Around Here // June

by Paige Ray


This past month was all about figuring out a new normal. The edges and emotions were a little less raw. The bright and shiny new was a little less glaring. As little man and I have slipped into July I realize that things that seemed impossibly overwhelming (ie. Sleeping longer than two hours) will eventually happen. Not today but eventually. 

And it's hard. Wanting to comfort him but knowing that he needs to learn to respond to his dad's presence. Wanting to stay engaged with him when he is awake but not having lots to interact with. Wanting to be a productive humanbeing but being hijacked by unexpectedly short nap times. Wanting to make a quick trip to the grocery store but knowing that the hour it would take with him would not justify the addition of <insert missing ingredient here> to tonight's meal.

Not impossible hard, but normal hard.  Hard in an "I'm thoroughly thankful that I have to deal with 'normal' hard because that means that he is healthy and I have the opportunity to stay at home with him," way.

What's your normal hard lately? 

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An Open Letter // To Myself

by Paige Ray in


Dear Paige-

Quit being scared.  

Stop the low self confidence crap and stupid excuses.  

Stop reading the inspirational quotes and start living them.

Start realizing you're only as good as you've actually accomplished... not simply your ideas.

No.  Scratch that.

You are good enough regardless of what you accomplish.  So go out there and be okay with falling flat on your face. (Remember flipping over the handlebars of your bike when you where seven?  You [and most of your teeth] survived that didn't you?) 

Things are not "too big" or "too complicated" - you just don't like to be frustrated.  Life is frustrating. Frustration doesn't equal impossibility.

Believe in yourself.  

You are not perfect, but you are just as capable as anyone else pursuing that dream as anyone else.

Go.

Image via Unsplash

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Local Love // Homesteading with P Allen Smith

by Paige Ray in


In conjunction to my thoughts on being a homemaker, I have recently been thinking about the things that my grandmother knew that I took full advantage of as I grew up.  
Someone to share the secrets of the flower garden.
Someone to call when there are questions regarding canning the summer's produce.
Someone to rely on for facts about the difference of a mean chicken and a docile one.

All things which I, knowing everything as I did from the ages of 16 - 29, didn't even realize I needed to know. So when the opportunity to attend Homesteading 123 at Moss Mountain Farm with P Allen Smith, I excitedly said "Yes!". 

Allen is a man who has cultivated a community of like-minded people, from around the country, who know all those things I was too smart to pay attention to while I was growing up.  When I arrived on this early summer day I found myself surrounded not only by beautiful architecture and gorgeous gardens, but by people from across the nation like myself who were interesting in learning about what may soon be lost arts. These same people decided to press "Pause" and savor the day instead of fast-forwarding through all their daily obligations.

Interested in learning more about how you can press "pause" at Moss Mountain?  Check out the story of the house and check to see what dates are available to visit

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Titles, promotions, and paychecks

by Paige Ray in


Lately, I've been thinking a lot of about the art and science of domesticity. "Domesticity" being the made up word I use to describe the plethora of that which is considered domestic, all the things squarely in the realm of those who, in decades past would have considered themselves "homemakers".  

My fascination comes from two areas, the first being obvious: the recent arrival of my son coupled with my decision to stay at home to take care of him has, for the time being, put me squarely in this camp.

But the second is a bit more nuanced.  Having lost my grandmother only a few days before the birth of my son, I have been left to think about her legacy. I have, and continue to, mourn the loss of a woman I considered a friend and a role model.  She was a person who, despite her imperfections, did most everything with a great sense of love and overarching desire to help. The fact that my son will not have a chance to meet her, hurts in a place and in a way that is indescribable.

Through all of this, it's been my reflection of her impact on my life that I have come to realize how great of an influence she was for those across her community, despite, and maybe even because of the fact, that she was "just" a homemaker. I wonder how many people she was able to befriend, comfort, console, or otherwise touch because she wasn't juggling the demands of a full time job as well as managing the well-being of her family.  

This is in no way saying that she sat around and watched soap operas until she received a call for help.  No, for a woman who never had a paying job during my life span, she always stayed busy.  Whether she was volunteering at the library, or helping with a community fundraiser, or cooking food for the volunteer firefighters, or traveling with her husband to build churches across the country- her ability to make a difference was always apparent despite the lack of titles, promotions, or paychecks.

