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So, we moved.

We packed all the things and we drove west and here we are now, in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada.

When we left the little farm in Saskatchewan, a new family was just beginning to snuggle into the big old farmhouse. Two sweet boys and their parents, and a whole new batch of LEGO and toy trucks and dirty knees. It made me happy to know there would be bugs in jars on the windowsill of the kitchen, once again.

When we drove away from that little farm, I cried. Carter was with me, and my foster daughter, and I was tired from a long week-that-felt-like-a-year. I was on my way out-of-town for the last time and the farm was my last stop, and when I hugged the new farm-mommy it was a hello and a farewell and a I hope you love it here as much as we did, and I thought I was good. But then, as we were leaving, Carter asked me to stop.

I’ve never been brave enough to jump from that tree, he said.

Do you want to? I asked.

Ya, he said.

So I waited in the car and he ran out to the tree from which his brothers and their friends had jumped to often and so carelessly and he climbed it like a squirrel and without hesitating he leaped.

That’s when I cried.

Because of the leaping.

Because it was the perfect ending and the perfect beginning and because it was brave and cool and the absolute best last-thing-to-do-before-leaving-and-beginning-a-new-adventure thing ever.

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I’m packing a box of memories – stuff the kids have made over the years – and I realize all of a sudden, like the calendar just up and slapped me on the back, that in just over a month I will be homeless. It sounds more dramatic than it is, but still my heart quicks its beating for a minute or two as I let that realization and all of its complicated associated feelings travel from my brain to my heart.

And then, just like that, I’m excited. Finally, I’m excited. After being by times fearful and sad and confused and grieving, all mixed in with tentative anticipation, I’m plain old excited.

If you’ve been following along, we are moving. We’re selling the stuff and packing up what’s left and heading west, all the way to British Columbia. For lots of reasons that I’ll probably write about when I have more time, this move has been as much a heart process as a physical one.

A lot of things have changed since we began this new adventure. The original plan, back when we first talked about doing something else for a year, has been completely revised. That’s the nature of adventures, though, isn’t it? They take on a life of their own.

The one thing about that original dream that I want to protect, though, is it’s smallness. The simple, teeny tiny, cozy, delightful essence of what this whole thing was about when we started, in spite of how the details have changed, is still what is most important to me. In four words, this is my dream.

Less stuff. More fun.

More later…

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If I go for a walk down the back road behind my house, and if I glance to my right, this is what I see. Beauty, no? On a sunny, warm, early summer day, it’s glorious. It’s a view.

If I take the time to walk through the field to actually get close to the water, braving ticks and snakes and general inconvenient ground cover, and if I stop and lean right close to the ground and push away the grass, I see more. The close up. The detail.

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Some days I’m fine with the walk and the glance and the glorious view. Some days, I need to get closer.

Either way, it’s a good day.

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There’s a crazy calm after Christmas. A detox, in a way, after all the sugar and all the meaningfulness. Life is ordinary again, and it takes a bit of adjusting. But it’s a gentle time, made gentler by snow days that keep us all home and bound.

I took the Christmas tree down on December 26. Yep.

I started a book one Christmas-holiday day – read about three pages – and now it’s lost. I can’t find it for the life of me, so I started a massive declutter/purge/clean/reorganize challenge. Rather, I read about massive decluttering online but truthfully, I’ve not gotten much further along than that. The book is still lost and the clutter still mocks. I’ll get there.

It brings me joyful heart feelings to watch my son head out each day, snowshoe clad, to take himself and the dog for a walk. The dog needs it and so do I, he says, and I know it’s not just exercise. I must do more things this year that I need.

Is it just me, or is it ridiculous, the amount of planning and organization that goes into trying to get away for a weekend? We’ve been trying to get together with our good friends forever. I almost want to say forget it and stay home, or send the boys without me, but it’s one of those I need things I was just talking about. I need time with this friend, I think, and it will be worth the challenge of the obstacles, so I’m trying to make it happen.

And is it just me, or does everyone feel like January should just be one giant nap? Like, let’s all grab our blankies and pillows and we’ll meet up again in a few weeks.

And also, the whole new calendar thing. Is that fun for you? I’m trying out a daytimer (old school) this year, in my ongoing attempt to magically become a more organized person. It was kind of fun filling in the first few months with the potlucks and muffin Sundays and scheduled appointments, although I’ve already had to cross out and rewrite things more than once which at first was stressful because new book, but now I’m okay and quite happy with the whole process.

I am starting to think my second child will never get his driver’s licence. He’s almost eighteen years old! Today’s appointment had to be cancelled because of the blizzard, although taking a driver’s test in a blizzard would have been a very Saskatchewan thing to do, but honestly we are stuck in our yard until the friendly snow-moving man can plow us out.

And by the way, my one word for 2015 is finish. ‘Cause there are a bunch of things about which I want to write The End this year. Metaphorically, I mean. But you knew that.

Happy second week of January, friends.

It’s Monday and Lyndon’s arm is still sore and I talk him into taking the day off and we head to the city. When you live in a small town, a trip to the city is a big thing. In our case, the city is Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan. It’s a couple of hours away, and we pack up the kids and throw in the coolers to pack the groceries into, and we’re off.

There’s a kind of city routine we’ve fallen into. The familiar complaining about the road construction, the familiar complaining about trying to find a parking spot at Costco, the familiar complaining about all the traffic, the familiar complaining about the bad drivers.

We buy the groceries and find winter boots for the youngest and the kids buy season 2 of Duck Dynasty, and we head home.

As fun as a trip to the city is, it’s always sweet to leave it behind.

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I snap pictures while we are stopped at a railroad crossing. It’s a shock to stop there; I’ve not seen a train on those tracks in the ten years I’ve been driving that road.

I take cellphone pictures of the train, and the snow geese in the field, and we are barely down the road again when Carter needs to stop for a pee. And then Lyndon too, and they pee on the vehicle’s tires on the edge of the road and not a single car passes.

Today I’m noticing the sweetness of prairie drives and coming home.

In all the big and little ways of being happy, there are not many that equal coming home.

There’s something about walking into familiar, you know? Even if the boys have been on their own all weekend and the house can’t keep their messy secret, outing them by all the dirty dishes in the sink and the scattered this-es and thats.

Homecoming is the final gift of home-leaving.

I was away for the weekend, a road trip by myself. It’s been a long time, just the CBC and me, and the long prairie road. I drove by photographs I didn’t stop and take – the leaning hip-roofed barn, the wild turkeys, the hawk on the fence post – and I sang off-key and I thought mindless thoughts about things I don’t remember.

Manitou Lake, Saskatchewan

Manitou Lake, Saskatchewan

I spent the weekend in the company of women, sharing writing dreams and listening to things said and not said, and tasting the rich chocolate of fellowship and homemade chilli and good bread and prayer on my tongue, with the words and the walks and the water.

I came home from it all to Sunday afternoon resting and eating and boy hugs and a husband and a nap on the couch, and even the Monday morning mountain of laundry can’t bitter the sweet of the time away, and of the return.