Saturday, May 30, 2015

It's Good to Remember

 This post was written two years ago when I had rediscovered God's perfect love for me. I was cleaning up the blog a bit and rereading past words and it was so inspiring to see where I was, where I've gone since then...where I've grown and where I could use a bit more self reflection and really hard work...and continued mercy for myself. 

 If you are at a place in your life where you wonder where God is, dear reader...I want you to know that He is right here. He loves you today, He will hold you today ... He is the blue of the sky, He is the song of the bird. Jesus is the pink of the flowers and He is the orange of the sunset - He is all that is good and beautiful and perfect. The most wonderful part is that He wants to be in us and surrounding us with His beautiful spirit. He wants to shine through us ... through our smiles, our gentle responses, our tears of anguish and our tears of joy - He wants to be there, with us. Stand with arms wide and your heart abandoned and let HIM fill you up ~  He promises to. God promises ... you can't get a better offer then that. If you want my old story...see if you are in there too. 

  The days are passing by quickly in our little home...some days long and hot and very unstructured...with bread and cheese and fruit dinners - some days with more rhythm and creativity....but each day my littles are growing and changing and becoming more and more a part of me.
 My old site Longing for Simplicity is still up, just not running. I'm keeping that blog alive because it holds to much of my past, my treasured memories. It shows my family growing from one little two month old baby to four lovely littles - I discovered myself through that blog and it was always a place of joy for me, a place that was just mine where I could write about all that I had been learning and loving, where I could hash out the many twists and changes my life has brought me over the last 8 years.
  But, the truth is...I can't visit there anymore. I can't open that "old" space without feeling a tremendous about of joy that in some indescribable very painful. I began that blog when Brady was just a baby, and I had one set of dreams of how my life would he would be.  I knew what path I wanted to be on and I honestly thought I knew how I was going to get there. I named my blog Longing for Simplicity because what I wanted my life to be simple and wholesome - keeping my kids close to me, healing naturally, I had visions of living somewhat "off the grid" and having this awesome sweet family connection.
 Autism isn't simple...not one part of it is. Finding out Brady had autism shook my world, and then after our third child also being diagnosed with autism I kind of just fell apart...slowly. I know, how does one fall apart slowly? They just do. Day after day, having an ideal for your day and it not happening, you go to sleep thinking "I can't accomplish what I wanted to, I wasn't the person I wanted to be...I will try again tomorrow." Then, trying again tomorrow and the same horrible things happening, again and again..being trampled on a daily basis - my son not being able to feel empathy for me or others...I became completely defeated.
 I never gave up on my family...but I did doubt the core of my beliefs...from my love of my Creator (I doubted Him and His plan for my life as a mother) to how I nourish my family physically and emotionally and spiritually...I doubted my creativity and my love of herbs never went away but I wasn't pursuing them. I stopped crafting - I think I just had to disappear, to reach rock bottom and rediscover myself - and my new life.
  Nothing about my life is simple - morning time, lunchtime, dinnertime and bedtime - it's all a mes. So to daily open up a blog where I am vulnerable under the title "Longing for Simplicity" ...well, it's time I quit longing. It's time that I begin again with what I have.
 Over the last few weeks I have felt God holding me. It's been a long time since I've felt that way...generally I just sit there and scream "WHERE THE HECK ARE YOU?!" I never heard an answer...I never felt an answer - I didn't really understand I still don't completely.
 One day I was looking at my daughter and her little face wasn't very happy...I had been noticing that she had been changing. Trinity has always had a very joyful spirit her whole life - and what I noticed on this particular day is that she was feeding off of me. The light in her eyes was gone, because it had disappeared in my own. Children reflect what they see - and what was in the core of me, was anger, sadness, disappointment and loss.
 So, I started to think. I started to remember. The only difference between now...and the time when I was at my "peak " (you know...the most awesome time of your life?) was that, besides a world of hurt I had never imagined, was that I no longer was pursuing His Love.
 He was never gone...but I needed to push a bit I guess. Maybe I needed to run, I did and for the most part it was miserable. Looking at the inside of me MOST of what I was wasn't good, it wasn't joyful and patient and kind. It was horrible.
  I'm craving my heavenly father again. It's the only way I will ever survive this life - is the hope that only He can bring me. Others have completely failed me. I have failed myself - He has not. It's not His fault that I have kids with autism, or that we had to live on food stamps for a year and foreclose on our lovely little home, or that I moved super far from all of my friends and have never known such horrible loneliness. It's not his fault that my grandparents died or that my baby brother has known such horrific pain or that my family lives so far away I can't even call them on most days - and if I could there wouldn't be much to say because I don't entirely know them anymore. It's not His fault. The BAD is not his fault. He didn't create the bad. But He will walk with me, and He will take care of my babies, and He will keep Zac and my marriage thriving. He will be my hope because I have no other.
 That's why I have this blog...I'm going to work daily to put light in my children's eyes, to give them the sweet days they so deserve...and so do I. Trinity is doing better...she has been full of laughter and has started a new hobby of cutting out paperdolls that I (cringe) allow her to tape all over her room. She asked me to be "happy more" - So I am. I'm making it my priority.
  So...there's the introduction - now on to the good stuff.
 ... a lovely little thrift store find. Yes, that is yellow leather edged with studs. Be still my heart. To the side I have a Goodwill  basket and I kept looking at those long branches you can buy at hobby lobby and then thought "well heck, I'll just spray paint some limbs that are lying in my back yard." And I did and I love them. Easy peasy idea - and cheap.
  I've taken up painting's my new hobby and some day...just maybe someday I can take lessons. I did the one of the aspens by watching a youtube tutorial...
  And then I painted this barn...also by watching a tutorial. The Internet is a wondrous thing.
   Zac and I were able to talk with a "financial person" and found out  that we will probably need to rent for two more years before looking for our "house of dreams." Rather disappointing for me just because I would love to feel where I am is where I'm gonna stay. But it's not instead of LONGING I'm just making this place more homey. We found this old entertainment cabinet and Zac primed it, painted it and then let me do the fun job of tearing it up with sandpaper. So, there are the changes around the house...I will be sharing more later - but this post has gotten rather lengthy and littles are needing their I'm off for now.
 Have a lovely Monday....
~ Alyssa

