2015 / choosing now



These last several weeks have been quiet here, I know. The grey days have kept us tucked inside more than usual, where we’ve enjoyed one another in very simple ways again, often near a wood-burning fire, underneath soft throw blankets. Honestly, I’ve relished the slowness after the fast-paced, almost dizzying 2014, and have felt unhurried to resume typical routines. Instead, I’ve been patiently reflecting on the last year, its beauty and difficulty, triumphs and defeats. 2014 was a sweet year in so many ways. Personally, I stretched into new writing ventures; met and worked with several incredible people; joined my talented sister and brother-in-law in their photography studio; connected with the beautiful Wild+Free homeschool community and even shared a bit of our journey at the conference in the Fall. I have nothing but gratitude for all of it.

While lovely in so many ways, this year was also a hard, defining lesson in personal capacity–a year of treading physical, creative, and relational limits. It taught me to dig deep both spiritually and soulfully and to be brave with my heart, but I’ve realized too much of myself was expended in producing. By the end of the year, I felt threadbare and soul-thin, hungry for more of the nothings that mean everything–la joie de vivre–the time spent with my husband and our children, time with our families and community, and time with Jesus.

When I first began this small space, it was a journal. A place where, as I wrote in my first post, I sucked out the marrow of life. Or tried anyway. I wanted to see the poetry of motherhood–the light and the dark, because there’s always a mixture–and to continue practicing the art of words. I hoped other parents might be encouraged to see their own lives in a new way, not to be like ours necessarily, but to discover the unique and beautiful nature within their own. I hope this year to return to that place, a collection of vignettes and dialogues, poetic ramblings and simple photographs as I continue journeying through motherhood, marriage, and home-education. I realize these changes may not be the best career move and that I may not ever become someone important by the world’s standards, but I will never regret choosing them, choosing my children and husband, choosing now.

On that note, a few goals I scribbled down for the new year:

// pay attention. 

// guard my time

// nurture our home life + relationships

// infuse the arts more into our home life and homeschool

// regular time with Jesus

// live “less is more”

I’m so grateful for all of the people who have supported this space through sponsorship this last year, but for purposes of time and simplicity, I’ve decided to let go of that aspect of Cloistered Away for this year. I will continue working with small businesses and creatives who I love and feel that in some way you might, too, and as always will make a note in the post when that occurs. I’m so grateful for the sweetness of this readership. Thank you for loving me and my family here. With all of me, thank you. Cheers to each of you, to the journey, and of course, a new year.

bethany xo

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  1. Pingback: hello, 2016. - cloistered away

  2. Bethany Iw as so happy to see this place back up again. Thank you for challenge, and inspiring me.
    The other day I found a prayer in my bible and made think of you. (I’ll send it to you, look for my email)
    Praying that this year will better than that last.


    1. Author

      Thank you, Gladys. I would certainly love to hear your prayer, so yes, please send it my way when you have a moment. xo

  3. When I read your blog and especially this post, I find myself longing for this life.
    This life as a mother and a wife.

    To manage a family and not an office for a big concern.
    Making goals for family-life and not for a company.

    It’s a sweet desire. Thank you.

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Vanessa. I too find myself returning to these words and goals. It’s so easy for them to slip away into plans and missions, yes? But I crave this type of living. I think in some ways, we all do.

  4. I’m so thankful for your heart and for the gifts God pours through it, friend. Thanks!

    1. Author

      Always wishing you were closer, dearest. Miss you and thank you for this lovely encouragement. x

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