I have been thinking about returning to this space a lot lately. That always happens when summer ends... autumn has always been my return-to-blogging season. Yet it has taken me weeks to actually sit down to type something this time. Mostly because I can't figure out where to start or what I want to share. I feel like that is probably what has prevented me from really resuming in years past. I log on, waffle around a little, share a few unrelated things and then eventually lose interest. So I am asking myself again... what is it that I really miss. 

I think the answer is that I miss taking the time to record things. I think it is valuable to slow down long enough to really see what is going on in the days and weeks that often run together. I also think that in this season I have almost no short-term memory, as I have seen evidenced in how I cannot remember to return simple texts and how recording homeschool hours threatens to make my head explode if I wait more than a day to do it. I am constantly relying on instagram posts to jog my memory about what we did for school on a specific day, but even there I have been posting less and less. 

So, here I am again... wishing I had never lost the habit of recording things but also looking back and wishing there was less "other stuff" from days of blogging past. That realization seems to be new to me. I really have no desire to write tutorials or reviews or any of those types of posts that I go caught up in doing for a while. At least not here. (I do plan to write things like that for my friend Jamie... you know, the one I said I might write for this time last year, ha!) So realizing that I get this urge to go back and clean up content until I get just the stuff I want. This is similar to the urge to deal with the 10,000 photos I have of Aiden's first 7 years of life. The similarity is this: both are completely overwhelming. So... maybe someday. 

Today, I am just going to be content with having visited this space, and who knows what comes next. The thing I know for sure is that it sure feels good to be hitting these keys, and the sound of this organic typing always makes me smile.  

Hitting the Keys Again

Saturday, November 7

A little flashback to the early days of this blog!!

Okay, so that title is cheesy and that photo is totally unrelated. But I have been spending the bulk of my online time lately working on helping my friend Jamie with her online shop and website: Pure Joy Creative. It has been really good for me to use this part of my brain again, but I have already written about that recently. I did want to pop back on here, however, because her website is live now (YAY!) and we are getting to a point where I will have more time to come back to this space once in a while.

I will be blogging for Jamie occasionally, but this space is still my online home and there have been many times in the past few weeks when I have wanted to come do some writing. I am excited that the desire to do that remains, and also that I should be able to follow up on it soon! I have a lot on my mind as far as what I want this space to become. It has served many purposes over the years, but now that I am entering yet another new season of life it is time to kind of find my next vision.

This blog began as a photography blog, way back in the day, and I loved how much I learned and the friends I made. Them when I first had Aiden, and struggled with postpartum depression, I connected with amazing women through sharing about that. As Aiden grew and life changed, I entered into the realm of homeschooling and taking on campaigns for brands I loved. Then there were the gap years!

Well, during those gap years, a big part of my time was spent working through my diagnosis with cPTSD and going through treatments. While I don't feel like I will write extensively about that, I do want to look at what I can bring to this space as a result of what I learned. So, anyhow... I am still here and still thinking about things. I am thankful for this space and the people who still visit to share this part of my world.

Photo by Kolyssa Teal
One a lighter note, today you can fund my much-loved Pumpkin Roll recipe being shared over on Pure Joy Creative. You will notice I had Jamie label it as "Chelsey's Pumpkin Roll" because my big sister was the original queen of the pumpkin rolls. Gotta give credit where credit is due! Head on over and grab your copy and pin that post on Pinterest if you really want to make me smile!

I can't wait to share more in the coming days! Happy Monday, friends!

The Project Bringing Me Pure Joy!

Monday, November 11

Yesterday was our first day using Ambleside Online this year. I realized when talking about how we were starting something "new" with friends that it isn't exactly new. We did use the AO book list for Year 1 back in Nebraska... right before life get crazy. In many ways I loved it. I remember those days fondly. We had our dedicated homeschool room and life felt like it made sense. (Or, more likely, it was crazy but hindsight tends to soften the edges of memories.) It was during this time that I fell in love with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. The Mason Jar podcast was also my first introduction to the Circe Institute, but I will write more about them another day.

So, anyway, I am not entirely new to Ambleside. However, I had decided several times since moving that I was not going to use their curriculum again. The website is clunky and I am a very visual person when it comes to planning. So, every time I would go consider using it I would decide it wasn't going to work for me.

Then, last week, we hit a wall in our homeschool. I had been trying to get through the remainder of 2019 using the online curriculum that has served us well through the messy transitions of the past year. I knew it wasn't what I wanted, but I couldn't afford the curriculum I had decided that I desperately wanted to use. There have been plenty of struggles with having Aiden use a screen for school since we have been more settled, but I thought we could make it. It turns out I was wrong.

I am not entirely anti-screens. I recognize the value of some managed use of technology for education. However, I homeschool my child because I want to teach him myself. So, for our family, continuing to use this online program was causing strain. I notice a big difference in behavior when there is a lot of screen use, even if it is for school.

