August 26 | an evening in the mountains
Lately, it has been extremely hot here. Hot to the point that I do not want to turn on the oven, do anything outside during the day, or really even move. I am thankful that it cools down in the evenings. However, I am more thankful that we live only a short drive away from the mountains.
The Mr. and I needed a little getaway and a break from the heat, so Saturday afternoon we grabbed our books, some fruit and the camera and headed up to the mountains. As we rose above the smog, I could smell the refreshing scent of pine. The air turned from smoldering to crisp and cool. Mountain air may be the most satisfying scents. It’s not just a scent….it’s a feeling.
We stopped and went hiking just as the sun decided to start sinking in the west. The air chilled my skin and I put on my favorite flannel that has tucked away for months and months. Sunlight tickled the leaves and left long shadows on the leaf-covered ground. It was so quiet that after tossing a rock down the side of a little cliff, we could hear it tumble all the way down through the trees, leaves and over other rocks.
As the sun continued to slip away, we drove further up into the mountains onto back roads where nobody else was to be seen, windy and twisty trails, and listened to the sound of evening birds and crickets calling to each other. We would stop every so often to explore, letting nature surround us and fill our senses. We held hands and talked about what life would be like up high, away from others and immersed in trees. Everything was discussed from life growing up in the mountains to the way honey would taste when bees pollinate pine and other woodsy plants. Our hearts were full.
We drove back down the mountain, watching the sun wink in and out of quickly moving trees and stopped to take in the beauty of the sunset, the glittering lights of the city below as we drank in one last breath of fresh mountain air.
Resolving to come back very soon and often, we left part of our souls in the wilderness and returned to our little home, thankful for life in a place where access to nature is just a simple drive away.
July 30 chopping therapy | thoughts on moving
Sometimes, I think what holds us back from a great meal is the time it takes in preparation. We just want to come home and eat so that we can get on with our lives. I understand that—it’s a common feeling after a busy day’s work.
But there’s something about preparation. Something about peeling those pesky layers of skin off of an onion, slicing it into little dices and pounding garlic with the heel of your hand on the flat of the knife blade. Something, for me, that brings me back to a focused mind, rational thought and peace.
A week ago, I realized that the glitz and glamor of our new move has worn off. The honeymoon stage is over. It may have come because I started searching for a job. Even though I haven’t really given reaction time to the places that I’ve applied, the job search is discouraging. Do I have that skill? Could I really do this? Why would they hire me? How do I stand out? The questions reel over and over, and I found myself daydreaming about life in the country, where things are simple and people are few (as if life doesn’t have problems in the country). And then I started thinking of all the cons we had on our list for moving, all the reasons we should have stayed—romanticizing my former life in the Midwest. Shortly after, I lost myself in the World Wide Web, which just fueled my depression.
My stomach started to turn and I realized that it was almost time for supper. I instinctively wanted to just go out to eat, but talked myself into making something. Something that required peeling, chopping, scraping, boiling, simmering and time.
As I chopped, my mind settled into a rhythm. The continuous, repetitive movement became soothing and began to let some positive thoughts come slipping through the cracks of the dark fence I had created in my mind. I was accomplishing something. I belong here. Forever or not, it has been confirmed to me again and again that this is the place we were led. We have already made incredible friends, been able to explore our surroundings and found our favorite spots to live life. I began to think on my passions, about the adventure that it is to live in a new place with new people, and the (sometimes scary) possibilities that lie ahead. If I still lived in the Midwest right now, my heart would be yearning for this as it did the past four years.
Change is uncomfortable. It’s rocky, frustrating, discouraging. Yet it pushes us to become who we want to be, to try those things that we would have been scared of at home. Outside of my comfort zone is exactly where I’m beginning to settle. It started sounding all right as I chopped and smelled the aroma of things being forced open. It is only when an onion is chopped that it releases the strong flavors and smells that have been safely hiding under layers and layers of brittle, lifeless skin.
When I had finished thinking and chopping and boiling, I got to share this meal with my love. He had to remove himself from his comfort zone to come here, too. We are settling into this journey and amazing community of people together.
But there’s something about coming home and having a meal placed in front of you. It feels as if someone was thinking of you and wanted to share that thing created with bare hands and much work. Sharing food with one another brings us closer. We’re not alone.
And so I encourage you to take the time to make dinner. Make it because it slows you down and gives you time for all of those thoughts to reveal themselves. Make it because when it is served, you get to see someone’s face full of gratefulness. Make it because you are using your hands to feel and meeting basic needs. Make dinner because you can. And when you are finished, look into that person’s eyes while you share this meal and know that you’re on an adventure together. And there’s nothing more exciting than adventure.
Exciting News and a Bit of Nostalgia
The Mr. and I are starting a new adventure and moving to California in a mere two weeks! It’s been a whirlwind of excitement, preparation, anticipation and goodbyes. Here are a few snapshots from our trip to Cali, as well as a few for nostalgia’s sake.
The area we are moving to is bursting with citrus groves! Every spare corner and yard has some sort of fragrant tree, and people sell them on the street. When we visited, everywhere we walked smelled like fresh flowers and citrus (no joke!).
The oranges were the juiciest, most flavorful oranges of my life (get excited for recipes packed with orange love).
Looking at our area on a foggy morning. We are blessed to be living so near mountains, citrus groves and many other reminders of God’s every day beauty.
After making our decision, we made a little trip to my family farm. It continues to be the most peaceful, refreshing place on earth. I sleep like a baby, walk around barefoot, and am refreshed by my family and the quiet of the country. I’m going to miss harvest in the fall, lilacs in the spring, baby kittens, the old tire swing, walking down the street to my grandparents’ and having an escape just a car ride away. Mostly, I’ll miss my parents. They make the farm welcoming and full of love.
My great-grandmother’s quilt siting in the window.
My mom knows how to make a place feel like home. Just looking at this gives me warm fuzzies.
Signs of hard work.
Hats and gloves used daily on the farm.
As much as I will miss everything I know so well and call home, my heart is bursting with excitement for this new adventure ahead of us. And don’t worry…we’ll never forget where we came from.
Wish us luck! And don’t worry, I will be back with regular posts soon…sorry for the lull.