Monday, April 28, 2014

What Were We Thinking?

It was the summer of 2011 when I first started seeing glimpses of this homestead dream of ours. I was reading Real Food by NinaPlank. In it she described the family cow and how pigs and chickens can root, fertilize and basically prepare your land for gardening. She described the cycle of food and animals – the cycle of a farm. That was the spark. 

Of course, my extended family was already moving in that direction. My brother had started a CSA on my parents’ land. Two of my sister-in-laws and I had “Nourishing Traditions” and were doing what we could. We all wanted to be eating real, traditional foods. And I began wanting to grow it.

Two and half years later, we are able to make steps toward this dream. It’ exhilarating. And daunting. And overwhelming. I have had many moments when I have thought, “What were we thinking?” Like when I smelled a stench in a particular part of the kitchen after we moved in. (It’s gone now thankfully!) Or when we would spend $200 in just half an hour getting things for the house and land. Just to mention a few. There have been challenges and I sense they are just the beginning. What were we thinking? What are we thinking?!?

I would ask myself this. Yet then, I’d see a glorious sunset. I’d catch the bright stars and stare out at the open field. While spring delayed, the sunsets and stars served as reminders to why we moved. Now that spring is here and we have walked and worked the land, I have even more reminders. Our plans are unfolding. And grateful and hopeful anticipation is rolling in. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In Which I Tell You My iPhone Thoughts

I’ve had my iPhone almost two months now and since I can still remember life before it, I thought it would be a good idea to write about it… before I forgot.

The iPhone has, indeed, made life easier. But, alas, it has not solved all my problems. But, it has cut me down from four devices (phone, iPod, camera, and tablet) to one. That is very nice. Now my calendar, planner, music, timer, phone, and camera are all on one thing. And I have email. So if you count my husband’s phone that I was using to do email, that’s a total of five down to one. I like that! Or six to two if you count that I did, and still do, use the computer some. Oh, and I still use the tablet here and there, but not daily like I was. So six to three? I digress.

Getting the iPhone was not the most pleasant experience. I was nervous going in because we weren’t sure what we were going to get yet. When we parked outside the store, I saw a mini-van with a Christian fish on it. “Ah, a family man!” I thought. “Good.” Wrong.

Now, the guy was alright. It could have been worse. He was just very different from us. Of course, we are very different than most people, except all the people we hang out with, so it’s easy to forget that fact. Anyway, what do I mean by different? As soon as we told him we were looking into upgrading our phones, and I showed him my non-smart phone he said, “Welcome to the 21st century.” I just laughed but I wanted to say, “No thank you buddy. I’d rather not.” He went on to tell us all about storage and speed and data restrictions. There was a difference in storage between two phones and as he explained it I thought, “I don’t care about storage. I’ll store what I have room for, not ask for more storage. I’ll limit myself to what I have. Not demand more.”

As I shared these thoughts with my husband while we tried to decide on whether to pay some for an iPhone or get free phones we didn’t really like, he said, “So does that mean we shouldn’t get the iPhones? We should limit ourselves to the free ones?” Um, no!

What I actually said was, “I wasn’t thinking of it like that, but maybe.” Yet, when it boiled down, we really felt like we should get the better phones (iPhones) and the ones we knew we liked. And since we did, we haven’t debated about it at all. No confusion or regret, just simplification of our lives.

I don’t know what they’ll come out with next. Frankly, I hope it stops. But then again, I never thought I’d own an iPhone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cathing Up & Checking In

Well, hello friends! How are you? It’s been a while, but it’s been good. And it’s good to be back too. I just wanted to take a post to check in a bit, catch you up a little, and share some housekeeping notes.

Even though I wasn’t posting, I was writing a lot. I was also reading a lot, and I read a little about writing too. I have a lot of thoughts to share with you, but I just want to warn (?), er, point out, that I’m toying with my writing. Some posts may seem familiarly contemplative; some might be funny (or rather, a stab at being funny). I feel I am growing as a writer and this is my space to try things out. Consider me a pre-teen writer trying to find my style… something might click, or something might be hideous. Allow me some patience and grace (and kind feedback too?), pretty please? Thanks.

Spring is finally here, thank God! There’s so much to share with you about what’s going on at this new homestead of ours, including a couple surprises! I guess I really can’t say more or I’ll be giving everything away! I’ll just have to keep you in suspense. But don’t worry, the posts will be coming faster than every six weeks. In fact, I hope you don’t get sick of hearing from me! I’ve got a lot coming!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Strength of the Church

The church was unusually full from the men’s retreat earlier that day. The singing filled the nave. It was glorious. There was one song in particular that was just amazing, and it brought tears to my eyes and a joy in my heart. I didn’t want it to end. “This must be a taste of heaven.” I thought.

The next day at Liturgy was much different. It was back to the usual thing - managing kids constantly. I didn’t even have time to let my mind wander, which is my usual struggle if I’m not juggling little ones. I had barely a moment to enter into the prayer, to even contemplate the sacredness of what was happening. But I did have one, reassuring, simple, yet deep, thought: even if I cannot realize the deepness, holiness, and truth of the church, it is still so. Even if I can’t engage in the prayers and hymns, they are still prayed and sung - even by angels. Even if I can’t grasp the miracle of Jesus, He still is. The Orthodox Faith is not dependent on me, my mood, or my ability to realize it.

The Church is not dependent on my whims and emotions. She is still what she is no matter my ability to appreciate it. She is bigger than me. I make her a part of my life and I am a part of her. And if I am busy taking care of my kids, or tired, or just anything, then I can rest in her strength knowing she will carry on - and carry me with her.

I hope you all had a blessed Pascha! Enjoy your Bright Week!