Thursday, August 31, 2017

a mingling of seasons..

It's that strange time of the year when the seasons are mingling, and I'm just never really sure what to do. There are gourds and a pumpkin from the garden sitting next to impatiens on the porch. The nurseries are selling mums but the summer flowers are still mostly vibrant and clinging on to life. The chilly morning air requires a sweater which is then quickly stripped off only an hour or two later. Time is tugged back and forth between garden preservation and getting on with the new endeavors of autumn. 

With two weeks of homeschooling tucked under the belt, we are getting ready to dive into the full swing of fall schedules. Music lessons, co-op classes, art class, community group, and the other activities that fill up our moments. And my yearning for some fiber work has been creeping back in over the last several weeks as the mornings and evenings have grown cooler and the days just a tad bit shorter. I am finding myself scrambling to finish up the few projects I left languishing over the summer so that I can break through into fall with a fresh project. Socks? A sweater? A poncho? All things that have flickered through my mind. 

And a tizzy of preserving and canning has had me falling into bed exhausted every night lately. It's a good kind of exhaustion, stemming from long, productive days of work. And that freezer and can cellar is filling up with all manner of homegrown and homemade goodness. And if I shall be frank, this girl here is quite possibly looking forward to the fall and the change it brings. A bit of a break from the endless harvesting and a time to just draw in a bit more and concentrate on some cozier activities.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

the eternal importance of motherhood...

The light this morning was amazing as the sun rose up over the hill across the pastures. Morning is my favorite time of the day. The day presents itself full of potential and promise. There is the quiet and stillness as the world begins to stir awake.

As I type this post, one child is pounding notes out on the piano and the other is outside caring for the goats and chickens. I'm sipping on lukewarm coffee, the cup of a busy mom. In a few moments, we will gather on the couch, like we do every morning, for the start of another school day.

This is how I love to start our mornings. Together. Books. Coffee. Reading words out loud and hearing my children begging me to "read just one more chapter."

This is only our fourth official day of our new homeschool year, and I've already found myself mentally reminding myself to calm down and face the day as the journey it is, not a checklist that my mind so easily makes it. This is the lifestyle we have chosen as best for our family. Spending time with one another. Reading good books and learning so much through the words of so many authors. Using our hands to make things and create things. Filling our home with the beauty of music, literature, and God's world.

Be present, Amber.

We did not choose this homeschooling lifestyle to rush through it, checking off boxes as we accomplish things.

We chose it for the closeness it brings. The experiences. The breathing in of life at a steady pace. The beauty and messiness of living a life here on this soil where God has planted us. Learning how to live life peacefully with one another (and, oh, that can be tough and must be learned over and over again) and learning, together, how to live more like Jesus.

And so I ask myself, "How do we glorify God in the midst of this ordinary day? In the midst of crumbs and dirty dishes and math problems and chores?"

By being present. By remaining humble and grateful for all the blessings He has given to us. By resting in the knowledge that this is the calling He has placed upon my life during this season. By thanking Him for the children I have who produce all of this dirty laundry. By being full of gratitude for the ability to chop and stir and prepare dishes of food that fill the bellies that gather around the table each night. (Because, to me, food is love.)

My kids are growing. Each day that passes is one less day that their presence will grace our home. So I want to grasp onto each day and live it fully.

This is what I yearn for ~ a heart that can be still enough and quiet enough and content enough to be fully aware of the opportunities God has given me right here in the moments of my ordinary life. Because this ordinary life is the one He has placed me in, and He has placed me here with an eternal purpose in mind. And, oh, if I could just remember that, my ordinary life wouldn't perhaps feel so ordinary. Right? Eternal purpose can never be ordinary.

Monday, August 21, 2017

full days...


Last week was our last free week of summer. I know the official start of fall is not until mid-September, but the start of school almost always signals fall in my mind.

However, today is in the mid-80's. We just finished up an awesome first day of school after a deliciously full summer of fun and experiences. We were so blessed to be able to view the eclipse (80-90% coverage here in Western Pennsylvania) this afternoon, and we are all looking forward to our upcoming annual trip to Maine.

And as we ease back into the routine of studying and learning, I'm also going to keep a bit of a hold on these summer days. They slip by so quickly, yet there is so much about them that fills me up. The days are still long (though I've noticed the shifting sun setting earlier every day now), but I can feel myself shifting into a different mode now. I recognize it because it happens every year.

The last two weeks of freedom were full. Hanging out with friends. Walking the dirt paths through the fairgrounds. Seeing Crowder perform from literally fifteen feet away. Spending time bringing in the harvest from the backyard gardens. Learning new skills. Spending an evening canning and preserving as a family. Spending precious, precious one-on-one time with the kids. Early morning walks with a friend.

It's been full and wonderful and life-giving.