October 27, 2016

Late October

All photos by my amazing husband Steve

 I love the fall - and living here in the Monadnock region of NH means that for most of this season we live in a picture postcard of swirling leaves and amazing color.

It is a time when - as a friend stated - God pulls out his easel and paints amazing pictures for our enjoyment.

It is also a time of change, reflection and sometimes quiet introspection.  These things can be good or they can be terrifying - sometimes they are a combination of both.

I'm missing dear friends... learning new things... finding new rhythms for my days... some things cause my heart to ache, some are exhilarating and others exhausting and emotionally draining.

My last two children are both in college full-time locally - so commuting to school, and working part-time jobs which means our family dinner time together is sporadic at best.  And keeping track of who is where and when is often a good trick. We are four people sharing 3 vehicles.

For the first time in almost 20 years I have a job.  I'm learning - or trying to re-learn - how to balance being home and being at work... and trying to figure out if this is a good thing for me.  I'm learning new things with my quilting and am tremendously excited about my new studio and machines and the potential they bring to my passion of fabric & thread.

I trust completely that the Lord knows exactly what is needful in my life and will give and take and move as I pour out my heart to him and wait on His providential hand. Unfortunately that waiting is a hard, hard test for me... but He is faithful so I'm trying to be obedient and follow His lead.

Wishing you all blessings on the journey~

August 14, 2016

Late Summer

It's late summer here in NH and the garden is doing the normal overgrowth due to neglect... at least the flowers are pretty even if I don't dare go int here due to the crazy weeds and garden snakes.

It has been insanely hot/humid here this summer for much longer stretches than is normal for us.  I appreciate the AC on these days, but it's not my favorite thing and I long for cool nights and open windows.

We have just two weeks left before college begins for both Jess & Ben.  Ben also has about 1.5 weeks left of his summer contract at Camp Spofford before he's home again permanently.  It's been a busy, good summer for both of the kids.

I've been muddling around with some sewing, we're creating a new sewing studio space for me over the garage and I'm looking forward to moving everything over there in the coming weeks.

The vegetable gardens are more manageable this year and I've even been mostly keeping up with the weeding, etc.

The new hens are all laying now and we're regularly getting 6-8 eggs a day, the sizes vary, but mostly they are figuring things out nicely. 

I'm really ready for the beginning of September this year in a way that I've not felt before.  Things will be VERY different this year for our family.  Both kids will be completely enrolled in college classes - commuting to two different schools as they pursue the interests and passions that God has put into them.
For me... I'm looking at a few new adventures of my own and am excited to see what God is going to do as the next few months/years unfold.

Blessings on the journey all,

June 13, 2016

Progress = Change

That little graphic was created quite a few years ago.  It was an idea about what we envisioned for our home school journey with our kids.  A solid bridge into their future.

I can identify my best moment of our home school journey...

teaching my kids to read.

They love to read and are rarely without a book or two (or more!) in progress.  It used to make my mother upset that we allowed our children to read at the dinner table.  I loved it then and still do - yes even as young adults they read at the table during dinner fairly often.

Now we've come to the end of our (at home) home education journey.  It has absolutely been a success for our family!

Jess has graduated high school and is a full-fledged undergraduate student at Franklin Pierce University with a dual major, in the honors program and officially advanced class standing due to all the college work she completed during high school
In September, Ben will begin his advanced college work at Nashua Community College for the remainder of his high school years.  Most likely he'll be finishing or fairly close to finishing an associates degree by the time he graduates high school.

Also new this summer is Ben going away to work at Camp Spofford for the next couple of months. My mama-heart is trying to sort out the varying emotions around this adventure but mostly I'm thankful that God has given him this opportunity and excited to see how he will grow this summer. We all prayed desperately for this door to open for him and several men in our church stepped up to offer recommendations and encouragement along the way.   He will come home just before his college classes begin - literally - as in two days before they start!

Other relationships in our lives are also changing.  Unexplained distance and estrangement has grown in formerly close relationships.  Physical distance is about to become a reality with some of our closest friends as they are embarking on a life-changing move to a different part of the country.
However God has brought a wealth of new relationships and opportunities for new friendships within our church family and we are tremendously thankful for the gift.  Monadnock Congregational Church is a wonderful place and I'm so grateful we challenged our presuppositions about the name on the sign.  It is now very clear that a name/label attached to something doesn't always mean what we think it does.  This church is sound in belief, has a Pastor who is bold in proclaiming the truth of the Jesus Christ, and has a congregation made up of genuine people who are trying to live honest, Christ-like lives by God's grace in a broken world.  We are all sinners, we fail, we stumble, we blow it big time even.  But there is Jesus and therefore there is grace and forgiveness... restoration and on-going sanctification.

As for me... I'm praying about what God is going to have me do next.
I don't think I'm having a mid-life crisis or anything... there is no desire for a sports car or crazy adventure.  More a quiet waiting to see what's next in the journey.  I've been dabbling in some new sewing ventures and finding things I love and things I don't.  Made a little bit of money for some things, helped some people with a few different things and continue to learn new skills and techniques.  I'm also considering the possibility (though a remote one) of a job outside home someplace.  If God opens a certain type of door, I will walk through thankfully.  If not, I shall continue along doing what He puts before me as opportunities.

Blessings on the journey~

March 15, 2016

3 Years and Thankful Still

Three years ago God answered prayer in more ways than I can even begin to describe - our move from Merrimack to Temple happened with so many things that were absolutely God's hand moving on our behalf and blessings poured out. I think the tag link for 'moving' will take you to posts relating to all the things that went on.

