Overflowing.

I haven’t thought a thing about resolutions this year because I feel there is nothing in the whole world I could possibly want right now. I feel full to the brim and overflowing. I feel like my heart will burst and to want anything more than what I already have is just plain greedy.

2013 was a bright, beautiful year for me and Darren. Not every year is of course. Actually, the last two or three years before it have been pretty tiring and blah and perhaps that is part of why this past year stood out as such a happy one for us.

Sometimes I’m afraid to talk about the good things in my life—the things I’m most thankful for—because I don’t want to sound like a braggart or someone who has absolutely everything. No one I know enjoys being around someone like that so instead I tend to focus on the hard things in order to be real and relatable, in order to let others know that our lives aren’t perfect and we do truly understand what others are going through. But right now I feel that not being thankful and mentioning the good things would be the exact opposite of real and relatable—we have much to be thankful for and to pretend otherwise would be a little dishonest.

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Before this year, I had gotten to a place where I knew certain things in my life needed to change but I couldn’t see any end in sight to the way things were. It was quite depressing, actually—struggling through each day as it rolled in exactly the same as the one before and wondering if there would ever be any way out. I was exhausted and lonely and struggling along but didn’t know how to make any real changes. I felt like the way things were was just exactly how they had to be and how they would always remain.

I started reading about the children of Israel wandering through the wilderness, hoping I would find something to encourage and carry me through what felt like a private wilderness experience. I felt parched, dried up and alone in the desert.

But this year some light broke through and things started to change. I know that real change needs to be internal not circumstantial. But sometimes when you’re drowning, all you really need is to be pulled to shore before you sink completely. This year anchored me and pulled my head above water—it feels really good to breathe again.

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First of all, in April Darren and I bought an old colonial house needing a little love. The most important thing about this house is its location—in the country, close to the woods, wrapped around by trees. Both Darren and I grew up in the country and I don’t think either of us realized how much we would miss the land and the woods. We’ve lived in town ever since we moved to Massachusetts five years ago but have been hoping ever since then that we would be able to buy a home of our own in the country.

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{Wild flowers Darren picked for me in our new yard}

I grew up in a place that was a little bit magical—though I didn’t know it at the time. In the country, in the woods, close to the land…that is where I was shaped and made into who I am. I left the woods behind and took off as fast as I could for Massachusetts and all the excitement of the coast and the cities out east. I like it here in New England; it’s a lovely place to live.

But I miss the woods. I miss the wheat fields—the golden stalks turned pink and orange in the late afternoon sun. I miss the vastness, the endless rolling hills of crops. I miss the grass and dirt beneath my bare feet. I miss the rhythm of life lived close to the land. I miss having enough time and attention to notice the palette of colors used by the sun in painting the earth awake and asleep each day. I miss how bright and clear the stars were over the fields at night, unobstructed by the lights down here, enchanted by the lights up there.

All these things got into my blood and my soul, and though I left them behind, they won’t leave me alone. I can’t find my place, my peace, my sense of balance without them.

I don’t know that I’ll ever make it back to the plains or the prairies where I’m from but I’ve known for a long time now that I absolutely must find my way back to the woods. And this shabby colonial of ours is just exactly what we’ve needed to do that.

Knowing that soon our days spent sharing a duplex and yard right on the road will end and we’ll be able to settle into our first single family home with our own private back yard is just about too much…I. Am. So. Excited. and so, so thankful. When I get frustrated and discouraged about where we are I’m encouraged by knowing there’s end in sight and soon we’ll be back in the woods where we belong.

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{Still waters found on a walk through the woods near our new house}

Here we will have a place to plant a garden and a yard to walk around in. We’ll be able to raise our kids close to the land which is so very important to both of us. We’ll be able to see the stars at night and watch the sun cast its brilliant rays across the fields at sunset. I think we’ll both breathe again and feel like we’re really living the way we’re meant to, just the way our souls were put together and intended to get along. It’s a huge gift and I’m so thankful.

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In June we went to Europe—Europe! This was not just a fancy vacation for us—it was a giant adventure we had both hoped for since our teens. We wanted to see the world, experience different cultures and see what people so different from us are like.

From Spain to France, Italy to Croatia and on to England we were able journey and explore. We rode trains and ferries and shared a taxi with strangers from other countries. We jumped in the Mediterranean and Adriatic and wound in a bus up the Amalfi Coast past lemon groves and rooftop gardens.

We walked and walked…through Pompeii, Sicily, Venice, Marseilles, Rome…on and on until we collapsed in bed each night…exhausted but happy.

We drank the best coffee in Barcelona and ate scrumptious pizza while we sat on the curb waiting for the train in Pisa. We found that people all over the world are kind and friendly and willing to help when you are lost and confused and don’t speak the language.

