Over the Horizon: When God Moves Us Beyond What We Can See

The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way,

Where many paths and errands meet.

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of The Rings

The year began as others have, with new plans and goals and hopes. We try to think ahead and prepare ourselves as best we can, but as humans we never can tell what the future holds. And this year has shown us all, I think, how little we know about what will happen tomorrow or the next day. I don’t know about you, but I am a little weary of hearing words like “fluid” and “pivot” and “adjust.” As comfort-loving creatures, we would almost all prefer to keep things a little more controlled, familiar and predictable. Oftentimes, however, this tendency is actually not in our own best interest, and sometimes God has to shake things up a bit to get our attention.

As I sat down to write this post, a picture came to mind of Frodo Baggins in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. He was just a young hobbit, setting out on a journey to an unknown destination, uncertain of his task. In my own personal life, aside from all the national and international chaos and crises, God has been mapping out a journey for me. This path is going to take me beyond my comfortable little hobbit hole and out into my own patch of wild and unexplored territory. This change is happening on two fronts simultaneously, and it all sometimes has me looking off to the horizon and feeling overwhelmed.

The First Path

Back in June, Alisa Keeton, founder of Revelation Wellness, announced that the next session of their instructor training program would be completely online for the first time ever due to COVID-19. Then she added that the cost of training would be half what it normally is. My heart skipped a beat when I realized that this might be my best opportunity to pursue the call that I sensed God laying on my heart 2 years ago when I attended Rev on the Road in Franklin, TN. After some prayer and talking with my husband, I knew that this was the time, and I joined Platoon 25!

But I am not fitness instructor material. This girl stinks at choreographed workouts, not to mention that she feels like throwing up anytime someone brings up leading group fitness classes. I’m not strong, or fast, or even very flexible. Beyond the fact that He wants me to get trained, I honestly have NO EARTHLY IDEA what God wants to do with this in my life! But in some strange way, the not knowing is a comfort. I don’t have to have a plan. I don’t need to see what is beyond the horizon. All I need is to simply trust that the Lord has it all prepared for me, and that He is getting me ready for the work He has for me to do. (To find out about Revelation Wellness Instructor Training, click the image below.)

The Road Goes On

The second path involves our whole family more directly, and it has us all heading into uncharted territory. In July, my husband was called by Bluefield College in Bluefield, VA to serve as their new Dean of Registration Services. Over the course of about 3 weeks, he had an online interview, an in-person interview, got hired, went on 2 unrelated business trips, and took us all house-hunting around Bluefield! It was quite a flurry of activity. He is now hard at work in his new job, and the kids and I are packing and cleaning and getting everything ready to move to our new house in our new state!

Bluefield is a unique town in that it crosses the border between Virginia and West Virginia, and it is situated in the heart of the beautiful Appalachia Mountains. For this born and bred Nebraska plains girl, driving into those tree-covered mountains was a brand new experience. Perhaps the more significant change for our children will be learning to live in town instead of the country. The house we are buying is right in the heart of historic Bluefield. They have never lived in a neighborhood before, and I have never lived on the side of a steep hill. The view on the horizon of our lives is certainly amazing, but it is also a little intimidating!

With Eager Feet

As I look out toward this future I can’t quite see, one thing is certain. God has us in position to be on mission for Him. What with being in town, our family can get more involved in our local community than we have ever been before. Even though I don’t know how God might ask me to use my RevWell training, I have a feeling He isn’t going to want me to just sit on the sidelines once I’ve finished. And what is more, we have a church and a homeschool community out there just waiting for us to find them, too! So it is with eager, though somewhat trepidatious, feet that we set out down the road. Truly, God only knows what lies ahead, just over the horizon.

A Brand New, Shiny Year

Ah, hello there, poor neglected blog and readers! I bet you thought I’d completely forgotten you and would never return! But no, I have thought of writing so very many times, and I simply kept talking myself out of it. The longer I am away, the harder it always seems to return. It is tricky to think of just how to begin again. But here I am at last, ready to dust off my writing cap and try it anyway, awkward as these new beginnings always are.

Since it is the early part of the new year, I am still thinking a little of the new things this year holds…a new year of AmblesideOnline with my son, beginning some gentle kindergarten lessons with my daughter, a shiny new bullet journal for my planner, a few tweaks for my daily routine, a renewed sense of balance in my approach to social media and tech, and lots and lots of new reading goals. It is all rather mundane and daily, but it is exciting nonetheless.

Unlike the last few years, I haven’t exactly chosen a word of the year for 2020. But if I did, it would probably be something having to do with intention, curation and habit. Over the last couple of months, I have been thinking a great deal about honing in on the truly valuable people, activities and things in my life. Weary of going through the motions of less-than-stellar habits, I am prioritizing intentional choices, making the most of the time I have wherever I can. My goal is to develop healthier, happier habits that will help me do just that. Our family has also been persistently decluttering both our stuff and our schedules, curating that which is truly important and joy-bringing in our family culture.

A few changes in my routine are along these lines, things like: applying digital minimalism concepts to social media and smart phone usage, tacking certain types of reading to certain times of day, and regularly using a habit tracker to see my progress. Each day marks a shift in my trajectory from just taking the path of least resistance to living with purpose and intention. Even when a change is small, it makes a difference!

