The Regent University library (or really any library) and the Appalachian mountains (or any campsite)
At Home in The World
One of my favorite authors, Tsh Oxenreider, released a new book this week! It’s called At Home in the World and it chronicles a nine month trip she and her husband took with their three young children around the world. I got my copy yesterday and started reading it last night. I’m quite enjoying it, I had to make myself put it down and go to bed! I’ll be posting more about the book soon, but to help her celebrate, I’m accepting the invitation on her blog to write about where I feel at home in the world.
I couldn’t choose, so I picked two places: a library, and a campsite.
I love books. If you know me, or you read my blog for very long, this will become apparent. I grew up in Kansas City (same house, 18 yrs) and went to college in Oklahoma, then I moved to Virginia Beach to get my masters at Regent University. Now I live across town in Suffolk, VA. I’m in a season now (with a toddler and a baby and two boys in school) where I don’t often leave the house unless I’m going to the office for a quick meeting, or to get the boys from school. My life since leaving home has consisted of eight years focused on being a student, and then eight years as a full time mom with a part time job at home.
I’ve recently revived my hobby and passion for reading and writing, and I remember fondly those eight years of which many hours were spent in the respective school libraries. Sitting in a library for several hours to read or write is not something I have actually done in years, which makes that answer a bit odd. Until it occurs to me that if I were to walk into a library tomorrow and sit down to work on a project I would feel quite at home — even if it was a library I had never been to. And I think that is quite a delightful and wonderful thought.
I love camping. My husband loves camping. He was an eagle scout so he is good at camping (which makes it really fun). And I think all kids love the outdoors and mine definitely love camping. As many things as I love about camping, my favorite is definitely the campfire. We always buy wood, and we still collect wood throughout the day to be certain to have an hours long fire in the evening. After a full day of activity, and nature, and a dinner cooked over the coals, the sun sets and we break out the s’mores supplies and add more wood to the fire. We circle the camp chairs and watch the fire go through its cycle of bright flames with fresh wood, to a warm glow with the wood collapsing to the higher brighter flames of fresh wood stacked in a cabin or teepee formation depending on the wood shape and size. We tell stories and look up at the stars and take turns taking kids to the bathroom. Eventually they go in to the tent and fall asleep. And that’s my favorite part, that special moment when all you hear is the wood crackling and the wind whistling in the trees. I love to sit and stare at the fire, alternating with staring at the stars and the woods.
And I feel at home. When we set up a campsite, whether it’s a much beloved camp ground we frequent, or one we’re visiting for the first time, each time we go camping, that campsite feels like home for a couple days, and never as much as when I sit beside the fire and feel that for one evening all is exactly how it should be. In the moment, I am home and away. Which is exactly what I need. I need to be away, to get away from the noise, the schedule, the demands, the city, the house. But just like Tsh says, I love my armchair with my bookshelf of books. But I also love the wildness of the forest and the lake and the ocean. Nature is amazing, and I love that when we go camping, I truly feel at home in the world.
I’m grateful to Tsh for pointing out this dichotomy in my life (I love an intriguing dichotomy). I can’t wait to finish her book and post about it. Stay tuned!
Note: I’m working on decluttering my house using Tsh’s guidance in her book, Organized Simplicity. I’ll be posting about that soon (hopefully soon!) with before and after pictures included.