Tuesday, January 26, 2016

these january days

I love photos. You wouldn't know it if you came to visit me at our home. I think I have one actual photograph hanging on our wall, and it's a photo of our family when there was only four of us and Lily was about two. In fact, one of my friends used to make fun of my lack of photos considering how often I have my camera in my hand. I just don't know.

However, I do have many, many photo albums, and it's always a delight to look back through the years and see how the kids have grown and the things we have done. I'm always so happy when I receive our annual Shutterfly book. It makes the hours of organizing it online worth it - when we have that finished picture book of our previous year.

I also find myself simply enthralled by others' photos. Admittedly, the photos on blogs are what draw me to certain blogs. I love the capturing of each moment. I love to see the story of others' lives played out in photos. There are times that I have found myself just studying particular photos, taking in the light, the shadows, the details. I think it's the right side of my brain that pulls me into the artistic aspect of photographs. 

When I worked as a visiting nurse (in my former life, pre-homeschooling), I vividly and clearly recollect an elderly woman that I had to visit to draw blood. She lived in an old apartment building, in a tiny little efficiency apartment. She was so frail, so fragile looking. She had her oxygen on, coursing into her old lungs the necessary substance of life, and I helped her onto her sofa and prepared to draw her blood. As I was pulling out the needle and the bottles, I glanced at the wall behind me. 

There she was. Sitting in the typical 20's style restaurant that you would imagine. The tufted booth (I imagined it red) and many photos on the wall behind her. It looked like it would have been a lively place. She had dark, dark hair and dark lips. Her hair was styled in a wavy bob, and beside her sat a handsome gentleman with slicked back dark hair, looking very dapper in his suit. Huge smiles on the faces of both. In the prime years of their life, probably around the same age that I was that day as I sat there on her sofa getting ready to draw her labs. 

It just struck me and struck me hard. The life she had. Her husband. Her children. What did she do in her spare time? How did she spend her days as she lived her life, growing older each day? 

Gosh. This poor, fragile woman once lived a vibrant, full life. She faced many of the same problems and complications that life was going to bring to me, to anyone who is alive. 

Though I don't remember her name, I can still see her face. The photo on her wall was burnt into the hard drive of my memory. It was such a vivid reminder to me to live each day, to live each day of this short life fully, and to be thankful for the blessings from God. 

So I think that's partially why I love photographs. They capture those moments in time. They capture faces and places and adventures and sometimes even awkwardness (I have some REALLY awkward photos from junior high dances) and fears. 

That, my friends, is why I read through photos. I do love words. Words enrich the mind and the life, but photos speak to my soul. And so I capture the simple moments of our mostly simple life in photos. That's why I do it. And that's why I share those photos here. 

And this post? Whoa, an overload of photos in this post, eh?  

We've had the sickies in our home over the past week or so. This is actually the first annoying sickness we've had so far this winter so I'm thankful for that. 

I made a big turkey dinner this past Saturday, and with the leftover carcass, I made bone broth. Have you ever made bone broth? I make it anytime I can. It's easy, especially if you do it in the crockpot like I do. There's no worrying about watching the stove-top fire when you use the crockpot. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about (bone broth????), go here and read.)

It turned out that I needed that bone broth sooner than I thought. My intention was to freeze it and use it in a few weeks. Then Ian woke up with a sore throat and cough on Monday, and so, last night that nutritionally-packed bone broth was used as the base for turkey soup. You really should consider making it. It's packed full of nutrients, and it tastes so much richer and fuller than regular old meat broth.

Hmmm. What else is going on here? Well, we are doing some small renovations. We painted the entryway and installed some new lighting a couple of weekends ago, and then this past weekend, Brad and I tackled the hall bathroom. Painted the walls, ripped up the flooring and replaced it, painted the vanity, and we are working on replacing the trim. So we've basically been living with the contents from various rooms in our living room. I've attempted to put everything as much out of the way as possible, and when I cringe as I walk past the piles I try to remind myself of how nice everything will look once it's all done. How do people live through kitchen renovations? Oh my. Well, I suppose we'll find that out in a few years or so when we tackle that huge project.

I forced myself to go down into my studio earlier today and clean it. It's been a mess since our open house back in December. I cleaned it partially sometime after that, but I've been busy with a fundraiser which wrecked it even more. But with all of that mostly behind me now, I managed to put everything mostly back to normal. Gosh, do I love having things cleaned and spaces cleared. A clear space clears my mind. 

I think it's been a long time since I posted about our little hobby farm. We still have rabbits, alpacas, the goats, and lots of chickens. And, of course, there are the two spoiled dogs who are pampered in the house.

I'm really regretting not breeding the goats this past fall. I really want some baby goats. Gosh, they are unbelievably cute, fun, and mischievous. Next year, I'm really going to work on that, breeding them. The problem is that I don't really know of anyone local that has a male Nubian goat that we could borrow. And I'm very hesitant to purchase a buck because I've heard from numerous people that they are extremely stinky animals, and I'm not sure what level of stinkiness I'm willing to deal with. We've already got a fair amount of stinkiness with all of the manure. Hmmm. 

So this very random, all-over-the-place blog post just filled you in on the last week of my life. Thanks for all of your comments. I've really been enjoying reading them, and I've really enjoyed allotting myself time each day to read everyone's blogs once again. 


Billie Jo said...

I so enjoyed looking through your lovely photos this cold January evening.
And I loved your story as to why photos are so important to you.
I share that same sentiment.
I too often see people, often at Mass, and think about what their lives may have been like.
My mother recently gifted me several photos of my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents...all in black an white...
I framed them and hung them in a small gallery in our kitchen.
I look at them often and study the things they were doing...the moments of their lives frozen forever in time...and smile.
I love sharing our lives with them and knowing a part of them lives on through us.
My...I've taken up space here!
Again, thank you for sharing.
I hope you are all on the mend.
Have a cozy evening. : )

Simply Quaint said...

Good morning Amber..... Oh what a wonderful to read about the photo, does make you ponder in your mind what you have seen in your life and what does stay in that little memory bank of ours....I had to laugh about photos on wall, I am just now starting to put photos up of my family, I have a little gallery of my grandchildren in the hall, and have started placing a frame here and there as well....I have tons of albums as well...I love pictures I just sent off 200 to be developed lol...
I love your craft space such a cozy area.....and bath redo, oh please share I love seeing updates....we have been doing some ourselves, our next precut is ripping up the carpet in front room, aka soon to be finning room, wood floor going down. I am not a carpet person..

Thank you for sharing I love reading and seeing other people's lives too...

How did your open house do? Any photos?

karen said...

I love photos too and when a post has them I drink them in, I prefer photos over words any day. I love how cozy your home is and welcoming! I was a speech path back in the day and I did home health and loved visiting my patients and hearing about days gone by. Sweet memories.

Faye Henry said...

Lovely post.. Both photos and words... xo

Lisa said...

I have a crockpot of bone broth simmering as I type...made with the chicken I cooked in the crockpot yesterday. So good!

Thanks for the peek into your home/life/farm/kitchen. Such wonderful photos! :)

Megan @ Restoring the Roost said...

Beautiful photos!! I make lots of bone broth too--anytime we have leftover meat bones and then I just freeze it. I bet having goats is really fun--they are one of the animals we considering eventually keeping!

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

Your photos on your blog is what has drawn me to stay and peek around as a first time visitor (not in a creepy way...lol! I love all of them. They speak LIFE!

living from glory to glory said...

You are such a good writer and your photos always make me think and dream!
Blessings, Roxy