...Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1:16 This is the journey of our lives...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

School on break...and teenager angst

 Oh the leaves! Oh the trees! Finding the fun outdoors has been our favorite this year.
 Having 4 seasons, turns out, is the best ever!
 Since our big move we have been getting back to a simpler homeschool style. I've always leaned towards, note booking, lap books and nature journals. However, this year I was panicked when I started planning for my 8/9th grader. Preparing for High School transcripts changes the easy going style I've always embraced. Thankfully, my oldest has an easy time of learning and has handled tests, deadlines and heavier workloads with ease. Not excitement, but at least ease. So although he is carrying a heavier day of online co-ops and high school credits, I'm still able to integrate the things we love into his day. Like nature journaling, art and out loud reading.
 We are currently on break and although my oldest finds joy in sleeping in and getting more time on the computer and late night TV (teens), my younger kiddos are still finding just as much fun outdoors.  And although I question myself on a daily basis and hope I'm doing enough, I am staying the course and encouraging a more natural learning environment for them. A slower pace...
And what happened on break, when we aren't doing school? The kids found something amazing outdoors and ran to get their journals. They spent the day exploring the recently drained irrigation ditch that had been underwater the entire summer . In the mud, they found animal prints and crawfish, seashells and shiny rocks. pictures were drawn, treasures were found and a day was spent learning.
I'm still trying to figure out how to get my teenager motivated...Minecraft is school right?

Monday, December 12, 2016

take time to look back, the future looks brighter

It's cold and dark this morning. 38 degrees, which is warmer than it has been, but dark so it feels like its 5am, when really it's already 7:30. Later mornings are less productive for me but I enjoy the quiet before the chaos so much that I sneak around the house to not let anyone wake up for as long as they'll let me. Quietly drinking coffee by my little space heater that looks like a fireplace, snuggled under a warm blanket, the dog sleeping at my feet. It reminds me of when I was a little girl and I'd wake up early to find my mom or dad doing the same. It was my favorite time to snuggle up and lay quietly while they finished their coffee and reading time. I find that these days, there are so many memories of my childhood that pop up, I wonder if it's because I am recreating all those memories for my children and I'm now the same age my mom was, so my recollection of this part of my childhood is so clear. Raising 2 more children than my parents and all very close in age, makes my job very different than my mothers. I have 2 brothers and we're all 6 years apart, her time with us was more spread out and she was able to really dive into the individual needs of each of us. I hope in doing life so differently I'm also able to dive into each one of my children the way she did. I already know that in many ways, I'm spread much thinner. But I do my best and hopefully, like me at 38 (almost 39), they will be looking back on how hard I tried and appreciate me even in my failures. Just this morning after a terrible night's sleep, I woke up to start my day ready for the challenges I might face. This world is spinning quickly and my children are quickly growing into taller people with opinions and dreams of their own. I'm having these moments where I se myself with my heels dug in, pulling at their shirt tails. And then other moments when I'm so thankful I can just tell them to go take a shower and go to bed and I can sit on the couch an watch them follow through with the directions I've given them and not have to get up once to help them. There's a sense of satisfaction in the ability to sit back and watch the beauty of what we've taught come to fruition in our children. Even in the small ways it feels like accomplishment...and as a stay at home mom, accomplishment is as fleeting as thinking you've ever got caught up on the laundry.

I'm reading a book called Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman and I've joined this group called Wild and Free. They are both designed around a simpler living, a retrograded lifestyle and slightly antiquated in comparison to the fast moving pace of society. This entire year and half since losing my dad has prompted this slower pace. I've always been drawn to a pioneer adventurer lifestyle, creating life where you can live off the land and find adventure in the wilderness. I was raised this way and still crave the freedom I feel when faced with wide open spaces. City living was always a temporary life for me, I found a place there and loved the elements of social business and simple conveniences, but my heart always new that open patches of dirt and rarely traveled paths were waiting for me. And now, after 6 years of wandering in my own dessert of unknowns I feel like I'm home. In a rural setting I know how to live, I know how to fill my time, I know how to homeschool. I have the resources to do the things I know. I was such a country mouse as a child and my dad was such a homebody, before I was 15 I didn't know how to use a city cross walk. I'd ridden my horse all day and crossed miles of ground, and could probably survive in the Arizona dessert for a couple of days, but don't send to me ride a city bus. I've still never done it. So here I am back to where I feel I belong. It looks different than what I thought, but God's plans always seem to differ from mine. (thankfully) The move has settled me, slowed my manic-grief, paced my busy nature and given me a place to make my own.

