Monday, December 23, 2013

taking a deep breath before the long ride

Click, click, click. Up and up to the top of the hill...

I feel like I'm just about at the tippy top of a roller coaster, the plunge coming any second. Or, maybe I've already taken it.

I'm sure many people are feeling this way with Christmas just around the corner. I remember last year we seemed busy until mid-February, with a wedding to travel to after the holiday season was over.

But this year... well, we're moving and it seems like this ride won't slow down until this time next year. That's how it seems. I'm probably exaggerating.

Regardless, life is going to change on January 10th and in big ways.

My husband won't be walking to work or coming home for lunch. We won't have internet (for the time being) and I won't have access to a treadmill. I'll be caring for my parents' chickens and tending a fire to stay warm. And I'll be surrounded by boxes and to do lists. Oh wait, I already am!

But, I'll also be surrounded by beautiful land wrapped in silence. I'll be close to my parents and other family. I'll be moving closer to our dream.

But dreams take time and I'm afraid I'm not very patient. The biggest thing I think I'm going to struggle with is the state of the home. I want it to look the way I want it to look and right now! It took me all year to get this home the way I wanted (well, good enough at least), and we were already moved in! I don't want to wait another year.

So I'm praying for patience. I'm praying for God's will, and that I will accept it. I'm praying for strength through this time because I'm a little afraid I'm going to be in a bit of a pit for a while. As in, looking up from the bottom of a pit and having no idea how to get out.

Now, that's a bit dramatic. And that's not how I feel right now. I'm just afraid that on a cold dark winter night, after a long day, that I will feel that way. And so I'm taking a deep breath and praying.

I'm not by any means complaining. I'm very exited! I just realize that it is going to be a big adjustment for all of us. All change is hard, even if it's good.

I already sent my Christmas greetings, but I'll say it again. I hope you have a blessed, joyous Christmas! And if I'm not back on before the new year, I wish you a happy New Year, full of promise and grace.

And thank you all for reading. Really, I so appreciate it!

Friday, December 20, 2013

all these things :: dec 20

Just an overview of what is current in my life. A snapshot of how I'm trying to give "all these things" to Him and truly seek first His kingdom in my life. 

heart & soul ::  I have been having thoughts swirling about that pretty much boil down to this question: What is the balance between making my family thrive and simply helping others survive? It's a heavy question. It deserves it's own post, but I don't have enough words right now. Right now I'm simply praying.

mothering :: Remind me to never say that things are going smoothly! I think I wrote that last week, and the same day we had one of the hardest days in a while with Sweet Girl. So, today, let me just say I am adoring my kids this week, struggles and all. They are so precious!

home & kitchen :: So, we've been eating sprouts here and there. (By we, I mean my husband and I!) And, I've got sourdough going! It is intimidating, but fun. I think the culture is fully activated and I hope to make (or start) some bread today. On Tuesday I made sourdough pancakes, and they were yummy! And the kids liked them! ~ I'm working on sewing stockings for us (and whoever comes along in the years to come!). Oh, and I've been packing. :)

rhythm :: My husband suggested we say our family evening prayers after supper clean up, instead of right before the kids go to bed. I've really enjoyed this change. It's like a blessing on the evening instead of an afterthought, which is what it sometimes felt like. At first the kids had much better behavior, but now they're getting squirrelly again, especially Bubby. He just walks off because, well, he can! :) So there's still that aspect to work on.

learning & growing :: I mentioned The Good Wife lecture series last week. There's also The Good Husband series (that came first). My husband bought that one. Now, I was hoping to listen to my series and quietly make changes and bedazzle my husband with my good wifeliness... but it came out that I had bought it and he suggested we listen to both series together. So I agreed. Every Wednesday evening we'll listen to one and talk about it. We started  last night.

looking forward to...  What can I say? Christmas of course! I kind of feel like a child in that it seems SOOO far away! Yet, I know it will be here before I know it. I still have a lot of work to do... a few Christmas presents to finish making, cookies and pies to make, etc, etc. I'm looking forward to all of that too. :)

I may or may not be on here before Christmas. So I'll say it now... I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed Christmas! May you feel the joy of Christ's birth in your heart.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snippets of a Dream and the First Step

Do you have an idea of where you want to be in five years? Ten? What do you want to be doing? What skills would you like to have?

My husband and I have been discussing these questions for just under a year now. Once we decided to stay here, in this small rural town, old dreams of mine blossomed back into life. A dream for the future started to take form.

