Adventuring

Today we went looking for an adventure.

We didn’t have to go far.

We just had to open our eyes.

We saw old friends.

And met new friends.

We found berries.

And greedily devoured them til our teeth turned purple.

We traveled beaten paths.

And we discovered paths less traveled.

We found ripe fruit.

And creatively foraged.

Today we went looking for an adventure.

And we found one.

Because adventure can always be found…if your eyes are wide open.

Yesterday’s Berries

Today I went out looking for a single Carolina Wolfberry.

I knew I wasn’t going to find one.  Their fruit appears at the beginning of winter.  We are now moving well into spring.  But I could see their leaves everywhere…remnants of what was once filled with bright red berries.  And so I had to look.

I had no idea when I was out this past winter that our world was about to take a giant turn.  I didn’t stop to give thanks for such simple treasures.  Carolina wolfberries, aside, I didn’t even think to be grateful for nature walks with friends.  I didn’t think to be thankful for full grocery store aisles…beans and toilet paper, paper towels and rice.  I didn’t think to be scared of a shortage of ventilators or a lack of a national plan for a pandemic.  I had no idea my viewpoint of the world was so incredibly naive and rooted on the idea of normalcy and stability.  I had taken so much for granted.

So when I saw those leaves today, I just had to look.  I wanted to remember those carefree days from just a few months ago when I didn’t worry about food supply or masks or the unknown.  Those days, in hindsight, were blissful.  There wasn’t anything hanging over my head threatening the life that I knew so well and loved.

I really looked today.  I searched between all the cracks and crevices.  I reached down to the very bottom of each plant.  I would have been happy even to see a dried up berry still stuck to a branch.  No luck.  Spring has sprung and with it, all reminders of the winter have morphed into something different.

But, as everyone knows, Spring takes Winter and morphs it into something even more incredible.  What if this is our winter and there’s a spring just around the bend?

We are living in the midst of a crisis.  Right now it’s a COVID-19 crisis.  There is fear and anxiety all around us.  We are living in fear of the unknown.  Wondering how this will impact each of us individually.  Wondering how this will impact us as a whole.  Wondering how our economy will survive the drastic measures of social distancing.  Wondering if we’ll ever have the reassurance of the norm again.

But we’ve been living in a cultural crisis a whole lot longer than we’ve been living in fear of this novel coronavirus.  We just haven’t had the courage to face it.

COVID-19 has brought with it an awakening.  A moment to retrench.  A moment to see our lives and the rush of being busy in all its clarity.

Where once our culture rushed to pick up dinner, now we gather round our dining room table, together, with home-cooked meals.  Where once many dropped off their kids at the local public school, now parents are forced to face their children all.day.long and to see them without the tint of rose-colored glasses.  Where once families rushed from extra-curricular to extra-curricular, we now have a moment to breathe deeply.  To examine our lives at a pace worthy of examining.

This could be a turning point.  If we just allow it.

The world has seriously picked up a pace that none of us can keep up with.  With the advent of smart phones and social media, our worlds suddenly became so fast paced that our brains are crashing in the race to keep up with everything around us.

Every event has become a moment to capture.  We take photos and memorialize moments that look perfect on Instagram and Facebook.  Extra-curricular activities are no longer a privilege…they’ve become an expectation of success.  Birthday parties have become Olympic-sized events, posed on social media to impress.  Where once we simply tried to keep up with the Joneses, now we have  mastered the art of sacrificing precious time with our families to keep up the Joneses AND their kids.  There is always a drive to do more, to be better, to impress the world around us.  And our world around us has stretched…we no longer live lives that revolve around our communities and neighborhoods.  All the world is connected and we rush to connect.

We have become a people that glorifies perfection, a people seeking acceptance and a people who have managed to get every priority out of order.  We have become a self-centered culture who tries in vain to find meaning, only to misunderstand where true meaning lies.

This race that we have gotten swept up in has forced us into a mode of flight, fight or freeze and our brains are tired.  So, so tired.

Today I went out looking for something.  A little bit of yesterday.  But time has forced the seasons to change and it has left its indelible mark on everything.  Everywhere life is changing and moving forward.

