Big Changes At the Mustard Seed

Hey there!  Hi there! How’s it going?

Speaking of going, I’m moving.

Not physically.  I’m too old and too tired to do that again.  I mean, it’s only been a year and a half since we moved across the country…  Nope.  Different kind of move.  One that I hope you’ll join me on.

You see, I’ve decided to focus solely on my Facebook pages The Mustard Seed @TheMustardSeedBlog and Mustard Seed Creations, and eventually on Instagram (we’ll see).

I had been debating this move for quite some time and decided that it was time.  If you hop on over there you can read my latest post which explains, more or less, why.

I hope to see you there!  But it if don’t, know that I have enjoyed sharing little glimpses of my life with you on here as well as the occasional snapshot.

Thank you.

Summer D.

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Good Morning

Visiting Spring Brook this morning. What’s in my composition book? Developing the back story of two of our main characters.

I find that I’m a combination of plotter and pantser (..”by the seat of your pants” type). I don’t know exactly how everything (or even what for that matter) will unfold in the town of Spring Brook, but I do like knowing who the residents are and how they fit into Spring Brook before I start. Or at least as much as I can.

She’s full of surprises that Spring Brook.

I won’t reveal too much, but I can tell you that when I write, my characters are the sum total of who I am and who I wish I was.  I think this is why plagiarism is such a heinous crime.  Plagiarism is essentially robbing someone’s soul and relabeling it as your own.

Spring Brook is built upon who I am, how I process the world, and what I feel.  I can’t wait to share it with you, whenever that might be.  Until then, I’m so glad I’m able to share this process with you.  Thank you.

I’ve gotta get back to the Brook, but first – take a moment and drop me a comment – How did you meet your best friend? How long have you been friends? And how have they impacted your life. Answer all or one here or on my Facebook page The Mustard Seed @TheMustardSeedBlog

Home Office

I thrive on atmosphere.

While some might find that silly or frivolous, I find that I do my best when I’m in an aesthetically pleasing space.

In order to be more proactive with my writing I’ve scheduled writing time into my daily “schedule” (I’m not organized or cool enough to have an actual schedule.) This “schedule” is subject to change, and does often due to my husband’s constantly changing schedule. Right now what works for us is spending our mornings together until a little before noon.  At that time he heads up for a pre-work nap and I head over to my computer in the dining room to sit and stare at the monitor and online window shop. (I’m very good at filling a shopping cart and then closing out the browser after I look in horror at the total.)

We’re currently watching Grantchester on Amazon Prime during our together time. If you haven’t seen it- you should.  Especially If you love period shows like Downton Abbey but want a bit more murder and mayhem. I highly recommend you try it.  An inspector and a priest solving crimes together in 1953. Well, I think that’s the time period.  I’m too exhausted to think.

I’m over here sweating to death as I peck out this post.  I love Maine summers but what I would love even more is air conditioning.  We don’t have any.  (Well 5 out of 6 of us don’t.) I decided to write this while I “cool off” from rearranging what used to be the dining room.

You see, I did it again.

Some of you may remember my older posts regarding our dining room in New Mexico.  If not (or you’re new), you can find it here. Back there I took over the dining room out of necessity.  There was simply no other place for me to set up my own writing space.

IMG_0518Here in Maine I’ve a whole plethora of options. If you had asked me a year ago when we first moved in if I would convert my new dining room into my office/study I would have broken out in hysterics and declared no way.

I had a tiny room on the second floor just for me.

 

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Well, mostly for me.  We all know that mom’s never get a space all to themselves.

img_4326 It’s a good thing this dining room (no matter it’s function) is big enough for all of us, because I guarantee they will now be in here all the time.  Just like New Mexico….IMG_0491

Back to the now.

That little room on the second floor was mine for only a few months before we decided to upgrade and move our master bedroom to the finished attic which up until that point had housed two girls.  Those two finally ended up with their own bedrooms after years of begging and pleading and countless rolls of duct tape used to draw lines in their previous rooms…..IMG_5501

The kid in the plaid pajamas ended up in our old master bedroom (which has the only window air condition unit by the way.  She refuses to let us in to bask in its frosty delight.) Our youngest took over my office.  It’s just big enough for her twin size bed, the bookcase and a dresser.

