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Intrigue

I am sitting in my yoga pants as I write this, reflecting on a certain article I read this morning.

Who knew that at seventeen I’d have been lucky enough to find a guy who respected me, who loved me for who I was, who nurtured personal growth and motivated me in ways only he knew?  I certainly didn’t think it possible. My previous job working with teens, would tell me it was impossible because they seemed so unsure of themselves; so immature. As I look at my own three girls, I think that when they turn seventeen, I’d try to steer them completely clear of such a serious relationship. But, it worked for us…..because we found God together.

We were young, made mistakes, had our break ups. But, there was always something that kept us bound together.  Creating memories together, saturated our relationship with tons of familiarity and understanding that paved way the desire to make more. What challenges we did have, only made us stronger; creating a relationship that was honest with the intent for strong communication.

What first led me to him, was purely physical.  As I am sure, was the same for him. I was attracted to his style, his tanned skin, long blond hair, and the fact he drove a “hot boy” red pick-up truck.  He on the other hand, loved me best in my train conductor striped baggy overalls and baseball cap. Was I being alluring by wearing this?  No.

There is a certain woman who is in the media because she blogged about her desire to stop wearing yoga pants or leggings in public because she and her husband find that those articles of clothing draw unnecessary attention to her sexually.  I have to say, as a Christian woman, it has never crossed my mind that an item I wear for comfort to exercise in, would create a stir from the opposite gender.  It was a bit eyebrow raising on my part, reading this article, “really?”  But, I honestly think what one person feels convicted for, the next does not.  Do I think she’s ridiculous for feeling this way? Not at all. I really feel that God places things on each of our hearts that we can choose to listen to and obey, or to ignore and continue to feel convicted for.

I also feel that a woman can be completely covered up, and an intrigue can come simply by her stunning eyes displayed amongst a drapery of attire. Think back to the iconic National Geographic woman who is completely robed and her stunning green eyes grace the cover.  She is completely gorgeous. While it is only natural to feel attracted to others, and find beauty in them, I do agree that dressing provocatively cheapens the package.  But, then comes the argument of what is provocative and what is not? Besides, isn’t it our hearts God wants us to work on?

http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2013/10/thoughts-on-afghan-girls-third-cover-as-national-geographic-looks-back-forward/

In a world where we are constantly sending the message to girls to be alluring, accept their bodies, cover up because we will attract the wrong type of attention, ….we send mixed messages.  A child who grows up with a moral foundation and a parent modeling good choices, hopefully helps shape the way for their young minds. And, I mean this for BOTH sexes.  Why is it solely the responsiblity of a woman to cover up?  Temptation has been there since the beginning; The Garden of Eden.  Raising both sexes to respect the other is the responsiblity of a parent. You’re not going to find support in the media or in pop culture.

In an age where there is so much pressure to grow up, to be cool, to fit in…..I really hope to raise my children to focus on intelligence, sense of humor, adventure, and exploration.  I hope they find someone as wonderful as their dad. I know those teen years are right around the corner, and my window of time to instill wholesomeness in them is greater than me. It seems that age of innocence is getting more and more narrow.  I try not to put God in a box for what he is capable of doing and where he leads each of us. We all have our own paths to take in life, we all have our own agendas, and what leads one person to stumble does not lead the next.

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What Do You Love Most About Our Move?

Today was a bit of a rough one for me.  I miss my friends.  To be honest, I think the kids have adapted more easily then I have.  They have not complained once about the move. Nor should they. I’ve never seen them so happy running around and exploring, out in nature, & hanging out with their cousins.

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Each morning, they dash out of bed to eat quickly, and then rush off to visit with nano and papa. It’s a joy to have them free to run and play at the crack of dawn while I prepare fresh-baked sourdough,  home-made granola, and a farm fresh fruit smoothie.  With six acres to run around on, they are pooped by the end of the day after tending to chickens and playing with their cousins.

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This place has so much glorious charm: kayaking the bay across the road, running hills, partaking of fresh food (we have our own live-in co-op), and all of the wildlife right at our fingertips, not to mention the hiking.  But when you say the grass is always greener, that is not true.  There is always a trade-off.  We traded convenience, for rural. We traded social chaos for leisure. We traded rushing ourselves crazy to calming the storm. The trade-off is positive, but different.  The thing I miss most is our friends, and our church.

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When we moved, our cell service did not move with us. We have to drive 6 miles to town just for reception. Our catching up with friends, has been minimal. So when we split from our jobs, and all we have ever known, we also severed any socializing we knew.  It’s been super limited, and at times sad.  Yes, we have family. For that I am super thankful.  I cannot imagine moving to a new setting not having those comforts.

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As we look towards the start of school next week, knowing we are trying homeschooling for the first time, I only hope that I can settle in socially for the kids through extracurricular along with a 4-H club.  I look forward to being their teacher, and being able to build their interests individually. This is my first time ever being a stay at home mom. I have really wanted this opportunity to be a bigger part of their days; to influence them whole-heartedly.

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So today when my heart was heavy with “What the hell did we do!”, I was gently reminded why we did what we did.  Ever since Thanksgiving last year, our nightly routine at dinner is to go around and each give thanks with a direct compliment, and for something we are thankful for in general.  Tonight as I proposed the question, “What do you love most about our move?”, the responses settled my heart.  Mallory replied, “I love how much time we have together as a family”. Margeux said, “I love seeing Nano and Papa”. Lastly, Matilda chimed in with, “I love my family”.

