Summer Everywhere!

This week has really seemed like summer.  Upper eighties every day.  Humid.  Very humid.  Summer also mean summer reading, and we are happily digging into all of the books that our library has to offer.  Last year, I started a tradition for us (well, I hope it turns into a tradition.).  I plan to choose a theme or two for our reading each summer.  Last year, our themes were Letters (because our preschooler was just learning to identify them) and Nature.  This year, we are going to work on Colors for the little guy and Creation for both of my boys.  As for me, I’ve decided to return to the basics of knitting.  I feel like I allowed myself to zoom past the fundamentals without truly understanding some of the important basics of garment structure and stitches.  I know more about knitting than I can actually do

I’ve had this picture of a cabbage saved for several weeks.  I just love it.  That cabbage was a beauty!  But I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with a picture of a cabbage, so here it is as a kick-off for our summer investigation of Creation.  Really…isn’t this cabbage a wonderful illustration God’s artistry?

A couple more vacation pics

Hi.  Busy, busy.  After vacation, it took about a week for things to feel normal again.  That was last week.  This week we are doing Vacation Bible School.  This is  not a normal week.  It’s fun, fast, silly, tiring, memorable, and such a blessing.  I’m teaching the 3 year old class, and they are just a sweet bunch of energy and charm.

Here are two of my favorite pictures from our Deep Creek Trip.  The first is from the Discovery Center, and the second picture was taken during our walk at Swallow Falls.  My mom and dad are walking with my younger son.

(That’s a bear print.)

My Birthday

Yes, that’s cute little me.  But if you’ve met my younger son, there could be a mix-up (minus the dress and pigtails).

I’m celebrating my birthday.  I’m thirty-one today.  I love my birthday.  I don’t mind one bit that my age now has a three in front of it.  I feel braver, more confident, more satisfied than I ever have.  I still love to dream of the future, imagine what I might be or do someday; but I’m no longer living each day for the future.  I feel content to live now and content to keep on dreaming.

My guys are cooking a delicious dinner for me.  After dinner and cake, we’re headed to the park.  I’ll finish the day with the novel that Hubby and my boys picked for me.  Perfect.

A week by a mountain lake

                                                                      We spent the last week on vacation at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland.  What a beautiful place.  As I’ve mentioned on Warm As Pie several times, I am in love with the country.  I look forward to living in a place like Deep Creek some day (Although I don’t even allow myself to imagine a home like the one in which we stayed!).  Our week-long adventure in the mountains gave me a wonderful dose of nature.  I hope its simplicity and its life will stay with me all summer.  The sky, the trees, the water, the air–everything calls me to build a life surrounded by nature’s abundance and calm.

Nineteen of us rented a gorgeous lake-front house.  We were not roughing it!  But even though we slept in King-sized beds and cooked in a beautiful kitchen, we enjoyed the outdoors very much.  Our men made the most of the fishing opportunities, and many of us used the fishing boats just to see the lake.  My parents brought Mom’s cute little paddle boat.  That was fun!  We spent one day at the “beach” where we wadded and swam in the lake (brrr!).

I’ll be sharing pictures over the next few posts.  Enjoy a glimpse of our getaway.

I don’t want to be melodramatic, but the very act of blogging seems to bring the drama out in me. Something about stopping, reflecting, and distilling a memory or thought into words heightens every emotion and romanticizes every experience. That’s exactly what I love about writing, but at the same time, it’s also what I want to subdue at times. So I offer this little prelude as I talk to you about simplicity…a concept that I know I romanticize.

I would call simplicity my Number Two goal. My first goal is to follow God, but secondly, I want to lead a simple life (I find these two goals to be significantly linked.). Oddly, my “simplicity” goal is pretty complex. Don’t you just love those pesky contradictions? I want simplicity to be the timbre of all aspects of my life: family, food, housekeeping, community activities, social life, faith. I look at magazines and fall in love with pictures of sparse living rooms, tidy nightstands, and bookshelves that have room for things other than books. I turn the page in my calendar and marvel at a clean-as-a-whistle month. BUT…contradiction coming…I also derive a sense of importance and value when I look back at a heavily graffiti’d calendar, layered with multi-colored notes about appointments, meetings, and deadlines. Look, I think to myself, I must really matter. Look how busy I’ve been. Of course, these thoughts are ridiculous. My worth doesn’t come from how many appointments I can squeeze in a day; yet, I would be foolish to brush aside those thoughts without a bit of introspection. How should I define success? Now that I’m not working toward a specific academic goal, what does it mean to have a successful day? How can I embrace the simplicity I crave but maintain characteristics of solid work ethic, perseverance, motivation, and industriousness? I look to my children, and as I watch them fall asleep, I realize that they feel no pressures to complete something specific in a day. They build block towers and stop on a whim to make a collage of purple circles and later a Batman mask tied with yarn. What do they know of success? They ask for food and drink when they need nourishment. They call to Mommy when they need comfort. They look to Daddy for silliness and laughter. They look inward for playful imagination and problem-solving. They measure the completion of the day by heavy eyelids and a feeling of contentment.

As I work toward a simpler life, one centered upon God and family, I’m trying to embrace the things that I love to do and grant them the same (if not greater) value than the things that I do “professionally.” Over the last year, I’ve been drawing great inspiration from a little prayer that our church’s Sunday School students say each Sunday morning. They recite: Father, give us every day work to do and time for play. Help us to be kind and good, and treat others as thy children should. Amen.” Initially, I was struck by the thought that small children are asking God for work to do. They don’t work, I thought to myself. But then I considered the work of childhood. The work of growing, discovering, learning to share and compromise, learning to take care of possessions, cleaning one’s own spaces in the world, learning to form friendships and maintain them.  These are important tasks, simple steps of growth toward a fulfilling life.  I can learn so much from that model.