this current season…

so we’ve been living this new normal for three months now.  i wrote and erased that sentence five times there because while it is our life it still doesn’t exactly feel like home.  i think the newness has worn off and the reality has set in.  of being away from my mama.  of not having roots secured.  of feeling the beauty and the loneliness of living a country kind of life.  it is unfamiliar.  it is good.  but that doesn’t mean it is easy.  i’ve been talking to the kids here and there about “home” lately.  what it means.  how to define it to each of them.  it’s a strange thing to just pick a place for six people to put down roots, to create new memories, to grow as individuals and as a family.  and i think the best thing i have come up with is that viewing this life in seasons rather than an absolute beginning/middle/end is the best choice for my soul.  the kids are happy, there is no question.  they are so resilient and their imaginations are on fire, no matter what season i find that we are in.  but for me, inside my soul and outside our current walls, it is winter.

we arrived in this new place at the tail end of fall.  we drove into our new life so tired of transitioning and not having had a home for consistency and rest.  we arrived in a season of color and change and into a world we had never known was a possibility.  we ran free, we gathered walnuts and apples and soaked in the setting sun.  and then the leaves began to fall until the trees were bare and the apples were rotted.  instead of exploring we had to come inside and we have been hibernating in a sense.  enjoying having a house.  the possibility for naps.  the ability to cook healthy meals for my family and have a table to gather around and linger.  the baby took her first steps a few weeks back in this new house.  the roots are beginning to grow, to take hold.  but she hasn’t walked since and so we wait.  we hibernate, waiting for spring and something new that we know is coming but we aren’t quite sure what it will look like here or when it will arrive.  our wandering hearts are craving adventure again.  we went from one extreme to the other and  while we do not yearn to live on the road again, we have this thing inside of us that needs to breathe in nature to be calmed and inspired.  i am anxious for the apple and cherry blossoms to explode on our trees.  i’ve dreamed of seeing that my whole life.  but until then we make fires, we prioritize, we think and talk and create and hope that we are making the right choices every single day.

today i went and bought tulip bulbs for the first time.  i am going to plant them.  i am going to be intentional and put down roots, even tiny ones, with hope that those blooms will come up if i just do the work instead of standing still (which can be so very easy to do when things feel heavy).  no matter what life you choose, it is in the deciding every day not to let it all turn to rubble where is hope is found.

galatians 6:9 says, “and let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”    i know that even loneliness has purpose.  and if it is chasing me to His Word, i can imagine no better reason.  i am clinging to that promise  and i am clinging to my babies.  here are some pictures of life in our current season…

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29 Responses to this current season…

  1. merideth a says:

    oh goodness joy! this hits home so much right through my very soul. and you have said it so well. seasons!! such a good way to put it. i am just hoping i am doing what is right too… it all goes by so fast and i want to do it the best i can.
    you inspire me! love you!

  2. deanna mccasland says:

    I love this so much! Its like you were reading bits and pieces of my soul. I feel like we are living similar lives, but a million miles away. After a life of being a military wife & having to shuffle my family around to state to state, home to home we are finally able to place roots in the mountains of WV. We purchased a small cabin and 22 acres away from both of our families, no friends, just us. Here. Wondering what in the world we are doing. We are not gardeners or farmers, but we are slowly finding our way and learning as we go. We haven’t experienced spring here yet either and Im dreaming of what it will be like and hopping it will shake us out of this funk we are all feeling right now. I think I shall buy some tulips and plan my first roots. Thank you for the inspiration.

  3. Elizabeth B. says:

    Joy – Thank you for sharing this glimpse into your family’s current season.While I understand your feelings are not solely related to the earth’s season, I can say from experience that the impact of the cold, dark winters are not to be underestimated and you are definitely not alone. As a Michigander, it’s something that we all struggle with here this time of year. Having also lived in Florida and California, I I learned that the “winter blues” were not an issue for me there, but boy do I feel it living back in a more seasonal climate. In my 30th year, I feel I finally have the tools to be able to really embrace the solitude that this season inevitably brings. For me, it’s a combination of having plenty of projects around the house, a stack of good books, getting outside with the right clothes for a little while every day, Vitamin D supplements, a strategically planned sunny getaway every February, and a visit to the tanning salon if I’m REALLY feeling deficient (although I haven’t had to do that this winter). Again, I know it’s not just the earth’s seasons causing your melancholy, but just thought I’d share what works for me :) I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times, but it DOES get better and I’m glad to hear you are embracing the period of waiting/hibernation/introspection which is part of nature’s natural rhythm. I swear – the spring, summer, and fall are somehow sweeter having survived the winter :) Hope you all get to spread those beautiful butterfly wings soon – xo

  4. Marianne says:

    Love you guys! Praying blessings over you and Donny! MISS YOU TONS! xoxoxoxoxo

  5. Alena says:

    Oh Joy- we have had similar experiences in beautiful Bellingham. We too moved out here during the fall (2 years ago)for a fresh start. We had one glorious week of the most beautiful everything- and then the long gray winter came. It can seem like it will never end but it does. And it is SO worth it when it does. There is nothing like spring, summer, and fall in this little Oceanside city. The tough winter makes spring that much sweeter. Bellingham has embraced me in a way I didn’t think possible- I’ve lived many places but now can’t imagine leaving here. I totally understand the transition your heart is in. Endless exploring and beauty is on it’s way in a
    couple months! We are blessed to live in Bellingham.

