these ordinary things: vacation

“Because being a homemaker isn’t about being extraordinary.  It’s about seeing the ordinary in a conscious way.  A way that leads to gratitude, joy and understanding.  A way that helps me create an environment in which my family can become more human everyday.  If you are moved, I invite you to share your ordinary things by replying below or leaving a link.”

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John and I gave ourselves the gift of a short vacation last week: three nights on the Pacific shores of La Jolla, California.  Two days to vacate the course of our regular lives.  To forget the housework and papers in need of correcting and be free of the questioning and self-doubt that are destiny’s best friends.   Two days for new parts of the world to awaken in us what we hadn’t realized had fallen asleep.

We were lucky to do it there, where saltwater, earth and tides come together to make a place for pelicans and sea lions, palm trees and scurrying crabs.  Where arid plains and sky piercing rock are nowhere in sight.  And then, not even one full day into our trip, the report from home was dismal.  One very sick kiddo, another two close on his heals, and us 1000 miles away.  In seconds we were whisked away from this coastal haven.  Sucked right back into the questioning and self-doubt.

There are magical far away places that allow us a respite, it’s true.  But as far away as we go,  the course of our lives persistently knocks on the window of the rental car.  So we make a choice.  Pause, take a deep breath, be present.  Notice the way the surf sprays over the rocks and the sand–once shells– beneath our feet.  Or, we follow the sucking force, the anxieties of feverish children in need of a Mama or  Papa at their bedside, and we allow ourselves to be not quite transported but stuck in between where we are and where we want to be.

It’s that choice that allows us a vacation, be it miles from home, or standing at our own kitchen sinks, elbow deep in dishwater.  The choice to turn off the voice that wants us to believe that there is so much more to get done, to worry about or brood over.  Not enough hours in a day.  But there is, lots of them.  So many to fill that, sooner or later, we all need a vacation.

(Kiddos are all on the mend, as well as hard working grandparents.  Now all that’s left is to get Mama back on her feet.)

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suburban nature walk

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Have you gathered yet that I am not a city girl?  What I am, however, is a community girl.  And, at the moment our community centers around an urban Waldorf school.  So that’s that.  Country girl in the suburbs.  Well, it’s not Manhattan, at least.  Life in the suburbs is that odd mix of country and city that is both and not quite either.  We make the best of it, of where we are, and most of the time, it works out just fine.

I do miss the feeling of being surrounded by Mother Nature.  The way she eases wounds and polishes off the corners of life by simply just being herself.  Out in the middle of no where, she washes over us, and no matter how much we recognize it or not, we are healed from the faster moments of life.  Here, amidst concrete creations, her presence is quieter and we must seek her out.  The gift in this is that we are conscious of her.  We invite her into our lives and do what we can to care for her, as she cares for us.  We strive to find the balance between our needs and hers, in which neither she nor we are more important, but equal partners.

Around here, a nature walk requires watching for cars, and conversations about just how many pieces of trash we can reasonably pick up from the side of the road in one day.  It includes a pass by the deafening construction site with five or more huge machines tearing at the asphalt and dirt.  But, it also includes meeting a few busy bees, and industrious robins.  Opal likes to join them in their worm hunts.  Sometimes, there is a pair of mallards or a small flock of Canadian geese that take up residence in our neighbor’s yard.  The trees are always changing, right now budding and blossoming in their own ways.  So many yards are cared for and filled with beauty.  Some are left a bit wild (ahem) with spring grasses going to seed.

When we unload our pockets at home, I am always surprised at what we find.  Certainly not as diverse a horde as one might find in the woods.  But also, not strikingly suburban.