To the Tallest Peak and a Step Back in Time

“A mountain has no need for people, but people do need mountains. We go to them for their beauty, for the exhilaration of standing closer to mysterious skies, for the feeling of triumph that comes from having labored to reach a summit.” – Earl Hamner, Jr. (The Waltons)

It is a rare occurrence to find myself without children and without plans. About a month ago, it happened. I had a few hours in between appointments and I had time to kill. A million possibilities crossed my mind but many were not feasible or rooted in reality. (You can’t get to a warm, tropical island and back in a time span of 2 hours. Just saying…)
I was already overcaffeinated, so a coffee shop wasn’t the best choice. The weather was cold and I was not prepared to be outside, so no walk or a hike. I really did not want to spend a lot of money (or be tempted to spend a lot of money), so I needed to stay away from the mall. BUT I was in the mood for some sort of discovery. Then I remembered seeing an ad pop up in my Facebook feed. Something about one of the largest indoor antique stores in Lawrence, MA. It was only 10 minutes from my location.
Mind made up, I turned the car down the road and I pulled into a small parking lot nestled next to a large brick building. It was overshadowed by towering red-brick mills with tall, rounded, brick stacks touching the bright blue sky. I opened the old door of the mill and stepped into a wooden stairwell. It smelled damp and old.  This was a good idea!
There’s something special about entering a place of historical significance. Some people call it nostalgia, but to me it feels more like connectedness. Old places and the items they hold, are windows into time gone by.  They are doors that connect people from past to present. The shadows left behind by people who lived real lives with all the same, real and raw, emotions, struggles and celebrations that we live with now.
The Canal Street Antique Mall is huge. There are floors and floors of furniture and vintage goods tucked in every nook by various owners and dealers. I strolled through the rows of furniture, looked at the spines of aging books, touched woolen clothing and held glitzy, lacy hats over my head. I was looking for something smaller than any of these items. High up on a shelf, bundled in rectangular, plastic boxes, I found them. Hundreds of postcards waiting to be combed through and read.
The front of a postcard is beautiful, but the real treasure is the message on the back. I could spend hours reading each one and that is what I did. I made myself comfortable on the old wooden mill floor and surrounded myself with stacks of sorted cards. I read as many messages as I could. The messages included things about reminding the reader to pick up the sender at train stations, others were asking for visits, many declared their regrets for missing events due to their vacations, and many, MANY addressed the temperamental New England weather-the snow, heat, rain, and cold. (Not much has changed. New Englanders are still always talking about the weather.)
I became attached to two of the postcards (pictured below.) One of the cards shows the White Mountains and an another of an Appalachian Mountain Club hut. Maybe they stood out to me because I had been dreaming about an adventure, the mountains, and hiking. If you followed my hiking trip of 2016,you read about last year’s adventure at the huts. I have been looking forward to a return trip since then.
hike2017hutcard

The hut pictured is the AMC Madison Hut. The Madison Hut was built in 1888. An addition was built in 1907.  I believe the postcard to be dated between these two years. 

 

When I had killed enough time, I decided to purchase these two postcards and be on my way. About two weeks later, in most perfect timing, Fearless Leader, sent out the call for hikers with a proposed plan for a Summer Hike. The route would take us through the White Mountains (peakbagging Mount Washington- the tallest peak in the Northeast) and would involve spending the nights at two huts. The Madison Hut would be one of the huts we would stay at! The very same hut as pictured on the postcard.
Of course, I answered the call with a YES! I will be preparing for my grand summer adventure and looking forward to many smaller and equally exciting ones along the way.  I invite you to come along with me through my blog and follow my trip preparations. (More details of our trip below.) Mountains here I come. You are a place of adventure, beauty, discovery, and a door between past and present. Until then….
Summary of HIKE 2017 by our Fearless Leader:
Adventure waiting to happen!
Motivation to get in shape!
1 new lodge
2 new huts
5 new summits to bag
Consecutive days of fresh mountain air.
No doubt, some laughs!
Many muscles worked.
Amazing views of God’s glory.
Interesting new trail and hut friends
Incredible new memories 🙂

The Empty Bucket

The Empty Bucket

Drop, drop….drop! On December 31st at 11:59 pm, one last drop filled your bucket to the brim. Not one more drop could fit.  No time was left. Nothing could be drained out, replaced, changed, or fixed. As the clock struck 12:00 am, your year was done and you were left with a completely filled bucket. A finished year.

Reflecting into the full vastness of the bucket, the combined swirling drops of different experiences, interactions, and relationships. What do you see? Are you pleased with how your bucket was filled? Do you see drops of happiness, sadness, love, challenges, blessings, or drops of faith? Do you see stressed and broken relationships or healed and restored ones? Drops of wise choices or misguided actions and judgments?

