Friday, January 4, 2013

Mundane Stuff

I found this seed pod thing when I was walking back
from the natural foods store this afternoon. 
It may not seem like stunning decor, but I  think it's pretty amazing. :-)

Hello. (Anyone out there?)

Today is the first day in a full month that I’ve spent alone. Since early December, I’ve either been at someone’s house or had someone staying with me in my apartment. It’s been a nice, long month of visiting friends and family, and here at the end of my holiday, I am feeling nothing more than a large sense of gratitude that I have been blessed with so many wonderful people in my life.

Yesterday, Aaron (the last of my company) and I drove up the “back roads” of the Willamette Valley to Newberg, where we met Melissa at a coffee shop. We all sat down to chat over a cup of coffee for an hour or so, then Aaron left with Melissa for Portland, and I returned down the same “back roads” to Corvallis, where I stayed with Michelle’s family for the night. There, my little grandsons and I sat together to cheer the Oregon football team to a post-season bowl game victory (yay!) on the television.

I slept on Michelle’s couch and left this morning to drive back down the valley to my apartment. When I left, Michelle was teaching her boys to do the three-legged race. She took turns tying her leg to theirs and—to much hysterical laughter from all—ran through the house with each of them. It had me smiling as I drove away. She’s a fun momma and a great daughter.

It was a beautiful, clear, sunny morning, and winding gently south along valley roads where pretty farmland nestles against the Coast Range was lovely and peaceful. It made me quiet and prayerful inside. Back roads are so much better than the mad rush of the interstate. I really am a big believer and advocate of taking the scenic route, and my kids are, too. (Do you do that, too?)

I think the temperature stretched up toward 70 degrees today after we had a few days of extremely chilly weather. I was out and about running errands and enjoying the weather. I stopped at the “dreaded” mall (“dreaded” because I am not a big fan of shopping, especially at malls) to spend the rest of a gift card I received for Christmas. I bought a sweater I like and two pairs of socks.

Are you beginning to wonder at my taste?!
(Haha.) I happen to like it.

Then I went to the thrift store for the first time in over a year because I got a little bit of Christmas cash, and I decided to actually use it to buy myself something! :-) Nothing there, though, so I stopped by a midcentury vintage store in town and found myself a kinda odd/funky little stool that suits the small size of my apartment and for which I can imagine many scenarios: magazine holder, extra seating for visitors, ottoman, a place to set my books or a tray with coffee, etc. This stool certainly wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but it works for me, and that’s all that matters, right?!

I took this for my mom (she wants to see the fabric).
If I'd known I was going to put the photo on my blog,
I maybe have moved the smoothie glass and that cord! :-)

I also bought a small piece of black and white fabric on sale at Joanne’s because I want a black and white curtain hanging in my kitchen. And then that was enough shopping! Except for food shopping, which I always enjoy.

And I took this one just for you
because I knew you wanted to see my jar of kefir.

I restocked my empty fridge today. Aimee left me some of her kefir grains when she returned to Portland, so I picked up some non-homogenized “grassmilk” at the natural foods store and got a jar of kefir started. I am now on super-clean eating mode after spending the last month happily eating just about anything and everything that was offered to me. (I usually have some restraint, but not much this time!) Juicing and greens and small portions of fresh, light foods sound really, really nice. So does exercise. I haven’t gotten much of that, either. Yikes. Time to get back on track.

School starts again Monday (my last term before my graduate classes start next fall), and I feel a lot different about this term than last. My brain was tired when summer term ended and I started fall term. Summer term is condensed and really intense. It also happens to take place in summer, which means there are a lot of distractions, like hikes to take and sunshine to enjoy. And, I happened to move during summer term (which was challenging), and then I didn’t get a break between the end of summer classes and the beginning of fall term, so I started fall term feeling really, really brain-weary. Throughout the entire term, I never did have much motivation or a find sense of traction (I felt like I was battling through the whole thing, every single day), even though I liked some of what I did in my classes. Somehow, I survived the term and got good grades, and at the end of it, a break from school was never so welcome. I now feel revived and ready-enough to start this last term.

Do you know that God loves you and that He answers prayer? Well, He does, so hang in there. Keep pressing and keep trusting. I am amazed, time and again, at the goodness and perfect timing of God. Sometimes I feel like I’m hanging on by my fingernails or I flinch because I’m about to crash perilously into a brick wall, and “poof!” the unimaginable happens. This has happened to me many times in the last three years, in both huge, unbelievable ways, and in tiny ways, too. Just recently, I’ve had a little spate of those tiny providences (“little” situations or needs, but impossible for me nonetheless). The little answers are just as sweet as the big ones. All are signals of God’s love and care.

