Thousands of acres of forest are on fire here in NC. The air is acrid and dry and we’ve been staying inside more than usual. The smoke seems to have blown in again today and our throats feel dry and scratchy. It’s hard to stay inside when the weather and light is so beautiful these early November days. The smoke makes everything hazy and makes the sunsets brilliant, and yet I can’t quite feel that it’s pretty, knowing so much of the state is burning, and we have yet to see any rain. We keep praying.
Yesterday it seemed to clear a bit and we walked down to our little neighborhood lake and explored in the last light of the day. Everything looks so different, open and quiet now that most of the leaves have fallen. I sort of love when the colors fade to shades of gray and brown. It feels like a clean slate.
It’s been a busy week of running around + unexpected interruptions. We’ve been looking to buy a home (our first) since early summer, and we are still looking for the right place. It fills most of the nooks and crannies in our schedule, and proves to be a pretty emotionally charged experience. Often draining–both because of the work that goes into hunting, seeing homes with kids in tow, getting excited and disappointed, looking again another day. We know God will provide in His time and way, and we look eagerly for it. In the meantime, I really am content right where we are. I feel wildly graced with the life I have been given.
But the pace this week has been wearing me out. When I feel all hustly and stretched too thin, it does something in me to just grab my camera and go for a walk with the kids in our neighborhood. There’s something grounding in it. I’m so thankful for where we live and so happy here, it is quiet and peaceful and feels mostly empty. Our neighbors tend to be retirees. Putting feet to the ground around my home, paying attention to the changes in the season, the critters preparing for winter, the geese that have flown off our lake and south for the winter–it helps to quiet me and settle me and return me to myself, somehow. It helps me to see my life with new eyes.
It’s hard to believe we are almost done with our first “semester” of school, Phoebe and I. She has done so well, and we’ve both learned a lot in the process. I love it and I think she does, too, though it fills up a good chunk of our week. (It’s still far less than putting her in public school.) I’m excited to take an extended break for the holidays soon and regroup. She is already beginning to read, which feels like a big accomplishment to me in only a few months of work. She absolutely amazes me with her curiosity, hunger, aptitude and ability. She is a voracious learner. She would sit and read books with me all day, and loves learning about anything and everything. I think it’s very satisfying for her to have a structured time of learning. I hope things stay this way and she always loves learning.
I’ve been furiously knitting, finishing up Philippa’s sweater (her birthday is in a few days). It’s taken about 3 days to dry and I plan to weave in ends and wrap it up tonight. I absolutely love it and hope she does, too. She snuck a peek at it while I was blocking it, but she doesn’t really know it’s for her. It’s so squishy and soft and nubbly and I want to knit one in my size. I finished my first pair of mittens for myself last weekend while I was away at a hermitage. I started the second mitten and didn’t stop knitting until it was finished, basically, within an hour or so, and that was really rhythmic and satisfying. I’m thoroughly addicted to this craft. Phoebe has been asking me to teach her and she is quite engrossed, also. I think she feels quite grown up, sitting next to me, the both of us knitting, like we are sharing a secret. She can’t get far past one or two rows before knots and slipped stitches, but she is watching me knit with a different sort of interest now and I know this will be something we will share in the future.
Brandon and I snuck away for a couple hours the other evening to do a bit of birthday/Christmas shopping for the kids, particularly looking for a little toy or something for philippa to go along with her sweater. We had such a good time together and always have a BLAST shopping for the kids. So much laughter and silliness and it felt like a date.
We visited my good friend this week to see her new baby, and take them a few snacks. The kids have so much fun playing together and it was good for my friend and I to just keep company. I snapped a few photos for her of the baby. I love him already. Its wonderful to be around a newborn again.