Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Simple Things

Each morning, I wake, groggy and stiff...and, I must admit, kind of cranky. I confess that I've never been a naturally early riser. Thankfully, I have a very handsome alarm clock and three precious creatures for which to prepare sustenance.

After CiarĂ¡n gets off on the bus with a kiss and wishes for "stupendous" day, I head down to the chicken run to feed the Ladies and scoop their pungent poop. This is no glamourous task, I grant you, but there's something in this simple duty that shakes me from my self-center and daily awakens my sense of wonder in my Lord's creation.

Yesterday was my bi-monthly day to make laundry detergent. Many in my family think I'm nuts to add this chore to my already long list, but I find it keeps cost down (believe me, when you do as many loads as I do with three little kids, keeping laundry costs down is important!) and the grating of bars is kinda therapeutic.

This weekend we also acquired a new pet; let me introduce to you Gunther--the princess turtle (so dubbed by the kids). Poor Gunther materialized behind our pool and all three of my little ones decided we should keep him. We'll be getting this guy a bigger home than this makeshift tank very soon.

The twins and I also started some seeds last week as one of our science lessons. They're sprouting nicely and will be ready to go in the ground in no time. This fall/winter we'll have turnip greens, mustards, bok choy, cabbage and kale galore.....I hope!

I've also begun a couple of large, new paintings to add to the shop. The blue will eventually have clusters of lovely yellow and white blooms, while the green will probably feature some bright cabbage roses and a butterfly. I haven't quite decided though.....
We'll be off to the city today to pick up some more canvases for a custom order I recently received. I love getting fresh commissions!
Peace be with you....

Friday, August 23, 2013

Falling Back into the Grind

It's been a busy week for us here at casa Greer. My oldest son has started second grade and, because my husband is a teacher, he has also returned to school as of Monday. You would think, this being my 7th year staying home with my children that I'd be an old pro. Even the most adept of us, however, can get our schedules out of whack when those big, yellow buses start barreling down the road again.

While I am always sad to see my two oldest gents leave the homestead for the bulk of the day, I look forward to the more gentle rhythms of a house with fewer people in it. I also home school my littlest two--using work books and the outside world as our classroom.

Yesterday was also a big chore day--sheet changing and bathroom scrubbing. As unpleasant as those two actions can be, I always enjoy hanging out the linens. There's just something peaceful and fulfilling about hanging laundry and seeing your clean fabric playing in the breeze.

Mr. Binky dries in the sun

The autumn season's approach usually brings more art orders as well, and that's always a good thing. My yard can provide such wonderful inspiration for future paintings....


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Beginnings....

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..."
--Henry David Thoreau

A little over a year ago my young family of five moved from an upper middle class, urban area to the rural country of Upstate South Carolina. Our journey to this new life was somewhat long and frustrating.....

After three years of trying to sell our previous home in Columbia, SC, my husband, Brad, and I were finally able to unload a house two hours away by taking out a loan to cover the difference in sale price and our previous mortgage. This was a heart-wrenching decision, but after three realtors, three years, one rental family and all new flooring overhaul we were incredibly relieved to be once and for all through with our previous home.

In those three years, there were many changes in our family. I became pregnant with twins and had to be repeatedly hospitalized for Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Our family van was struck by lightning on the interstate and I began to grow my online art business. My oldest son was also growing older and had a very discouraging first year in school.

Brad and I had been looking for a new home for, literally, years. We were always on the lookout, consistently checking, Zillow and foreclosure reports. I have no idea how many houses we visited in two and a half years, but I can say our ideal began to change. In the beginning, we fell into the usual expectations of a young, middle class couple. We searched through McMansions in the suburbs---neighborhoods with postal stamp backyards and plenty of kids on each block. Then we began looking through urban areas similar to our rental---smaller homes with vintage charm and proximity to downtown.

After much seeking, we became disenchanted with each option. It felt as if we were trying to fulfill someone else's dream, someone else's idea of who we should be. I remembered the pipe dream I'd had as a girl to live in an historic farmhouse with plenty of land and proverbial fresh air. Brad was raised in a rural area and had no hesitations. But could we afford such a place?

We looked high and low--at historic homes in the country and newer versions near farm land. In March 2012, Brad sent an email to me with a Zillow link--a photo of a lovely, white, red roofed farmhouse popped up on my screen.The funny thing was I had looked at that same, charming place a dozen times already. But, was it too far out? Could we afford it? What were the schools like?

After much prayer and contemplation, we decided to make the leap 3 months later. We take such pride in our little 3.3 acres, but we are not quick to forget what it was like to feel suspended in mid-air between a mortgage and rent. To require extreme frugality just to make it from month to month.

As we moved further away from the city, our budding family changed. Our children (now 7 and 3 years) became stronger, and browner, from so much more outside play time.

They are happier and more outgoing than before. Brad and I also began to change--our ideas. When one steps outside of the box of most modern society it can become increasingly clear how far distanced American culture is from the basics of life. I'd always been a frugal gal, but now I started to see just how much superfluous fluff can crowd out the true joys in our existence. So now.....

....we don't text
....we don't have internet on our phones
....we compost and haul all our inorganic materials to a recycling center
....we have chickens
....we buy most of our clothing second hand
....and more to come!

I feel that we are on a quest now to seek out true life. I want to live with greater, more exposed be more mindful of the milestones of my children, to cut out the mental clutter of contemporary civilization. I admit that I'm not without the urge to check Facebook, the desire to feel approval of others. That's human nature. But, I would like to endeavor to create a more spiritual existence closer to God, more at one with my little family so that I may nurture their creativity and well as my own!

"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
Helen Keller