Happy Independence Day!

Summer is undeniably here!  We have been in the midst of a heatwave that has left us feeling a bit wilted.  Despite the high temperatures (for our climate), yesterday was a picture-perfect fourth of July.  The sky was as blue as could be.  The water on the river glistened in the sun.  The corn on the cob was sweet and crisp.  Can I brag about my peach pies?

Just a good, good day.

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I must confess that the news and all the junk coming across my Facebook feed (more about that later) have put a damper on my patriotism.  It’s hard to feel the warm ‘n fuzzies when things are kind of a mess in our nation.  However, those feelings do not erase the gratitude I have as I live in a place where I am free to speak, free to worship, free to pursue any dream I can imagine.  Now, I just pray that we can make those freedoms available to every American.  Let’s make that happen, okay?

In the mean time, I’m going to rest in my gratitude and the joy I feel in living here with a family I love, a job I enjoy, and a faith that sustains me.  Even while I experience fear and concern and sometimes disbelief, I can cling to God’s sovereignty and know my hope is secure.  I can look to the men and women who have worked and died to build and protect our nation, and their sacrifice is not lost on me.

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Days like yesterday affirm that the world is beautiful, that my family is a gift.  I haven’t been posting here at all.  I want you to know that nothing bad has happened.  My days are often filled with too much GOOD, allowing little time for editing photos and typing blog posts.  But as I flipped through my photos this morning, I felt the familiar urge to share here.  I got excited!  I remembered how much joy Warm as Pie has given me over the years.  I thought about the factors that pull me away from this space and evaluated how I can make my way back.  So many times, I’ve returned with a good dose of enthusiasm and dropped a basket of promises in your laps–promises I failed to keep.

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So today, I’m just going to say “Thank You” and “Happy Independence Day!”  I hope to see you very soon.

~*Erica*~

 

Five Years and Counting

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Dear Friendly Readers,

Five years ago, I began something new—a blog. I had created the blog’s title and web address several years before, but nothing happened. For a long time, my blog was nothing more than an empty resolution. Warm As Pie was like so many other unfulfilled promises of other good things that I wanted to do but never really did—like exercising, or flossing twice a day, or baking my own bread every week, or finally truly learning to speak French. It’s painful to say, but I’m actually quite used to not following through on my big ideas. I wasn’t too surprised to fail at blogging before I even tried.

On September 22, 2009, I decided to give the whole blog thing one honest effort. I had two primary reasons for wanting to bring Warm As Pie to life. First, I was an adjunct faculty member in the English department at a big, fancy university, and I was feeling like a fraud. I was teaching writing, but I wasn’t doing any writing. In 2004, I had completed an MFA (master of fine arts degree) in creative writing, but once my thesis was approved, I rarely wrote pieces that weren’t related to the teaching of composition or the study of education. I simply wasn’t writing creatively anymore, yet I was teaching others to write and trying to convince them that writing could be a part of life. I wanted to “walk the walk” again—to live the writer’s life again.

Secondly, I wanted a pretty place to record and reflect upon the beautiful things that were happening in my life. I read Blogging for Bliss by Tara Frey*, and I was won over by all the “bliss” flowing out of that book. I had two little boys at the time—a 4 year old and a 1 year old—and I already knew the frantic, other-worldly pace at which they were growing and changing. I didn’t want to forget. I wanted to live slowly and purposefully. The commitment to writing about my life felt like a promise to live the life I wanted (and still want). Blogging makes me grateful.

I didn’t fail! I posted once. That was fun. I did it again and again and again. I became acquainted with a few other bloggers, and I loved the sense of community. A small band of readers—mostly real-life friends and family—welcomed my posts. People seemed to like what I was doing. They thanked me. They cheered me. They told me that my blog meant something to them. My readership is tiny, but those friends sure are loyal. Yes, Warm As Pie has slowed considerably after a couple of big moves and two more children and the beginning of our life as home-schoolers, but the pleasant comments and encouragement from readers keep me from putting this blog to its final rest. My two reasons for blogging remain true. I’m still teaching writing, and I want to continue in the practice of writing. I still want to record this abundant, beautiful life that God has given to me.

And so…I embark on my sixth year of Warm As Pie. I’ve decided to zoom in and focus on the kind of blogging that I love most: sharing how we grow together through words and images. I’m simplifying. I’m streamlining. All of the amazing possibilities of blogging has led me astray more than once, but I’m back to the basics. I will be making some fun changes in the next few weeks. I CANNOT wait to share a special little project that has been brewing for months. Eeeee! I’m excited!