But you know what?  I’m glad I didn’t find a single wolfberry, because at some point, I stopped looking backwards and I began looking to see what spring had brought with it.  I was delighted by what I found.  Sea ox-eye daisies in bloom as far as the eye could see.  Ripe dewberries just asking to be picked.  Indian blanketflowers, limewater brookweed, seaside heliotrope, all blooming.  Butterflies.  Ladybugs.  Life in bloom, life in ordered motion all around me.  The beauty of nature marching forward oblivious to the chaos of humanity.

Maybe it’s time for me to accept that things may never be what they once were, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be beautiful.  It’s time to accept what is and move forward.

I’m tired of rushing.  And this pandemic has given me a glimpse of a spring yet to come.  A spring where I don’t have to rush to keep up.  A spring where I can just be with my children and relish them in all their amazingness.  A spring where I can remember to be thankful for every little blessing.  A spring where a home-cooked meal and a moment to breathe deeply are worth more than keeping up with a world that has quietly spun out of control.

Nature Study: Cucumber Weed

Amidst all the insanity of the world these days (what with COVID-19 forcing social distancing and grocery stores scrambling to keep up with demand), I’ve noticed that the natural world around us just keeps marching on, oblivious to the chaos being created by us humans.  Spring is still arriving; flowers are still blooming; buds are still forming.  It’s a lovely time to be outdoors.

This little plant is everywhere right now (at least down here in South Texas).  It’s little and overlooked and I almost yanked a handful out of my garden before I realized what it was!  It gets its nickname from the smell it leaves behind on your fingers after rubbing and crushing the leaves.  Parietaria pensylvanica, its botanical name is derived from the Latin word paries which came from the Greek word parifi meaning edge because it’s often seen growing in cracks.  It’s also commonly called Pellitory Over-the-Wall.

Cucumber weed (Parietaria pensylvanica) is an annual member of the Nettle family that appears when the weather is cool.  Its simple, lanceolate leaves alternate up the stem almost spiraling as they go due to the way their square stems twist.

It is important to note that cucumber weed leaves are smooth along the edges with tiny hairs (not to be confused with plants in the Acalypha genus whose leaves have toothed edges and lack hairs…those are toxic mimics!)

Cucumber weed has adorable tiny flowers which attach directly to the stem.  The flowers are green and hairy and lack petals.

Cucumber weed is edible but proceed with caution.  There’s a chance you could react to the plant.  Aside from being edible, it’s also useful…in its entirety, it can be used to clean glass and copper.

{Being intentional is so much easier done when we slow down and really look around us.  Personally, we spend a lot of time in nature, partly because we follow a Charlotte Mason education, but mostly because it keeps us intentional in our thoughts and actions.  I invite you, in these Nature Study posts, to join us in our intentional journey…to train your eye to be observant, to relish the intricacies of the amazing world we live in and to spend more time with the people you love stopping to smell the roses, so to speak.  If you are in the South Texas area (Corpus Christi and the surrounding cities), then you’ll find these nature lessons tailored perfectly to you and your family…see if you can find what we’re finding!  If you live somewhere beyond our beautiful little corner of the world then use these lessons as a springboard…see what we’re observing, allow yourself to be inspired and then just get out there and be intentional, observant, and grateful for all the little surprises right outside your back door.}

December Daybook

Outside my window…it’s cold.  It’s a temporary coldness, though…by Friday, we’ll be back up to 80.  One day we’re bundled up, the next we’re back in shorts and ready for the beach.  Oh the joy of the constant flux in temperature in South Texas.

I am remembering…Christmas 3 years ago.

Mom had just returned from a long, unplanned stay at the hospital, we were dealing with water issues in our city (again) and my children were miniature versions of their current selves.  I’m still incredibly grateful for Mom’s recovery.  I’m in awe of how quickly my children have grown.  And I’m still giggling over this note left for Santa…

I am thankful for…recitals and performances that allow these budding musicians to shine.  In the past month, the children played for the local Music Club, performed in the hymn festival (and all earned gold stars) and joyfully performed Christmas carols (mostly) for family (and friends) at the Christmas recital.

I am watching…children grow.  Nature unfold.  Life through others’ eyes.  I am learning to be still.

I am wondering…how some people seriously make it look so easy.

I am hoping…if you’re local, you’ll join me next week at the Oso Preserve where I will attempt to squeeze a million amazing facts about local medicinal herbs into a one hour presentation. 

I am pondering…the upcoming Winter Solstice.

I am laughing…at this ridiculously accurate depiction of how my kids felt about their gingerbread houses.