From that moment on I was a nomad. A writer with no home, just a computer, her wits, and a bag of snacks. IMG_4285Ahem.

I had first set up camp in what I thought would be my new permanent home- the dormer area of my new attic bedroom.  It was perfect.  Window seat with views of our front yard, deep built in shelves that held my printer and other junk.  And a good spot for a desk I bought from my neighbor for $5.  I even had privacy.

Too much privacy.  Therein laid the problem.  I was two flights of stairs away from the hub of our life.  And the coffee maker.  Not to mention there’s no bathroom in the attic.  I lasted 2 or 3 months before I made my first move down to the kitchen nook.  Then the living room.  Back to the kitchen and finally I settled for the dining room.

Just like New Mexico.

Only this time I wanted to be here.  I still have options including the nice and chill basement, but I like being near the bathroom, the porch in case UPS stops by (I do love Amazon) and of course- the coffee maker.

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The coffee maker is over there somewhere I swear.

So here I’ve been for a few months now and it’s been great.  Except, it wasn’t quite mine.  I was sharing with the dining room.  A dining room, might I add, that only sees actual dining a few times a year. So after chewing on the idea for the past few days I decided to stick my metaphorical flag in and claim this rarely used room.

I don’t waste time once I hatch a plan. Much to my family’s chagrin.

I started by hitching the chandelier up higher.  This enabled me to claim the table as my desk.

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I needed it closer to the wall so I could plug in my computer. My original plan was to have the table parallel to the wall with the mirror and sit between wall and table but then I’d have a cord hanging.  Hello hazard!!

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I then enlisted my son to help me move my big, ugly, but very comfy leather chair and pedestal table from the living room.  I’ve plans fo that wall, but for now it’ll wait. IMG_4283

My green desk is now chilling over on the side.  This is where I’ll park my computer when I need the dining room.  The majority of chairs are now downstairs in the basement where they will remain until needed.  This desk will also serve double duty as storage and the occasional landing spot for one of my four kids while they do their “school work”. (Homeschoolers, we use “” for everything.  “Everything.”)IMG_4282

There’s more to do.  The cabinet behind me will be robbed of it’s collection of coffee mugs by the end of the day.  In their place will be books and the odd knick knack or two. And eventually that wall above the old squashy chair will be full of inspiration.

Here I sit now feeling tired but satisfied.  I’m home.

Two Words

Earlier this year a seed was planted in the garden that is my mind.

Sounds fancy when I write it like that, doesn’t it?

Basically, after years of digging and rooting for inspiration on my own I finally stopped and gave it to God. (What can I say? I’m stubborn and a slow learner.)

I prayed and I waited.  Big shocker here but two words popped into my head one Sunday morning. (I love it when He does that, don’t you.)

Spring. Brook.

Within the course of a few minutes those two words grew into a town brimming with life.

Spring Brook, Arkansas. (My home state)

The ideas started flowing then. Much like the brook that runs through the fictitious town’s park.  A park that is situated across Main Street; full of worn brick buildings filled with wares of delight and necessity all beckoning at visitor and resident alike. Sounds lovely? Don’t worry, one day you and I can visit and walk the paths that meander throughout the pages of the books.

Within a few hours the town of Spring Brook opened up and showed me that there’s more to her than meets the eye and that one book just wouldn’t be enough.  Two simple words became a concoction of words forming the flesh of characters who are now after six months more friend than fantasy.  Two weeks after the seed was planted a town was born full of old friends whom I’ve never met.

And so I set about growing a garden.  One filled not with soil and produce, of course.  (I’ve a black thumb. In fact, I hold the distinction of being able to kill even fake plants.  Let that sink in.)  Rather a metaphorical garden containing the small town of Spring Brook.  A town full of people searching for God’s love and His purpose for their life.  

Two simple words whispered into my ear and placed upon my heart during a Sunday morning sermon.  Two small words that are ready to grow into something only God has foreseen.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m slightly overwhelmed and at times just downright terrified.  What if I can’t do it?  What if I’m wasting my time, and even more so- His time? What if—well the list goes on.  It always seems to grow doesn’t it?