Living in transition is a hard place to settle in, since our move from New River 6 years ago, was hard. The place we called home was never our own. We rented in North Carolina, we moved after only 6 months, we lived with my parents, we rented my brother's home for five years. It sounds like a disaster, doesn't it? It could have been, but it wasn't. God found me there too. Kicking and screaming, he found me. He had to take some things first, our comfortable little ranch, our money, our extended family, my husband's anger and frustration and then our religion and the HE gave us Himself. It was the most beautifully painful transition I've ever known. And in it He gave us, our fifth child, a beautiful baby girl, 6 months living on the beaches of North Carolina with some of our best friends, 6 months of sweet time with my parents, time I will always cherish with my dad. A home on the corner of a busy city street where just 5 to 10 minutes away lived every home schooling family I could ever love and want to spend 5 years growing our children with. See, God didn't answer my prayers the way I wanted. He did better. I just kicked and screamed and cried about it a lot. Because I was too small to see the big picture.

In my smallness, I found out God is who he says He is, not who I said He was.

I found out God is who He says He is, not what other people say He is.

I found out God loves me.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

This mountain just makes me happy to wake up in the mornings.

The art of making pies has been passed down from my mamma. We love to do it and frankly, I think we do a pretty good job of it. But my favorite part is not the actual eating it, although that's quite a pay off, it's the art of making it with people I love.
 Seeing these little hands shape the edges of the pie crust,
 Rolling the dough so it's not too thick and not too thin,
 Blending each ingredient so the crust is just right, dry and not wet and gooey,
 And giggling. Mostly, we like the laughter that fills the kitchen...and oh the smells of cinnamon!
Each and every year, we come together and bake and create together.

I wish life could be pie making day, every day. Or pie eating day....hmm maybe both days on a loop.
Either way, I had to document this special tradition that is part of who we are.

And what has created the "foodie" in me.

Apparently I'm what you'd call a foodie. Mostly sweets, but I can also appreciate the meat and potatoes of a meal. My sister in law, who is also a foodie, told me once she loved movies and books about food. I didn't realize this was a thing, but in fact its like the best thing. Ever. Last year about this time, I was desperate for some mindless entertainment, mind numbing distraction from the grief and loss of losing my best friend and my dad. Baking became this thing I did with my hands and reading anything deep or meaningful was totally out of the question. So, I found books that were written about food. Not only cookbooks written by interesting people, but fictional characters who owned bakeries and solved mysteries while enjoying chocolate ganache frosted cupcakes. And as ridiculous as this sounds when I say it out loud, the more I want to re-read the Christmas novels I read last year! Apparently I'm not the only one, there are a million and 1 Christmas bakery books to choose from. But Christmas in Good Hope by Cindy Kirk was one of my favorites!

The light parade down main street tonight.

TV and Movies just for the holidays and Food!

Gilmore Girls
Julie and Julia
When Harry Met Sally (I'll have what she's having) ;)
Fried Green Tomatoes

Friday, December 9, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

The perfect weekend all around. Family friends and food with the backdrop of Fall gently settling over the river...

Hello old Friend, it's good to feel you again.