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Trip to The Mount Rushmore State in Pictures...and a Few Words

Crazy Horse Memorial

Finn, pointing to Mt Rushmore "look at all those faces!" 

Our biggest little and our littlest little prefer looking "stoic" in pictures. 

Tristan asked if one of the faces was George Washington. Trinity said "no Tristan, that one is Abraham." Just Abraham. 

Riding a "Jackalope"

Kissing for the camera...

...and smiling for the camera. 

We visited the Custer State Park which became probably my favorite place on earth thus far. I'm not sure if  it was the thick fog cloaking the tall pines, or the rolling hills, the winding rippling streams or the beautifully filtered air - whatever it was it was magic - it was the strength of the Rocky Mountains perfectly mixed with the gentle sloping Smokies 

The animals we spotted were all so content, calm. There were babies deer, baby bison, baby burros...all walking along with their mamas, nuzzling them. The baby bison would bounce and chase eachother, nudge their mothers in the head and the mom would gently nudge back, amusing their little ones. They had no fear out in their own element, in their space. Hundreds and hundreds of protected acres for them to wander and prosper and be safe as they have for hundreds of years. It made my heart very glad.  

"But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will teach you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea infom you.Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."
- Job 12: 7-10 

My husband said to me "this makes me never want to live in a city again." I agreed. 

This white lady stole the show. 

We spotted a flock of wild turkeys and all I could think was "good for you, you'll escape Thanksgivings everywhere." 

Gentle faced doe

"let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them, then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; "
- Pslam 96:12

"Oh, here we are at the bridge. I'm going to shut my eyes tight. I'm always afraid going over bridges. I can't help imagining that perhaps, just as we get to the middle, they'll crumple up like a jackknife and nip us. So I shut my eyes. But I always have to open them after all when I think we're getting near the middle. Because, you see, if the bridge did crumple up I'd want to see it crumple. What a jolly rumble it makes! I always like the rumble part of it. Isn't it splendid there are so many things to like in this world?"
 - L.M Montgomery 

There are so many things, love in this world. Custer South Dakota is one of them.

 While we were winding our way around the forests or standing just feet away from a huge national monument I felt very blessed to be  part of such a wonderful country. Things aren't perfect here, neither are they anywhere. But what I do know, is that I'm free and I'm thankful for that.
 I have choices here in America. I can choose to homeschool my kids, or send them to school. I can take it one step further and choose to send them either to private school, or to public school. I can have as many children as I choose to have or as many as God gives me. I can be a stay at home mom or choose to work outside the home. I can take that a step further and choose to work as many jobs as have time for. If a crisis did occur I could find help, I could get assistance for groceries, heating bills, maybe even rent.
 I can pursue my dreams if I'm driven to pursue them, I can live in a city or I could choose to live in the  country...I can worship at my church loudly with raised hands, or in my quiet bedroom. I can practice yoga in my backyard, or go for long walks at the neighborhood park and not be afraid. I can own a car, a home, stock and retirement funds. I can drive six hours away with my husband and not have to have special permission from anyone. I have libraries available to me, any kind of grocery store I could want .... places to buy cheap clothes or places to buy more expensive clothes. I have freedom here in America and I'm thankful for the men and women that make that possible. I'm thankful to the ultimate Creator who had such vision to make a world so diverse, so full of life.  Seeing the world is a huge gift...whether it's right here in my own state, a few hours away, or across the sea. But, I think above all, being able to live with open eyes, a loving heart for people, the earth, and the creatures on it, is free and fulfilling. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Little things...

little strawberries, juicy and sweet 

little blooms, light green...slowly evolving

A little dress, sweet and simple

Little blue eyes, one set out of four that I get to love

Little brothers, little friends, little hugs

My four little people that I'm blessed to cherish...A great big staggering mountain of love. 