If this is your first time here, welcome. You’ve come at a good time. If you’ve been with me awhile, thank you. Thank you for caring enough about me and my family to stop in from time to time.

Warmly,
Erica G.


*Blogging for Bliss now has many outdated references and resources.  A lot of the blogs featured in the book have moved or closed.  However, it is a gorgeous book with plenty of helpful information.  I picked up an excellent used copy on Amazon for ONE PENNY!  With shipping, I acquired a book that I love for $4.00.  Nice!

Happy birthday!

Big things are happening here.  A boy turned six.  And got a bicycle!  Six years ago, we welcomed a second son into our family, and he has brought much love and mischief into our lives.  He is an amazingly practical little guy, always trying to figure things out.  He is sensitive and usually has his emotional antennae poised.  He’s a loyal brother, knowing both the role of little brother and big brother.  Simply, he’s a delight.

We love you, buddy!

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A Tradition Renewed

When I was growing up, we cut down fresh Christmas trees.  We weren’t exactly on a tree farm though.  More like an old strip mine/wooded area.  It was fun and felt a bit sneaky.  Such rebels we were!  Truly, though, it was a great way to get a tree.  The trees weren’t sprayed with pesticides, and they were left to grow when, how, and where they pleased.  We were never bothered by a single other tree shopper!

From Christmas 2004 until my family moved to Florida in 2011, we went to a Christmas tree farm with Cory’s family to pick out the perfect evergreen.  That first Christmas was also the evening when we saw our very first positive pregnancy test.  As we decorated our tree, we danced around the living room, listened to Bing Crosby, and cracked open a can of fruit cocktail.  Our hearts were full with anticipating next Christmas with a new baby in our arms.

In late November 2011, Cory’s mom and dad drove a moving van down to Florida with our belongings.  To our absolute shock and delight, a beautiful Christmas tree had made the trip–tied onto the back of the truck.  What a surprise!

Last year, we picked up a Home Depot tree in a Florida parking lot.  Not quite as fun.

But this year, the tradition continues.  We bundled up, mounted the big wagon with hay bales for seats, and set out to choose our tree.  A fresh snow and a bit of sunshine made the day perfect.

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Two, Five, Eight

Summer in our family means birthdays!  We start with me in mid-June, Charlotte at the end of the month, and J in July, and we end the stretch with F in late August.  Whew!

Charlotte turned two this year!  Amazing, funny, wonderful two.  Forget the so-called “terrible twos.”  I absolutely adore this incredible period of language development and emergence of her sweet, hilarious personality.  We began Charlotte’s day with Grandma Renee’s pancakes, and we wrapped it all up with blueberry banana cake from Soulemama.  (Click it!  It’s a great recipe!)  Aunt Kristy and Uncle Jake were able to celebrate with us.

J turned five this year!  Five feels like a very important milestone.  He becomes more articulate and ever-practical with each passing day.  We spent his actual birth enjoying a nearby park and getting totally soaked in the stream.  Then late in July, we had a combined party (Knights and Ladies theme) for our new two year old and five year old.  It was a lot of fun!

And finally, our big boy turned eight.  Eight?  Too big, simply too big.  We celebrated with a “planet party” of his own invention.  On his real birthday, we made a much anticipated trip to Red Lobster for his favorite food: shrimp!  My eight year old is growing in so many ways.  He seems taller and smarter and more inquisitive every day.  I can’t wait to see what this third grade year has in store for him.

Here are some images of our summer of birthdays.

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Looking Back at Easter

I’ve been thinking about home and family quite a bit lately.  Homesickness hit me hard this winter and into these early weeks of spring.  I’ve felt that tug more lately than I have since the first days of our southern adventure.  Since Christmas, my family in the north has been experiencing some hard times, and I feel the distance between us more fiercely than ever.  I want to be there with my loved ones, going through the trials with them instead of hearing about this and that over the phone and doing my best to be present through sympathy and prayer.  That’s tough.

I know that here is my home.  This is my family.  But my history is somewhere else, and a huge slice of my heart lingers there.  On some days, the missing piece leaves an awful emptiness.  Yet, spring brings the promise of a summer trip in the near future, and for weeks, we have been anticipating some April company!

We had a lovely Easter visit with my husband’s parents.  How nice to have Grandma and Papa in our home for eight busy days!  Here are some shots from our time together.

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