I'm sitting out the Yarn Along this week - I wrote a final exam last night, and am feeling wiped and a bit brain dead. Lately, though, whenever I have a day at home, I've been whipping up a batch of bread, and it was the perfect therapy for this morning.
A few weeks ago I came across this post, which just makes bread making sound like the easiest thing ever (which it is, really). It has a great recipe that I've been using, and I find something about the mixing and waiting to rise and the smell of the yeast and the kneading that is so soothing and affirming.
Plus, eating a slice of fresh, warm bread, smothered in butter & honey, is just about the best thing in the whole world. Yum.
I went for a walk the other day with a good friend, and we realized as we were talking that we've been walking together on the same path in the same spot for the last 14 years. For someone who had made about a dozen moves by the time I was a teenager, it's a little shocking to me that I've been in one place, geographically at least, for so long. Even more strange to me is that my children have lived in this one community their whole lives - three of them have lived their whole lives in this one house!
Sometimes I forget that my children don't automatically absorb everything I know, all my memories and experiences by osmosis. When I talk about moving house when I was a child, they look at me a little confused - they have nothing to compare that to. (And Liam is convinced, to my utter horror, that eggs come from Costco, not chickens. Sigh - we need to get some backyard chickens. Badly.)
There is something special, though, about having a place of your own. A spot. When I walk my path along the river, I feel grounded. I am mentally clear, refreshed, peaceful. This is Liam's spot - it has been since he was a baby.
This morning, he was owly and a bit fussy with me. All on his own, he disappeared to his spot, and it gave him just what my spot gives me - he came out from behind the curtain happy, settled, and relaxed. And thankfully, not so fussy anymore.
What about you? Do you have a place of your own?
Although I try to keep the kitchen gadgets to a minimum around here, when I came across this apple peeler at the thrift store I knew we had to give it a try. It's given a whole new life to having an apple for a snack, I tell you.
Gwenyth has it all figured out - let's hope she's as eager when we harvest our apples this fall!
In the week before Christmas, I picked up the book Little Birds at our local library. Although the combination of new job and end of school semester put an end to our plans for a completely handmade Christmas, I did still want to make a special little something for each of the kids' Christmas stockings.
Liam is especially enamoured with peacocks right now, and when I saw the little peacock featured in the book, I knew I had to make one. That, naturally, lead to a bluebird for Gwenyth, and an owl for Brian, and finally, a budgie for Katie.
I pulled out my small stash of wool felt, and got busy. There was more handwork involved than I have been used to doing in the recent past, and I very much enjoyed myself. The sewing was a nice accompaniment to sitting with the kids watching different Christmas movies in the days before the holiday, and I continued to stitch away in the evenings after my own little flock had gone to bed.
Traditionally, there is always a little face - a stuffed toy, a doll - peeking out of the top of the stockings on Christmas morning, and I would usually want those to be a surprise. The kids did see me working on these little guys ahead of time, but it didn't seem to take away from their enjoyment of a soft, handmade bird of their own.
This project has definitely inspired me to do more like it. Working with felt was really satisfying, and even more so, these little friends for the kids had exactly the feeling I was hoping for in giving them something handmade. It has definitely encouraged me to plan and work more carefully for next year, so that we can achieve our handmade holiday goals in 2011.
For the past few years, I've been joining Ali Edwards as she chooses One Little Word to have as a companion for the year. My word for 2010, Simplify, stayed with me right up to the end of December, and it wasn't really until recently that I felt like I was truly walking with this idea as my focus.
Life is busy, and there has been lots going on which made this year feel very different than the way I thought it would feel. When I chose the word Simplify, I envisioned a life somewhat like the ones I see in blogs out there - something like what I see over at SouleMama's, for example. What I got instead was my own reality, and although it took me a little while to see it, my own reality is a beautiful and special thing. Once I saw that, I could begin to blend the idea and attitude of simplifying into the life that I have.
As I look into the year ahead, I see space and opportunity that wouldn't have been there without my goal to simplify. I thought, as I was planning and searching for my word for 2011, that it would be Create that would accompany me into this new space. That Create would fill that space that had been made, would give it purpose. Then suddenly, the word Rest came to mind. I read an online devotional which had this Bible verse at the top:
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle [meek] and humble [lowly] in heart, and you will find rest [relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet] for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29
If you've ever had anything to do with the church you've likely heard this before, and I have heard this particular passage so many times, I had started to skip right past it, you know? When I read this, though, something about the expansion of the word "rest" (this particular version is the Amplified Bible) spoke to me in such a deep and meaningful way, I still can't put it into words. When I read that list: relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet, it brings tears to my eyes, I feel it hit me in the chest. And that, friends, is what I want for this year. What I need in this space. Rest. Just Rest.