I’m way past due for an update here. Those of you who know me or have been watching me for a while know that I get grumpy when I haven’t done my verbal (written?) processing thing for too long. So here I am. A lot of what I do on this blog is what Madeleine L’Engle taught as “cosmos out of chaos.” I need this every day, though once a week will do. Take all the wild, disorganized and sometimes ugly bits of life, and roll them around together until the beauty comes clear.


We had a truly magical Christmas. Many of you haven’t known me long enough to know that for much of my life I hated Christmas. It’s true, I did. Just flat out hated it. Esther the Grinch. But I started to come around about five or six years ago, and they’ve gotten better every year since then. First I decided to invest in the Christmas things I did like, and then I decided to run away to a yurt in the hills and escape from all the Christmas things I hated.


Prize to the stubborn! We had a perfect Christmas, lots of cosmos, hardly any chaos. There’s not a thing I’d change.


Except what it felt like the next morning.


Oh, it wasn’t a hangover. At least, not the chemical kind. It was a homestead we-didn’t-work-at-all-for-two-whole-days hangover. We were snowed in, the four wheeler wouldn’t start, ice was all up in my business, everywhere. I couldn’t open the gate to the goat pen because I hadn’t shoveled it, and the water was frozen not only at the pump, but also down further, where we had opened the earth to make a water line into what will soon be our house.


{deep breath} Okay. I get it. No vacations for you, homestead wife. 🙂


It still feels pretty cold around here. And we still have a foot of snow on the ground. But nearly two weeks have passed since then, and now we’re into our winter routine. Still rough by city standards but at least not marginal. There’s plenty of water, though we have to work for it. The solar panels are cleared off (though not yet in the picture above) and all the paths are shoveled out, and there’s plenty of wood.


Just today we cut a standing dead tree to pad out the woodshed. We were so busy in the late fall we didn’t gather quite as much as we should have then. I had quite a time rolling the rounds down the hill in the sled track. But as usual, my work — cute as it might be — is absurdly inefficient compared to Nick. He overtook me dragging a big load of rounds in a wooden box, with Stella perched on top like the queen of winter.


Those two love snow. They’re mountain people. Milo and I have our coats on all the time and stacks of books around us and we do go out, sure, but it’s to admire how impressively cold and white everything is before we come right back in again. Stella and Nick are the other kind. They actually aren’t happy unless they’re out in the cold at least a bit every day, and the harder working they are for that time out in the cold the better.


It’s good for all of us to work, though. Even the lazy ones. If there’s one lesson we’ve learned from our nearly three years of off grid life, it’s this. We’re all happiest when we work hard. Not counting, of course, working hard for ridiculous and high stress causes in toxic situations. We’ve also tried that and it didn’t work as well.


{grimace face}


But I think of the angst and awkwardness I’ve had in past times…always trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do, and what my true gift is, and what God has planned for my life. There’s something wonderful about just letting those worries melt away, because I have bread to knead, and snow to boil for the dishes water, and Sadie is learning the alphabet, and there’s wood to stack.


I can only take so much of the weight of my life. This body I can carry. But my soul is sometimes just too much. If I live right, one step at a time, that heavy soul feels a bit lighter. More entrusted to God, I think.  If I throw my back into it — to use Nick’s phrase — into making a life that I believe in, one step at a time, I don’t worry so much about trying to justify myself or prove that I am worthy to be loved. I know I’m doing what I can.


I think that’s the blessing of hard work.


Still, I don’t regret taking a couple days off for a magical Christmas, either. We all need a minute, here and there, or maybe a couple of days, maybe even the least convenient couple of days…to work the cosmos out of chaos.


Happy New Year, friends! I will blog here more, I promise. Because I like blogging. But of course I’m all over the Fouch-o-matic YouTube channel. I post there two or sometimes even three times a week, and I have about ten videos in my head that I want to do ALL AT THE SAME TIME RIGHT THIS SECOND, so I doubt it will slow down anytime soon. But also I know not all of you are the video sort. (Honestly, I’m not sure that I am the video sort. How’s that for irony?) I’ll be over there but also here again as well.


I hope wherever you are, friends, you’re receiving warmth and comfort and some kind of inspiration. And I hope you have some hard work, of the good kind.


Love from the yurt.