After many days of beautiful, spring-like weather, the official first day of spring dawned cold and rainy.  I oftentimes struggle with sudden changes in the weather, and predictably spent the day feeling pretty low.  Around dinner time, as I stood cooking at the stove, I burst into tears.  I’d been fighting them all day.  It was just a moment though, and I quickly regained my composure.  Jonny noticed my red spotted face though, and asked, “What’s wrong?  Is it your friend?”  We both knew what friend he was speaking of.  He knows that I miss Sarah, and the missing becomes more acute on days when I am down.  It’s a nasty thing, the way that sadness snowballs.

But the next day, the sunshine and warm temperatures were back.  We had a slow morning followed by a big afternoon.  Seth was confirmed.  And while he was happy about the Confirmation part, he wasn’t thrilled about the dressing up, my attempts to neaten his long hair, and to put a tie around his neck.  He has his own ideas about what is important, and he is not flexible.  When he asked who came up with this stupid fashion, the wearing of a tie, I replied, “For all I know, Jesus did.”  Seth didn’t crack a smile, but I think it’s possible that Jesus chuckled with me.  Still, the day went well.  There was a lightness to him afterwards.  Maybe it was just a relief that the culmination of more than a year’s worth of preparation had been reached, maybe it was something more.

Upon arriving home, we did not throw a party.  We quickly changed out of our niceties and headed outdoors.  Seth went out to collect scrap metal, while I grabbed a pitchfork and the wheelbarrow.  I cleaned out the goat’s home while Jonny and Gabe worked in their blackberry patch.  It was a beautiful day, everything about it.  I couldn’t help but think about how quickly life transitions from one thing to the next:  the gray dreariness, the grief, the brilliant sunshine, the solemnity of the Confirmation Mass, the muck in the goat’s house.

The raindrops on the willow were exquisite, the Confirmation Mass beautiful, the smell of the soiled straw acutely powerful.  I know that there is much that happens that is unseen, much that that we take on faith.  Changes, transformations, gifts.  But I can’t help but love the really and truly tangible ones.  The mucking out of dirty, smelly straw, replacing it with new.  Lovely, fresh, and clean.  The seen reflects the unseen and makes it all feel real.


  1. This is such a beautiful post. It’s true how quickly things can change.

  2. Congratulations to Seth and all of you
    Another Sacrament to remember and celebrate in your lives.

    here in Maine they changed to 3 Sacraments in 2nd grade, so our kids make their First Communion and Confirmation on the same day.

    I do like it better when the participants are older, I made mine as a teenager.

    I love the robes, how wonderful to be dressed that way, another vivid layer to add to the memories of the day

    Also, I think that during Lent is an awesome time to enter into the Church Family at a new level, may Seth feel the blessings of this day always!

  3. Stark contrasts like that always feel so important to me. Grey and dreary to sudden sunshine, much to clean straw, grief to laughter. They feel like hope.

  4. Congratulations to Seth! Ginny, I love how you are able to capture the beauty of everyday life, even when you are feeling pain and sadness. Your honesty, open heart, and ability to find joy in the smallest of things are truly inspirational. Thank you!

  5. Congratulations to your son! He looks so grown up and handsome!

  6. …and how the dirty muck is evidence of vibrant life that is happening.
    Thank you sweetest Jesus for tangible reminders of your goodness and faithfulness as you sustain life.

    Thank you for writing and continuing to write. I have been reading for a long time and feel as though we are friends. The kids and I enjoy your posts, stories and photos. We pray for your family as God brings you to mind and look forward to the day we can visit the East Coast and see for ourselves the beauty you often share.
    Jesus-filled day to you!

  7. Oh my-does Seth ever look like his daddy in these images! Congrats to your young man:)

  8. You really have a way with words. Lovely. I like to hear that you did not throw a party. 🙂
    What a lovely life!

  9. This is beautifully said, Ginny. The power of the pen you have and the depth of your feeling really resonate with so many I’m sure (me included in that “many”) . Thank you. And congratulations to Seth! Glad you all kicked back and kicked up some dirt and straw after it was all said and done. Beautiful.

  10. Way to go Seth! You’re becoming a young man!
    Love the pictures of the younger boys.

    Completely unrelated Ginny, Where do you shop for clothes for the kids? I love, love, the owl t-shirt, and prefer clothes with no silly commercial characters on the front. Hard to find though, at a reasonable price.
    I have 2 girls under age 6 to dress.

    • It is hard, isn’t it? Most of their clothes are hand me downs or thrifted. Lately I’ve bought them some things on ThredUP ( But there are some special things mixed in that I’ve bought new. That t-shirt is from Silk Oak. It wasn’t reasonably priced for a child’s t-shirt (at least not for our budget) but I bought it for a birthday gift.

  11. Oh Ginny. Thank you for sharing your sadness and your joy, for reminding us that nearly everything is transient, at least in part. Beautiful pictures of your boys. Really enjoying your Instagram updates too. Sweet Job is such a dote and Seth is a very handsome teen. I love his long hair. You take care and hope the Spring sunshine shines for you all.