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I know the things I don’t miss at all.  I don’t miss my job. I don’t miss the traffic. I don’t miss the anxiety of rushing about.  Spending time with those you love, is absolutely what is important!

 

 

 

 

 

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Transparency

Transparency is both a wonderful thing and a scary thing. It can leave you feeling vulnerable yet let out a sigh of relief. It’s been in my nature to allow boldness to lead me when I express myself, and to let the worry come afterwards.

So to be transparent with my readers, I’d say this…

Moving away from all we have ever known has been a much-needed breath of fresh air, yet the hardest thing we’ve done. We’ve moved away from all our comforts, our routines, our connections, and the little house we poured our heart and soul into to make our own. Making sacrifices is sometimes the only way to obtain those things you cannot put a price tag on.

The much-needed breath of fresh air came with each mile we drove; further and further from the nonsense of jobs we loathed. Jobs that provided stable income, great insurance, and could be lifelong.

But those jobs were not us. Those jobs we left a month ago, drained us of spirit and laughter and left us eager to clock out at the end of our shift to pick up where we left it; with each other.

Luckily for us, we are quite compatible and love each other’s company more than anything. I think we have a pretty special relationship the way we both lift one another up and truly seek to bless each other with unconditional support of each ones dreams, goals and endeavors. I think it’s made us richer all along to have such a blessed friendship turned marriage. I can honestly say that I get to spend life alongside my best friend.

When I said “I do”, I meant it. The part for “richer or for poorer” never made more sense then it does now.

I’ve never been more financially poor in my life. It’s been quite a wake up call not affording some of the things I’ve become accustomed to, and at the same time, I’ve never felt more rich. Now, I have the one thing I felt all along was the best commodity anyone could have; because I never had enough. Time!

I finally, after years of working, get a taste at being a stay-at-home mom. I wake to my children and prepare a fresh loaf of sourdough. I am able to prepare intentional meals and do my loved from-scratch cooking. There’s time to read, to take walks, to play. It brings my heart such joy. Our surroundings are something out of Narnia with the vast rivers, forests, and wildlife. I do not take those for granted.

But of course, along with that, I wholeheartedly miss my friends, my roller derby league, our kids’ elementary school, our rad neighbors, and our amazing church. Nothing can replace those.

Why the move? It’s with life’s short season that I want us to die knowing we put our heart and soul into trying to follow our dreams and bless others by the gifts God instilled in us.

Yes, I believe he has our route all mapped out, and uses us regardless. But, I also think he knows our hearts and desires. Through happiness, sorrow, good times and bad, faith led us.

As faith leads us now, and on our tomorrow’s, I only hope that this time we have on this journey, allows us to grow more deeply as a family, more committed to one another, and allows our dreams to be fulfilled.

Because as the saying goes, life is too short. My good friend Jackie who passed away from cancer, reminds me of that daily, and it’s with each minute that tics away, that I attempt to use my time wisely.

Now, off to make peach galettes with cashew cream with my daughters. Glorious sun-kissed, vine-ripened peaches from the orchard. Recipe to follow. Peaches not included.

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Gard’s Goodbye

Not much to post here in the ways of food lately. We’ve been super busy trying to finalize the stitching to our sweet home so that someone else feels super blessed to move into it. As a family, we have been living out of a cooler for well over a week now. On one hand, it feels like this rocky boat ride is almost over and we will soon set anchor, but I honestly think the boat ride will actually begin when we depart.  Really, what we have been doing for the last few months, is preparing for the ride; emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally.

In our best Gard efforts, we find this last week to be ultimately one that is both enjoyable and one that is full of accomplishments.  Nothing gets done by itself, and you must maintain being pro-active even when you feel like throwing your hands up in the air, and hiding beneath the bed to shield yourself from frustration.

We Gard’s wanted a lasting fond memory of our home; one that set the tone for our leaving and one that said something about us as a family. Our annual bathtub photo began just shy of 6 years ago.  Our home was much like a blank canvas, but was also the worst on the block.  Needless to say, the head high weeds in the yard was just the obvious of what needed fixing. Having a baby 1 1/2 days after moving in, was really quite an adventure.  It was not having hot water for 5 weeks following the birth of our second, and trying to remodel a dilapidated home, that really set the tone of our strong characters; smiling through the process.

Our bathroom was one of our first remodels.  We were so proud of it, and absolutely thrilled it was complete, that we chose to use it as the setting for our first Christmas card, in 2008-our new home. It has remained as our Christmas card photo locale.

With our departure so very near, we want to say thanks to all those who have come across our paths. We have truly felt blessed by our friendships. Thank you for giving us your time, and for enriching our lives.

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The Garden of Long Beach

This place is so dear to my heart! In the 2 almost 3 years we’ve attended, we have met some truly amazing people. It is a place that lives out what it preaches.  I will truly miss the depth of which I’ve grown in this time due to the solid teachings.  The lyrics below are part of a song that resounds in me.

 

With every breath I breathe
With every song I sing
I want to shout it out
Lord I am listening
To every word You speak
I’ll go where You will lead
To love the least of these
My greatest offering

 

*** The photo is from the annual church dodgeball team.  Best thing to do is sign up with a team of little kids; they come out on top.