We watched the State of the Union address last week, and when I say watched I mean it was on for 10 minutes and then I turned it to American Pickers. But it’s the end of January, a good time to think about the state of where things are right now. My sister did a State of the Nest post last week and I thought how much I enjoy when bloggers I read pull back the curtain a bit and let us in to see things we don’t normally see. Consider the curtain pulled.

I am on a fast road to becoming more of an introvert than I already was. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I filled up a whole book with my own talk and now anyone, from strangers to neighbors can walk into any Barnes and Noble in the country and read it or if it is just part of getting older. But I am slowly beginning to hold my cards closer to my chest as the years are rolling on by.

I’m not saying that’s a bad or good thing, I’m just saying it’s true. I’m thankful for the friends who know me well. I’m craving simple moments with my husband. Silence and solitude are top on my list of things that keep me sane. My neighbor told me about a book that I can’t wait to read – Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. The title alone gave me freedom. It just released last week and is in the top 5 on Amazon so maybe some of you have read it or at least heard of it?

Some other books I’m reading? I’m on the last chapter of One Thousand Gifts. I know it’s been out for a year but I’ve read it with slow, thoughtful intention and now I don’t want it to end. I finished Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak, a small book about learning to listen to your own design as you consider vocation. I’m also reading Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. All of these books together are changing how I think in a good way. They are all hardcovers and I have taken the book jacket off all of them because I have a hate relationship with book jackets.

Here is my family last month. I have precious few photos of all of us together because I’m usually the one behind the camera. Our family albums are filled with my husband looking like a single dad – poor man raising all those children alone. I’m sure his wife was a lovely creature, God rest her soul. Lucky for me, my sister-in-law always insists I get in the pictures when she’s around so I have just enough photos to prove that I am, indeed, not dead or missing.

The twins are in second grade now, all loose teeth and long legs. Our son will start kindergarten in the fall and then a week after that they will all be driving and getting married because that is just the way things go. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

This spring I will be slash have been speaking at some events and retreats, perhaps adding to the introversion that is going on. The idea of standing on stages and talking makes me want to spend equal time hiding under tables, silent. But I am beginning to embrace the beauty and relevance of speaking out loud the messages that have come in the quiet. There is a different kind of aliveness that happens in those settings. It definitely keeps me dependent and small.

We are currently (as in, today) picking out covers for my second book, the one for teen girls. It is between two beautiful covers and I can’t choose so when I’m done with this post I’m going to print them out, put them both on my mantel, blindfold myself and pin the tail on the cover. I can’t wait to share the winner with you. It’s a great problem to have, two beautiful covers. It could easily be two awful covers and it isn’t. I really love Revell.

Speaking of mantel, remember my mantel before we moved in? Well there it is, in all it’s unpainted, dark paneling glory. I changed some things around this weekend. I took an hour and painted the wall of the mantel white and hung my black and white pictures.

Yes, that is the same house. If you are curious and haven’t been around here much, you can read more about how we knocked down the living room wall wall and painted the dark paneling. This mantel has been through a lot of change over the four years since we moved in. I predict more change in the future. But for now, we’ll let her rest.

I’m considering starting a little newsletter of sorts for anyone interested – just a free not-very-often update on the state of things. It will be a place to tell you of upcoming events, to share some things I may not share on the blog, to maybe offer downloadable photos, to perhaps ask for prayer. See I am very decisive on what this would be. With all the chattering email and other fun online-y things, I can’t imagine that would be something anyone would sign up for which is why I haven’t done it. But I am discovering sometimes I have things I want to tell you about but the blog doesn’t always seem like the best way to do it. Perhaps you have a better idea? I’m all ears. And that is not a joke about how much my ears stick out. Just so you know.