I am planting…nothing new right now.  Just keeping the medicinal herbs I planted in the summer alive and reaping the benefits of having medicine at my fingertips in my own backyard.

I am reflecting…on this quote from Charlotte Mason…”We all have need to be trained to see, and to have our eyes opened before we can take in the joy that is meant for us in this beautiful life.”

Around the house…beautiful decorations, twinkling lights and Advent stories to fill our souls.

I am wearing…a fluffy robe.  Because it’s actually cold enough today for one.

We are preparing for…a visit from Granny, a whole bunch of Nutcracker madness, and a Savior to be born on Christmas Day.

Someday I am going to miss…this.

I am reading…The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton for book club and a whole lot of books about Chinese medicine for my herbal studies.

One of my favorite things…the puppies over at The Puppy House.

A peek into my day

Please visit The Simple Woman’s Daybook for more daybook entries.

A Letter to My Hardworking Husband (from a grateful stay-at-home mom)

**This is pulled from the dusty archives (circa 2017)…kind of a second chance for old words…so if it looks familiar, it’s because it is.  Here’s hoping that it inspires you to live a little richer, breathe a little deeper, and appreciate a little more fully.**

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Dear Hardworking Husband,

The alarm clock rings.  I barely register the sound in my subconscious.  Quietly you flip the switch and pad noiselessly into the hallway.  You sneak out under the darkness and begin your day, careful not to disturb the sleeping souls you pass on your way out.

Meanwhile, I snuggle a little deeper under the warmth of our duvet, resting my head next to a sweet baby’s cheek.  Daylight slowly creeps in.  Little feet pad into my room and crawl up in bed with me.  Tiny voices whisper sweet love songs into my ear as we snuggle and watch the rays of light dance across the bedroom floor.  I am grateful for this moment.

Out in your office, you down a few cups of coffee and hit your day head-on.  The phone rings, text messages buzz and the fax machine hums.  You, my introverted loner, plunge head first into a day full of noise and people.  Today’s equivalent of slaying dragons.  And you do it for us.

I spend the morning knee deep in mundane tasks…making the beds, cooking the breakfast, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, but unlike your day, my day is interrupted by gleeful accomplishments (the baby said “mama!”, the toddler learned to hop, the preschooler read his first word, our school age children learned a new skill), little hands pressed into mine and moments of gratitude.

You spend your day busy, staring at a computer screen, calculating numbers, running averages, estimating costs.  Or perhaps the monotony is broken up by an appointment with a client.  A meeting with co-workers.  A training session.  Even jury duty when the time comes.

It’s not all drudge for you.  You have the luxury to make it through a task without getting sidetracked.  You can make a phone call without an interruption.  You can listen to music while you work.  You can concentrate.  If you need to run an errand, you can do it without buckling anyone in or keeping anyone’s hands off of everything in the store.  You can set your own schedule, change your mind on a whim, potty without an audience.

I spend my day chasing children, cleaning up messes only to discover new ones in my wake, educating (sometimes ungrateful) bright minds, juggling four little souls with all of their idiosyncrasies.  I cook, I clean, I wash, I educate, I discipline, I love.

But if I had to choose?  Between your world and mine?

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I’d choose mine.  Time and time again.  Hands down.  No hesitation.

And you make that choice possible.  

I am grateful that I am able to stay home and witness the growth and change in these little people we created.  I am grateful that I get to experience the power of innocence and the wonder of childhood.  I am grateful that I get to fill hungry little bellies with good, home-cooked food.  I am grateful that I can stop in the middle of a moment, grab four eager little listeners and snuggle up on the couch for a good story.  I am grateful that my kids know the security and familiarity of a steady home.  That they get to continue growing and thriving alongside me, the same me that nurtured them inside my womb and brought them into this world.  I am grateful that I am the one that gets to wipe fevered brows and rub upset tummies.  I am grateful that it’s me they run to for comfort, it’s me they ask for advice, it’s me they write love letters to.

I realize that for all my gratitude, my life is nothing without you.  Without a foundation, a home has no ground on which to grow.  You make my lifestyle possible and it is because of your hard work and sacrifices that I get to stay home and count my blessings.

So thank you.  Thank you for getting up early.  For thriving in a world that tests your limits.  For responding with earnestness to the genetic call to care for and provide for your family.  For slaying dragons on our behalf.  Our kids don’t realize how incredibly lucky they are.  But I do.

I love you,

Your Stay at Home Wife

 

Puppy Love

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Sometimes we just need to feel loved.

