I’m still alive!

Obviously, things have been pretty quiet on the blog front, as I was reminded just today by my dear friend Melissa. That is partly intentional and partly just natural; I haven’t had too much to say lately. Truthfully I’ve always felt like my blog is the story of my journey out of grief — and now that that isn’t so much a part of my everyday life, I guess I’m not sure what the story is. So is there one? We’ll see. I thought I would stop by with a little update on how things are going.

First, there’s this guy:

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Behind him is our makeshift baby gate, which was totally ineffective once he figured out he could just push them out of the way.

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He is now 14 months old. The above picture captures him in a rare moment of repose. He is not walking yet (we are in no hurry for that milestone to arrive, honestly) but he is EXTREMELY busy pulling up, standing, cruising, pushing cars, stacking cups, and looking at the one page on his “baby’s first 100 words” book that has all the pictures of cars and trucks on it. He also now has three teeth, including one of his upper front teeth (it just poked through on Sunday!) which means soon he will be looking much more like a toddler. I know it’s very unusual to not have any top teeth at this age, but I just feel fortunate that I got to keep my baby looking like a baby for as long as I have. Soon enough he’ll have all kinds of teeth and be walking and talking — I am savoring these last few baby days for as long as I can.

This is also happening:

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Can you believe it?? In the back are two out of control cucumber plants and some bell peppers. The mass of green leaves are green beans. In the foreground, which you can’t see, are summer squash.

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SERIOUSLY out of control. We have had a very wet, cool spring which I think has helped matters tremendously, and it’s so exciting to watch the progress! I hope I’m not sidelined by any blight or blossom end rot.

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I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this.

There are also tomatoes in containers on the deck, like I did last year:

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I tried spinach in another pot, and peas and lettuce in the ground around the deck, but it didn’t take off. Too much clay and not enough sun around the deck (and, uh, too many neighborhood bunnies); poor soil quality for the spinach. Poor soil quality actually almost ruined my tomatoes, too, but a trip to the garden store for some fertilizer and compost tea helped them to perk back up. I am actually learning a lot about gardening this year and it’s been a lot of fun. I’m at the stage now where I’m realizing how little I know, but a) I’m starting to develop the resources I need to figure out the answers to my questions, and b) I also am starting to know my limits so as to not become overwhelmed. All I need to know is how to help my plants thrive this year, and next year if I feel able to, I can learn more and go from there. No need to start the urban homestead just yet. I just hope I get to eat some homegrown produce later this summer and feel like the effort we’ve been putting in has been (somewhat, at least) worth it.

Really, though, the vegetable garden has been a lot of fun. We rebuilt the raised beds (and by “we” I mean Steve and my dad) and filled it in with a mix of really high quality soil, and the difference in this year’s garden vs. gardens past is pretty amazing. Again, I think a lot of that is because we’ve had a lot of rain, but the most important garden lesson I’ve learned so far is that soil quality matters. Amazing, right?

I was unsuccessful putting vegetables around my deck, so I think I want to replace them with some perennials, but that project is more slow-going. I have made tenuous peace with the ugly bushes; we are going to replace the largest one with a hydrangea or a berry bush of some sort (anyone know of a nice, hopefully flowering bush that does well in a fair amount of shade?), but not anytime in the immediate future. One thing at a time!

The last update that I want to share is the most exciting, though. Are you ready? Here it is:

I got a job.

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YEAH.

I got a job working for my church coordinating the nursery! It is actually a perfect opportunity — it allows me to use (and build!) my gifts and professional skills doing meaningful work that I think I’ll really enjoy. It is a shared position, and I will be working about 10-15 hours per week, including every other Sunday and every other Wednesday during the school year. I can bring Will with me to the nursery and do the rest of the behind-the-scenes work from home. I will also, for the first time, be supervising others, so I am definitely thinking through and praying about how I want that to work.

It is a real answer to prayer, though. I’ve talked about it before, but I have struggled a lot in the past year without having any kind of professional identity or outlet for using my gifts, so I am incredibly thankful for the chance to join the working world in a way that also allows me the flexibility I want right now. To be totally honest, I often wonder whether I’ve let myself down for “opting out” when my career was in such a good place, and I still miss it painfully, so truthfully I am SO grateful for an opportunity to just continue working, treading water so to speak, while also being able to care for my child(ren, someday) and maintain my own schedule. It shows me too that God hears our hearts and that He does honor those deep desires.

Oh, and I do have a long-term plan here, I think. Since I just said above that I miss my career so much, the obvious question is, well, why not return to it? — I just think I’ve decided that rather than return directly to the workforce, I want to go back for my MSW in the next few years if it’s possible. Which is yet another reason why I’m so thrilled about this opportunity.

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Look, I just couldn’t find any picture that had a big enough smile.

 

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