacGyver-esque hubby.) Early the next morning we drove south through foothills and fall colors and rain… talk, talk, talking all the way. And all the while, in the back of my mind I was wondering what the heck I was doing. I mean, I’d basically walked away from my blog a few months ago. I wasn’t even sure if I’d ever write another post.

Why on earth was I going to a blogging convention?


Go here for part 3 of my Relevant saga… and I promise, I’ll actually talk about the convention. Really, I will!

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Relevant 11, Post #1 (Otherwise entitled: But first a little history)

I started blogging to keep from going crazy.


After working outside of the home for several years, I was finally able to return to my career, homemaking. Those had been some long difficult years and I was deliriously happy to be home again, baking bread, sewing dresses, homeschooling the kids. There was not one ounce of me that regretted leaving my professional life behind, and not one single morning I didn’t wake up flooded with relief and gratitude for being home. But I soon discovered a Great and Terrible Truth about being a stay-at-home-homeschooling-single-mama: YOU’RE ALONE. You might never have contact with another adult all day long, all night long, day after day. From Sunday services until Wednesday evening Bible study, and from Wednesday night until Sunday morning, it’s just you and those adorable, irritating, frustrating, heart-melting offspring of yours. I took the kids to every free activity in the county, secretly hoping there’d be another mom there to chat with. I found myself sharing my weekly meal plan with random strangers in the grocery store. It was sad girls. Very very sad.

Clearly I needed help.


I needed someone to talk to, someone who appreciated the delicious soup and crusty bread I made for dinner, and by that, I specifically mean the kind of someone who didn’t not so secretly prefer hot dogs. I wanted someone to swap laundry tips with and share my excitement when everyone in the house woke up in the morning with dry beds. I wanted someone to commiserate with me when I noticed the dirty pair of underwear under the dining room table five minutes after the ladies from the Missions Committee left. I wanted someone to tell me it’s not that bad. I wanted someone to tell me… well, it is that bad, but it’s okay anyway. And I wanted to tell other women those things too.



So that’s what I was looking for when I started blogging… a simple back and forth with a few other women, a few good recipes, a few good laughs. I found it, oh yes I did. And I was captivated by the creative potential of this sport called blogging. I discovered that I loved writing. I loved choosing a moment out of my day or a thought out of my head and sharing it like a snapshot sent out into the world.


I discovered how much fun it is to make people laugh. And I found how very ready people are to open their hearts to you, once you open yours to them

…or once they hear about your Dirty Underwear Under the Dining Room Table Incident
mostly depending on whether they have a D.U.U.D.R.T.I. of their own,
I suspect.

So yeah, blogging turned out to be quite the hoot. I made friends who inspired me and enriched my life. I got some killer recipes, and I shared a few in turn. But it never occurred to me that blogging was anything more than fun, something I did for me. It was an indulgence. It felt a bit selfish and I felt a bit guilty. There were so many other things clamoring for my attention and emotional energy. things that seemed… I don’t know.. somehow more Deep and Meaningful and Godly…

…or sumthin’ like that.

Go HERE for part 2 of my Relevant series… where I YIPPEE! actually talk about the conference. Well… kinda.

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Obstinate

Mention something that needs to be done, and I’ll give it my best shot.

Ask me nicely to do something and I’ll do it.

Say please… give me a smile and I’ll move heaven and earth to make sure that something gets done. And quickly too.

See how sweet I am? Aren’t you impressed?

However.

Order me to do the exact same thing and watch me slow down. Watch me dig in my heels and resolve deep in my cold steely heart to do anything but that One. Particular. Something. You. Want.

I am discovering that there are vast swathes of my inner self
which bear an alarmingly similarity to a sleep deprived toddler.
This concerns me.

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