I’ve found myself leaving my cell phone on the counter and my laptop shut more these days.  I’ve stepped away from facebook for a myriad of reasons.  I’ve got way too many unread emails in my inbox.  (Don’t ask Les about it.  He has mini heart attacks when he sees my phone.)image

Les’ phone on the left and mine on the right:

I won’t lie, I’m having a hard time walking away from Instagram though.  Although I do check it far less often and post more infrequently these days, there are a group of people I enjoy seeing show up in my feed there.

While I would definitely say that I’ve always tried to put my family first in my daily life, I find I’m hushing many of the daily electronic distractions – phone, computer, tv.  I’m trying to be more present in the moment…and I’m really liking it.

Missouri definitely started a new chapter for our family.  I had the mindset when we moved here that I would embrace the phrase, “Bloom where you’re planted” and I applied it in every possible aspect of my daily life.

For example, there was no way I would be able to plant my little annual garden this year.  I attempted to plant three types of seeds though, two of which, never even sprouted.  (I suspect too much rain this summer.)  The only one that not only sprouted but thrived were the Panagia’s Tears seeds.

So, I’ve embraced learning about the trees and plants already growing in our new yard.  I spent the summer with my boys identifying everything in the yard and learning all about it.  I’m genuinely glad I was too busy to start a new garden here this year because I’m truly enjoying learning all about the plants I would have completely taken for granted otherwise.  It turns out I have a dyer’s dream yard, without ever trying to create one!

I’ve embraced learning and exploring Missouri with Les and the kids.  I’ve embraced talking to new people at church and our co-op.  I’ve embraced trying to get reestablished and re-involved in the community again with my family.

This is where we’re at right now – and I’m going to get to know as much as I can about it.  The people, places, and the land.

I got ahold of a book called “Forest Forensics” not long ago.  I’m completely captivated with the book!!!  Think Sherlock in the forest.  It’s all about how to read the forest via the evidence left all around us, silently waiting to tell its story.

For instance, I learned that our home in Kentucky was built on what used to be animal pasture.

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That huge maple we had in the backyard with the swing on it – is what is called a pasture tree.  It is significantly larger than any of the other trees in the yard.  (The pictures doesn’t do it justice.)  It grew out, as much as it did up, which only could happen if it didn’t have to compete with other trees.  Farmers would leave a tree or two on their pasture for their grazing animals to have shade.  The rest of the trees in our yard were significantly younger than that maple and more than likely started growing just before or just after this area was bought from the farmer for a housing development.  And…it makes perfect sense since on the back fence line of our yard was a pasture with grazing cows.  That farm probably used to be much, much larger than it is today.

Anyway…my point is that I’ve spent a lot of time outside with my boys here – despite the stupid mosquitoes.  Instead of trying to grow plants I chose, I’ve been admiring the plants already here.

I took the boys to a nature preserve yesterday.  I was a kid in a candy store putting my new knowledge from the book at play!  I was thinking about it on the drive home from hiking with the boys – It’s amazing how much we learn about a person we already know when we simply learn to stop and truly listen to them.  In the same way, we can learn about the story of the land around us by paying a little more attention to it rather than walking past it without ever acknowledging it’s existence, other than an occasional wave of admiration.

For me, this summer allowed me to realize that I didn’t have to plant a garden to find fulfillment in tilling a bit of earth and watching it grow.  I didn’t have to establish a new homeschool group for my kids to hang out with their friends from church.  If I was willing to silence my own desires…if I could reach out beyond myself and listen and pay attention to life living around me…then I could enjoy learning all the stories that lay waiting in the silence.  And within that hushing of my own will, I was able to develop some new relationships that might not have otherwise ever flourished…and they are fascinating.