Be Here Now :: Heart Bits

4.13.2019


I recently saw "Be. Here. Now." written beautifully on a pillow. It isn't the first time I've seen it, but in transition seasons like this one, it was three words I needed to read again. I put it on my little felt board above my sink. I needed that permission. In a lot of ways, it's an invitation to be okay.

Transition seasons are the hardest for me. While the administration that is required to settle into a new space  ( All the To-Dos!!!) is fun for me, at about the six week mark the emotions begin to grow overwhelming and the processing of our current reality begins.

It can be  very easy for me to set my sights on a different season, or to pick up a new project, to try to transfix my eyes on something not...well...here. The dizzying feeling of not knowing where we'll be in a few years, or who our friends will be here, or if my daughters heart breaking questions unanswered will someday be resolved...It can make me fix my eyes on just about anything else but here.

I think the 'be here now' movement (started by yogi's I think...) has morphed into an anthem of sorts for a generation that is compelled into the future. We are a distracted bunch with our phones and plans and to-dos. So a charge to pause, to observe, to wake up to whats happening in front of us is almost always a good thing to do. I've seen a million variations of this idea. "Put down your phones. Look up!"

I'm finding it especially meaningful in this season to be willing to sit in the moments of discomfort. To feel the ache of loneliness and to grieve the loss of proximity from some of my favorite souls. Me being here means coming to grips with the reality that some days, in a new house, with a new city and with budding friendships is downright exhausting.

I crave being known. I crave knowing others. I crave that sweet space that sometimes, if we're lucky, can be found in the company of others. We found a family in Montgomery that made such a space, a few couples in Finland too. To now live in a reality where we haven't found it (and we're still learning how to make it.) is a hard place to be. He feels it, I feel it, the littles feel it.

"Be here now."

The conversations feel like they're in a loop. Talking through again and again as we assimilate new information. "Will it ever feel like home?" "Of course! Remember? It did there, and there and soon here." "But right now? This feeling? "

Eowyn has asked me unprompted a million times over "Is this what they mean by homesickness?"

The ache of missing has been laced in all our days.

Then, when sickness, like I'm currently experiencing, comes in and forces the pause, it's also a opportunity to heed those three words.  I'm back to the space of realizing my own fragility. The very little we control in our lives is never so apparent when our entire body refuses to relent in it's ache, no? I've grown to appreciate sickness. In a few days when this virus has run it's course, my normal day to day aches and pains will seem glorious! I can only imagine the pure euphoria when I run on those heavenly shores knowing that my 'normal achyness ' is also no longer my now.

But for today. We sit with the ache. With the sick. With the homesick. For now, we laugh at the delightful, and we make room for the heartbreak. We circle and circle and circle the conversations, turning them over trying to tease it all out in hopes it'll feel a little lighter. This is our now.

The life we've been called into this season, I've come to recognize, is an absolute gift. I get a very regular dose of getting to experience the reality that we don't belong here-this isn't our forever home. The desperate need to make friends puts me in a permanent position of looking out for others. Be a sojourner long enough, and one can't help but want to welcome anyone in. Especially when we've time and time again been the ones welcomed. The transience forces me to pray in the perspective that He has good works for us here. . Right when we start to feel comfortable, it often feels we're ushered into a new move.

I recognize my own fragility, my tendency towards melancholy, and the circumstances surrounding our life. I realize it all can make for a pretty volatile cocktail outside the grace of God.  But praise be to God, the author and finisher of our faith.

I had a dream right before we moved of being asked very pointedly if I wanted to decide to be the writer of our life, or have it written for me. It was a strange one, since everyone who knows me knows how much I love to draft a good plan. But, in that moment, I understood. Both were offered up in kindness. Not as if there was a guaranteed 'right.' God allows us in large part to write our own narratives, I think.

If we have eyes to see it though, I suspect we'll find that he invites us into a narrative of his own. This one tends to be, while harder more often than not, a much more beautiful story to live out. When we bought this house I started to feel my heart gripping tight to the narrative I wanted. Then slowly I realized, this house, this season, it all is temporary. We'll enjoy it in full while we have it, and when we're asked to move on, we will.

We'll set aside fret for now (and oh how I'm prone to fretfulness,)  and enjoy whats in front of us.

