Surely, if I've not fallen off the edge of the world, I feel I've fallen into its depths the last few months. I'm only, just now, poking my head back up to say, "Hello? Anyone out there? Anyone home?"
As we nearly breathe November air, we are just now breathing in the presence of one another around home. He's been absent from home 90% of our days since June 1st; a demanding mill start-up calling his name.
By God's grace, we hold each other close and are grateful the distance has passed, so too the most difficult season of a mill start-up. Machines begin to manufacture, albeit slowly, and he's home. We are once again a family. Together, as one season changes to another.
School has also been a massive deep dive this year with both kids transitioning to new school environments in two different towns. One, is hybrid home schooling in the morning with me and then attends classes the remainder of the day. The other is adjusting to longer days, a commute, and way more homework.
This afternoon, the hyrbid schooler has happily volunteered to forgo his book report, Around the World in 80 Days, for chucking pumpkins, my elementary STEM experiment this coming week. STEM Coordination is a new journey for me this fall.
I'm still processing how/when to write about STEM; that will come in time. I'm up to my ears in K-12 STEM visioning and execution for which a growth mindset is required. I will say that taking a lifestyle of STEM from the home schooling environment to a K-12 school program is a leap of faith, no matter which way you jump.
Enough about all that, let's talk books. Some, as of late, favorites...
Hillbilly Elegy A thought provoking read. I'm still trying to process his story through the lens of our time in a poor area of the south, and those we know involved in Oregon foster care, CASA, and Safe Families. How to find solutions for the white poor? We need to hear what JD Vance has to say.
Spare Parts Watched the movie last night. Loved it! Working my way through the book. Another engaging story, and close up look at the incredible accomplishments of 4 boys. Addresses the issues of immigration and deportation and the impact upon families.
A Sudden Country Fisher's prose is amazing. One of the teachers at Fishtrap in the Wallowas.
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven This was wonderful.
The Things They Carried I came late to read this. When my children are older it will be required reading. The cost of war on the soul? Heart wrenching.
Right now, words and the time to write them is limited. I have continued to work on a Safe Families book, and also write about Thomas Nuttall. I'm finding him on the trails again. I printed out the 210 pages I've written on him thus far, to get me off my duff and back into his time.
In time, I'll find words again for this space. Hopefully, more than I have this past summer, but for now I leave you with a few September and October explorations and memories.
A 36 hour Labor Day trip to Hellgate JetBoat Excursions on the Rogue was a blast!
Maker Faire Portland was a winner! The people are great. Fifty Licks was there with the most AMAZING ice cream! Vegan too!
Then we celebrated this young man :-) Love you, Dad!
The tots are no longer tiny. As such, they helped bring about a lovely anniversary dinner with hand inked menus.Mt. Angel Octoberfest. What a milieu!
Abbey. Understanding that if it wasn't to our liking, we'd gift it to family at Christmas...not gonna happen.
He came for a couple nights in September with Safe Families.
Prayers for this young one to be safe, secure, and happy.
They were all listening to sister read a bedtime story.
Slimy, out of the rain.
In all this, I appreciate single mothers (and fathers) in new ways and with greater depth. They accomplish and face each day with grace and grit, and often we never ever see it or recognize their efforts or them.
And as I sit here, I realize this is exactly what I needed today: to process pictures and be reminded of my blessings amidst all the busyness, chaos, and stress of the past season. In the middle of it all, including our elections, there is a Light.
He lifts our loads and makes them seem a bit easier to carry, and makes possible any of the reaching out and risking we do. And as we write and work, He cares for our lives and listens right along with us to the Chipmunks squeaking on the vinyl LP. It's all good.
May November be thankful.