Happy Mother's day to all the mamas out there...the expectant women with babies growing in their bellies, the moms with several littles underfoot, and the mothers who support and encourage their full grown kiddos. Your daily sacrificial love is noticed hopefully by those around you but DEFINITELY by the One who loves you most...  may you all have a blessed day with the Father's Love heaped upon you. 

 A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May a Little Late

Happy May My Peeps ...
I can call you that can't I? I'm in desperate need of "peeps." 
Things have been pretty busy around our little place this past week, here's some of the things we did to end our April and begin our May. 

Rainy day family painting...every man (and child) for himself. 

I made a huge crock pot full of bone broth. Verdict - a smelly process that makes our basement reek. Even my hubby wondered if there might be a better place...the garage perhaps? But then, what would the neighbors think if they got a whiff of what's cookin? I did feel rather victorious though when I bottled that first quart, all warm and amberish. If you want to feel domestic, boiling up a bunch of cow bones will do it. Gag.

Lots and lots of rain - the earth is officially green around here and I now remember why it is that I love Colorado. 

New flowers blooming and spider webs with crystal drops - if I could be any insect it would be a spider. They are so beautiful and artistic and rather cunning. Yes, I would be a spider.

Thrift store treasure hunting - someone drew the above picture in colored pencil and either gave it to someone or sold it or got tired of it or SOMETHING tramatic. Who would get rid of this?! 
Sad, sad, sad. Maybe for them it was wonderful...maybe they were decluttering and they just have too many beautiful hand made things. I can't imagine having too many pieces of art...gulp, maybe they...died...and whoever took over the estate has no eye for beautiful things. I would have liked to have been at that estate sale.Anyways,  their loss, my treasure. Pretty sure it's from another country too because of the signature on the bottom. 

Real pottery - 2 beautiful dollars and it was mine.

Both of my youngest became surgeons in the past week... 

...and the tree house finally got it's coat of paint! Isn't it cute?! My husband is a handy man and one pretty awesome daddy to put this together for the kids and me. I love sitting up there with a pillow and staring up at the leaves (I almost had a collision with one rather large brown squirrel the other day that could have been disastrous. I gave him his space though and he eventually wandered off. I guess he didn't enjoy the fact that we took over his turf. I could just hear him thinking "when did the human species start building houses in trees?!"

Peacock spotting at the zoo - pretty sure it was mating season because peacocks were everywhere splaying their feathers and wagging their tails at eachother. It was pretty comical to watch. I think it will be a new tradition for us ... every May Day go to watch the peacocks strut their stuff. 

Our little (ha! All 48 pounds of him) May Day baby celebrated his fourth birthday with a trip to the Denver zoo, a picnic and some vanilla gluten free cake (we skipped the frosting this year.) I'm officially baby and toddler free sniff sniff. It makes my heart hurt a little to know the baby years are over, the other part of me feels somewhat relieved and excited about the future. It's a complicated life folks...being a woman and all. 

Finn loves animals and being outside so it was a perfect place to go with him. 

Poor little elephant. I guess in a lot of countries the elephants keep getting into the rice fields and even stampeding people's huts. Whenever they put up fences the elephants can still trample them down and their skin is even resistant to electricity! So, the people take it upon themselves to keep the elephants away which usually doesn't end up so well - a lot of the elephants at the zoo are rescued. That makes me happy, but wild animals being caged also makes me feel a little sad - I'm sure they would like to go home. It's a pretty confusing world isn't it?

Tristan got his first wiggly tooth!!! I'm not sure I want ANY of his little anythings to go away quite yet. He's such a cuddly koala. 

I guess that's about all that has been going on with our little family. Trinity learned to ride a bike, my gorgeous boy Brady scored his first goal in soccer (it was so amazingly awesome) and Zac is finishing up his pre med classes this week. He will begin paramedic school in June. 
We are off this next week to South Dakota to check out the Black Hills for the first time. I'm so excited to sit next to my baby, hold hands in the car and listen to some of our 90's  tunes, drink coffee and get the heck out of dodge for a bit! I love showing my littles the world...

Happy May (a little late) dear readers. 

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” 
― Augustine of Hippo