We'll wake up and be on the lookout for what we're called into. All the while making room to realize how fragile we are. Grateful that our faith compels us to believe that  He doesn't expect us to do anything outside of Him working through us, opening our eyes and hearts for opportunity after opportunity to make room for Him to show up.

I'm tired, right now. In a million ways. I'm weary and achey and tired. But I'm here in it, and I think that's good. I'm excited to someday look back at this now and see the way God carried us just like he has in every 'now' he's asked us to walk through. I'm grateful that this 'now' has so much loveliness laced into it.

Boston Children's Museum :: New England Adventures

Boston is a straight shot down from Concord. In about an hour, we can be at pretty much any part of downtown. We're slowly taking opportunities to explore it as our friends come through or we have something come up (like a few weeks ago when we got to meet the Finnish Honorary Consulate and make a trip to IKEA) This week, some dear friends from Alabama were here for a convention, so we asked if we could grab a quick breakfast with them before they had to be back at it.



We decided to check out the Flour Bakery, as per a friends suggestion, and it did not disappoint! Breakfast was awesome. We also spotted an owl just hanging out in one of the trees, which was pretty epic for three little ones. (It did freak me out a little when he kept watching Rowan walk to and fro-I think he was trying to see if he was a small enough snack.)  We definitely plan to go back to grab a snack of our own. It's located super close to the museum as well (walking distance) so we were pretty grateful to get to see our friends, then hope over for a few hours to visit the Children's Museum.


While pretty expensive (even those under two pay full admission price.) It was packed with activities that were gross and minor motor skill oriented.  Our kids had something to do in every single room, which I was impressed by. Hardly anything was nailed down (which can be a common trait of some 'childrens' museums.)  It's super stroller friendly and has bathrooms everywhere. Once you leave the museum, there were several places to eat as well as decent parking options when you arrive(we found a spot right away on a Saturday morning.) If you come to Boston with kids, I think this might be worth checking out.

Glad to have had a chance to visit.




Ice Castles :: Adventures in New Hampshire

3.29.2019




When I first googled things to do here in NH, I discovered the Ice Castle attraction. Unfortunately, their last weekend here was the weekend we moved, so I chalked it up to something to visit next year. In an absolutely awesome turn of events, the cold weather lasted long enough that they extended the opening weekend until we could go. We were able to visit the very last weekend much to my delight!




They had Disney Princesses. And horses. And slides. and epic icicles.

When we first walked out the wind was pretty forceful, so I was a bit worried it wouldn't be a good visit, but as soon as we entered, we were shielded. We all absolutely loved it.

Rumor has it that in the evening, they light up the place with different colored lights. Since our littles were still a bit too young to push too hard around 'dark' we hope to make it out in the evening next year.

If you go, I'd highly recommend wearing boots and leaving the stroller. They say as much on their website and it makes a great deal of sense. They have locations through out the U.S. and I definitely think if there is one near you, it's worth checking out.

Hotel Living.



When we were on the house hunt, we got to stay in a hotel for a few weeks before moving to an airbnb and then moving into our home.  One thing that always surprises me is just how small a space feels, and then how it quickly grows large enough.

I have so many thoughts I'm still processing over this entire move to New Hampshire. We felt it coming back in October, but I assumed a move wouldn't be for another year or so. I remember being pretty pumped that 2019 would be a 'chill year' especially since I had found so many incredible women to journey through life with there in Alabama.

So to then, come February, be on an airplane moving to a place we've never been (which has been our track record at this point) was a bit of a ride. I was basically just holding on to the hope that at the very least, the autumns would be pretty.

When we moved to New Hampshire, we immediately looked at homes the next day. The market here is so different from the south, homes we loved last week were already gone.  So to find the house we hoped for and put an offer on it over the weekend, and had it accepted...well, it all felt a bit crazy but totally the norm here (praise God he accepted the offer, as there were two other offers on the table as well.)

A month later, we moved in. A few days after that we slowly began the process of unpacking all our belongings and finding a new home for them. We keep reminding ourselves. "bit by bit."

Now that we're six weeks in, two weeks in our new home, looking back at the photos of our time in our hotel feels like ages ago. I think that is the nature of things when we feel like we're mostly underwater.