It's always the holidays that make me want to start blogging again. I start reminiscing about years past and Christmases that I'd like to revisit. No other time in life makes us think of the past like Christmas. I think it's because its probably the only month of the year that I actually do everything almost the same. My decorations and ornaments are brought out, looking old and crumbly from years past, the smell of a fresh cut tree, twinkly lights and smells of cinnamon and pumpkin pies. Feeling full all the time and the music. Christmas music can take me to times and places I've spent the holidays with the first few words of a familiar song. It doesn't matter how many times I've heard the familiar tune, my mind drifts to the very moment I was when I heard it last. I watch all the same movies each and every year and I even eat the same things with mostly the same people. Christmas is like a rewind button playing over and over, a constant state of  dejavu. Not in the weird way you dream something over and over and can't wake up. But in this delightfully predictable way that feels like your home. Something you can count on, like mom's stuffing, and making your kids leap for joy with a new toy. I normally don't like a lot of the same. I change my mind a lot. But a few rules apply, I don't change my mind about, my husband, my children, my family and Christmas. Everything else is game.

This is our first Christmas in our new house. It's colder, grayer, bigger, and better in so many ways. The changes in our families are paramount. Things I always thought I could count on have fallen away, new faces are being introduced and old ones have left. Some days it takes me a minute to even recognize this life and what its become and still becoming. But this month, December 2016, still feels like my old friend has arrived. Daniel and I have welcomed Christmas like the old friend we knew needed to show up. Holding dear the traditions we've carried on and began anew. Amongst the turmoil and craziness of life today, it's a welcome respite. Just looking back on this blog of Christmases past, it brings comfort like a blanket right out of the dryer. Which now means something to me since we've moved to the mountains!



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Zimmermann's Big Move #zimmsmovetothesticks

So here it is! We're moving! To the sticks..yep, to a little tiny town called Camp Verde. It's still in Arizona and is actually the first place my dad's mother's family settled, before Arizona was a state. (just got your history lesson in today) It's one of the few towns in Arizona to have its very own river that runs all year and most properties near the river are irrigated, which for a dessert dweller is a BIG DEAL! It also has about 3 of the 4 seasons, I'm used to just 2, Summer and Spring.

It's been a LONG.SLOW. process. We've been in escrow now for 90 days, yep 90. Thanks to this amazing USDA loan, we've had lots of circus type, fire ringed, people eating lions on the other side, loops to jump through. So at this point, we still don't have the keys but I've been promised that I will by Thursday. And well I just couldn't help myself.
 I'm showing the far away picture because this house needs some love. The light blue, rust and orange color scheme must go. But it has good bones and lots of character! Oh did I mention lots of green!
 This is the back yard...yes you do spy a river running through it! No, Brad Pitt and Robert Redford do not regularly fly fish here, I checked.
 The front yard view is pretty too, we just need a wrap around porch so we can sip on sweet tea in rocking chairs. (working that into the blueprints)
And just one more of the back yard, because its dreamy and I'm excited to host some pretty extreme parties down by the river.

SO just a sneak peak of the interior:
I know your hoping to get that black southwest metal art for Christmas this year. Careful what you wish for! I'm also guessing your hoping I'll share the color of rust that is all over those walls. I wish I knew because I would.

Being an hour away from life here in town will be an adjustment for all of us but one were ready to get used to for a slower, quieter life in the country.

I will be posting updates on the renovations...stay tuned!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016

Keep the change you filthy animal!

This may have a familiar ring, if your like me and tend to watch some of the same Christmas movies every year. This little gem is from Home Alone. Every time I say the word "change" , that line comes to mind. And over the past year it seems fitting.