I loved how much Aiden was learning, and how he could share really cool things with me each day. I think there are circumstances that make this kind of learning a good thing. I am certainly thankful for how it has served us in the times when we were without a home of our own, and while I was dealing with some pretty intense depression as I adjusted to life here in Missouri. It is just time for us to find our new "normal" now that we are (hopefully) more settled here.

I am pretty sure I had planned to talk more about our first day than go on and on about what led up to it, but apparently that is not going to happen today! Ha! So, I am going to wrap this up and say "to be continued" for now. I do really want to start blogging here again more consistently, but I have to make sure it all works into the life we are building here so it will be more free writing like this for a while probably. It does definitely feel good to be writing again... I have missed the sound of keys tapping as I process. It is good to be back.

Beginning Our Ambleside Online Journey (again...)

Tuesday, October 29

The past month has been really interesting for me. I have been working with a wonderful friend and artist to help her with some online projects. In my typical fashion, I have been alllll over the place. I started off thinking I would focus on one or two things, and pretty soon I was trying to learn all the things. It has been wonderful and frustrating (because: technology) and so, so good for my brain to be engaged in this way again.

A few years ago I got to do some similar work for my dear friend Stephanie. That relationship was one of creative synergy from way back in the days of our Edit Me challenge. (Anyone remember that? Wow, I miss those days...) It has been really fun revisiting what I have learned through the years... and realizing that so much of it no longer applies! Ha! That is the nature of online work. This has led to a need for lots and lots of learning. Webinars, courses, reading article after article. Talk about information overload!

Then, yesterday, something started to crystallize. I sat down with Matt and started talking about everything that I have been working on and learning, and I realized that there is something here. I am finally figuring out which parts of all this I love, and which parts I could leave. I am feeling like perhaps there could be a way for me to really help people with this set of talents God has given me. We still have a lot to discuss, and I still have a LOT to learn... but it will be interesting to see what comes of it.

I do know one thing. I am super excited to continue helping Jamie as she continues to create and inspire. I really believe in her mission to get the Word of God in front of more people, and help nurture creativity as we remember that we are created in the image of a creator!! So much good stuff. This week we are rolling out the website I have been building (which is why no one has seen much of me lately... I turn into a hermit when I am doing that kind of work) and she is releasing an amazing project that I am so excited about! Hop on over to the website and sign up to be alerted when it goes live!

Behind the Scenes - My Recent Project and What Comes Next...

Monday, October 28

There is something about the beginning of autumn that makes me want to blog. It happens every year. However, for the past two years I have just not been in a place to make it happen. So I look back at this space where I used to love sharing about my life and I find myself wondering...

How can I move forward here?

So much has happened in the course of two (almost 3?) years. I was diagnosed with cPTSD and started EMDR therapy. We moved... twice. The second move brought us over 500 miles and was anything but smooth. We were without a home of our own for 3 months. Matt has changed employers twice. Aiden has grown in the most amazing ways. Homeschool has been one of my greatest joys... but also a significant challenge during all of the chaos. I have dealt with serious health struggles with my mom and injuries of my own. At the start of this year we walked through losing Matt's father, and lost a couple dear friends shortly after that. It just seems like so much has happened that has changed me completely that it would be strange to just pick up and start blogging again as if no time had passed. 

And yet, this is just more of my story. While I feel like I am not even the same person anymore sometimes, the truth is that I value every part of the journey that has brought me to this point. Sometimes I find myself grieving the fact that I have been away from writing and recording memories for so long. I look back at the blog posts here, and I find that it is just amazing to see where I have come from. I see how much joy there was, even in the hard times, and I don't want the gap in memories to grow any wider. So, I will start writing again. Even if it feels a little weird. Maybe someday it won't anymore. 

Perhaps I can go back and fill in some of the gaps along the way. While I haven't blogged during the time away, I have kept journals and a private instagram account. I also reopened my public instagram at the start of this year. However, I find that I take significantly fewer photos now. I laugh sometimes at how Aiden will have thousands (an unmanageable number, really) of photos from the first 7 years of his life and then suddenly there are a lot less. A LOT less. My thoughts on things like photos have changed a bit. I actually wish sometimes I had taken fewer photos in those earlier years.  That is a post for another day, though. 

Anyhow, I have no idea if anyone will even see these posts for now. Most of my social media died when I abandoned things at the start of 2017. I am mostly just wanting to record life again, but I wouldn't mind reconnecting with some of the amazing people that made my life special back in the "good old days" of blogging. I guess I will just see where this takes me. No matter what, it feels really good to be getting ready to hit publish here. Really good. 

Almost 3 years later...

Saturday, October 12

I feel like I write a lot about living seasonally - although maybe it is more in my own journal than on the blog. If there is one thing I have learned since becoming a mother, it is that seasons change more often than the four seasons of the year we are all used to. Learning to embrace each season as it comes has been huge for me. It isn't always easy to recognize the changes. Often we refuse to believe it is really winter until we find ourselves scraping ice off the windshield. In the same way, I still regularly resist change until I cannot any longer.

A Season of Rest in God's Word

Tuesday, February 7