When one sets about growing a garden, one must be willing to tend it.  This includes pulling out the weeds.  All of those fears and doubts? They are most definitely trying to choke the roots of what’s been planted, and I’m ashamed to say that at times I’ve let them. Along with other weeds besides the obvious.  Such as procrastination and distraction.

I’d be naive to say there won’t be any more weeds.  They’ll come.  I’ll be ready though.  I’m tired of letting the What If’s keep me from this.  I’ve got my tools and I’m ready.

It’s time to go to Spring Brook.

 

The Price Is Right

Yard sales for the WIN!

I scored this awesomely huge tv stand for …are you ready for this?….$10. Whaaaaat?! It has tons of storage for our components and dvd baskets and the red color compliments the fireplace. Not to mention it tones down the walls (haven’t gotten around to painting yet).

Aaaaaand that’s that.

mainly because I pressed the publish button on accident. Note to self- no happy dances while editing. Ha!

So I’m updating real quick. This is what we had there. See how messy it all looked? Not to mention there was no dvd storage. I love this shelf – a $75 find on Amazon prime. I had bought it for my kitchen breakfast nook, but had repurposed it when we needed a taller tv stand.

I am happy to report all is right in the world now. Well, in our house. For now. I do seem to love rearranging.

This $10 stand isn’t going anywhere though. It’s too heavy.

The Simpleness of Simplicity

I tend to overthink.

Huge shocker, I know.

I’m most aware of this tendency of mine during key moments of my day. Getting dressed, figuring out weekly meal plans, and when faced with life-altering decisions. Hello homeschooling, cross-country moves and leggings as pants.

Is it possible though that it’s bigger than this? That the inclination to overthink and over prepare permeates my entire day?

I’m currently at the lake as I write this. Seated on an old weathered table perched atop a sloping stretch of green. My eyes are occasionally moving from my phone to the two little girls wading in the cold waters of a northern Maine lake on an early June day.

Our day started as any typical Sunday. We woke up not long after the sun and prepared for an amazing morning of worship. Naturally this included me spending a ridiculous amount of time before the mirror.

We did the obligatory grocery store run after excusing ourselves from engaging conversations with friends following the service. Even started our Sunday dinner in the slow cooker for when we returned from the lake.

Ahh the lake! One of my most favorite places to be here in the summer months. Just a few miles from our home it’s perfect for whiling away the time. Such a simple thing and yet how many times do I waste those precious hours with preparation? From the gathering of supplies to the ordeal of dressing appropriately, the seemingly easy task of enjoying simplicity is quickly mired in a web of complications.

But not today. No, there was no time for that. With obligations looming there was no time to make things complicated. We just threw on our sandals and went.

As I sit here watching these two little girls in shorts wade the water in their search for shells and other such treasures I can’t help but miss those days. Days of simply being simple. Days filled with half thoughts and notions. Enjoying life simply as it is.

I want to be simple too. So in the spirit of simplicity, I’m going to end this post and simply push publish. There will be mistakes and inconsistencies I’m sure, but I hope you’ll overlook them and appreciate this entry for what it is.

Traveling Back

I am traveling back home soon for my 20th class reunion. I wasn’t able to make it to my 10th and I’ve been counting down since. I’m excited and a little anxious and so ready to get on that plane.

A few new friends have wondered what in the world would possess me to WANT to go to a class reunion. For them the idea of eating glass while set on fire is more appealing than attending theirs. They’d rather drop dead than buy a ticket for their reunion. Let alone purchase a plane ticket. After all, why would anyone want to go revisit their past?

I can’t answer for everyone who chooses to go, but I can answer for me.

To start us off, how about I quote a pretty well known English author. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times-”

When it comes to memories of my formative years, they are most certainly scattered about the pain scale of 1-10.

At times I felt I fit in. I played in the band, twirled flags and excelled at eating cookies in class. At other times it was painfully clear I stood out. Like the time at the end of my sophomore year when my mother felt the only way to combat an age old battle involving hair and certain parasites was to shave my head.

The beginning of my junior year was excruciating. I still remember vividly the first week of school. Most of my lunch crowd from the previous year had conflicting schedules and I found myself not only without 90% of my hair, but also without any friends to eat with. Not wanting to sit in the cafeteria alone I chose the glass enclosed atrium as my fortress of solitude.