Maybe you had a great year. You accomplished personal goals, learned some new things, and you were a good, decent person.  Store and treasure those things in your heart. Build on the good work that has been started in you.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Maybe your year was anything but great! Maybe it was a year full of disappointments, regrets, hard decisions, instability, loss, too many shattered dreams and lost hope. Maybe it was a year you wish not to repeat.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19  

Out with the old and in with the new.

It’s a new year. You have a new bucket. A shiny new bucket. A bucket waiting to be filled up one drop at a time by future experiences, interactions, and reactions.

What are you going to start to fill your bucket with? Will it be a bunch of resolutionsMost of which end up being things that we have to do and do not accomplish. Or should we fill our bucket up with revelations? Revelations that include pleasant, enlightening surprises, and noticing the divine interventions in our every day life.

When January 1, 2017 comes along and you are looking into the full, deep bucket of 2016, I hope that you will see more revelations than half-completed resolutions. I hope that they are the types of revelations that have caused you to shift your perspective, stretch and grow you. I hope that you will find strong currents among the filling drops which will include good relationships, hope, joy, peace, and love.

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12 

Do you have a spiritual focus for the new year? A focus word for 2016? I would love to hear from you.

 

 


Homeschool Week #2 Wrap Up-Measure of Success

Measure of Success

Well, this week was not as “successful” as last week. My attention was divided into a thousand different directions as I have been preparing to leave for the MOPS International’s Leadership Convention- MOMcon.

There is so much to do before I leave. Between church ministries and meetings,  MOPS start up plans and Coaching, finding childcare for the kids while I am away, packing, household chores, laundry AND homeschooling, the week went by in a blur of checklists and details. Before I knew it, Friday had appeared and I found myself saying there’s just not enough TIME!

Feeling a bit defeated and comparing this week to last, I started asking myself what exactly does success looks like in our homeschooling. Is it the amount of material that we cover? The number of skills the girls master in a week? Staying on task and lesson objectives met? Having fun together? Spending quality time? What is it?

Every day we completed all of our reading, language arts, and math lessons.  We managed to do some fun Labor Day activities and made some fantastic smelling playdough. Science and social studies lessons flowed naturally through our days and we read a lot of books together.  That sounds successful, right?

There is an incredible amount of thought, research, and writing about success. Briefly, success is the accomplishment of an goal or purpose. It can be measured in terms of objective (measurable terms, salary, promotion, accomplishments) or subjective (emotional and psychological responses- happiness, joy, pride, feelings ) situations.  Within areas of your life, you can have both objective and subjective goals and success. “Subjective success is an individual’s response to an objective situation. “1  A Harvard Business Review article gives an example of a corporate lawyer who has a great compensation package and position but has not met her life-long goal of becoming a Supreme Court judge so she doesn’t feel successful.

This is what happened to me this week. We met all of the objective goals I had for homeschooling. Academically, we were right on target and I was happy with the amount of curriculum we accomplished.  But it was my subjective goals that left me feeling less than satisfied. One of the biggest goals I have for myself is to be more present and less over committed. This week, I felt like I did not do this well. Therefore, I felt unsuccessful.

Timing is everything. Not every week will be one like this one. I travel only once a year! The details of church ministries and MOPS start up are not usually happening all at one time. This just is a very busy time. It is important to keep evaluating how I am spending my time, keep saying “no” when presented an opportunity that will stress our schedule, and making time to rest and connect with people in a way each person deserves. Beyond that, I also think that it is important to look at homeschool success with the whole picture in mind and look beyond those subjective feelings. So reevaluating, I think that I should rephrase my first sentence and say that this week was certainly different (and BUSIER) than the first but it was equally successful measured in different ways.

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A Few Highlights:

1.) POM-POM SORTING: I made something new for my littlest one to do during school. This task works on fine motor, sorting, and color recognition skills. It took about 5 minutes to set up and it was inexpensive! I had everything I needed in the house and it is completely reusable. Just have to change the color on the top of the lid and the color of pop-poms to sort!

Sorting Pom-Poms Sorting Pom-Poms

2.) APPLE PIE PLAYDOUGH- A new recipe that I found on Pinterest, this playdough smells AMAZING!  A small, welcomed whiff of fall in the abnormal, ninety degree weather we are having in the Northeast. You can find the recipe here—> http://jugglingactmama.com/2014/09/apple-pie-scented-play-dough.html

Apple Pie Playdough Apple Pie Playdough

3.)ANTONYM WORK- We did a lot of work with antonyms this week. We defined antonyms and identified pairs when we read. The Foot Book and Old Hat, New Hat  are great books for this activity. After we read The Foot Book, I traced the girls’ feet and they illustrated a pair of antonyms they chose.

Antonyms

Antonyms Antonyms

How was your week?