fresh mountain air

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Ps. Wren is wearing a sweater knit and gifted to me by Natural Earth Farm.  They make beautiful things and she has similar baby sweaters in her shop right now for such an affordable price, if you’re interested!  She gifted me some of her hand cream too and it is the nicest I have maybe ever used.  Also, wren’s hat was gifted to me by Ruby.  Knitters are such generous folk. 🙂

 

all this light

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The heavy snows of last weekend lingered all week, now just piled in soggy clumps here and there.  We have played so much in it, the kids bemoaning the sun and the melting each day.  It’s been an ordinary sort of week around here, lots of cleaning and tasks and bills and such.  The sun was so inviting this morning we were out for a bike ride and jaunt to our little neighborhood playground, but it was still so freezing out!

I found myself battling against some heavy dark of soul this week.  I don’t know how much more to share of it here, but only do so because it seemed to be a theme this week between the Lord and I, and I see it reflected in the pictures above, the favorite snapshots from the week: dark + light.  I found myself scribbling in my journal yesterday afternoon, “Thank you, Lord — the night can be so dark, black as coal, but the light falls so sweetly this morning.”  I found myself cheered by the afternoon light pooling on our dining room table, slanting across my journal laid open, dancing across the snow.  These children bring so much light, so much laughter.  Life with them is good–I’m so thankful.  Could it be that He wanted me to notice?  Could it be that He wanted me to see?  Could it be that He wanted to preach to me the light of the glory of His grace to me in these ordinary earthly realities?  To let the light slant just so in beams across my path, to remind me:   The light always overcomes the dark, always.

I’ve needed to preach the truth of the Gospel over my soul this week, leaning hard into what the Word says is true rather than what I feel.  I found particular comfort in these words:

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit…

You are a hiding place for me;
You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with shouts of deliverance…

Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.”

Psalm 32:1-2, 7, 10

I am blessed, not because of any other glad or fortuitous circumstance, but namely because I am one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  This is the happiest circumstance of my life, and it is permanent, unchanging, unswerving, though the enemy of my soul would often try to convince me otherwise.

Maybe you needed to remember, too.  If you are in Christ Jesus, your sins are covered.  All His ways to you are grace.  He is your hiding place, your secret place.  His steadfast love is your shield and buckler against the enemy, your promise that in the end, no matter what comes, it will be well with your soul.  I hope you see His light this weekend, and His steadfast love surrounding you.

outside + in

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We’ve been really enjoying a lot of family time lately, and since the winter weather has been so crazy mild here we’ve been outside a good bit.  My youngest brother was visiting after Christmas and we took the kids hiking on Graybeard trail in Montreat where Brandon and I spent so many of our college days hiking and exploring.

Noah also got his first fishing pole for Christmas and was so excited to go fishing with Daddy on the lake in our neighborhood.  He caught his first fish, too!

Last weekend we were able to take an impromptu trip to South Carolina to visit Brandon’s parents as they are prepping their house to put it on the market.  We had such a relaxing and quiet/restful weekend with them.  The kids absolutely love them and their house.  Noah had his first opportunity to sleep in a big boy room set up just for him, and he did so well and was so excited about it being just for boys.  He and Phoebe seem to love sharing a room but I’m thinking he may be getting ready for his own space and it may be time to move the girls in together.  All the kids are obsessed with the grandparents’ dogs, which are tiny little mikki’s.  Philippa kept calling them “ba-ba,” which is her word for baby.  Brandon and I were able to get out for a good run together while the kids napped on Sunday.  I was able to spend hours knitting.  We were all a bit sad to say goodbye, and when we pulled into our neighborhood late Sunday night Phoebe and Noah both started whimpering and Noah said “I hate home.”  So apparently, they had a great time. 🙂

This week has been colder, we even saw some flurries earlier in the week!  I realize I’ve been really feeling off without a good cold winter and no signs of snow.  As much as I am savoring the milder weather with little ones who get cooped up indoors, it just feels so strange to see wisteria blooming and daffodils springing up through the dirt in January.  I read on a friend’s blog a week or so ago that “winter is a time for dreaming” and I’ve thought about it so often since.   think it’s important for us to have a season where we are forced to live more quiet, small, and slow because the days are short and cold.  It’s been a hard week, in some ways, working on a lot of projects, cleaning, and our budget (read: gag me with ruffage).  But Brandon did surprise me on New Year’s Eve with those sweet pink roses.  And there has been time for reading hand-written cards and knitting baby socks.  So life is good.

 “winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home.”
– edith sitwell

and for knitting + reading + watching “When Calls the Heart” + “Life Below Zero,” I might add.

Happy wintering, friends!

summer + family gatherings 4: into the clouds we go

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There will always be something other-worldly and magical about this place to me.  While my sister + her fam were visiting, we headed up to Black Balsam, a nearby hiking spot rife with stunning vistas, wild blueberries, rocky outcroppings, and dramatic clouds + sky.  We had a little picnic along the way and meandered back down, always thankful to get up above our ordinary lives and look over them from a fresh perspective.

Making Time for Family Time

A couple weeks ago, Brandon suggested that we take the kids to a local little wildlife park called the Nature Center.  Even though we had just moved and *really* needed to do some work unpacking, we decided we would all probably like each other more at the end of the day if we took a few hours and did something fun.  {We tackled some unpacking once kids were down for naps after lunch.}  I am so glad we did!  It is always a treat to treat the kids, always a joy to see their joy in exploring their world.  And we love taking advantage of whatever fun spots our little town offers.

{Sorry for some blurry pics. Brandon gave me a new lens for my birthday and I’ve been forcing myself to leave it on the camera full-time so I practice using it.}

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^ Looking for turtles. ^

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^ Checking out the raccoons.  This guy.  He is such a great hubby + dad.  He carried my 500 lb hot pink bag, and often a kid or two.  I’m really, really thankful him.  He loves animals maybe more than the kids, so he’s like a big kid himself. ^

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^ We loved all the lofted bridge trails in the trees! ^

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^ Brandon took this one.  It’s out of focus, but it’s the only one of kids + I from the day. ^
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^ Timely spot for a little snack break and monkeying around to burn off some energy. Then, onto the bobcats + cougars. ^

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^ The otters were Noah’s absolute FAVORITE.  He was screaming and going nuts whenever they’d swim up to the glass. ^

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P on the otter-slide and then to the petting farm to brush the goats.

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He also loved this.  So much.  He has such a sweet little nurturing side.  And then, of course, the tractor.  Maybe that was his favorite.

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^ Unfortunately, not a single shot capturing his glee was in focus.   But at least I captured the spider web.. right?! ^

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Work on the farm for the little farm hands:

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For Phoebe the biggest highlights, though she was half-terrified, were seeing the wolfies and the bears.  By the end of our couple of hours, the kids were exhausted.  And they took GREAT naps.  Win/win.

These kind of outings are so good for Brandon and I.  To just make time for family time.  There is the temptation to work without ceasing, as there is always, ALWAYS, work to be done.  But it’s part of something we’re wrestling through and learning lately: recreating together in some form draws us back together after a week of busyness and the mundane.  It “re-creates” us, in a sense, as a family.  Choosing to set aside worry and stress and just remembering how to be like children, to enjoy this world that God has made, to look for glimpses of His character and His fingerprints on all He has made, and to set aside the rush and hurry to just slow and enjoy.  It is part of what rests our souls and helps us see and remember how much we love each other and the gift God has given us in giving us LIFE, and life together.

Stopping the frenetic pace so we can savor.  This is my goal lately!