This was what we bought on March 15, 2013

This is now (well not really now - as this was a summer photo)

Other than the trauma that is small town politics (town meeting!) we are still in love with this place that God has so graciously provided for us.  This is truly our HOME in a way that we never felt in Merrimack.  The kids love it, we love it, the animals all love it.  It's simply marvelous.

When we have people come here - generally everyone comments on what an amazing spot we have tucked away and hidden from view.  It's wonderful and we are truly thankful for God's gifts.

Blessings on the journey~

December 31, 2015

Goodbye to 2015

Created by my ever talented husband - Steve

2015 has been a quick year (at least it feels that way today) and full of milestone events.

In no particular order - these were some highlights:
  • Eldest child (Stephanie) turned 30 and got married!  (note - we do not feel old enough to say that out loud!)
  • Second child (Alec) turned 25 - see note on eldest child - same applies!
  • Third child (Jessica) turned 18 - ditto!
  • Youngest child (Benjamin) turned 16 and got his driver's license - ditto, ditto!
  • We vacationed in DC for a week - big road trip!
  • Steve continued to work from home as much as possible - we thank God for this enormous blessing in our lives.
  • Steve & I became members of our local church (Monadnock Congregational in Peterborough)
  • We are all making new friends in our church family and are continuing to be blessed
  • My parents were in a car accident (they were hit by a garbage truck on the highway!) that resulted in the totaling their SUV and a few injuries but mostly they are fine and we are very thankful for God's protection!  
  • My parents have found  a church that preaches scripture and they are happy - another blessing.
  • Stephanie and her husband, Kyle, both found new jobs and have relocated to Maine.
  • Jessica was accepted to all 3 colleges where she applied for next fall and received some awesome scholarship offers.  She has selected her first choice school and will be attending Franklin Pierce University in the fall of 2016!
  • Both Jess and Ben are able to take advantage of early college classes - both online and on campus locally - to accelerate their education and amp up their learning challenges.  
  • I've been able to do a lot of fun sewing and quilting - even finding an outlet to sell a few things!
All-in-all it's been a pretty good year in the grand scope.  There have been hard times of course - this is life!  But we have Jesus and we have each other - with that combination life is do-able in spite of whatever may come.

Praying that our Gracious and Loving Heavenly Father will bless each of us with all we need to glorify Him in the coming year.  To reach the goals He has designed for us and to grant us peace & joy in the journey!

Welcome 2016..... looking forward to whatever God sends our way as I am confident that He will walk the road with us and give us all we need to cling to Him on the journey!

December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!  May Jesus truly be the reason for every happiness this season!  

A few photos by my amazing & talented husband Steve.


November 3, 2015

Rambling Thoughts: Introversion, Food and Anxiety

Gypsy - my cat - the most introverted of our three cats
I've had a conversation with two different friends in recent weeks (both self-identify as at least mildly introverted) - the conversation stemmed from my personal observation and belief that people who are very extroverted/social do not or can not comprehend those of us who are NOT social and prefer to not be in groups of people in a social way.  It's as though they believe something is wrong with us and that if we would just try harder and do more/different/insert-this-particular social thing(s), we would enjoy it.  My personal experience is that this is not the case.

There have also been many, many conversations with my long-suffering (but mostly equally introverted) husband about this sort of thing lately.  I am so very thankful that he shares my love of being at home.

Recently I'm finding that my personal threshold for social things has lowered sharply.  And by lowered sharply I mean plummeted off a cliff to a bottomless cavern of "NOOOOOOO!"

We started attending our church a little over a year ago.  During this first year we have really tried to stretch outside of our comfort zone and do things.  We've attended meetings, functions, pot-lucks, game night, and even managed to have dinner with other families a few times.  Most of these things have been what I would consider a high-level success.  Meaning I didn't hyperventilate or cry or cancel - even when I was stressed out about attending, etc.

In spite of my gut reaction (mostly fear and dread) to an announcement or invitation, I have tried to be brave and go and do.  At this point, I am considering that perhaps that exerted effort was not wise on my part... or that quite possibly I have reached the expiration of my '12 month free trial' of social interaction and there is no 'renewal' button.

The friends we've been making and the people at our church are lovely and wonderful.  They are truly kind and friendly and I honestly do enjoy them  - in limited doses and one-on-one situations.  Really! Coffee visit with one or two?  Absolutely! No stress & no problem.

When it gets more complex than that - my food anxiety begins and my social aversion kicks in.  I don't really like food - well... I like some foods... that I make, that don't involve too many ingredients together, and things touching each other, and absolutely ONLY are things I can identify and have eaten before.  Or things that are only chocolate or ice cream in familiar flavors.
If things combine more than a few people AND food, I am instantly well outside my comfort zone.  This zone feels like it is shrinking daily right now and it is seriously looming as a perfectly valid reason to consider a move to an isolated place and become a hermit.

It is a very difficult thing to try and let people know that I really do want to be friends, but only in very small and controlled situations can I be mildly social & comfortable enough to not put on a mask of 'everything is fine' but I am panicking inside.  I'm struggling to figure out how to obey the command of scripture to put other's needs (to be social, to eat together, etc) ahead of my own need to not have an anxiety attack and cry in public.

I'm sure there is a balance some place, but I haven't quite figured it out yet.  Clearly much more prayer is needed and perhaps a considerable amount of coffee and chocolate as well.

Blessings on the journey~