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With a non-judgemental love.

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With a love that tickles us all the way from our hearts down to our toes.

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With a love that feels completely mutual and requited.

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With a love that accepts and understands and makes us feel like everything is just right.

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Sometimes we lose perspective and the day-to-day worries of life threaten to weigh us down.  We forget how loved we are.  We forget how important we are.  We forget we matter.

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Sometimes we have to take all that anxiety and worry and forget about it for some blissful space of time.

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Sometimes that blissful space comes in the form of romp with a furry friend.

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Or wet hands making a difference in one little friend’s world.

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Sometimes anxiety melts away when we’re free to feel loved.  Even the anxiety that weighs us down day after day.  It all just disappears.

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Because sometimes spending our precious time with someone who completely depends on us  enables us to remember that we are each important.

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Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we matter.

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Because we do.

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And sometimes it takes a tiny critter to remind us how very important we each are and how very loved we are.

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A furry little critter who adores us just because.  No actual reason.  Just because.

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We could all benefit from love like that.

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*These photos were taken while volunteering at The Puppy House, an amazing non-profit foster home tucked into a little corner of South Texas.  The Puppy House is a refuge for pregnant mama dogs and their puppies until they reach an age where they can be fostered out or adopted.  You can contact Jennifer Turner at thepuppyhouse@yahoo.com or message The Puppy House at m.me/PuppyHouseTX for more information or to donate to her very worthy cause.

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August Daybook

Outside my window…there’s a whole lot of fun going on in the pool.

I am remembering…a visit with The Fabachers.  And to think it all began with a dinner at Bennigans

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I am thankful for…time spent with my sister.

I am watching…this squirrel.  I just about had a scare when I first saw him sprawled out like that…I thought I was going to have to scrape him off the front walk.  Apparently he was cooling off.

I am wondering…what these two were thinking.  It almost seemed as though they were looking in a mirror.

I am hoping…for rain.  It’s been a dry, dry summer.

I am pondering…the idea of another herbal make-and-take.

I am laughing…about this photo…

I am planting…medicinal herbs.  My sister found us a place in Austin that grows herbs…medicinal herbs.  And they have tons of transplants.  Now I just have to see if I can keep them alive.

I am reflecting…on the idea that all boobs are good boobs.

In the schoolroom…It’s always rough starting a new school year in July when everyone else is still lounging by the pool but it sure feels good when I start seeing first day of school photos and know that we’ve already gotten 6 weeks done.

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Around the house…reading.  I’m reading.  They’re reading.  We’re reading.  It’s all good.

I am wearing…a bathing suit.  Because who can resist a dip in the pool with so many eager little people?

We are preparing for…the Redwoods.

Someday I am going to miss…lizards in this kid’s pockets.

I am reading…a whole lot of random books.  Random only in that I feel a little all over the place as far as what I’m reading to stay ahead of my kids.  Not random as in unplanned.  All of the books on each of the school shelves this year are there on purpose…lots of thought and love went into planning book lists this year thanks to my ADE consultation and any tweaks I made using The Plenary’s form guides.   (These photos do not do credit to the rich and beautiful education my children are receiving.  Charlotte Mason is about so much more than just a list of books.  Thanks to the suggestions of wise folks like the ladies at ADE and Rachel over at A CM Plenary, our year is bound to be a journey that takes us all a little deeper in our educations…it is full of the good, the truth and the beauty.  The books pictured here are only the tip of the iceberg for us.  )

One of my favorite things…the sun coming in through the school room window in the morning.

A peek into my day

Please visit The Simple Woman’s Daybook for more daybook entries.

Nature Study: Cicadas

I love the sound of August in Texas.  I walk outside into still damp heat and hear the loud hum of cicadas all around me.  It marks the peak of the summer season for me.  It’s so hot and sticky and loud and it almost makes me agitated but there’s something magical about the song these cicadas are singing.  And it’s just as I get used to their raucous music that they disappear as quickly as they came.  Summer ends and so does the daily serenade.

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My first encounter with a cicada was years ago when I discovered its exoskeleton hanging on a tree in my front yard.  At the time I knew nothing about cicadas, mistakenly calling the thing a locust, the crop eating, Bible swarming insect that is native to Europe and not even found in America.