Ben's work has been a bit of a change of pace from Montgomery. While not crazy amounts of overtime yet, the demand is much higher, meaning new norms for all of us. On the Homeschool front we've found a promising co-op, and an exciting group through wild+free. I've found quite a few more resources on the homeschool front, which has been a major beacon for me. It feels like a really good move on that front.

We've attended a church that we're really enjoying, but are often reminded we're not in the south anymore. People are slow to warm up, which while expected, reminded me of that long season of loneliness I experienced when we first moved to Finland.  I've cried my share over the realities of no longer being 'known.'

While it isn't nearly the same (friends are coming much easier this time around. Praise!) It still has been good to do some heart work on how much identity and function can be shaken in the unknown for me. I've learned it takes about a year for me to feel like I know which way is up, another six months to feel like a place is our own. After that, its a bit heartbreaking to leave a place. Knowing how long it takes, it really has just been a reminder of taking things day-by-day. Hoping to be surprised if the pace quickens, rather than being discouraged when it feels heavy.

While we're familiar with transience, goodness we are excited to feel a sense of rootedness.

When we moved (and much of the reason we chose to say yes to this move) it seemed promising that New Hampshire would be long(er) term for us. While we aren't sure whether we'll get to be here for the duration of the project + production support any longer (perhaps it was always wishful thinking? only time will tell.), we're still grateful for the time we have here and especially grateful to be out of the hotel space.

Fortunately I've learned, regardless of what space we inhabit, we know how to have a good time.

About a year ago, I began unpacking just how much 'fear of man' played a role in so many of my decisions. I think its been a trying, but seriously encouraging thing to see the way God has carried and called out some of that trust in moving us again. Remembering to present myself genuinely, and without pretense has often been absolutely terrifying (Type enneagram six, where ya'll at?) as I calculate worse case scenarios. Yet, the more I realize that 'for such a time as this' we get to be here, the more I realize there's work prepared in advance for us to do, the more I feel bold enough to just keep showing up.

a total "yay god" as our dear friends in MN used to say:  about three weeks ago Eowyn commented "mom, I still don't have any friends." at bedtime. I responded "me either, baby." and it was absolutely crushing to realize how long it takes to establish friendships. My prayers that night were pleading for God to allow us some connections.

This week, the girl can list three girls by name that are her age that she thinks will be future friends. In the process, this mama has met some pretty beautiful souls as well.

"bit by bit." God keeps showing me he's gone ahead and I'm resting in that.

We moved!!!

3.24.2019


We received word when we returned from Christmas Holiday that Ben will be taking up a new position with his company in New Hampshire.

We felt the move coming for a few months, but predicted it would be a bit further out (we waited for a whole year before moving to Finland.) so for it be as sudden as it was was a bit of a whirlwind.

We've been here for about a month and a half and have since bought a house, found a church we hope to call home and most importantly, got a library card. :)

Our home is on about an acre of land, so all my garden dreams are running wild. We've got just a few more rooms to set up, a trip to IKEA and a enchilada date on the calendar.

Bit by bit, we're setting up shop.

I always forget just how long it takes to feel like things are home. This constant moving takes its toll and this mama. While we accepted the position hoping it was going to be more long term, it very may be for just a few years. Either way, we're going to enjoy the time we have here, I think.

It really is a lovely state.

We've already gone to see Ice castles! (More photos to come later.) As well and visited Maple Weekend where you can tour sugar houses.

We hope your spring is shaping up nicely, ours feels a bit like...well spring. The groaning of change, mixed with the hope of what is to come.

While this is the quietest the blog has been for quite some time, if you visit over on instagram (brittanysprague) I post there a bit more frequently. I'm finding as the kids get older, and we home school and delve into all our various hopefuls, I find myself less and less sitting down at the computer to edit photos and the like.

That being said, I'm not willing to let this old girl die yet. She started right when we got engaged (in the wave of all the millennials making blogs about their life!) and while most have moved over to instagram #instagramatemyblog, I still have a bit of a tender spot for blog posts.

So, thanks for visiting this mostly quiet corner over the course of all these years. Hoping to take more time photographing with my camera and less with my phone, which naturally means sitting down here to edit.

As always, thanks for reading.