An “Unplugged” Summer

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It has been almost two weeks since I posted on my Instagram account.  In fact, I haven’t even scrolled through my feed.  I did log onto Facebook to post something to my business page and check on my notifications, but I didn’t miss much.  I wonder, a little, if anyone has noticed my absence in the vast sea that is social media. I worry if someone thinks I am purposefully distancing myself from them by not engaging with their posts. Funny that this is the reality I live in, people thinking I am angry because I do not respond, our main source of validation coming from a tiny blue icon of a hand gesture.

I haven’t had any very profound moments since I “unplugged” a little, but the margins created in my day-to-day life without checking notifications and mindlessly scrolling feeds have provided much needed space.

Space to sit and listen and think without being prompted by a meme or inspirational quote; to dream and imagine and wonder without comparing myself to the accomplishments of someone else. I have grabbed my “real” camera more in the past two weeks than I have in the past 5 months and have been reading books, rather than stare at a screen.

I am also learning something interesting about myself.  About what it means to do something without the appeal of being able to show it off, without it being a means to an end of praise and approval. Without Instagram on my phone, I can’t simply snap a picture and post with a humble hashtag or two. I know how many times I have raced to finish a product, only because I wanted to be able to post it so my friends could see.

The strange thing about myself is that I crave acknowledgement and admiration (who doesn’t?), but I don’t know what to do with the attention.  I wish I could just stuff it into a little bottle and take a look at it whenever I need it, when I begin to doubt myself and wonder about what I do and why it matters. When I begin to doubt that anyone genuinely likes me.

We want the things that we do to be of importance. We want to share our lives with others.  Yet, what happens after a day or two when we haven’t shared?  We are all but forgotten. The notifications disappear and the images fade from our friend’s daily scroll and that amazing moment or clever post is no longer present in anyone’s mind. We are all too involved in what is happening next.  We are all too concerned with our own search for connection and the next thing to keep our voice in the mix.

So, I’ve committed to going the summer more unplugged.  I deleted my FB and IG apps off of my phone and I have decided to not scroll through my feeds.  I am allowed to log into Facebook to check notifications and perhaps post on my business account when needed, but otherwise, I am checking out.  I find that as more time passes, the less I check or even think to log in.

And, I am hoping to write more again without the anxiety that comes with sharing a post on Facebook, or the obsessive checking if anyone is “liking” it or wanting to delete it if no one does within a couple of hours.

-b.e.

 

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I have felt like I am going non-stop the last 4 weeks, between children and school and the rest of life.  It feels so good to be out in the sun again and I am thankful for all the joy that is to be found in my life.  How is it that things are so good?  As I am learning again in a formal setting, I am also learning again how much I don’t know, how to slow down, be content, and present in the moment.  School will be slowing down soon, as I am finishing up one class early.  I am looking forward to the extra time to be with my littles and not feel so rushed and pre-occupied so much of the time again.  Hopefully I will be able to share some more of what has been on my mind again soon.  For now, this is a different season.

– b.e.

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I haven’t been writing much lately, but here is a small look into what my life has been full of.  I have been thankful for the reminders to just stop and play with the ones I love, allowing my eyes to take the pictures instead of my camera.  How blessed and full my every day is when I stop long enough to notice.  Busy creating this month for my shop, but hope to return to sharing words here soon.

– b.e.

thanks

 

“Let us give thanks for this meal, saying, We thank you, Living God.

For this breath, for this heartbeat, for the gift of these companions, we thank you, Living God.

For this nourishment and flavor, for soil and sunlight, air and rainfall,
for all to whom this food connects us, from field to farm and store to table, we thank you, Living God.

As we share this meal together, may our thirst for peace be strengthened and our hunger for justice deepened,
until all are fed, and safe, and well.

We thank you, Living God. Amen.”  (source)

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much to be thankful for today.

These little ones.

Fresh dried beans from our CSA box this week.

Our wood stove to cook lunch and keep the house warm when the power is out.

Sunny dry days and safe places for my children to run and climb and play.

Lazy mornings together.

A new season approaching.

Still being able to make some coffee this morning, even after breaking our third french press this year.

And oh, so much more to be thankful for every day.

 

Wishing you a warm and restful thanksgiving.

– b.e.

fall and new perspectives

 
haileyfallThere is something so thoroughly satisfying about fall.  Fires in the wood stove, tea with loved ones, sweaters, scarves, little ones so bundled up they waddle around in an attempt to walk.

 I am thankful today for my warm house, my beautiful and healthy children, and support from those around me.  I just opened up my new shop late last night (or early this morning, depending on how you look at it) on Etsy – something that has been in the making for nearly two years now, but kept being interrupted by life.  Perhaps a better way to see it is not as being interrupted, but rather “punctuated”.

Punctuation is what guides and defines a piece of writing.  Although I make no claims to being an excellent writer or heeding most “rules”, I can at least apply enough grammatical sense to take my jumbled words and give them a meaning.

In the past two years since I began to dream about starting my shop, many things have changed in my life – tangible things like having a second child, job changes, and moving, but also things that tend to go unseen like conviction, focus, relationships, and habits.  Some of these delays in starting my shop caused me to feel like I was failing and I would only ever talk about my dreams and never pursue them.  In the end, I found that these delays helped me to hone in on what I really wanted to do and I gained a greater desire to do it.   So in many ways, even the things I choose to make and share with others  are only what they are today, because of the way my life has been “punctuated.”Photogram-20131028082654

One of the ways I proofread myself and try to figure out where to put punctuation is by reading what I have written out-loud and placing the (hopefully) appropriate dots and squiggles to help convey how I am saying what I am writing.

My husband and I find ourselves doing this with our life.  We will have long conversations reflecting on seasons of life we have gone through and try to see what we have learned through the experiences and situations we endured.  Sometimes we decide these things as they are happening, but many times we find these moments hidden under emotions and perceptions when something in us we hadn’t noticed before was defined, and a little period or comma or underline is seared into our memory.  And even this may change as time passes and we reflect once again, or we understand ourselves from another person’s point of view.

Although I don’t remember exactly when this happened, I often think about this one defining moment I remember from childhood, because it caused such a changed in the way I acted in order to be perceived in a certain way.  I  was at a church function at our family’s church.  There was one little girl who was about my age (around 7 or 8) who was so very shy (and this is coming from me!) she would not even play the group games without holding one of her parent’s or an adult’s hand, and she cried about everything (from my perspective).  In my mind, I never wanted to be that girl.  So, the solution I came up with was to purposefully stop myself from crying whenever I got hurt, no matter what, but especially if it was insignificant.  I wanted to appear strong.  I wanted to be strong.  So anytime I would get hurt and people would come over and ask if I was okay, I would fight tears and never allow them to sympathize for long.  I was FINE.  Later on in life, I found that this made it harder for me to empathize with others who were hurting in “small ways” and also to allow others to see my own weaknesses and accept help and actually be of more help to others.  Maybe I was perceived as “strong” (not so sure about this), but in the end, I only created more distance between myself and others.

I am now slowly re-writing the words from my childhood mantra of “I am strong.” to something new; something defined only as I live life, look back on it, and look forward with a new perspective.

I wonder so much what messages my own children will gather about themselves as they grow older and use to define who they are and how they fit into this world.  Do you have any defining moments in your life that stand out to you?  Have you ever looked back on them and had your perspective change?

-b.e.