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Cicadas, on the other hand, are gentle creatures who don’t bite or sting.  They simply hatch, burrow underground to grow and then emerge only to mate and die.  Most cicadas have a life cycle of 2 to 5 years, but some have 13 or 17 year life cycles.  But that knowledge came much later for me.

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My interest in cicadas was peaked when I read David Rosenberg’s book Bug Music.  The idea of periodical cicadas and their growth underground captured my imagination. Rosenberg’s poetic description only sparked my interest more, “It’s the slowest sonic beat in the animal world. It’s a sound that can be used to mark the phases of a human life. It’s a mathematical conundrum, an unearthly wonder of animal sound. The cloud of insect music you can barely recall. When you last heard it, you were just settling down. The time before that, you were a teenager. Before that it was the year you were born. The next time you hear it you might be a grandfather. This time the song arrives, you are smack in the middle of your journey through life.”

I can only imagine the surprise of early colonists when the cicadas appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.  Governor William Bradford said, “… all the month of May, there was such a quantity of a great sort of flyes like for bigness to wasps or bumblebees, which came out of holes in the ground and replenished all the woods, and ate green things, and made such a constant yelling noise as made all the woods ring of them, and ready to deaf the hearers …”

Last year we visited the Oso Preserve on a Tuesday morning and joined in on a guided nature walk.  The cicadas were loudly humming and the nature guide that morning was full of cicada trivia.  He taught us which cicadas were making which sounds.  Here in South Texas we have annual cicadas (as opposed to the 13 or 17 year periodical cicadas).  Annual cicadas have a life span that typically spans 2 to 5 years but because they appear every summer, they’re considered annual.  The kids and I were fascinated.  We began trying to identify the summer backdrop noise everywhere we went.

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We recently attended a porch talk out at the Oso Preserve and had the opportunity to learn about some common cicadas here in South Texas and how to tell the difference between males and females.  It was a fascinating talk complete with resin casted cicadas and sound recordings to train our ears.

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The males are the noisemakers.  Most insects that make noise do it by stridulation which is the act of producing sound by rubbing together certain body parts.  Crickets and grasshoppers use stridulation.  Not cicadas.  They have membranes in their abdomen, called tymbals, that allows them to make noise.  ThoughtCo explains it as follows:

The adult male cicada possesses two ribbed membranes called tymbals, one on each side of its first abdominal segment. By contracting the tymbal muscle, the cicada buckles the membrane inward, producing a loud click. As the membrane snaps back, it clicks again. The two tymbals click alternately. Air sacs in the hollow abdominal cavity amplify the clicking sounds. The vibration travels through the body to the internal tympanic structure, which amplifies the sound further.

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Cicadas are true bugs.  True bugs are an order of insects that have a probiscus, a long tube-like mouth.  Cicada is a latin word meaning tree cricket.  Cicadas are notoriously bad fliers, often bumping into things.  They remind me of the armadillos that we saw at South Llano but unlike armadillos who have bad eyesight, the cicadas faulty flying appears to be linked to the design of their wings.

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The life cycle of the cicada is truly fascinating.  The female cicada makes a groove on the tree branch where she lays her eggs.  The eggs hatch and the cicadas look like tiny white ants.  Once the young cicadas are ready, they crawl out of the groove and fall out of the tree and burrow themselves underground where they feed on tree root sap and stay for a period of time…anywhere from 1 year to 17 years.  When they’re ready, they crawl out as nymphs and finish their metamorphosis.  The nymphs crawl to a nearby tree where they shed their exoskeleton.  Now adults, the males begin to sing to attract females.  They mate, lay eggs and the cycle begins again.

 

There are over 100 species in the United States, with at least 50 of those here in Texas.  Some of the common ones seen down here in the south include the Scrub cicada (Diceroprocta azteca), the Little Mesquite cicada (Pacarina puella), and the Superb Dog Day cicada (Neotibicen superbus).  Texas does have periodical cicadas but they’re seen mostly in north east Texas.

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For more information regarding cicadas and to hear the different species, be sure to check out Cicada Mania!

*I am fortunate to have amazing naturalists here in my area and some of them were consulted in writing this post, including Texas Master Naturalist, Justin Quintanilla, and Caleb Harris, education coordinator at Oso Preserve.  Caleb led both the guided nature walk and the porch talk…guided walks are an ongoing event that take place on Tuesday and Saturday mornings; porch talks are a summer thing that happen on Wednesday mornings…there are still a few left this summer so be sure to pop out there and soak up the knowledge!  Websites I used to research cicadas have already been notated throughout the post.

