Hello, friends! If you follow me only when I write words you’re a little bit behind. I’ve been short of words lately. Run clean out of words. But don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. We got cold, had three feet of snow, got stuck, got plowed out, got cold again (or were still cold?) and Milo told the story over and over again about how he got his head stuck in the snow.
Now, that’s not quite as bad as it sounds, either. He came off his sled into a snowbank and had to be pulled out. It was kind of all of him that was stuck, and not for very long. But he remembers the experience as having his head stuck in the snow and nobody can get through the front door without being told about it, possibly more than once.
Also, please note: we have a front door. That isn’t brand new news, I know. We’ve been celebrating it for a month and a half, since we moved from our long-term temporary housing into our timber frame cabin in November. We moved into the house and then we had thirty-one days of partying, Thanksgiving to Christmas, vlogging it all and living it all, moment to moment, day by day.
It was good.
Then we all thought it was time to rest, and we were right. But resting took a little longer than we thought it would. Because having 31 days of celebration is almost as tiring as having 100 days of trying to get the house done in time. We basically slept for a week straight, and then we got three feet of snow and Milo got his head stuck in a snow bank. So, there you go. Now you’re completely up to date.
I don’t particularly know how I’m spending my time or focusing my energies, moment to moment. Next steps in my creative life are fuzzy. I’m spending lots of energy still promoting What Falls From the Sky, but I’m happy about that. I’m proud of the book I wrote, and I’m touched by how well it is being received. Nothing wrapped up in a bow, or even extraordinary — no bestseller lists — but there’s a slow, gentle kind of moving forward. A satisfaction and sense of welcome. A thing I used to call “the spark.”
I’m not entirely rudderless, either. I do have a word of the year this year, as I’ve had for the last several years. I’ve known it for a bit of time now, and it’s perfect as my word of the year always is. But also challenging.
I knew this year wasn’t a time for any metaphysical transformations. It wasn’t a time for leaping. It wasn’t even a time for bravery. This year I needed a practical word, for a practical time in my life. I thought it might be “deliberate” or “grounded” but who am I kidding, I can’t pull off either one of those words. Maybe when I’m 50 years old, check back. But there was another word that I couldn’t get out of my mind, and what’s more it was going to bring those other two words along with it.
This word came right through the door in my 31 days of new-house, new-book party and it crept up on me while I slept for a week and it was still there when we plowed the snow away and here it is.
My word for 2017 is “teach.”
I’ve always loved teaching. But I’m not an always, all-the-time kind of teacher, or a simple one. I’m one of these people who sees gray in all the things, not just black and white. I think many lessons are learned better by taking the long way. And I usually think there are at least two right ways to accomplish every task.
But I can’t live a Peter Pan life forever, either. Spiritual lessons are learned well in circular paths, but using a canner or pressure canner correctly is something you should really just do right the first time. I should know because I’ve done almost everything all wrong. Now I feel almost a moral obligation to advise others better in any way I can.
The way this really is playing out right now is on my personal channel, with my Skill of the Month Club. I’m teaching two or three times a week over there and it’s a little more like school than anything I’ve done in a while. But this is a year for practical things.
Teach will be my word when I speak at the Homesteaders of America conference in October. Teach will be my word when I write ebooks and pay attention to my homeschool kiddos, who are now ALL at the age where they can’t do education by themselves but they really need to do it. Teach is my word for this season for sharing recipes, and how to season cast iron, and how to take little steps to move into a simpler way of life. And teach is my word for taking up even further both respect and admiration for my mother, and for my whole family full of teachers — official and unofficial and brilliant all around.
So, that’s my news. That’s everything I’m up to. Sharing a book with the world and getting practical and pulling my son’s head out of the snow. I’m blessed indeed.
I wish you all peace this January, and the peace of simple things. I wish you the strength to get a cup of tea and clean your cupboards, and the satisfaction of taking small steps, in the right direction.
With love, from the little house,
The skill of the Month club is on Facebook here | Skill of the Month Club! | and on YouTube on the Esther Emery channel. You are welcome to join or haunt as it pleases you. And we’ll be doing it all year so pop in whenever you like. You are welcome.