We are so honored to have our friend Sarah Rodriguez, author of the book From Depths We Rise, here with us today sharing her story. It’s a story of tremendous loss and tremendous beauty and we know you will be as moved and encouraged by it as we are!
Last weekend I watched my daughter run at full speed and jump off of a dock into a lake. Over and over again.
I watched my son figure out how to turn a kayak into a paddle board and catch the biggest fish of his life.
I watched younger kiddos splash and play while I got to have meaningful conversations with their mamas.
I watched the sheer joy on faces after biting into a s’more filled with their version of the perfectly roasted marshmallow (Do you like yours golden or burned? There was great debate over this!)
I watched as my husband quietly served our community and displayed the very heart of leadership.
I watched beautiful sunsets where the light hit the water in such a way that it looked like the entire lake was covered in glistening diamonds.
And I watched it all while my phone sat in my purse in our tent.
I watched it all without the option to post it on Facebook even if I wanted to since there was no wifi.
I just watched it. Savored it. Allowed it to create an imprint on my mind and my spirit that will last much longer than any update on social media.
And I realized that my soul was being filled with something I don’t think I even fully realized it needed.
It needed to be both disconnected and connected at the same time.
Disconnected from the online world and connected to the REAL world.
Now, let me be clear, I’m not someone who is totally addicted to screens. But, my job requires me to be connected to them. I stare at a screen as I write our second book. I stare at a screen as I write blog posts. I stare at a screen as I share on social media and as I lead our online book club.
So, since the screens in my life can’t really go away from me, I have to go away from them.
And there was something so glorious, so much more ‘normal’ about just sitting at the end of the dock with the love of my life as we watched our children kayak around the lake and not feeling any desire to commemorate the moment by putting it on Instagram.
Sometimes I think we fall into the trap of thinking that if we don’t share our activities with the world then it’s like they aren’t really real, or that they didn’t actually happen.
But, the truth is that the most real-ness we can experience is simply being fully in the moment. Taking a mental photograph and tucking it away in your memories, knowing you can pull it out at any time, not just when Facebook decides you need to be reminded of it.
Our time at the lake provided me with such a glorious escape that when we arrived back home, I almost didn’t know how to re-enter the online world. And I kinda didn’t want to.
There were so many life-giving, soul-buffering, heart-filling moments that I needed a bit of time to process it all before I could bring myself to stare at a screen again.
I realized that I need to stop feeling guilty for stepping away from it all (blogging, writing, social media-ing) from time to time. I realized that without the time at the lake last weekend, I may have sunk further into the weariness my spirit has been feeling lately.
I’ve determined that maybe we all need to get back to that time when we didn’t feel like we had to tell everyone every single thing we did during every single moment of the day. That there is something sweet and sacred about knowing that only those girls who floated on the rafts with me in the middle of the lake will remember the hilarity of that moment because no one took any photos and no one posted about it on social media. We are forever bonded together by that experience and we don’t need to prove it by sharing it with everyone.
The lessons I learned last weekend at the lake are ones I’m going to hold as closely to my heart as the memories that were made.
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou
Thank you so much for meeting me at the fence today dear friends,
P.S. The photos included in this post are stock photos. See! I really didn’t get any pictures of our time at the lake! 😉
Our Aunt Christine has been one of the biggest supporters of At the Picket Fence from the very beginning. We’re fairly certain she was one of the first (if not THE first) person to pre-order a copy of our book Life in Season. All bloggers know that it’s never a guarantee that your closest friends and family will actually read your blog, so when they do, it truly means so much.
Happy weekend! We’re so thrilled to have Shannon here with us today giving us a tour of her gorgeous modern farmhouse home. Grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy!
Hello At the Picket Fence readers! My name is Shannon and I’m an interior designer, author and one half of the creative duo behind the DIY and design blog, AKA Design. I’m honored that Vanessa and Heather invited me to share my home with you today. Hello and welcome!
This is actually my family’s fourth house in the last ten years. I know, all that upheaval and moving sounds dreadful, and truthfully it’s not my favorite thing to do. But because we live in one of the most expensive real estate areas in the country, we’ve had to slowly work our way up to this house. It’s been an adventure fixing up houses, that’s for sure! (You can see our other three houses here.)
Happy Saturday!! One of our most favorite things to do on a Saturday morning while sipping coffee is to just take our time to meander around the interwebs looking for beautiful inspiration and fun new ideas. And, today, we’re bringing back our Weekend Wonderings series where we’ve put together a collection of some of the best decorating ideas, recipes, crafts and heart-felt blog posts that we’ve seen recently.
We want to continue to have At the Picket Fence be a community where you don’t just hear from us all the time but where you also have access to some of the best ideas and inspiration out there. So, let’s welcome the weekend together with these wonderings!
Traveling for work can seem like such an adventure…at first. But between time changes, delayed flights, uncomfortable hotel beds, food that doesn’t settle well and a packed schedule, it starts to lose it’s luster very quickly.
On a recent flight home to Portland after a whirlwind trip to San Antonio where I was filming a segment for a show there, I was feeling especially weary. Up since 5am (3am Oregon time) and coming down from my coffee high, my head felt like a jumbled mess and as we descended through the clouds I lifted the window screen to gaze out at the scenery below, hoping it would calm my racing heart.
The wind was whipping around us as we were spinning and twirling through the yard.
Arms spread out, we laughed as dizziness set in before we tumbled into the lawn chair together.
She wrapped her little arms around my neck, snuggled in tight and said,
“Don’t let me blow away mommy!”
It was one of those moments in life where you wish you could stop time. You long for a way to bottle it up so you won’t ever forget how soft her skin feels against yours. How her little fingers played with your hair as we sat quietly together.
And my heart began to ache.
I’m pretty sure that free furniture is the best kind of furniture. Well, maybe I should clarify that. I’m pretty sure that free furniture that is vintage and lovely and perfectly fits a space in your home is the best kind of furniture.
A couple of years ago, my in-laws moved into a retirement community and with the purchase of their home came several items left behind by the previous owner. Some were…ahem…interesting to say the least.
But, one piece was a beautiful vintage Drexel dresser. My mother-in-law/love knew that I had been looking for something to replace my giant china cabinet that I had recently sold and she kindly offered me the dresser.
Last week all four of us traveled to Georgia to attend my beautiful niece’s (Heather’s daughter) high school graduation. It was such a special time together with our entire family and was filled with laughter and memories we will always treasure. And we actually managed to get a photo of ALL of us together which hasn’t happened in…..oh….about 5 years!
On our last day there we were riding high on the fun and the storytelling and the hysterical laughter which accompanied playing the game ‘Speak Out’ (Have you played this yet?? We were crying from laughing so hard!) and all of the little moments that come together to create a truly memorable occasion.