Monday, May 30, 2011

It seems as though far too often I begin entires to this blog with, "it's been so long..." And yet - when you look at the last date we posted on this here website (Feb. 4th - 4 months ago!) you'll find that it has indeed been far too long.

But it's a good thing.

It's a good thing that we haven't felt tied to posting.

It's a good things haven't been too exciting.

It's a good thing that most of my writing has been directed here and that my time is filled elsewhere.

It's a good good thing.

And yet - just as the dust settles on our toes, we are up & at em' again.

"What? Didn't you and your family just move?"

Yes, yes we did.

And it has been a great great thing.
Since moving here over six months ago we have been given such life-giving gifts.

Through the Beckley Mommies group I have met some truly wonderful women who share in their desire to love their children fully and sharing life with one another in ways I was not familiar with. Listening to their life stories has taught me how to be a better mom, how to engage as a caretaker & how to love my husband wildly.

We've enjoyed our time with Beckley Presbyterian. It was quite a process to find a church/spiritual community in that we don't necessarily "fit" well. We're awkward, let's admit it. Yet - the associate pastor and a few other women have truly embraced us with love, hospitality & extreme kindness. For their willingness to welcome us so graciously, we are overwhelmingly grateful.

The YMCA & Public Library have also been such wonderful places for us to emerse ourselves within the community, listen & engage in conversations with others and allow ourselves to learn from their lives, their stories, their shared words.

Carpenter's Corner - where we find church. I cannot speak highly enough of the work, love & generosity demonstrated though Carpenter's Corner. Time with them has been a window into what Jesus looks like. We look forward to our time there each week and will miss them all dearly.

And the mountains. How we have loved living in the mountains.
We have learned a lot about ourselves & each other here as well.

We have slowed down.

Taken time.

Rested. Opened up. Listened.

Come to know God.

Our time in Beckley has truly been a gift.

Now the time has come to dust off those toes and clean up those feet because we're off once again.

We're ready to settle for a time. We're ready to live in community again. Grow roots. Join forces.

We're heading north. Toward family. Toward like-minded communities. Toward where we feel as though Jesus would most like for us to be during this season of our lives.

We're feeling very much at ease with this decision to move upward and onward, toward family & friends. This feels right for the "now".

Jake has accepted an offer from a hospital in Grand Rapids, MI and on June 23rd we are packing up and heading out.
Already we are excited about what's before us. Anticipating with great excitement what God has paved the way with. We're ready!

It's with sorrow that we will leave the few good friends we have made during our time here but with deep gratitude we look forward to keeping in touch and continuing to learn from you, our Southern friends. We have learned a lot from and about you. You have been a part in teaching us more about ourselves and about the love of Jesus. Thank you.

We'll miss the mountains, this house, our community and garden (let us mourn for the garden left behind) but are filled with a deep for our home to come.
Beckley - Thank you for the last six months of a life lived well.

Grand Rapids - We look forward to meeting you soon.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Other Day.

The other day I was filled with disappointment, once again, as I found that one of my favorite bloggers (and friends) hadn't up-dated her blog - in now what was over a month! How could she deny us of her rich writings and challenging thoughts? I was outraged!

That was up until I realized that it had been over a month since we had spent any time in this space and was quickly put in my place.

Up-date? Here are some highlights from this last month:

I've come to find great joy in preserving. I've dabbled in dehydrating, canning, and preparing/freezing food for our little one (who, as of Feb. 1st. is now basking in the glory of avocados & bananas!). Over time our home has become littered with dried pears, apples, bananas, pineapple, tomatoes, oranges, and green peppers.

Canning has taken on a completely different level of excitement! Tomato spreads, pickled onions, lemon honey jam, spiced apple jam, carrot marmalade, corm relish, gajar ki chutney and many more recipes waiting for the right time! I'm beginning to think I'm becoming addicted.

Our little topless, tie-dyed hippie

And yes, there is all to much knife handling and baby wearing happening at the same time in this house. Yesterday there was even some fire extinguishing mixed in too!

Speaking of addictions though... I've also been on a biscotti making craze: anise & almond, hazelnut, chai, oats & nuts, cinnamon mocha, double chocolate, spiced and a few more I can't recollect right now. Creating is truly invigorating!

Needless to say - much of my time is taken with obsessing over books filled with baking & preserving knowledge & recipes.

That is, of coarse when my time is not taken up with the following:

Yael & I have begun to volunteer at Carpenter's Corner three out of four Mondays a month. It's been such great fun to get to know not only the various volunteers who dedicate an amazing amount of time to preserving (there that word is again!) and caring not ony for the soup kitchen itself but for the participants who come for a warm plate and good conversation three afternoons a week. Needless to say, Yael's hospitality far outweighs mine. She is so gracious with the great number of people who simply just want to love on her. This extended hospitality often comes crashing after our afternoons there and a long nap is the next order of business. Together we are learning so much about our community & community members through this very sacred time together.

one of our afternoon together

Each morning Yeal & I (with Jake tagging along on his days off) make our way to the YMCA and library. It has been such a gift to slowly come to know the women (and a man too, here and there) and children who frequent these community hang-outs. Great conversations have already been happening and help assist me in getting to know our community a wee bit better every day.

On Wednesdays we are finding ourselves spending time with the women from Beckley Mommies. Still, a hard pill to swallow that Beckley Mommies thing. The kicker here is that we're enjoying it! Although we are primarily just listeners during our time with these great moms, we're slowly building relationships and that can't be all that bad, can it?

Speaking of relationships... Jake & I decided that we are going to continue to attend Beckley Pres. We have so much enjoyed not only our times of worship but more importantly, our times together with others who are a part of this congregation. They have been so gracious in inviting us over/out for dinner as well as connecting us with others in the community - such a gift!

Speaking of gifts... due to a number of circumstances we also made three get-aways this past month (I love nurses schedules!). At the beginning of the month we made an unexpected (yet, wonderfully necessary) trip to Chicago to visit one of our favorite families who had just experienced a significant loss in their lives. Our time together with some amazing folks left us missing them all the more.

spending an afternoon with Grandpa D.

Later that month we found ourselves in a remote cabin in the woods with a good friend, some sweet wine and a hot tub on a snowy back porch. What more could one ask for? Let me share that I almost took back our vow to live simply after two nights in the hot tub. There is nothing better on a cool winter weekend.

Lastly, we traveled to Kentucky in late January to spend some time with my parents. We have made a vow to spend time with them at least one time each month before they head back to Michigan in June. Accompanying them at the food pantry I couldn't hold back and let my "grocer daughter" complex rear it's head and was thrilled to stock shelves, bag flour & flax seeds as well as make a grocery run. Nothing better than working grocery.

working in the food pantry with Grandpa R.

So there you have it - in additions to frequent trips to thrift stores and grocery marts, this is how we are spending our time - in addition to the many hours of reading, playing, singing and resting we do in our home.

This rhythm feels right, right now. It's fitting, although may be difficult to get on sometimes, once in the groove it feels good, it feels right.

Thank you for the kind comments on previous entries whether by e-mail, facebook or otherwise. I cannot share with you how very much your love and support have meant during this time of transition. We are so grateful.

I'm beginning to hear the little one waking - off to begin our day!