Saturday, August 29, 2009

happy ending

First let me say that due to impromptu sleepovers for all three children, I am sitting here alone at the table this morning sipping my iced coffee. It is terribly quiet around here and it seems as if I can hear every drop of rain falling and bouncing off the pavement. It's dark and grey- not my ideal- but I am grateful for the peaceful start to my day.

So, I am finally getting around to sharing about this special party I've been hinting at for nearly two weeks. Yes, I did put a link, so many of you know that I had the chance to meet Amanda Blake Soule of Soule Mama. We just happened to be in Portland, Maine on the night of her Handmade Home Celebration at a local, independent bookstore.

It was a family affair and it was a real treat for all five of us to venture into this little book shop and just join in on the what-seemed intimate little gathering. I was expecting a long line of Soule Mama fans to be lined up waiting to purchase and have their book signed by Amanda, but instead, there was no line.

Amanda has stepped away for a few minutes and so I had a chance to spend some time talking with her father who was holding one of Amanda's children on his lap. He was sweet and we talked a lot about Connecticut and his connection to our state. He was also so helpful in giving our family some ideas as how to best explore and experience Portland while we were in town.

When Amanda returned to her book-signing table, I knew it was time. Sophia- my bold and outgoing eight-year old daughter- took the lead and told me that it was time. We approached the table and waited behind one woman who was speaking with Amanda and getting her book signed. I knew that it would only be a matter of time before we would be face-to-face with a woman whose blog I had been reading almost daily for two years now. It was all becoming a bit overwhelming. What would I say? I didn't want to let on that I knew so much about her, her family life and hometown, but then again, she must assume that since she is putting all of this out there it was only natural that there would be a I know you but you don't know me dynamic occuring with nearly every reader of her blog.

When the time came to step forward, my uneasiness was put to rest by Amanda's sweet and humble ways. She asked if the book was for me and I told her that it was for our whole family. I figured that most of the projects and ideas in this book aim to strengthen, beautify and promote the craftiness of the entire family and home... this would not be a mother-only book for sure.

She asked if we were working on any projects currently and Sophia instanly spoke up and shared how we had just made a quilt and bedding for one of her new dolls. She shared this with pride and joy as if she was not telling this to a woman who whips up quilts for acutal humans in her spare time.

We talked a bit about our homeschooling families and how one of the greatest aspects was the time that was freed up to enjoy such projects and crafting. It was a momentary bond that all homeschooling parents feel with one another.

She signed our book, dedicating it to our family and added happy stitching to the remarks. I knew that all of the stitching that came out of this beautiful book would be happy indeed.

And that was that.

I didn't dare take my camera out at the event. It felt a little bit like showing up at someone else's birthday party and taking photos of their cake and gifts. And my pride didn't allow me to ask Amanda for a photo either. I guess I like to keep a solid line between admiration and fanaticism. That's just me, I'm funny like that.

The next day, our family spent the morning at Fort Williams and Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth enjoying the view of rocky cliffs, lighthouses, inlets of ocean and swimming in the water that stated SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK. I had some time to myself to sit, enjoy the view and take my first peeks at Handmade Home. The introduction alone was touching and inspiring and I started picking out which projects I would try first. It was a very peaceful moment.

There is so much peace and contentment is accepting who I have been made to be. I will never be Amanda Blake Soule or Julia Child or the Barbara Kingsolver. But it is a joy working each day to develop and share the gifts that I have been given with my familiy, friends and those around me. My goal in life is not fame or riches or an ultra-cushy life. I am striving for simplicity and showing love to others in small ways each day. In the end hearing the words well done my good and faithul servant is what I'm striving for.

And in my children's eyes, I am supernatural. They do believe that I can create, write, cook and provide anything and everything. They are loving and trusting me to create an environment where they can grow, learn and thrive each day. This is the season of life that I am in the midst of and I am embracing it for all it's worth.

And to end this little story of our trip to Maine, here is (as mentioned) the only family photo that was taken. It is a happy little family though isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Oh my yes, it indeed is a happy little family!! I echo all those wonderful feelings about Amanda and am thrilled for you to have had that surprise moment! And yes, it is an awesome book!! Best to you, friend.

renee @ FIMBY said...

I love what you shared here. I too was a little freaked out about meeting "thee" amanda soule and I do feel a bit insecure that I will never be that talented to craft, sew, cook, home educate and write books all at the same time.

You accepting your beautiful self as you are helps others (myself included) to accept themselves as they are.

Thank you for what you shared.
PS. I was one with my camera at the book signing. Writing a post, with photos, was too good to pass up!

Jill (Kristen's cousin) said...

Hi Jill,
I was so excited for you to read that you went to the Handmade Home party. I love your posts, what a wonderful legacy to give to your have their mother's heart and thoughts written down. Your love, admiration, and commitment to them shines through each essay. Wishing you and your family a year of simple pleasures.

Amanda L. said...

One of my favorite posts of all times.

With a darling picture.

You are supernatural to me, my friend!

Love you!