Hey friends! Our shop is still closed but Steph is blogging again :)

Long Time, No see! Six Months Later...

                                                 me and my "bean"

Hey Friends!

It's somehow already been six months since I closed up shop on December 31st. It seemed like a good "ending for now" date. And to be honest- I haven't really missed the selling piece.  I miss other parts but I see now very clearly that the shop itself and the way I was doing it doesn't fit so well into the healthy and sustainable way of life that I want to lead. It has been an enormous relief to not have to drag my tired self down to the garage to pack orders every night while my husband cuddled my kiddos and got them ready for bed. It's been lovely to be with my family every night and to dabble in some new things instead and have some mental space to be creative in different ways. I miss having the shop because it was my baby and I felt attached, but beyond that- there's finally been some space to take a deep breathe and it has been just what I needed. 

Having taken a break for six months, I'm not even sure how I did what I did before as long as I did. I don't feel like my life isn't full now or like there's space to design, test product, order materials, pack orders, photograph product, answer customer questions and keep up with the finances. I'm starting to understand why I felt it was time to take a break.

Ironically, the very thing (Beholden) that I had originally started with a hope to share and inspire others to slow down and live a quieter, more beholden life ended up growing into something that began to be the very opposite of that.  It became something that always felt like it was hanging over me with never ending tasks and requirements of me. I could no longer keep up with it in a healthy way during this season of my life with littles in tow. 

So- what have I been doing with my new found freedom? First things first! I've been going to bed earlier and getting some more sleep. It has been truly lovely. I've always been someone who needs more sleep than most. My husband said I hold onto my bed like it's a life saver- and he's not wrong!

I've been a bit more creative in the kitchen. This week I made chocolate granola and last week a blueberry cobbler from fresh blueberries we picked a from a friend's a few miles down the road! I've started to have a reasonably clean house because I have time to do chores.  I even mop occasionally! We have hosted more people than we have in a long time, and I've been more available to friends. I've started dabbling with watercoloring and Nature Journaling with my kids (3 and 6) and we are all loving it. We added 5 more chickens (we now have 10 since we are down 2 from the original 7- but more on those crazy chickens later!). I've had more mental space to wrestle with thoughts, ideas, and concerns about how I want to live my life, how I should live my life, and what my purpose actually is and how to best follow Jesus in this town within the limitations I have. It's still a bit murky, but it's been really healthy to just sit in that.

I also started chipping away at some of my gardening dreams outside. I perhaps got a bit overly ambitious after watching Erin from "Growing Floret" and decided that I also wanted to be able to walk through fields of flowers with armfuls of freshly picked blooms with the wind blowing gently through my hair . So, I grabbed a few grow lights from Amazon, got some starting pots and soil, and repurposed beholden shelving to attempt growing my first zinnias. I decided that would be a good start since they're "beginner friendly" and known to be a bit hard to mess up. It seemed like a safe bet! I made quite a few beginner mistakes despite watching her tutorial on starting seeds from scratch. I planted them WAY too early and had to do a second batch. Lesson Learned. Then I waited a bit longer than I should have to harden them off - again, lesson learned. And I think I watered them too much when they were inside- again, lesson learned. AND I didn't know you were supposed to turn the lights off at night... (just a tip in case you DIDN'T know that)- again, lesson learned. They're now outside in the ground- 35 zinnia plants after an original attempt at 100 seedlings. They're flowering and were looking great until this week when I discovered Japanese beetles were having a feast on their leaves. And then a skunk. Not joking! Apparently skunks also find them irresistable and I watched it getting very frisky with my zinnias just ten feet from my deck as I stopped just in time to not get sprayed. I have more stories on my gardening attempts- but I'll save my saga on that until next time! Lets just say that we are quite a ways away from armfuls of freshly picked blooms.

Finally, I've also been doing tons of research on homeschooling, educating myself on educational philosophies, homeschooling practicalities and legal requirements.  Thankfully, I remember quite a bit from being homeschooled myself and have found some really great veteran homeschool moms to ask alllllll the questions. This fall we will start homeschooling my son for kindergarten and I am truly excited, albeit a bit nervous for this adventure. I'm really loving Charlotte Mason and her philosophies and have been dipping my toes in habit training, Nature Study, and memory work. I think it will be a good fit for us. 

If it sounds like things are pretty full over here, it's true. Also, I got really used to the slower pace of 2020 with so much quarantining. So with things reopening it feels like a lot is happening. I am not necessarily less busy since taking a break from my shop, but it is a different kind of busy. Things like gardening and cooking more naturally fit into our lives and create a slower paced home that I'm excited to share with my kids more than running the shop did.

With all of that said, the truth is that I do miss writing and I have been itching to share some thoughts on here that have been slowing forming inside of me. These have a general thread and seem to be on topics that are close to my heart like mothering, sustainability, gardening, rest, honesty, community, nature, faith, friendship, limitations, hope, struggle, and homeschooling. I don't plan to perfectly curate or perfectly execute. I'm not sharing as an expert. But, I'm going to show up with honesty. I might even show my face. Oh wait, I just did! That's a first around here!  I'm excited to start conversations about these topics moving forward and write more about what Beholden Life was always meant to be about. Inspiring you to embrace a pace of life slow enough that there's margin to breathe and quiet enough that you can hear the still small voice of our good, good God.

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