I've talked about this dream, this journey we want to take, but it's been kind of vague. What is this life we envision, hope for? I'll give you some snippets:

  • a good handful of children running around free
  • laundry flapping in the breeze
  • chickens hopping about
  • a couple cows grazing
  • a couple pigs rooting
  • bountiful garden harvests
  • shelves of home canned goods giving us food through the winter
  • beautiful sunsets and sunrises
  • little waste
  • using resources wisely and efficiently
  • buying little because what we have is quality and will last for years
  • sewing and knitting are common crafts
  • as well as soap making, cheese and butter making
  • and don't forget music making!
  • our lives are set to the pace of the church year
  • we give out of our abundance
  • learning is a way of life

It feels vulnerable to share all this because it is close to my heart, and, well... it may not happen. I feel as if I will look like a fool, a dreamer, if I don't follow through. But I'm so hopeful, so excited, that I cannot help but share anyway. It is certainly a journey we're on and I want to document it for anyone who cares and for our future selves. Sometimes it's easy to forget how far we've come. Instead I only see how far we have to go. I have to remind myself that life builds in layers - one step at a time.

God willing, we'll be taking the first big step at the beginning of the year.

We're moving!

The house sits on six acres. My parents own it and we will be renting from them. In fact, it's on the same road as them, my brother and family, and our church! The house has been vacant for years and is in need of some cosmetic love, but nothing major. The layout is great. We are really excited!

I will be sharing much more about this house in the future. Please pray for us as we take this big step toward our dream!

Ignore the screen needing replaced... this is the view from the kitchen sink!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

why and how I get up before my kids

I know many women get up before their kids, and many women have already written about it (because I've read about it a lot), but I also know some women still struggle with this. I've often felt hesitant to write about it because it's a bit personal, and I don't want to come off as, "Hey, look at me!" Yet since it's essential to me, and makes a world of difference, I felt compelled to offer my two cents on it. This is simply why and how I do it. Take it for what it's worth.


Like I said, I've read a lot of women talk about why getting up before your children is important. But the first person I read talk about this concept was Rich Mullins. I was still a young teenager and it was before his death. I didn't really "get it", but it stuck with me anyway, so I've always remembered it. Once I had a child, I learned the frustration first hand of not getting up first hand and this concept came back to me.

I started getting up before my daughter around the time she was one. I attempted to before then, but she'd still out do me sometimes or if I got up, then I'd wake her up, so it just wasn't smart. But after she turned one and we were living in our own place, everything started to settle down. And although there have been short seasons (early pregnancy, postpartum) that I've slept to the last minute, for the most part, I make a point to be up and going a good hour before them.

There are three main things I want to do before any children wake up:

  • say my prayers
  • read some Scripture
  • be dressed and ready to go

Those are the bare essentials. All that takes, me at the minimum, half an hour. Some other things I like to have time for are exercising, writing, email, and reading on the internet. It's also nice to have a jump start on chores if there's a lot to do that day. Those are all things that I can do if one child is up and my husband is still home. But, the praying and reading... I like to have silence in the morning for those things.

Saying my prayers and strengthening myself with Scripture just gets me ready for the day. Being dressed and ready is like going to work with clothes on. It just feels better. In general, it's annoying to be interrupted, especially when I'm not prepared. Being woken up is like that to me. My sleep is interrupted and I'm not ready for it, or the day. Those are my reasons for getting up before.


When I first started out, I determined how much time I wanted. Then I figured out how early I needed to get up to be sure I had that time. I can't remember what that time was then, but about a year ago, it was 6:00 or 6:30. For about a month now, I have getting up at 5:00 because Michael was waking up around 6:00. He's sleeping better now, but I don't think I'm going to go back. It feels amazing to have so much silence and uninterrupted time! For some reason it was an easy stretch, and I feel more alert than I did at 6:00. I never thought I'd be this way, but here I am!

This does mean that I need to be in bed around 10:00. This was the goal even when getting up at 6:00. Now that everyone is sleeping through the night, I'm good on 7 hours. Getting up earlier means I'm really ready to sleep, which is a good thing for me since I can have trouble going to sleep. I can handle staying up until 11:00 one or two nights a week.

Over time, these things that have helped me get up and stay up:

  • Have an inspirational song on my phone as my alarm. 
  • Have a little snack while I read Scripture so I won't fall asleep.
  • Have an incentive to get up like a chai latte or check out a new blog.