{Being intentional is so much easier done when we slow down and really look around us.  Personally, we spend a lot of time in nature, partly because we follow a Charlotte Mason education, but mostly because it keeps us intentional in our thoughts and actions.  I invite you, in these Nature Study posts, to join us in our intentional journey…to train your eye to be observant, to relish the intricacies of the amazing world we live in and to spend more time with the people you love stopping to smell the roses, so to speak.  If you are in the South Texas area (Corpus Christi and the surrounding cities), then you’ll find these nature lessons tailored perfectly to you and your family…see if you can find what we’re finding!  If you live somewhere beyond our beautiful little corner of the world then use these lessons as a springboard…see what we’re observing, allow yourself to be inspired and then just get out there and be intentional, observant, and grateful for all the little surprises right outside your back door.}

 

Intention

I am overly aware of my incessant talking.  Even as I speak, I ask myself to stop.  The words spill forth regardless.  I am good at talking.

I wish I always had the right words to say.  The words to tell the world that nice matters and kindness is king.  But sometimes I don’t.  And so I just keep talking.

About stuff.

Homeschool and cooking and laundry.  The complications of raising children and balancing a marriage.  Living in South  Texas.  Things I know something about.  Because life?  I’m just not an expert on that topic.

Sometimes I try to just be still.  To sit and wait.  To listen.  I’m somewhat terrible at it.  If I stop momentarily then my mind begins racing with ideas of what I should be doing.

I remind myself that stillness and quiet matter.

Because it is in the stillness and quiet that I can connect to my actual thoughts.  Not the thoughts that spill out incessantly but the thoughts that form my soul.

And so I sit.  Quietly.  Often impatiently.  But persistently.  And my soul delights in the stillness.  I breathe in.  I breathe out.  I stop.  It is good.

We’re all busy distracting ourselves.  That’s the reality of a culture that lives with smart phones and overcrowded schedules.

It’s unintentional living at its worst. 

The way we wake up and our feet hit the floor and we’re slammed into the first moment of the day without any quiet, without any stillness.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  We get to choose.  We can flow along with the mainstream culture and hide in busy, distracted ways from the thoughts that connect us to being human or we can choose to stop.  Breathe.  Be still.

It only takes intention.

A Wish Come True

William once said that he couldn’t decide what he loves more…camping or being in Austin with my parents.  “If only I could combine the two,” he sadly lamented one day.

William is the kid that thrives in the great outdoors, away from the stress of everyday life.  He lives for exploring and hiking and whittling sticks.  He craves the freedom of being outdoors.  His whole face lights up when we announce we’re going camping (he once vomited on the morning we were leaving to camp and tried not to tell us so we wouldn’t cancel the trip…we found out and naively did not cancel the trip but that’s a whole different story).

He’s also the kid that relishes early mornings with Pappy where he can ask a million questions and he has someone’s undivided attention.  He loves popping up early and sneaking downstairs in my parent’s house where he knows there’s a cup of coffee waiting for him along with someone who shares all of his interests (he once asked if Pappy was coming to a birthday party we were hosting so he’d have someone to hang out with).

He loves Granny and all that entails…sweet snuggles, silly songs, and games galore.  He craves her attention and loves that she shows an interest in what he’s interested in.  He’s the kid that loves making people happy and he sees a kindred spirit in Granny…she loves making people happy, too.

So to combine the two – camping and my parents – well that would just make this kid’s dreams come true.  (And throw in their little dogs and Auntie Leslie, Uncle Dustin and Alex and well, it couldn’t possibly get any better.)

Mom and Dad recently bought a pull-along camper (which is giving us all flashbacks to the ’80s and the camper we had then), outfitted the whole thing (fancier than my house), and then invited us to meet them for a week of camping in the Lost Pines at Bastrop.  William couldn’t believe his luck.

He popped up early and dragged a brother alongside him each morning we were there so he could enjoy a cup of coffee with Pappy.  He spent the days roaming the woods and exploring with stops throughout to chat with Granny or play a game of Mancala with her.

He convinced Pappy to bake a cake with him (using the recipe they created) and he gladly accepted (on behalf of his siblings) an invitation for movie night in the camper (buttery popcorn included).

It really is the simple little things that we do today that create the memories that we’ll be reflecting on for many years to come. 

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the week of memories you created with us ♥