Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday | The Room Where We Live

Cowboy boots by the door. Afghans on every couch and chair. Guitar and banjo cases filling up almost every corner space. Candles everywhere. The furniture, livable and homey. Wood burning stove just waiting for the first truly cold fall morning. Jim Brickman-ish music quietly playing.
That’s our living room in the mornings. And when I say living room, I really mean living. It’s truly where we do our living – work on the computer, read books, do homework, work on projects, play instruments, crash after a long day, lots of sibling talks and some of the boys even prefer to sleep on it’s floor at night.
It’s not a fancy room, but it’s full of life living and being lived. With old-fashioned charm, it’s one of my favorite places. Sometimes it’s full of noise and laughter, at other times, like now in the mornings, it’s quiet and cozy and full of introspective thoughts hovering in the air.
Maybe it’s strange to write with affection about a simple room in a house. Maybe I just get too attached to things in my life. I have some Pat of Silver Bush in me, after all. But whether or not that’s true, I still think there’s something really special about our house and it’s not been just once that someone has commented on the peacefulness and just hominess that is found inside it's walls. I know it comes from all the laughter, prayers, memories and love that’s been a constant here.
We're not fancy people and our home isn't either, but we're family and it's home. And frankly, I'm so happy to be living back home again. I didn't realize how much I'd missed it until I came home. I know someday I'll have to leave again, but for now, I'm going to go grab my hot cocoa and curl up under my favorite afghan in the corner of the couch with my bible and journal and watch the morning pass around me.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday | Chillin' On My Off Day

I woke up at 8am, after waking up at 5:15am wherein I gleefully reminding myself that it wasn't time to get up and go to work. I wasted the day for about fifteen minutes lounging in bed (a must of any off day, even if just a few minutes) then decided an off day, after all, is too lovely to spend too much time in bed. Especially this time of year, when morning are especially wonderful and just beg to be enjoyed.

After a morning rearranging the furniture in our room with my two sisters (usually a bi-annual event) , I spent the afternoon in a movie theatre with my friends cherry coke and popcorn, since I figured no other mature adult would want to go see Percy Jackson with me. Hey, they were great books, I have to keep giving the movies a chance! It was a strange experience going to the movies all by my lonesome, but I did have the theatre almost all to myself.

Whereupon coming home, I grabbed the camera and enjoyed a half-hour outside in the beautiful weather. With three more hours yet 'til my early bedtime, it's been a great day off.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday | Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

 I sit cross-legged on the floor of my room, legs wrapped in my favorite sweat pants and my hair pulled back into it's usual messy bun. Despite the small chill in the air, I sit near the open window because it's raining outside and I want to hear the rain fall. Because I love rain. And this rain is special, because it's the first rain of the quickly changing season.

 You'd have to be blind to miss it, the no-longer-subtle clues that attest to the change of season, that magical transformation from summer into glorious fall. You can see it everywhere you look, from the seasonal displays being set up inside of department stores to the menu at Starbucks and of course, in the glorious outdoors itself:
The soft chill that is beginning to cling to the air that involuntarily draws you towards those cozy sweaters in your closet.

The skittering of leaves as they blow down a city street, catching in the gutters and crunching underfoot.

Harvest decorations appearing on the front porches and fences of houses everywhere.

 Harvest machinery out in the fields and orchards, bringing in the crops. Corn, almonds, pumpkins, and a little and a lot of everything else.

That certain smell that lingers in the air, of moist, rain-dampened earth combined with something that you just can't quite put your finger on.

Puddles in the street and stacks of firewood appearing along the outer walls of country houses.

Fall is so close that I can literally reach out and brush it with the tips of my fingers and I'm so excited. My head swirls with so many plans of how to drink it in to it's fullest potential, because I don't want to miss even a single moment. Time with family. Time with friends. Time with pumpkin spice lattes and caramel apple spice cider. Time wrapped up in my wool firefighter's blanket out on our back porch swing, watching the last of summer's sunsets fade on the horizon.

Fall: when magic feels the most believable.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday | Reflections on Retail

It's a crazy adventure, working in a big store like Target. No matter how good I get at my work routine, there's always so many variables that keep me on my toes and poised for the next run-in with an interesting customer or situation.

There's the woman who sings with unabashed gusto while she shops or my recent putrid run-in with a leaky toufu.

How nobody can ever find the sour cream or how people inevitably ask me (the girl in obvious red and khaki) “do you work here?” while I'm on my hands and knees with my head stuck inside the bottom of a freezer.

And if you  ever thought it was embarrassing going through the check out while purchasing “feminine products” with a guy as your cashier...try having it be a guy you know and work with. That's awkward.

And then there was that one short little lady with the lisp who was all worked up because we were out of Knudsen brand cottage cheese (despite a whole section of house brand cottage cheese) and what would happen to her dogs tonight when she couldn't give them their bowl of Knudsen brand cottage cheese that they expect every single day? Oh, ma'am, let me just wave my magic wand and save your dogs from this ill-fated cottage-cheese-less day!

And of course, Her Majesty the Queen who with cold, steely iron in her voice talked me down because I, a Target employee of a week and a half, dared to not know where the extension cords happened to be.