  6. Vale B. says:

    Joy,
    As always it is so amazing that you are so vulnerable to such a large group of people. To open your heart up and to reveal your innermost fears, yearnings and thoughts is so inspiring. Although we are two different people, in some ways I can understand many of your sentiments in your post today. It took several years before my husband and I felt like this area was home. And today after some heartbreaking situations that we’ve been through as a family and after having two little ones, being away from family for the first time in almost 17 years, feels hard. I know for my husband not having men that he can bear his heart to makes him feel lonely and not having a mama to come when the kids are sick (or the parents) and give extra love and help makes us feel isolated. On the other hand, after almost 13 years here, I have also found there are the most amazing people that bring dinner by after a baby is born, invite you over for coffee and muffins after you’ve been cooped in your house for a month with sick babies, and friends who will listen to your fears, frustrations and joys with open ears. I pray that you find that community here for both you and your family and that it feels home to you. Your family is beautiful and you and Donny are certainly creating an amazing life for them. I pray that you are filled and encouraged too especially during this season. Perhaps our paths will cross when the cherry blossoms pop! Blessings.

  7. vada wetzel says:

    With the wisdom that comes with age,my grandmotherly advice is to celebrate your daily family life.Celebrate the excitement your children feel in play,meals that warm and nourish and health that demands gratitude.Hold on closely to your husband and know that when the two of you are together,you are home.

  8. Joy says:

    Thank you for sharing, Joy! I have loved following your journey. Blessings girl!

  9. Emily says:

    Thank you for sharing your true feelings regarding your journey. I hope that once the days get a little longer and spring works its magic, your heart will feel lighter. Maybe a visit from your mom would help too! You live an intentional life and there is nothing more beautiful you can do for your children. You are giving them beautiful roots, even if you feel untethered right now.

  10. Marissa says:

    Thank you for your honesty and for the joy and beauty you continue to seek in spite of the heavy. We are considering leaving all our roots in AZ and heading to NW Montana. So many possibilities, worries, and preparation before we even get there and then knowing that after all the excitement there it will be again. Mundane life. Praying for you to continue to grow and find peace in your new location! Can I ask what made you choose WA?

  11. Karen says:

    What a beautiful essay. Thank you for sharing. I experienced such a transition once and I see the seasons of that change. I went from the mid-west to the desert. From green to brown. From family to the unknown. I cannot pinpoint when it happened or how…one day I couldn’t wait to return to the desert after traveling. I yearned for what it had to offer, I missed my friends, my home, my environment. There was a day I could not bear to be away from the mid-west and now my heart lives for my desert home. Like the seasons, there is no definitive day when my heart changed…it just did. Your photos are inspiring, as are you.

  12. misti d. says:

    Beautiful! I would love to see a house tour:) and oh my word all those quilts!!!

  13. Olivia says:

    We are patiently awaiting for Spring too. Winter makes us appreciate the outdoors :) And when it does arrive and everything is in bloom and the woods thicken and everyone starts to trickle out… it’s the best!

  14. MelissaMarie says:

    Ecl 3 kept going through me heart as I read your words “To everything there is a season and a time, for every matter under heaven…and He has made everything beautiful in His time.” You have captured the joy on your family’s faces, the joy that lies under the challenges of transition. There is no doubt they will look back on this season as amazing and happy! I pray God will bless you and fill every lacking place even fuller than you ever hoped!

  15. Lex says:

    Winter’s end is the same for me, and I’ve lived in Chicago all my life so I’m well acquainted with the season. February never gets any easier. It’s not because you’re new at this that you’re longing for spring, we all feel it – even those of us who have done it for decades.

    After 30 impatient Februaries, I’ve decided it’s by design. To help us remember that winter is never the end, and spring always comes, and resurrection is real.

    That doesn’t make it suddenly cheery and light, but it helps me so maybe it will help you too. Lean into it. Be present in it. Use the time to be thankful for all the winters you’ve been delivered from. It makes spring that much richer. You’re doin’ it right. :)

  16. danielle says:

    Beautiful words and wonderful pictures.