And I wonder if I'm that type of person.
I wonder if I am confident enough in myself that I don't have to purse those things that the rest of these world deems important. I wonder if I could go through life without constantly looking for the external gratification that is intrinsic in "full time" and "traditional" employment.  I have come to wonder how many more times I might be able to give an excited "yes" to extemporaneous situations (picking that friend up from the airport, helping the neighbor who has lost a loved one, listened to the child with a newly broke heart) if I was a bit more gracious with myself in saying "no" to what the world seems to demand.

I wonder if I could fill the role of just being a homemaker.

Image: Elizabeth Lies via Unsplash

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Local Love // The Little Craft Show Spring 2015

by Paige Ray in


Community is an overused word. In a time where every newest tech platform promises to connect their user to a group of like-minded individuals, we are all bombarded with trying to figure out how to truly connect. And despite the prevalence of "community",  true connection is a reality that, still proves to be elusive. 

So when I was able to go to The Little Craft Show last month I was excited about the opportunity for genuine community. TLCS gave me the chance to reconnect with friends I hadn't seen since I had gone into my pregnancy hibernation as well as meet makers that I had only had known via my Instagram feed. 

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And I needed that.  

I needed the reminder that there is a whole army of people out there who love and support me. 

Selfish? No. Because self-preservation via encouragement is a good thing.  

Add to that goodness: the event was held in an area that hadn't experienced commerce and community at that scale in years. Because of that the experience was infused with a level of hope and happiness that went so far beyond that of a simple craft fair. 

There have been murmurings lately within our family of a possible move. And because of that I've been thinking of community a lot lately: the finding, the making, the upkeep.   

More than anything, it's made me grateful for the community I currently have. And it's reminded me to be more intentional about enjoying the experiences and support that it offers. 

For more information on The Little Craft craft show visit their site at thelittlecraftshow.com and click the individual images to be taken to the shops of the vendors above.

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It's like // New Motherhood

by Paige Ray in ,


I was two and half weeks into this new momma thing when a girlfriend text me to see how everything was going. When she asked how I was I answered that week three was looking to be better then week two which had been better than week one. 

 "Good." She replied. "I've never experienced the whole having a kid thing but I know there is a lot more to it than just 'having a kid.'"

She was right and until that moment, I hadn't given myself the grace and the head space to realize that.  So I stopped and I wrote. I got down all the specific things that consisted of  "more to it" for me. Mostly the bad. Some sunshine splinters of the good. 

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New motherhood is like:

  • Having all the feel good hormones sucked out of you and refilled back into you in the space of five seconds. 
  • Misplacing the normal emotional controls... and now everything and nothing seem like the biggest things. 
  • Literally being torn in two and stitched back together. 
  • Being introduced to a tiny stranger and being told, "Now go. Take him home," before you're hardly given the chance to introduce yourself. 
  • Having a new roommate, with whom you want to give plenty of personal space except you are expected to change his diaper every two hours. 
  • Learning to speak a new language with no book/ instruction. 
  • Being told to fix a piece of machinery without a manual. 
  • The most intense growing pains imaginable. 
  • A time warp where the words "day" and "night" and "weekend" have no meaning. 
  • A time vacuum where the sun no longer exists and everything revolves around feeding schedules - yours and his. 
  • A daze of forced sleeplessness. 

New motherhood consists of: 

  • Feeling that anything outside his direct needs feels like the most selfish act possible. Like... Peeing for longer than 15 seconds.
  • Waiting.
  • Waiting for him to wake up.
  • Waiting for him to eat. 
  • Waiting for him to burp. 
  • Waiting for him to go to sleep. 
  • Waiting for him to cry.
  • Wondering if it's okay to wear the same four shirts for a month on end. 
  • Knowing that no one around notices that you're wearing the same four shirts. 
  • Telling people "He's three weeks old" and then bracing for the coos or the judgement- Will they adore his newness or will they shoot you the glare that says "How dare you corrupt his existence this early?"
  • Sitting in the nursing chair and saying, "this is not prison" while thinking, "this is what prison must feel like".
  • Feeling the relief that comes when a new diaper is on and his screams go quiet.
  • Feeling the success of that rare diaper when he doesn't scream at all.
  • Riding a perpetual wave of adrenaline and wonder through a hurricane of newness.

We're now five weeks into it.  There are still so many times where I look at him, close to tears and say, "I don't know what you need," but things are better.

That makes it even more of a relief to look over this list I wrote two weeks ago and realize that things do, in fact, change.  

Now is not permanent.  For better or worse.

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