What are you looking forward to as we embark on this shiny new year? Have you made any new goals? Do you choose a word of the year? I truly would love to hear from you in the comments. And if you are a fellow blogger (even if only sporadic, like me), if you leave a comment with a link to your blog, I will be sure to read your latest news!

Where Am I?

Testing, testing…Is anybody still out there in blog-land? I feel like I need to apologize for not being here myself. But supposedly, you’re not supposed to do that, at least according to the blogging gurus. Well, I gave up doing things according to them a long time ago. SO…..sorry I’ve been AWOL! There are reasons, and I want to explain.

Last time I posted, I was getting ready to go to the AmblesideOnline retreat. I thought I would come back and be able to write a post about all I learned. But life got so busy that I just haven’t had the time to do that. But I can say that it was an amazing time. I am still processing and recalling to mind some of the things I heard and learned at the AO Camp Meeting. I am so grateful that I had the privilege to attend!

One of the main reasons I have not had time to get back to blogging again is that at the retreat I started working with some new podcast clients! I am so blessed to be able to serve homeschool veterans Angelina Stanford and Cindy Rollins with their new podcast The Literary Life. They needed someone to build a website, create show notes, and help with other behind the scenes technical work. My husband is taking over their audio editing after Episode 4, but I plan to start doing it myself as soon as I am able to afford a new laptop. It is such a joy to get to work with these two amazing women, not to mention getting to listen to their content before anyone else! 😉 And getting to bless my family by contributing to our finances is a gift, too.

Another thing that is taking up more time these days is homeschooling and building local homeschool community. My son has taken some local enrichment classes at the nature park in our town this spring. We try to attend park days with other Charlotte Mason families a few times a month. And now the kids are both in swimming lessons a couple of times weekly. Plus, I am trying to start a Charlotte Mason moms’ fellowship and study group in our part of Middle TN. Real life community always takes precedence over online life, so I have to make time for that.

But as with many good things, there is a downside. In this case, the more time I spend working online for other people, the less time and creativity I have left for my own blog. Since both of the podcasts I am currently working on drop early in the week, I can no longer keep up my commitment to Wellness Wednesdays, even on a monthly basis. I hope that in some future season, I can come back to that, but right now I just can’t. I am also going to take a break from posting our monthly memory work plans. I have a good year’s worth (maybe more?) of those in the archive, so I feel like it is time to move on from that for the time being.

My hopes is that I can continue blogging on a sporadic basis, and probably most of those posts will be about our homeschool or Charlotte Mason/classical education or books, because those are the areas in my wheelhouse in this season. I hope that if those things interest you, you will hang in there with me even in these quiet times. So, all that to say, if you’ve been wondering where I am these days, that’s what’s going on! See you here again, maybe soon!

Wellness Wednesday: Reporting on the Luddite Experiment

At the beginning of October, I began what I intended to be only a month-long break from social media. You can read about that in my original post on “Joining the Luddite Experiment.” Now that it is nearly the end of November, I thought I should report on how that experiment has been going, because, as you may have guessed, I have not really gone back to Facebook or Instagram yet.

I have checked a couple of things on Facebook in the last week, namely the Close Reads Podcast group to find out when we start reading The Great Gatsby (this week!) and a local homeschool group to see if there are any exciting field trips scheduled in December that we don’t want to miss (nope). But otherwise, I have been perfectly happy to be off social media and plan to continue to stay away for the remainder of the year.

So what have I been doing with all that time I had been spending scrolling through feeds? Well, I find myself spending more time doing things offline that are important to me, like reading and knitting and journalling. I am less distracted or worried about what so-and-so out there in the world might be doing and more content to just live my little life right here with my family. I have enjoyed having local friends over for a homeschool mom’s book club, and I have reconnected with other AmblesideOnline parents on the AO Forum. I also have been enjoying more time spent in devotional reading and prayer in the mornings.

So, overall, I have to say that this time away from the hubbub of the virtual social scene has been exactly what I hoped it would be, and I don’t have any plans to go back any time soon. Especially now that the holiday season is upon us, I am looking forward to more cozy, contented days cultivating relationships with my family and local friends and doing what I love without worrying so much about what “everyone else” might be doing. My emotional and mental health have truly improved over the last two months, and that alone is reason enough for me to continue in this Luddite Experiment.


Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!


Day 26: Moment #write31days2018

What am I thinking at this moment? I am thinking how behind I am in this challenge! This weekend was not good for writing. But it was good for making friends and spending time with family and creating memories.

At this moment I am thinking about how fast the years fly by. My son’s eighth birthday is coming this week, and I am wondering how many moments I have missed by being distracted by less important things.

This moment finds me tired, but happy, after a sweet time at our church’s fall bonfire. I enjoyed chatting with friends and watching my children play hide and seek in the dark with the other kids.

I am thankful in this moment for courage to try new things and to invite new people into my life. My first time hosting a book study group for homeschool moms went well, and I am looking forward to next month!

This moment in time is one we can never get back. I do not want to have regrets, do you? Let us be purposeful and follow God’s direction each day so that we live in a way that pleases Him and blesses those around us.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

 

I am also linking up with the Five Minute Friday community today. To read more posts by bloggers on this prompt “moment” visit the link-up.