It was magic and I’ll never ever forget what it felt like to be lost and found at the same time stomping around the globe and seeing the world with my own two eyes.

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Finally, in the fall my sneaking suspicion that a baby was on the way was confirmed. I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to stay home and raise a family. Though I’ve enjoyed the years I’ve spent working outside the home and am thankful for the skills and experience I’ve gained, I’ve always looked forward to the day when I could wholly focus on raising a family instead.

Maybe some people will think less of me for choosing housework and a baby on my hip over a career at a growing company—that’s fine—we don’t all have to be the same or want the same things. I want to stay home, cook meals from my garden, and raise a houseful of munchkins and I’m thankful we’re finally on the road to starting a family of our own.

I’m sure there will be days when I wonder what on earth I was thinking and will wish for high heels and the office. But ultimately, I know my heart and soul are most settled at home—this is the place where I’m most gifted and centered and I’m ready to make the trade for this new life—however difficult and exhausting it may sometimes be.

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{Moments from our year}

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace

He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 & 11

I’m thankful for a year of much-needed change that helped refresh our spirits and renew our focus. I’m thankful too that life is all about seasons and that nothing is forever. I’ve enjoyed this season of our lives and look forward to the seasons to come. Thank you for sharing the past year with us; I’m looking forward to sharing this new year with you too :]

8 thoughts on “Overflowing.

  1. OMYGOODNESS! Sorry I’ve been away so long and missed this amazing news! CONGRATULATIONS, KARI! That is so epic. Amazing post and fabulous news on the house and baby front. The house is looking unbelievable, by the way, so so so far on from the little place you bought all those months ago. When will baby be joining us?

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    • Laura’s alive! :] Yes, that crazy little house has come a long way…I want to move in right now but that might be crazy since there aren’t walls and stuff. Baby is due July 9th…still can’t believe I’m going to be a momma 8] Good hearing from you again…for a while I was afraid I was going to have to run the lemon/olive/treehouse/Tuscan farm thing alone.

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      • God, no! I would never abandon the Tuscan dream. Baby can join in too, by the way. And can live in the treehouse with us. It will be fantastic.
        Yeh, I’ve been out of the blogosphere for a little while due to the stubbornest cold the world has ever seen. I’ve had it since the beginning of December and it is, frankly, exhausting. So my early morning blogging time has been spent coughing and sneezing in bed instead.
        I’ve also been doing a lot of social media stuff for my artist friend so I suddenly have no time anymore.
        When will the house be ready? It looks like there is still so much to do.

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        • Being sick for a whole month is just nutty…especially when you are busy taking over the world/becoming queen. You know what I would do if I were a queen-to-be like you? I would outlaw sickness, that’s what. Just make it totally illegal to be ill.
          I will definitely bring the baby to Italy…I mean, I see no proper way to raise a child outside the Tuscan countryside so being a good mother demands I do it.
          The house is supposed to be ready in the spring which would be great because we could move before the baby but I think it will actually be late summer before it’s finally done. Oh well.

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          • Outlawing sickness is DEFINITELY the way forward. I’m almost almost well again, which is very exciting. I don’t want to speak too soon though because it only takes a day for it to turn around and I feel rubbish again.
            Also, I have a question about the baby and I. What is my relationship to the baby? Am I it’s auntie? Auntie Laura? Or will the title Queen Laura be used when at home in the treehouse? Or just Your Highness? Your Majesty?
            There’s a lot to think about before the baby arrives.
            Good luck with house stuff!

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            • Hmm well, this is a very serious matter. Obviously we want to honor your future royalty-ness but we also want you to feel like family. So maybe Auntie Queen Laura would do? Although that’s a lot for a little kid to say, so maybe we should combine Auntie and Queen and call you Queenie Laura for short? So, since my baby’s auntie is the future queen of England, does this make me part of the English royal family? Who would have thought…me being an American and all!

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  2. I don’t think of celebrating and being thankful for the gift of a good year as bragging. God has greatly blessed you and Darren this past year and this new year holds the promise of many good things as well. We serve a loving, caring God who blesses us beyond measure and certainly beyond what we deserve. You put a big smile on my face when you said you grew up in a magical place…that is what we always wanted for you and your brothers to remember about the farm..the wonder of living close to God’s creation. I am longing for a walk in the woods now!

    I am thrilled that you are choosing to be a stay at home mom..plenty of challenges come with that choice but so many rewards as well. I wouldn’t change that part of my life at all…and many times I wish I could have just a day to go back in time and spend it playing with my babies. Life is good and blessed, enjoy it!

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