Life is never dull on the Target dance floor and as my repertoire of humorous stories builds, so does my confidence and even enjoyment of the work that I do.

The best part is still the moment I unpin my name tag and walk out those sliding doors into the freedom of the rest of the day off. Pure, unadulterated bliss.

P.S. If you live in the area, feel free to drop by sometime and say hi. I'd be tickled pink. :)


Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday | Camping: Five Days Without a Shower

Yes, that's right - five whole living-in-the-dirt-and-dust days without a shower...and loving it! Well, not the going showerless part, but the camping itself. And friends, when we camp..we really camp. No campers or trailers for us, just a big tent (or two), cooking over the fire and whatever bare minimal bathroom facilities there happens to be. I am no stranger to the porta-potty.
For some in my family, five days in the great outdoors meant long fishing expeditions on the lake and lots of hiking, but for me, it's curling up with a book (or five) and just relaxing the days away. So that's exactly what I did.
Most photo credits to my mom, with the exception of the sunset shots towards the end.
{my new favorite series! If you're an HP or Redwall fan, it's a must! Thanks to my cousin Katie for recommending it! Fly you high! *grin* }
{ note to self: clean lens }

It was a great five days and whereas I was glad to get home and get cleaned up, I already miss that serenity of the mountains and the bigness of it all. Thanks, family, for being part of the herd with me!  :)

P.S. And I wasn't kidding about reading five books, either. :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday | The Lake & Family Holiday

I'd planned on posting this week, but what with moving home, working and now getting ready to leave for family holiday, it just hasn't happened. Sorry, friends.

Content yourself for now with this picture from a pleasant lake place that we love. :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday | Where I Simply Blog About Moving Back Home

{Because who doesn't like a random picture of homemade snack mix?}

It's funny really, how I cried over moving out and how I've also cried over moving back in. They're the same loss and gain, although in reverse orders from each other. But the big thing is that with both, I'm losing an expectation that had become really important to me.

When I moved out into a life of independence as a single woman, it was an idea that never even occurred to me during my growing up years, as I never thought I'd do anything other than get married and be a wife. So, in a way, moving out on my own was symbolic of saying goodbye to that dream of love and marriage.

In moving back home, it's once again leaving behind something that's become important to me - only this time, it's my independence. Not an "I can do whatever I want" kind of independence, but more of the "mature woman" variety of independence. More like "here out on my own I will be who God created me to be." Hard to explain but something like that.

Both were and are and will continue to be hard, especially as I get older. Because yah, "older" is becoming more of a reality, folks. Don't dismiss me, friend, because twenty-six, no matter how you look at is, is a bit on the older side of young. Admit it. In six months, I'll be pushing twenty-seven. Excuse me while I go breath into a brown paper bag.

But anyways, what I'm really trying to get at through all of this is simply this: what if I didn't hold on so tightly? What if, rather than always seeing my life as something that should stay in a fixed formula, I just let go and took life easy as it happened? Because I'm a planner, a list-maker and I don't like change. So, when things jump the track and go shooting off in a different direction, I just don't do so well.

Life isn't a test that must be aced or all is ruined. Life is a journey, an adventure, a mission and a gift. Turning it into a time-table removes some of the joys that can be found through simply stretching out the arms in readiness for wherever, whatever and whenever God decides to do something.

After all, in the end...this world is not my home.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday | Forcasted: More Change

When I first suspected that this year was going to be a year of change, I really had not anticipated the roller coaster that I've been on in the last six months. Moving out. Losing my job. Being unemployed for almost two months. Getting a job at Target. And now...moving back home again.

Yup, I'm homeward bound tomorrow afternoon. As much as I find myself enjoying my active and fast-paced job as one of the food and produce managers at Target, the paycheck it generates doesn't go far enough to safely cover the expenses that come with living out on my own. I've crunched numbers 'til they swam in front of my eyes, schemed and plotted, tried to find a second job and in the end, just sat and prayed and prayed and prayed...and in the end, how it pans out is that I'm losing my happy little home with my happy gray walls and going home again.

I have mixed emotions about it, really. In some ways, I'm excited to be going home, especially as the holidays are rapidly approaching and I love the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons at Home. But of course, in very many other ways I'm broken up about losing everything that I've established and been able to do while living independently alone.

I find myself tempted to think that God didn't come through for me. After all, He could have provided a different job, even a second job. He could have pulled heavenly strings and fixed some of my financial issues in a blow-up-the-sky kind of God-way. I mean...I've prayed and prayed and prayed for Him to make a way for me and to provide for me. I knew it was Him leading me to live out on my own five months ago, so why no such guidance now?

What has hit me in a profound way that has squelched all my doubts and suspicions is the realization that just because I don't get to live at my happy little house anymore, that that doesn't mean God didn't provide for me. I have a place to go to when finances get tight, unlike many other people. I have a loving family who are more than happy to have me home again. I have a sister who's giving me back my bottom bunk bed. I have a dad who's willing to let his twenty-six year old single daughter live at home under his roof rent-free. I have a job to begin with.

I am so provided for.