Okay, finally. What about that little announcement I made last post? That one about closing this blog and opening another? Well, it still holds. I haven’t decided a name for my new blog, or I’d already have it set up. Part of not having a name is due to not having a set purpose. I have no idea what that blog will include, but I do know some of the things it won’t include, and that’s what matters right now. That’s why I’m making this change. And now that I’m no longer busy visiting friends and family or having company in my home, I’ll give more attention to that and will try to have something set up before Monday.

Oh, and speaking of that announcement I made, I have to say that I have received some really sweet emails from friends about the change. (Thank you, Friends! I will try to write back soon.) And the comments here on the blog are sweet and truly encouraging, too. Thank you so much for that. (I’m always really surprised that people actually come back here to read my posts again and again!)


  1. Good Morning from Zurich - I am enjoying my first cup of coffee (always the best!) and turned on my Google Reader and what a delight to see you here.

    I am a relatively new reader, compared to the followers/friends who knew you when you were in the thick of homeschooling and high-mountain-desert living. I'm sure I found you on a bunny trail from another blog.

    What brings me back to your blog is: your view of life, your transparency and authenticity, the glimpses of daily life, and your faith in the big picture and providence of God.

    I had to laugh when you spoke of malls - I try to avoid them too and it's very easy here in Zurich. I know of one place that is mall-ish near me. Perhaps taking the road less traveled (the back roads) and sticking to small shops go hand in hand.

    I haven't been to a thrift store (called Brocki's here) in an age because so many things call to me to come home to our small 2 bdrm. flat. But I think it's time to go treasure hunting. Your ottoman is a gem; I would have snatched that up in a heart beat. I have a brocki-shopping friend who has a standard comeback when I ask about such items -- "It's a no brainer".

    I look forward to where you take this blog. I admit that when I read your announcement I went exploring in the archives and was blessed by it.

    Blessings to you in this new year.

  2. Your seed pod thing is called Honesty or Lunaria. It grows like a weed here and I often bring the seed pods in for autumn. I like your stool!
    Happy new year.

  3. Feeling the same way about food and exercise, S. The holidays were wonderful but by the time they were over, I was so ready to be back to our normal routines and healthier, lighter food. I'm also getting myself back into "training" mode because my body feels better and the effect of RA are so much decreased when I push myself physically.

    Glad you are feeling rested and refreshed. The stool is just right!

  4. Susan,
    As always, you inspire and delight. I liked the dried plant. I think it's a money plant. My parents grow it in their garden and then dry them for indoor display. I was promised some, but haven't got it yet.

    I also like your stool. And your black curtain and the smoothie glass.

    Above all, I love your heart for God. Thank you for sharing about how much He cares for you in every detail of your life. Thanks for really SEEing and giving Him the praise. You encourage me and so many others too.

    I look forward to your new blog.
    Happy New Year!

  5. Dear Susan,

    I know what you mean when you wonder why the visits to your blog keep coming, but please DO continue sharing. I felt like that one too many times and my blog remains silent :-( You are a breath of fresh air, like the friend I never had and very special. You truly have a way about life that is soothing, drawing and I find it very encouraging.
    Many blessings,

  6. Love the plant and your ottoman! Excited to read your new blog . . . check for new posts everyday . . . always am blessed!

  7. The back roads in the Willamette Valley are lovely! We avoid I-5 if we can at all help it. I love that new stool/ottoman/magazine holder, it is stylish and unusual. Looking forwardmtomseeing the new blog,,and wishing you the best in your studies.

  8. I love the description of your drive--sounds very refreshing. And,I needed to hear these words today.."Do you know that God loves you and that He answers prayer? Well, He does, so hang in there. Keep pressing and keep trusting." Thank you, and I'm looking forward to the new blog! Blessings to you, Susan.

  9. Looking forward to your new blog. We are in the midst of major decluttering and making space to breathe. So refreshing to just let go of "stuff."

  10. I'm happy to read whatever you post and obviously so are countless others. We adore you!

  11. It's late, and this is my first time to comment. After finding HDH after its closing, then the no longer seen Gathering... and then finding MSN, I thought I was finally catching up with these great notes and photos. (btw, I'm not a home-schooling mother, so please know that the blogs have been of great interest not only because of the home-schooling posts.) And possibly as early as tomorrow, they will be gone. I have read several of the comments and agree that we and time can not and do not stand still, but I must tell you that I will truly miss these blogs of soon-to-be-yore. There is no time to "capture" them. I hope your new blog-life will prove as much a gift to you (and your readers!) as these that we have so much appreciated. God bless you, JJ

  12. Hello to you. YES, we're "out here"! Waiting with bated breath to see what you're going to share next. I think the hairpin-leg stool is lovely!
    Happy new week to you. I pray this last "regular" term goes well for you.
    Sending love.

  13. SUSAN!!! Of course I am out here. You've gotta holler at me when you make an announcement like that. : ) Waiting anxiously. You could read your junk mail to me for all I care. I'll listen.