  12. It always astonishes me how physical movement–especially with a purpose–helps to ease an aching soul. My hope/wish for you is that you continue to heal and find deeper contentment. Thank you for sharing this.

    (PS: On a lighter note: my husband is Jewish, so he wouldn’t understand about Confirmation–but he’d be totally on Seth’s side about the tie.)

  13. oh, I think you’ll always miss your friend, this winter has been a long one and when the sun shines I feel so happy. I remember both of my children’s confirmations, such a milestone. Enjoy your spring days and your goats 🙂

  14. Bonnie Schulzetenberg says:

    p.s. Jonny looks like St. Joseph with his beard.

  15. Bonnie Schulzetenberg says:

    Hi deary,
    I so often want to say “ditto” to everyone’s remarks. However more often I see your post and I just want to have coffee and cry and laugh together. Love you Ginny (my friend)
    ” To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often” John Henry Newman
    I have this hanging right next to my desk – I know it to be true, but I hate it because I still struggle everyday with what life has changed for me.
    Love Bonnie

  16. In those pictures it is very clear what a young man he’s grown into and it all seemed to happen so fast!

  17. jan wetherell says:

    Ginny, I always feel so close to you. Usually all it takes to feel that closeness is to see your face. Or the faces of your children. Today, I feel especially close to you through these particular words and these particular photos you have shared. Yes, as someone above said, it is like poetry this Monday morning. Illustrated poetry. I think one of the things that makes my connection feel so potent is that I relate to your sensitivities. Are you familiar with Elaine Aron’s work about the highly sensitive person? Once I understood that as my temperament, I felt a great relaxation. No diminishment in sensitivity, but an acceptance, even a celebration, of who we are, those of us who feel so deeply. Thanks for what you bring into my life, dear Ginny!

  18. I, too, find much heartening strength in doing the physical labor of farm/homestead chores. It seems to just yank me out of certain moods. The smells, the muscle aches/burning, the sights & sounds of nature around me–all so deeply spiritual. I’m glad you were able to end the weekend on a high note, Ginny, but I’m still so sorry for your loss of Sarah.

    Congrats to the newly Confirmed! He looks so grown-up! My daughter will be in his shoes next year, I hope we have as wonderful of a post-Confirmation afternoon as your family. xx

  19. Beautifully put. Everyday seems like a new transition, it can be great, or can take a painful turn. Love your post today. Thank you

  20. This post is beautiful. It felt like reading a bit of poetry on a Monday morning :). I’m glad you felt better yesterday – here’s to hoping today will be just as nice.

  21. Congratulations to Seth! Many blessings for the future. 🙂

  22. Seth looks so grown up! Blessings to you and your family.

    I was very tickled this weekend to clean out our hen coop – more like a palace – it is a huge thing. But now it smells so fresh. We all worked together and it was a job well done.

    Happy spring to you!

  23. Gwendolyn says:

    I’m so glad you shared your grief with us and I think it’s so wonderful you have a supporting husband that understands. Beautiful pictures. Hope you have lots of sunshine this week and you know I’ll continue to pray for you and your family!


  24. I know this sounds a bit….morbid…. but what a blessing to have had such a friend in your life who still makes you cry from missing her. She must have been wonderful. You both must have meant so much to each other.

    All of your recent homesteading adventures are what we look forward to in a bout 2-4 years. I love seeing how you are all doing it. Just one day at a time. 🙂

  25. The sadness of missing somebody can just come up and smack you out of nowhere. It can feel so overwhelming at times. I think if we just go ahead and feel it we can get past it until the next time. Congratulations to Seth! He looks so grown up!

  26. Dear Ginny
    I do worry about you, you have so much responsibility for someone so young. I hope you have family support and have a little bit of time for yourself. You do so much, I admire you and think you have a beautiful family.
    Kind wishes

  27. Leslie F says:

    Congratulations to Seth! (He looks so grown up – and just like his Dad!)

  28. My son didn’t like conforming to dress codes either! Job with the barn wood looks like a newly hatched chick…so shiny and bright and Silas is growing so fast. Beautiful photos of the pussy willows Ginny. Peace be with you.

  29. Beautiful.

  30. A lovely, thoughtful post Ginny. That feeling that comes with losing someone we love is something that stays with us, only some days we are better able to live with it than others:) Congratulations to your Seth!

  31. Congratulations to Seth! I hate dressing up too, so I totally get that.

    Weirdly, I enjoy mucking out the barn. It is so peaceful and humbling, and no matter what other crazy things are happening in my life, it feels really good to get out of the house and do something for the comfort of other little beings. Plus it means I can avoid a gym date after that work out 😉

  32. how wonderful! Many years to Seth! Yes, these changes seen and unseen happen! So thankful for a special day!

    And of course you miss Sarah.

    May the sun come out and warm you again today.

  33. dairylady says:

    Congratulations to Keats! A very important day. Love the pictures. The children are lucky to have such a variety in their life.

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