Huddled against the wall, having chosen the ground rather than one of several wrought iron chairs, I tried to eat my sandwich while avoiding eye contact with the group of hard core punks gathered across the room. I tried to drown their mocking jeers with the sound of my chewing but it didn’t work. Their accusations and snide remarks that I was trying to be like them found their mark.

As I sit here and write this I have to admit, there’s a whisper of that long ago pain squeezing my heart and causing my eyes to water.

Words hurt.

They can also heal.

I might have spent the first week of the 97′-98′ school year alone at lunch, but for the remainder I found my place. With friends who had always seen me, the real me, hair or no hair. They knew me even when I didn’t. Their words encouraged and held me up. Their belief in me stood in and took charge when I had none for myself.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Growing up is painful. And it’s not limited to our school years. I’m STILL growing up. I’m learning and growing every day through moments of victory and absolute failures.

I’m going back this coming week because the me I was back then helped me to become the me I am now. And to deny she ever existed – that’s just unacceptable to me.

I can’t erase the past. I can’t take away the pain of rejection. I don’t have to. I’ve given all of that to my God. He’s got me in His hands. All of me. The past me. The present me. And the future me.

I’m excited to see old friends and can I be honest? I’m also looking forward to meeting those I never truly knew. And there’s a lot. Our graduating class numbered in the upper 300’s. I know this thanks to social media. I also credit social media with helping me to reconnect with old acquaintances, some I’d never really gotten a chance to know. Mostly because I was so wrapped up in my own insecurities and battles, I’d never given them a chance. I’d just assumed they could never like me.

Want to know something I just recently discovered through these interactions? Those same people I thought wouldn’t like me were thinking the same about themselves at some degree or another. We all have doubts. We all fight fears.

I still have a few as June 1st gets nearer. What if’s are aplenty especially after 20 years, but I’m not letting that dictate my choices.

I’m going.

I may be bigger than I was and my dance moves are whiter than the new albino panda that was discovered, but that’s not stopping me. I owe the old me that. She didn’t always embrace life back in school, but she will this week.

Now if ya can just pray for me – traveling makes me a neurotic nutcase. I’m not scared of the flying part. It’s the getting me on the plane part. Navigating unfamiliar airports. Throwing all my stuff in security bins quickly so that the masses behind me don’t die from waiting 2.5 seconds. And mostly – not dying on the human conveyor belts. I trip. A lot.

Spring Things

Well we might be late to the party here, but I am happy to report that Northeastern Maine is finally getting with the program and it’s looking as if Spring is officially here.  To celebrate we cleaned off the side porch, which also happens to be our front porch for all intents and purposes due to it’s proximity to the driveway.

IMG_6693A certain ten year old in a turban joined me on the porch to just breathe it all in.

Oh, and to steal my phone…..

 

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The sight of a bird perched atop a tree across the street had me reaching for my cellphone to take a photo, but wanting more , I dashed inside and grabbed my camera to get a little closer.

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IMG_6639 Satisfied I turned back towards home (I may or may not have alarmed my neighbors by traipsing into the street) and I just couldn’t help but grab a few more shots.

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And apparently neither could a certain little junior shutterbug.

IMG_6697Speaking of bugs, now that the hummingbird feeder is up and filled, that shouldn’t be too big an issue and you’ll soon see more pictures from our porch.  Maybe.  We might be too busy snoozing in the pair of rocking chairs…..

Until next time, this is Summer D saying take it easy.

 

 

The Stevens Family in Black and White

 

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If you’ve been following along this past week then this adorable family will now be familiar to you.  If you’re new (hello!!! Welcome!!!), then this and this are apart of well…this. Go ahead, don’t be shy slide that cursor over there and give it a little click….

Now, scroll down and enjoy the third and final set of photos from our “spring session”.

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We had so much fun that it was only inevitable that we’d end up with so many good shots.  A majority of them are in color, but I couldn’t help but do a few in black and white, I mean how gorgeous are these two close ups of Mama Stevens?IMG_3753 2IMG_3752 2

Some of us enjoyed the session a little more than others….ahem…while a certain Little Stevens wasn’t as impressed with the romance of the moment.

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Thank you again for going on this journey with me and sharing in what was a very wonderful day with new friends.

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