an explanation of sorts.

I have heard from a few people over the last months about my prolonged absence here. Some have been kind and genuinely concerned, and some, honestly, have been rude, implying that I "owe" my writing here to "someone", which of course, I do not. Anyone who writes, or does art, or really just about anything else, has to do it for themselves first. There may be other factors that influence a person's decision to write or create, but no one is doing any of that if their heart is not in it, if they aren't motivated, if it doesn't feed or inspire them in some way. 

The truth is, I haven't wanted to write.

There are all kinds of reasons:

  • I've been very sad for a long time. My husband lost his teaching job nearly 18 months ago and is currently working for minimum wage. He's applied for so many jobs that I've lost count. It's in the hundreds, maybe thousands. He's had a handful of interviews, with feedback that amounted to "We really liked you, but..." I started working in February but my hours have all but dried up now. We are really struggling. Every day is a difficult and complicated balancing act of trying to maintain some level of "normal" for our children (not just materially, but in terms of holding a healthy, normal emotional place for them), and profound sadness. 
  • My children are older, and there are more of them than there were two or six or nine years ago (obviously). My energy and time are spent on them; there isn't very much left for writing, or knitting, or photography. 
  • Blogging is not the same as it once was. People don't read as many blogs with regularity, and they don't interact as much with the ones they do read. Even my blogging friends don't leave comments here for me, and I must admit that I seldom leave any for them, either. The interaction from my readers was, at one time, a huge motivation for me to continue my blogging presence, but I think those days have long since passed. 

But even considering these reasons, the truth is, I haven't wanted to write. Not in a public space, and not privately in a journal, either. Writing is not the thing I have wanted to spend my time on. 

I don't know if I will suddenly come back to it or not. If I do, it'll be because I have something I want to say. It'll be because I want to write. 

winding down

On Saturday I floated on my back in a pool of cool blue water and watched clouds slowly drift across the dome of blue above, and thought and thought, about everything—and nothing. 

It was our last day at the pool for the summer. This was a summer of immense growth for all of our children, watching swimming "click" for the middle two, witnessing our baby's first words ("doggy" was the first!), and the sudden transformation of our eldest into a very mature and grown-up young lady.

I usually hate the month of August, but this has been a surprisingly good one so far. We are still struggling financially, but it hasn't been too hot and my usual August blues haven't paid a visit. In fact, the winding-down of summer, as many of our friends have returned to school this week, is a little bit bittersweet. We will not start our "homeschool year" (in quotes because I use the term "school" loosely) until sometime in September. We usually like to start around the 8th or so, but I think we may be just a bit later this year depending on several factors. 

I'm reminding myself not to wish away any time, as the time here with these children passes too quickly, as things are always changing, and just as soon as we thought we had something figured out and settled, that time, too, moves forward. 

So even when I'm feeling tired and a bit uninspired in general, here is my baby, ever closer to his first steps, his little words bubbling up with such joy. It is a reminder that even as summer seems to be passing away, here and now there is something fresh and so beautiful.

In a new space

As I begin writing in a new space, I'm thinking about what blogging has meant to me over the years—I first began blogging about ten years ago now—and what I want it to look like going forward. 

I'm feeling just a little bit shy writing here, a little bit like I haven't found my voice yet, though I've been writing in a blog for such a long time. This move is something I've been considering doing for just about exactly three years, but I was apprehensive about it at the same time. 

I've been thinking a lot about this post, written by one of my very first close blogging friends, for several weeks now. With her permission, I wanted to quote a bit of what she wrote, because she said exactly what I've been thinking and feeling. 

I’m thinking about the story I want to tell, both to myself and to others.

Essentially, I want the life of my family to be relevant, not necessarily to a wider audience, but to myself. I want it to be aesthetically pleasing. I want it to act as both record of our time and creativity and as a reference for myself. I want to inspire myself, but I want it to be useful, too.
— Kyrie Mead, Mead and Daughters

When I first got into blogging, I was doing it for me, mostly. I wasn't thinking about growing an audience, but I did. For a time, I was writing for thousands of readers. Gradually, as I was unable to keep up my pace, those thousands of readers began to move on, and I began to be there even less. But I have missed it, too, the process of writing, the journal of our days. 

My life is a little different now. Our family has grown. Our older children are busy and fun and challenging in ways that they weren't as little ones. I've said many times that I feel more comfortable, in my element, more me, with little ones. My older children perplex me. 

My husband has not had a "real" job in almost a year. We have been getting by on nothing more than the grace of God. It is one day at a time. Our needs have been provided for, but it has been very difficult. I'm in my mid-thirties, my husband in his mid-forties, and while most of our peers are moving into bigger homes and thinking about seriously funding retirement accounts, we are starting at square one. I'm stressed about that, and it's hard to put a pretty face on that kind of fear and stress. 

But I have to. I have to reclaim my will to live purposefully or I will be adrift. No one else can do the work of sainthood for me. That's my job, it's the gift I've been entrusted with. It is my grace.