  17. Rachael Hope says:

    Your words are so full of wisdom Joy and they felt like Spring to my heart, as I too, so often feel the drudge of winter on my soul. You’re in my thoughts and prayers as winter continues and I hope you know how much good you do every day with your beautiful family, putting down these roots and caring for them in so many ways. I too grew up in the country, homeschooled and somewhat isolated for a few years, and I know now as an adult how difficult that was at times for my Mother. But, I remember it with only fondness and adventure and joy and as one of the best seasons of life for our family…it’s an experience I’d love to give my kids someday too. I’m sure the memories you’re making in this season will bind your hearts for a lifetime, just as the last season did and the one before that. Thanks for sharing as always. :)

  18. Caroline says:

    We moved to this beautiful place (Victoria, BC) two years ago and despite the beauty, I couldn’t shake the loneliness for a long time. But the roots are spreading and friendships are flowering, and I think that the loneliness brought me closer to my husband. I feel such a sense of home now, and can’t imagine living anywhere else. You may doubt it, but in time you will feel at home there. Truly. My advice is to find a church community and a school/or homeschool community. Those two things will change your life! Blessings.

  19. Betsey says:

    I love your pictures and your thoughts on your life. I’m sure the change of location after having travelled for so long has been difficult. Hopefully this location works out for you and your family…and the beauty of it is…if it doesn’t you can always make the needed change. My mantra in life is the only thing that never changes is that life always changes. Peace.

  20. Maegan Keaton says:

    Lovely pictures + words. Praying for spring to come weather wise and to your soul.

  21. Melissa Sliominas says:

    I could stay watching your photographs all my day long… they are so inspiring, full of “Joy” and happiness… world need these inspirations so much. I need, as a person, as a photographer and as someone who would love to be shot by you If I were closer. Congratulations. I believe we shoot what we have inside our hearts. Yours is lovely.

  22. momma bug says:

    Dear Joy,
    I have found myself in and out and in these seasons again and again. There is great wonder in watching the trees change through the seasons – perhaps for hope in the knowledge that every season eventually comes to a close.
    As my beloved has said “It never feels like a season when you are in it – it feels like it will last forever”
    That feeling, it is true.
    I think the most precious thing to me about loneliness and a stirring in the heart for home – and even for adventuring and discovering what moves the soul, is that it reminds me I have a misplaced longing for Heaven. Jesus has promised that He is preparing a place for us, and that He is coming back for us!
    That is great news, and plants in my heart the reality that this will never be it – wondrous as it sometimes is.
    Let these seasons, and even glimpses of perfection on earth cause us to long for Home :-)

    Your photography blesses my heart and refreshes my spirit. You have a gift for capturing light and life!
    I love it.
    Thank you friend.

    ~Analene

  23. Emilee Andrews says:

    So beautifully written! Praying that you may find rest and sweet, abundant life in and through Him!

  24. Jill says:

    Thank you SO much for writing this!! I’m new to your blog and just randomly (totally God) decided to come here for the second time. I was seriously tempted to just copy and paste it and email it to my friends and family so they get where I’m at in life.. My husband and I just relocated from southern Florida to northern Idaho at the end of Fall with our three kids…oh and I was 7 months pregnant driving across the country! Gah. So here I am nursing my sweet 2 week old reading your blog post with tears in my eyes. I so get it. I ist beyond comforting knowing that someone else is going through such a similar, strange, beautiful, hard season of life. So many emotions stirring in me. But I can barely form coherent sentences these days with such little sleep so I’ll just stop now and say a massive Thank You and sending lots of love your way!!

  25. emily hope says:

    beautiful captures. and i have so enjoyed the glimpses of your adventures on instagram. thank you for sharing your heart. we too, as a family of 6, have just moved to a cabin in the woods – a huge change having lived in the middle of a city all our family life. continuing to trust Him that we’re where He wants us, even as it all feels a little too new and uncertain at the moment. blessings to you as you cling to His Word and the sweet hope always found there.

  26. Jennifer says:

    Your post was beatiful and really sums up how I’m feeling as well, but I saw the wall hangins over your sofa and I have to say that I love, love, love vintage needle point/cross stich wall hangings! Your grouping was wonderful.

  27. Seanny B says:

    Oh man, Washington is a beautiful state, but the Winters kill me. I’ve been here for 9 years and I still struggle with them. The Summers, however, are phenomenal! Clear beautiful mountains, hiking, warm comfortable sunshine. It’s gotta be tough for someone coming from California though. I at least moved from New England, and am just happy that it rarely snows here.

  28. Candi Jerkins says:

    WOW-this blog post really speaks to me.

    I live in a beautiful beach community and I have been experiencing “winter blues”, but it is so much more than that to me. It is a yearning to do more, a desire to dream and a passion for life.

    I want to really take on all of these things and really grow as a family. My husband is on board and so is my 5 year old, Jack. I would love to read your advice on how to tell your family (extended family) that our dreams included relocating from FL to CA where we will be distanced from the ones we love. I am having such a hard time deciding on how to tell them!

    I am so thankful that you are so willing to share your soul! Best wishes in all that you do! You can’t fail when you have God on your team!!! xx-Candi

  29. KEaton says:

    What a beautiful life. I miss WA so much! You are blessed!

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