Spring has descended in all it’s confusing glory — rainy one minute and then gorgeously sunny the next.  Seriously,  it rained four separate times today — and then after about an hour of drenching spring rain, the clouds began to roll back and the sun came out and the day was incredibly warm until the next little weather cycle.  So fickle.  So difficult to work outside!  But amazingly beautiful just the same.

My kids have been practically living outside this past week.  They come inside in the afternoon long enough to get cleaned up and take a nap and then they are out again.  They get so very dirty and so very tired — but gosh they have fun! 

I too, have been spending a great deal of time outside.  I feel like I have finally found the surface.  I was drowning there for a while in the bleakness of a long hard winter that wouldn’t let go.  But I have broken through to the surface at last.  I’ve worked in the soil again and have been on long evening walks as the sun casts a long shadow over the mountains.  I’ve been awakened by the sweet melody of birds singing and have stood out in the spring rain with my face turned upward. I’ve opened my doors wide to let in the wind.  I’ve breathed deeply and layed on my back in the grass, letting the sun shine on my face and the ants crawl on my arms.  Heck, even the ANTS make me happy these days.  I feel free.  I feel released.  I survived the winter and am standing at the threshold of a new year. 

It’s been a bit of a nostalgic week for me.  Joanna has been right beside me, wanting to help with whatever project I am working on.  She wasn’t quite at this stage last spring — all she wanted to do then was play in the sandbox, but this year it’s different. She seems so much older to me all of a sudden.  And as she stands there in her faded work jeans and heavy canvas farm jacket, hands covered in dirt, hair blowing wildly in the wind… my throat catches.  I have the strangest flashback to a day twenty-four years ago very much like this one where I was the three-year-old — tired, but happy — eagerly helping my mom work outside.  It is the STRANGEST feeling.  I am at once connected to my past, present and future.  I am a giver and receiver of life — just as my daughter is and her children will be after her.  Do you other moms experience these moments as well?  Maybe I’m just weird.

Well, weird or not,  I am grateful for this season of my life.  I don’t know if we will always be here, but for now I am grateful that my kids are growing up with their hands in the soil as I did.  I am grateful that they are connected to the earth.  This land goes deep into my soul and is being worked into theirs.  My daughter is learning to plant seeds and will watch them grow.  I love that.

Spring is inevitably a busy time for us.  As winter fades it leaves behind four months of neglect that we have to catch up on.  There are garden beds to be tilled, soil to be prepared, mulching to be removed and lots of clean-up.  And of course we’re never content to not have a big project going! — we ripped out our existing kitchen and laundry room cabinets over the weekend to make room for the new ones that Peter is building.  This is one of the last things on our remodeling list and once it’s finished, we will be close to being done (minus a few pieces of trim here and there and the rest of the carpet upstairs. )  Those of you that have done it know the indescribable joy of building or remodeling a house while trying to live there at the same time!  (in case you’re wondering, that last sentence should be read dripping with sarcasm!) 

Yet, in the middle of the busyness of this season, I am striving to find the rhythm in my own life to mirror that which is all around in nature.  Spring is a season of simplifying, rebuilding and returning to the rhythms of sowing and reaping.  I’ve been feeling the need lately to take some time to unplug from my computer and focus on balancing my life — being still and listening; spending more quality time with my family; tending to some neglected friendships; gaining a renewed perspective for the rest of the year.  There are a lot of desires and passions heavy on my heart and things I want to get more involved in, but I sense God prompting me to take a little season to step back and evaluate the what and whys.  Hence the sporadic posts lately. 

Balance really is the key to so much, isn’t it?  

Anyway, here are a couple more pictures from the last few weeks outside (please excuse the messy faces, snotty noses and dirty clothes — it wouldn’t have been fair to clean them up just for a few pictures! 🙂 )