|mulling spices, Thanksgiving 2012|
While I struggle with my time here in super-rural Virginia (mainly a lack of cohesive town structure, small-town gossip and politics, free community events, and places that have importance and meaning to us), I am also grateful for so many things it's bringing myself, and John. Time for me to gain a nice solid chunk of experience in a Montessori classroom, time for us to get used to living together without noise and distractions, time to enjoy wildlife (I've seen FOUR bald eagles in flight this week!) and the sereneness of the bay. And really, to save a little chunk of money for the future.
This is the first time in a long time where I've felt able to settle in and really take good care of myself from within. We are both blessed to have our own spaces in this house that we can really make our own. They're not perfect, but they're ours and I've set mine up just how it works for me. I do believe that when it's time for us to leave here, it will be the right time -- newly married and ready to move into our future, whatever and wherever that will be. It's funny -- my whole life, I've always thought I'd grow up and settle back into New England. But the more years which pass and I am living in a milder clime, the more I think I could get used to spring-like days in December. I am trying to remain open and accepting that there are two people making the decisions now. I am glad that I have some awesome summer trips to plan. I am hoping to visit friends in Vermont, as well as make a combined trip to Louisville and Asheville, NC (we're considering it as our semi-permanent home base), and a week renting a house in cute little Chincoteague Island just up the road from us an hour or so.
We have not gotten deep into wedding details yet, but we know the basics, the big stuff, we are just going to spend January finalizing it before going more nitty-gritty. But really, at this point I'm not feeling stressed. I want it to be fun and if it's not fun, I just want to let it go. Because weddings are supposed to be joyous and fun.
Would you mind if I post here some new year's intentions I am working up in my head? I know it's early, but I seem to be so contemplative this year and I'm happy to write about it just when it comes. Life is just better that way, I think. Flow with the energy as it happens. So .... here is what I'm thinking right now::
Start a Montessori blog to chart progress in the classroom and keep track of art projects, etc. in a visual way.
Write more often to close friends.
Become a more frequent and more accomplished knitter, stretching myself to learn new things.
|busy, happy spaces ....|
|all the lights we can afford so far this year. It's still a happy tree.|
|makeshift shelf with an unexpected windfall of yarn|
|just doing this as I feel like it.|
Practice the banjo.
Be more kind and gentle with John. Less rough around the edges. More accepting of things, and more letting go of fear. I want our friendship to grow as well as our love. It's so easy to be egocentric. I don't want to be easy on myself (though I don't want to be too hard on myself, either!)
Re-commit to vegetarianism (unless I want to continue after my two months of vegan!). It's a diet that has served me very, very well for the last 6 years (with one 6 month hiatus of trying grass-fed and pastured meat). Animal cruelty has trumped even health as my number one reason. I just cannot stomach it (literally).
|"sides"giving at a friend's, it was all gluten free! This isn't even half of what ended up being put on the table!!|
Save a lot more money. I'm proud of where I stand on this (despite being behind on my graduate students loans currently) at the moment, I just want to spend the next year and a half really kicking it into high gear. Obviously, things are going to get in the way (I have a $600 car repair staring me in the face next month) sometimes, but all the same I want to set aside as much as I can each month. I don't even know what it's for, just that I have a strong desire not to spend it. I want a nest egg, and I want it to grow! Being nervous all the time about money just isn't fun, especially when kids are looming on the horizon.
|bedroom, finally got more "sprinkle" paint to eliminate those stressful pink walls forever! You can see this color next to the black edge of the mirror.|
I'm sure a few more things will come up as the season progresses. Lately, I've been doing little bits of housework daily to keep a peaceful, clean, calm environment at home, cooking and baking a fair bit (I'v started on the Christmas cookies!), working on my recipe binder, knitting, taking walks to appreciate the Christmas lights on homes, listening to Christmas music, wrapping gifts and filling out cards at my leisure, shopping for a child in need, flying through one novel after another (currently reading The Last Song of Dusk, which is really entrancing and rich), practicing yoga at least once a week, going to the gym nearly every day, getting lots of sleep most days, trying not to stay after school more than twice a week.
|butter balls, family recipe|
|any excuse to use enamelware is a good one!|
Here are some "lately" pictures from around here. Enjoy, and blessings and light for your new week ahead. It's our last full week of school before break, culminated by a luncheon with staff, students, and parents next Tuesday. Then, we'll hit the road for 10 days or so (including one in NYC!) to see family. Then home for a quiet New Year's.
|veggie burgers from scratch|
|fried in coconut oil|
|rosemary braided bread|
|the best soup in the entire world, full of cumin and turmeric. vegan (except for the parm sprinkled in at the end)|
|i've made a couple of pies|
|ready for roasting|
|amazing vegan spicy butternut squash soup (gluten free too!)|
|stove-popped organic corn|
|breakfast, locally-made cinnamon rolls, and a bowl of almond milk yogurt, fresh frozen mixed berries, homemade granola, flax seeds, pecans, maple syrup, and locally-roasted coffee with almond milk. We love almond milk in this house.|
John told me he loves "our little life." I agree. I said, "it's simple and joyful."
Good things to remember this Christmas season.
|our new (and first!) Christmas tree skirt, from Etsy.|