Before breakfast

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The rhythm of life here is different at Floating Axe Farm—even though the “farm” part of that name consists, for now, solely of 16 hens smack dab in the middle of the very awkward, very ugly pullet phase.

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The perfect year

This is the season when the school year stretches before you, clean and promising, like a fresh spiral notebook, or a box of flawless, sharpened pencils. The lesson plans feel like the answer to all the niggling worries about learning gaps and keeping up with that perfect family at co-op. The extracurriculars are all perfectly lined up, in balance, and designed to facilitate the kind of “well-rounded experience” that everyone wants for their children. And you’re totally caught up on laundry, which is a sign. This is going to be the perfect year.

And it will be. I can promise you that.

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And so, we begin

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School is now officially, firmly in session this week. The rhythm is not there yet, but the heart is– and so far, I’d say 2016-17 is promising. The Lord clearly has lessons in mind: lessons in patience, in grace, and being a good student even when you don’t like the skill being taught. And those, by the way, are all for me.

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Paper dolls with a past

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I loved paper dolls growing up. Loved them. I had an amazing collection of all the usual suspects, but my favorites, by far, were  Trixie Belden and her friend Honey Wheeler. I played with those dolls for hours on end—alone, with friends, it didn’t matter. I loved constructing elaborate homes and scenarios in which to recreate the details of the stories with which I was so smitten. I simply loved Trixie, and Honey, and every aspect of their wild, adventurous lives. Playing with paper dolls allowed me, for a moment, to step into the story, and narrate them back to myself in a whole new way.

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The revolving door

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Jack is home; Mary Hannah is gone. The revolving door that seems to have been installed in our family– the one that will stay in motion, no doubt, until Jude is old enough to swept up in it– is doing its work here. In, and out, and in again … over and over, I watch bags be packed and add traveling snacks to the grocery list, I make “Welcome Home” banners with the littles ones, I plan homecoming meals. Missions, and college, and camp, and missions again.

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The distressed perspective

The whole time we lived in North Carolina, I wanted to paint the huge cabinet that anchored our family room. When the piece was unloaded from the truck that brought it to our house– part of a generous load of furniture donated by friends of friends– I saw it and was delighted. I’d always wanted a grown up cabinet like that– one made of real, heavy wood, with actual doors, and that didn’t require assembly. I wasn’t wild about the light oak finish, but I was so excited to see it in place that I decided we’d move it in, then move it out for refinishing when I’d made up my mind what it ought to look like.

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