and tune in to get guidance on whatever challenges I ' m facing at the moment .
Periodically during these moments of quiet contemplation , I find myself drawn to some object , typically in nature , that parallels my current journey in life . This object inspires a closer inspection within myself and helps me to gain clarity on where I am in life . It ’ s not something that I actively seek out , but rather something that comes to me .
Last winter , it was Optunia azuria , also known as the purple prickly pear . Lately , in my quiet time , I ' ve been finding myself drawn to trees . No one type of tree in particular , but rather trees in general . But why trees ? I ’ ve come to the conclusion that I ' m feeling drawn to trees because trees are denizens of change . They ’ re intelligent , living beings , constantly sensing , adapting , preparing and changing . Trees are alive in the current season while constantly preparing for the next . The most obvious indicator of change on a tree is its leaves . And that is where I decided to dive deeper . Falling leaves .
Dropping leaves give a tree a fresh start in the spring . The nutrients from the decaying leaves are recycled to help grow the next leafy generation . Autumn leaves are not simply blown off trees but are separated from the plants in a highly controlled process .
Since water expands when frozen , the tender leaf cells would rupture during the winter , making them useless for photosynthesis . Without dropping these leaves , a tree would be stuck with thousands of unproductive appendages and no way to make food .
In summary , the leaves that were beneficial to the tree in the summer and spring would be useless or potentially dangerous to that same tree in the fall and winter . But it ’ s also in the dropping of the leaves that the tree grows stronger and healthier for the next season .
Lately , my family and I have undertaken a massive amount of change in a relatively short amount of time . I ’ ve returned back to work after being home for almost three years , we ’ ve moved , and we ’ ve changed the way we educate our children . Any one of these changes would be challenging at one time , and we ’ ve encountered them all at once .
Overall , the results of these adjustments have been positive , but these changes have had a major impact on me and how I see myself . The revisions made to our setting and my day to day activities felt as though they began to threaten the roles that I held so dearly for the last few years . The roles in particular were the role of off-grid wife , homemaker , homesteader and homeschool momma . These were my leaves . Now that we are back on the grid , the presentation of my leaves needs to change .
The roles and actions that were necessary for our off-grid life served me very well in our previous season , but being back on grid within a community , many of the actions and things that I did on a daily basis are basically unnecessary . The manual tasks attributed to homesteading off-grid are gone , I don ’ t have to homeschool , I can easily run to the grocery store if I run out of butter . I don ’ t have to make things from scratch — unless I want to . But my identity was so tied to our off-grid lives that I had trouble letting go . I didn ' t know who I was without them . Holding onto my past rather than letting go and exploring and adapting to my present situation caused more suffering than was necessary .
Little did I know that my roles and the things that I do on a day-to-day basis may change , but my being doesn ' t . Life unfolds as it should . It wasn ’ t until I dropped the preconceived notions and expectations that I had for myself as an off-grid wife and mother , that I began to thrive in this current season . My experiences as a homesteader , homemaker and home educator are still very relevant and pertinent , but they look different in this season .
The lessons I learned off-grid of hard work , resilience , and adaptability are acting as fertilizer for my current and future growth . I don ' t have to hold onto the situations or activities that led to the lessons in character growth . In a slow and coordinated manner , I can let it go and embrace the current joys , blessings and challenges that my current location and stage of life is offering me .
In this season , I am learning to embrace the conveniences of living in a small town and having neighbors . I ’ m grateful for the challenges that come with being a working mother and wife . I ’ m mostly grateful for the willingness to change , the faith that everything works out as it should and that my previous experiences will continue to nurture my future growth . As I stop to contemplate the trees this autumn season and gleefully light my pumpkin spice candles , I look forward to new beginnings , harvest and abundance . �
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