On the Weekend

I usually "sleep in" on Saturdays, getting up at 6:00 or even 7:00, depending on how I feel or if I was up late. Even though I'm home everyday, Saturdays still feel like a weekend to me. So if I roll out of bed with the kids and make pancakes in my pjs, I actually like it - for that day. Hubby and I will take turns letting each other sleep in past the kids. On Sundays I like to sleep until I wake up. In a way I get to catch up a bit, but also, church isn't until 10:00 and I don't like doing much more than pray or read before church.

One More Thing

I have never claimed to be a morning person, and still don't. In fact, my husband and I don't really talk for a good hour or more besides an occasional "Good Morning" with a little smooch. I need a good chunk of time before I'm ready to be personable. I don't think this hinges on how much sleep I get. I think I simply need time to "wake up" and be ready, no matter what time I get up. Hence, the point in getting up early!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

all these things :: december 12

Just an overview of what is current in my life. A snapshot of how I'm trying to give "all these things" to Him and truly seek first His kingdom in my life. 

Oh my! I just realized that in 2 months I will be 31! Wow!

heart & soul :: I've been longing to do more with my hands (sewing, crafting) and to simply do all those pesky little things around the house, instead of using "my time" on the computer. I feel a calling to put the computer to bed after the early, non-children, morning time is over. It's a longing toward that, but when the time comes, there's still the pull to "just check the email." But it's refreshing to not want to at times. ~ Working on being a patient wife, giving my husband the opportunity to lead instead of just doing it first.

mothering :: I've done better this week, thank God. It's been pretty uneventful outside of the normal discipline measures, and I'm grateful for that.

home & kitchen :: I started sprouting!!! I started Monday, the day they came in the mail. We'll have sprouts to eat in a few more days! Now I just have to read up on sourdough. I hear it's easy, but I like to read everything (over and over and over) so I can make sure I know that I know what I'm doing. :)

rhythm :: On the 6th, we celebrated St. Nicholas Day in the home for the first time. Everyone got some candy in their shoes, we said an Akathist to St. Nicholas, sang his song throughout the day, and in the evening we made special cookies for the party at church on Saturday. When they were all done, we each had one cookie. It was a really sweet day.

learning & growing :: Yesterday, I listened to the first lecture of The Good Wife by Father Josiah Trenham, and then ordered the rest. I think I will be learning and growing a lot in this area!

looking forward to...  sharing some big news with you on Monday!!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesdays Unwrapped

I'm linking up with Emily today for "Tuesdays Unwrapped"!  What is that? Emily says to write, 

"Anything that causes you to pause and celebrate the moment. Not what will be or what is to come, but what is real and true this day: the messy, the lovely, and the unexpected. Share a photo, a story, or anything that offers a glimpse into your own journey of discovering the gifts in the midst of the ordinary."
This is kind of my Monday unwrapped, as I may not get a post written about today...

I was feeling so glorious about all the veggies I had cut up in the morning, coming together in a bowl for a yummy salad in the afternoon. I was even making it early because I willingly agreed to change evening plans and go to my brother and sister-in-law's for the afternoon and evening. Yes, I felt content. I was "with it."

The little son happily ate his leftover oatmeal while I threw things in. I turn around and ...

what a mess! And I sighed because this happens all the time. And it reminded me I need to clean my door knobs, and of the laundry...

and, and - AND!

But, I didn't get discouraged. Yes, there were messes. Yes, there were things left undone. But that didn't cross out all that was done. And there was still time.

I cleaned up that boy. I put half of the laundry away. My man came home and wiped the table. I finished the salad and we left. When we came back, I finished the laundry, and did more. Things got done. There were still oatmeal bits on the floor, but I went to bed early anyway. They'll get swept up today, just to be replaced by more... And that's just fine.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

all these things :: december 5

Just an overview of what is current in my life. A snapshot of how I'm trying to give "all these things" to Him and truly seek first His kingdom in my life. 

heart & soul :: We all go through dry spells spiritually. This is one of those times for me. This Advent has been tough so far. ~ I'm working on focusing on priorities right now. When my mind starts to plan new projects or come up with ideas, I try to bring it back to the important things at hand.

mothering :: This week has been a challenge as far as behavior (mine, that is). But, children are so loving and forgiving and each day is new. I find comfort and strength in that, and I can feel Christ helping me.

