Category Archives: Nothing in particular

Nothing in particular

A year in Maine

Have you ever been on a vacation & wished you could stay longer?

This year has been like an extended vacation for me. It’s my first year not to work full-time since Holden was 1 yr old.

It has truly been the best way to see Maine – river swimming in the summer, fire-building outside as the leaves change, hibernating for the winter in ‘Narnia’, and now watching the green & pink explode.






But the best part has been getting to know the people here. They live and think distinctly different than I’ve ever lived. They value things I have never known.

While moving back and forth across the country was an expensive way to experience this, I am so thankful for this year.


State of adjustment address

So I’ve been in Maine about 3 weeks, and adjusting is definitely a roller coaster. At first I was exhausted by 3 week adventure getting here… then I was more exhausted & overwhelmed by unpacking.
But once I got the house just so, I think the ride finally got going. I was in another place with no schedule or routine for the kids, no familiar order to life…. Yikes I felt confused.
This week, I’ve been working on being proactive. We started a routine, just as a framework, & a reinforcement system to determine when we do certain fun things.

But I still have days like today:
I woke up with the kids, instead of before them, & Darin was almost instantly hyper & disobedient.
I needed to get out the door to drive 1 hr to get my license, a failed errand from Monday… but the kids were moving slow.
When Joel called to check on my progress at 10am, I wanted to throw the phone at him.
But when he called back after I packed lunches for the kids, offering to finish his work tomorrow & accompany me to the drivers license place, I couldn’t fathom changing plans at that point.
I was just grouchy & nothing would fix it…

The day went very well, each errand taking hardly anytime after all.
Then we had a great dinner at a family in our church’s house.
So I woke up grouchy & I’m falling asleep really happy.

The ride continues….

Difference: Texas & Maine

These are just some observations I’ve made since moving to Maine… I’m not criticizing (unless noted on that item 😋), just contrasting.

  • Water comes from a well beneath your house, is ice cold, & tastes amazing!
  • Natural gas is not under the ground in Maine, so there are no magical pipes bringing it into your home.
  • Trees are in abundance, so heating is split between “Heating Oil” and wood.
  • When someone is a “home builder” by profession, they actually hammer nails, vs supervising workers.
  • Lots of people build their own houses by hand.
  • There don’t seem to be building codes, so stairs are not always optimized for safety. 20130719-235218.jpgMy stairs’ run is shorter than my foot… yesterday, I missed 4 steps & caught myself with my upper arm.
  • As far as I’ve noted, I’ve seen 2 African Americans in Farmington.
  • Elderly people in the community seem VERY impatient & annoyed by my special kids. This is the opposite of my previous experiences.
  • People just ignore the stripes next to van-accessible handicap parking, pulling right into the stripe area.
  • Raw milk consumption is normal. I’m getting it for $4.25/gallon!
  • Lakehouses are referred to as “camps”.
  • Dunkin Donuts is the “third place”… my town has 3 & no Starbucks.
  • Because of hills, my cellphone coverage while driving is a joke.
  • Internet cables have not been installed on my street, since the company wants more customers per mile to finish the job.
  • Getting my new driver’s license only took 20 mins at one of 10 Bureau of Motor Vehicles across the state… I know where 4+ DPS locations are in Houston & always wait longer than that.
  • Craigslist is statewide vs citywide, so it’s pretty hard to connect within reasonable driving distance.

Learning from differences

In preparation for our move, I’ve been asking lots of questions (understatement of the year, huh, Amy?) about setting up our new household with water, heat, electricity, and Internet.

Honestly, I was surprised to find:

  • Maine doesn’t have natural gas flowing into each house like we do here, heating our water, fueling our stoves, and heating our homes.
  • In the Farmington/Strong area, most people get water from a well right under their house for free (except the electricity to pump in out)
  • Many homes have a propane stove, but use both wood & heating oil for heating.

Since I’ve been trying to grasp the why of each new fuel type, it’s made me realize I’ve never questioned my current fuel at the same level.

In fact, having my sewer, water, & trash combined on a City of Houston bill gives me little awareness when one of those costs fluctuate.

In our new home, we will have the required tank of heating oil as backup, but we will mainly heat with wood. I wonder if putting one log at a time into a wood furnace will raise my awareness of what we consume.

Timeframes & stress: I need YOUR feedback

Busyness & stress is such a common topic in our day & age.

Weekly, I come across a question:

Am I using the correct measure (an hour, a day, or a week) to judge my success in being disciplined?

One area is Bible study. Since I normally complete my Precept homework one time per week, but it is designed to be done daily, I usually stamp myself “FAILING.”

Yet, I attend church once per week, & that’s considered “PASSING.”

So here’s the question in a more general way:

Are we letting our stress be influenced by unreasonable measures?

Still by Lauren Winner

I recently started reading Still.

It’s subtitle, “Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis”, didn’t seems exceptionally relevant to this moment in my life. But since her books Girl meets God & Mudhouse Sabbath where so helpful to me, I decided to get it.


I realize now that I may not have come completely out of my mid-faith crisis last year. I got back on the horse, so to speak… But not with the same vigor.

I once believed I could change the world… Or at least the way the Christian church interacts with the world.
And I gave it my all, mainly in my own strength, during the years Joel and I planted Basilica…

Then it fell apart.

And when I healed from that crash, I never jumped back on the hopeful-train that His Kingdom has come.

I am always aware of it….
But unsure how to change it…


Americans are so weird about money & weight. We hide our “vital statistics” like they are not obvious. Seriously, we kinda wear our weight on our sleeve, so to speak.

As a mom with 3 young kids, living in super-hot Houston Texas, swimming is a necessity. I spend a lot of time running around in my swim suit.

You know what? I don’t think people are surprised the day they see me in my swimsuit to find out I’m a bit chubby. My regular clothes aren’t exactly a size “small”…or “medium”…or even always a “large”.

All this to say, I’ve made it down from 183 lbs to 166… and I kinda got stuck @ 166.6.
So I was very glad today to see 166.2.

I was afraid I might have to get Shipley’s to escape the 666!