Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year, Unplugged

Happy New Year, friends!

To think that this time last year, our family had no clue we'd be leaving that beloved first house in the country to live in our fifth-wheal for eight months so we could hack some nasty debt off our backs and then purchase a 5-acre patch of heaven (you can read the journey here).  So much can happen in just a short year, it makes my heart race and fill with countless emotions when I think about it for any length of time.

Near the end of last year, as Jeremy made livable (er, crafted) a new-to-us, 1960 cabin from 9am to 2am almost every day for three solid weeks, we had no internet down the hill where we finished our time living in the trailer.  It was hard (and downright painful) at times not having that connection to the outside world that I had grown so comfortable with.  I stumbled down that slippery slope of silent complaining once or twice... ish.  I tried hard to keep it to myself, you know, thoughts in my head.  Things like I didn't have any internet which isolated me and I was living in the trailer with four cabin-fevered kids because of all the rain and I hardly ever saw my husband because he was working so hard on the house all the time and I had to lug and refill propane tanks all by myself to keep us warm and the one porta potty-esque toilet in the trailer was smelly no matter how many times I scrubbed it and the showers kept getting shorter because it was getting colder outside and the 10-gallon hot water heater would only yield about a 45-second shower and I could only shave one leg each shower.  That kinda thing.  And wouldn't you know it, the black water tank filled up (we were connected to sewer on the mountain but the trailer lacked that luxury on our new land). We didn't have handy our portable tanks to drain it into. We discovered this at night after the stores were closed, so we had to hike up to the house anytime... business needed to get done.  Suddenly, when we could use the trailer toilet again, it was the most amazing thing in the world and we were overflowing with thankfulness for that tiny potty.  It's astounding what can happen to attitudes when something very basic but used very often gets temporarily taken away.  I didn't think twice about unlimited internet access.  Or toilets.  But when they were unavailable, life suddenly felt unlivable.

I've got to say, I will never take indoor plumbing for granted again, and I love using it as many times as needed every day.  But the internet...  That's another story.  I learned lots of things while I was disconnected to the www:
  • I was easily and stealthily becoming addicted to reading and writing blogs.
  • It is possible to be physically but not mentally present.
  • My kids are amazing and growing up really fast.
  • Missing out on their childhood is not something I am okay with.
I adore reading.  I am fascinated by people.  I love learning new things.  I enjoy writing and sharing my findings.  Translation: blogs were constantly on my mind.  I want to try that recipe.  Is coffee really as bad as that blog post says it is?  Last night's dinner was a winner; I've gotta post it.  Wow, that's the third post I've read about the USDA raiding a raw dairy, how is that even okay?  Hehe, I just thought of the most witty line.  I've gotta write that one down real fast so I can use it in my next post.

What, kids?  I was teaching you a science lesson and I stopped mid-sentence?  Sorry.  Raw milk raids, you know.

What's all that crying and fighting about?  And you are hungry again? Didn't we just eat breakfast?  What?  It's two o'clock?  I'm crafting a new recipe though.  Eat an apple.  I will be right with you.  Take a number and respond when your number is read aloud or you will miss your turn.

Okay, it didn't get that bad.  But after getting unplugged, I realized how much more I was enjoying my children.  How I began understanding them more.  How I became more in tune to their little growing selves.  How I almost let the high privilege of training these world-changers up in the way they should go slip through my keyboard-punching fingers.

We have been spending the holidays at my parent's house where countless memories are being made, love tanks are being filled, I can take a magnificent 15-minute shower without freezing to death, there is no black water tank to drain, and there is perpetual internet (that I no longer overuse).  It's heaven on earth, I tell you.  Looking back to December in the trailer, my heart is filled with gratitude for the lessons learned, and now I realize my New Year's resolution.

Reading and writing blogs is taking a back seat.  Although I still have ample blog subscriptions to enjoy and I will continue to add posts of my own to the blogsphere (pendulum-swinging is so tiring), there will be much less postings that will be more to-the-point.  There will be posts about our five acres becoming a working ranch, slowly enfolding several feathery, wooly, and furry animals, as well as cultivating new garden beds and planting new trees and vines into it.  There will be lessons learned that will show up here.  There will be family adventures shared.  There will just be a lot less of it all, because my eight-year-old turned nine today, and I choose to suck up every fleeting moment I have with these tender, miraculous, walking gifts from God before I blink twice and they are all grown up and out the door.  Then I'll be blogging ten times a day, subscribed to 134 blogs, writing best-sellers, working a world-renowned, beyond organic ranch, and thankful I took the time we had with our babies while they were still little.

I'm sharing this at Gratituesday & Farm Girl Friday.


  1. Yes! Yes! yes! It's so true and I'm so glad to be reminded of it.... world changers don't wait while we type away, they just keep growing. Great blog. Looking forward to your "less and more to the point" blogs. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed this post! My sister told me about your blog and I have been patiently waiting for something new to come about. I too learned this lesson of too much blogging and not enough time with my children and letting my BIble study and prayer time slip away. Thanks for sharing and I am looking forward to seeing how your little homestead comes along! We too have a small farm and enjoy it very much! Happy New Year (and happy birthday to your new "nine year old"!

  3. i am so with you! they grow up way too fast and there is always something i can do later that seems to demand my attention right now - it is the battle of the urgent vs. the important. i want to focus more on the important this year and let the urgent wait just a bit longer so it isn't always in control. so excited for you guys and your ranch! it is perfect.

  4. First of all, good for you! So glad you got something sacred and meaningful out of your unplanned internet absence.

    Second of all, WHEW, this is actually good for me to read. I've wondered (enviously, I admit) how on EARTH you (and others) manage to photograph, cook, create, parent, AND find the time to blog about such things!

    I would love to blog, and actually may finally start one soon, mostly to document for myself and my kids, but also to share a bit with others. But I definitely see how easy it would be to fall into the "physically but not mentally present" and the "constantly plugged in to others" trap. I'm unwilling to sacrifice being 100% present for my kids just so I can write about them. It does go so fast.

    Ok, enough about me. Just wanted to say, good for you, and what a gift for you and your family. I'll look forward to whatever posts you share. I'm sure they'll be all the richer for the quality unplugged time you'll be getting. :)

  5. So beautiful :) I agree...although it's so easy for me to get lost in blogland. I look forward to the times you do post and I love those pictures...gorgeous. Happy New Year to you and your family... :)

  6. That last picture makes my heart skip a beat! I know what you mean abt unplugging and re-connecting to the real things that matter. Sometimes I need to remind myself of it.

  7. Oh I just love it. And so very true.
    You are wonderful. It's going to be a good year. :)

  8. I am just about to post my very last post. I was looking for you to say thank you for being my favourite food blogger who linked up at Vegetarian Foodie Fridays. I just wrote a very similar post to this one a few days ago. I'm stopping the blog because of my kids. I want more time with them, quality time, and I want them to watch less TV. I have tried to cut back on my posts but it hasn't worked for me. I may guest post but I know I need to stop my own. Anyway, good for you and good for us. I knew I was in good company. Take care.

  9. All I can say is ...
    God bless ys child... smile...

  10. This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.
    Water Tank Trailers


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