home & kitchen :: I ordered a sourdough starter and sprouting seeds earlier this week. So, so, SO excited to start these two things I've been wanting to do for a long time. ~ Got out the Christmas decorations this week. And a friend gave us a wreath, so I'm excited to decorate that and hang it up. My first wreath. :) ~ Been feeling like crumbs on the floor, laundry, and the to-do list multiply over night... does this happen in your home too?

rhythm :: We're doing the Jesse Tree this year and I've been having trouble doing it every day. It doesn't matter though. I think my daughter prefers to have 2 or 3 (or, um, 5) ornaments to look at while I read instead of just one. When I say we're going to do it, she jumps up and down and says excitedly "Jesse Tree!! Jesse Tree!! Jesse Tree!!" I love her enthusiasm. ~ For a while now, my husband has been putting both kids to bed at the same time. They pile onto Sweet Girl's bed and Papi reads a story. After the light is off he tells a story or two and sings some songs. It melts my heart to hear him. Bubby didn't even resist this transition of Mama not putting him to bed. He comes right to me and gives me a hug and kiss and then basically says "Okay, put me on the bed." and waves good-bye as I leave. I'd be sad if he wasn't so cute about it.

learning & growing :: I just started singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" to Sweet Girl and she loves it! I was never really a big fan, but I have a paper that explains the meaning of each thing and I thought it would be a good lesson. Having her sing along makes it the most beautiful song now. ~ And Bubby is learning to walk! A little over a week ago he walked 5 steps to Papi, and then 5 steps to me. Sweet Girl was in the room too and we all were cheering so happily. I'm so glad we were all there to see it. And I'm glad he walked at 17 months because it made it all that more exciting since we've been waiting so long! Now he totters here, scoots, crawls, gets back up and totters. It's so cute. I might be rethinking that when he starts running away from me!

looking forward to...  starting a St. Nicholas Day tradition on Friday. There will be chocolate coins in the shoes and we'll sing the Akathist and make cookies. Also looking forward to the St. Nicholas and St. Lucia party at church on Saturday. We have a little Christmas store for the children to buy trinkets and things to give as Christmas presents. (Everything is a quarter or less.) A man at our church pretends to be St. Nicholas, and my sister (Lucy) pretends to be St. Lucia. We have been doing it for several years and it's very special.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

a layered life

I wrote this in my journal last week, and I decided to share it in case it would be helpful to anyone, and as a reminder to myself, since I have been struggling with this the past couple days. 

There's so much I want to write and so much I want to do and so much I want my life to be. And sometimes I look around and I see many people who have already written what I want to write, or do what I want to do, or have the life I want. I feel discouraged. I feel like I should be there already.

Yet, a life is created by building it one day at a time. It happens over time, not all at once. And it must be built by God for the glory of God. And life is not something of the future. Life is now. And how we live it is chosen today.

I must remember that there is so much to come. I am young, our family is young. These traditions and routines I desire will form over time - it's the only way. I must build our lives in layers. I can't do it all now. But I can add one thing here and another there, and eventually it will be a beautifully layered life, hopefully bringing glory to God. If I look close enough, I will see that it already is.

Monday, December 2, 2013

11 things i learned in november

November 2012

I'm linking up again with Emily at Chatting at the Sky about what I learned this month! This month I learned some some really great things, as well as a couple bad things. Such is life, right?

1) I learned that I love the show Call the Midwife, and that it makes running go so quickly!

2) I learned that anesthesia and I do not get along.

3) I also learned that someone in another state has a bank account with my SSN. Doesn't appear to be fraud because my credit record is clean, except for some overdraft fees on said account. It's under investigation by the bank. Sure hope it gets cleared up soon!

4)  I finally tried out Google calendar and I really like it!

5) All of you from Indiana, did you know that Vera Bradley started in Fort Wayne? Cool, huh?

6) I learned what "Multum non multa" means. ("Much not many" in Latin.)

7) This isn't something I learned, but my son... he's walking now! :)

8) I learned that making lip balm is a lot easier than you would think! And super fun.

9) I learned that taking a three hour road trip for a friend's birthday party is totally worth it. Even if it means you get back and to bed at 3 am. Always worth it!

10) I learned how to shop ethically with this great guide from The Art of Simple.

11) I learned that Elder Porphyrios, who wrote Wounded by Love (which I happen to be reading right now!), was canonized a saint on November 27th. Today is his feast day! You can read about his life here as well as the life of St. Meletios, another newly canonized saint, whose feast day is on my birthday! Glory to God for granting us modern saints.

In December I hope to learn how to make stockings for Christmas and sourdough bread! :)

What is something you learned or want to learn?