Change is hard. Not the dollars and cents kind, I actually like that kind of change. No, the rock your world, knock you off your favorite comfortable life chair, kinda change. It's been almost a year since I've been able to write anything legible, read an entire book or sit through a movie without getting antsy or feeling overwhelmed. This. is. not. the. normal. me. I have changed. Life has changed. I'm trying to keep up and it's hard, no it's impossible, there is only today and I just have to survive it. Leaning on anything but the solid rock of Jesus would have left me sinking in the sand right now. I feel like that's a hymn I used to sing. It never made a lot of sense, but now I get it. I get a lot of things now and I'd like to be blissfully unaware again, but change happened. In my head I know that I will get to see once again, my dad, my best friend, my aunt, my babies I lost before I even knew them. But my heart cries out for them in a more tangible way than ever before. Grief upon grief changes you. I WILL SEE THEM AGAIN. I'm thankful that as a child God took hold of my heart and told me those truths. He knew I'd need a deep root of belief . So here I am working through change and surviving a lot of loss and some near misses. Realizing the mortality of who I am and everyone round me like never before. And honestly it makes no sense to be able to get out of bed and start a day with joy or hope. And yet, its been a gift to me. The fear that tries to cover me and stop me in my tracks is miraculously pushed back with a power that is not within me. It is that gift that gave everyone in all of history the ability to survive great tragedy. I'm only talking about first world tragedy....there are so many that make my grief look like a walk in the park. I know that in my head, but my heart can't process that. So like anyone, I can only truly grieve what I've survived.

Most days, I'd like to yell to the world "Keep the change you filthy animal" and well, I do. I'm guilty. I'm also human and perfectly imperfect in every way.

New change has occurred, over the last 3 weeks, I've read a book, I've sat through church without falling to pieces, I've watched an entire movie without getting up to clean something, I've even taken a nap. Something inside me is slowing down and allowing me to not be so afraid to feel my own heart beat. To except the change without so much anxiety and fear. I might not be so changed after all. I thought the grief had transfigured me into someone I didn't recognize. But here I am typing two full paragraphs of somewhat recognizable thought. My grief counselor was right, this is a process. I am changed. I hope for the better. More cautious to take time to say the things on my heart to my people. I've learned to love people who are hurting, I've learned that being alone and feeling deeply isn't so scary after all. I've learned that change is inevitable but it doesn't have to transform you into something you don't like. I've learned that if you allow it, healing can take place.

I am not the same, I've sustained an injury that may never completely heal. Like losing an arm or a leg. I know it will never grow back, but I'm learning to keep running the marathon. It's a whole lot harder and comes with great pain. But it's my race to be run and although the casualties have been great, the blessings are greater still.

Read John 17. It may change you a little.

Monday, February 8, 2016

I prayed for a word and all I heard was Quiet....


I walked into one of my friend's homes and on her chalkboard was a verse.

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10New Living Translation (NLT)
Within the verse, the word Masterpiece was underlined. I told her I thought the verse was beautiful and asked her why masterpiece was underlined. Her answer changed everything that year.
My friend's mother, prays for a word for the year. A word that will encourage her, guide her..I'm not sure exactly how she goes about getting her word. Honestly, that's a journey we all have to figure out. So when she has her word, she uses it throughout the year to find a verse and at the end of the year, she gives her children gifts that correspond with the word and verse. so i guess that explanation didn't really change EVERYTHING..as I so dramatically put. It was more the process that I found myself in while searching for the word. that I think actually changed EVERYTHING.
It was January of last year, and I decided to make a New Year's resolution to start journaling. I've made this same resolution since I was 12 and since I don't have any jam packed journals laying around, its a common failed resolution. But in typical New Year fashion I began the process. It looks like this: set the alarm for 6:30am...get out of bed around 7:00am...drag myself to the coffee maker...and the picture is clear. I'm not naturally a morning person. 
So I began to pray for a word, something that might guide me through the year, a verse that had a message. All I kept hearing was Quiet. Be still. And in this quiet came a strength that surpassed all that was humanly possible.
 At the time, Michelle was very sick and most of my time was spent trying to be available to her or her girls. I could have never known how this year would change EVERYTHING. 

journal entry - January 19, 2015 
What's a word for this year?
That's it quiet
quite my life, quite my words, quiet my wandering thoughts, quiet time, quiet my soul, quiet all my answers, quiet all my quick solutions, quiet my free time. 
I had no idea how much this small little word would help me survive the death of my best friend to AML (Acute Myleoid Leukemia) and then my dad to the same cancer that same year. 
In Quietness and confidence will be your strength. Isaiah
Last year, I was given a gift. Where I actually felt the tangible God that loves me. A voice spoke into me when I needed it most. 
My strength came from the quiet.