Seasons of Joy: Healing from the Inside Out

Ribbet collageSeasons of Joy

Letting go of a little piece of my heart….

Last year I spent a huge amount of time decluttering and apart from school stuff and books I really felt like I was getting somewhere.  We have no loft, cellar or garage to store anything in which means everything we own has to live with us in the house.

This year my goal was to stream-line even more, and as you know I have been particularly focused on culling my books.  I am so proud of myself!  I find books really hard to get rid of as I seem to be emotionally attached to many of them, and yet this time round I am finding myself giving bags of them to charity shops each week.  It isn’t even hard!  Do you remember the photo I put up of all my book shelves:


Ribbet collagebooks

Here they are now, all tidy and, whilst not in the slightest bit organised, the books are all upright with their spines facing out:

Ribbet collagebooks&morebooks

Even more impressive is the shelf which had books upon books upon books and is one of two shelves which must be cleared before we can put in a door to our bedroom, is now empty:

DSC_0849books and less books

Somehow I feel lighter.  I have succeeded in an area I never thought I’d be able to say goodbye to.  Books were a huge part of coping as a child in a household which contained an alcoholic.  Saying good-bye to them is, in part, a way I am able to put my childhood to rest.  I no longer need them to feel secure.  This gives me hope in the other area I have struggled with since childhood – my weight.  One day.  But for now I am happy with all I have accomplished in three short weeks.

Finishing off the Little’s room

Another little project for Gary and I has been to make the light shorter in the little one’s new room as it was banging against the door.  Gary shortened it and we changed the chandelier that was there with a gorgeous leaf lampshade my mum gave us that she no longer wanted:

Ribbet collagejoy4

And we also removed the desk area.  We have kept the wood (hidden behind their ‘wardrobe’) as we will eventually pop it back up again, but for now I really wanted to have a place I could snuggle with my little ones, and read them stories or soothe them when they are unwell.  We have had a rocking chair since T was a baby and it is so comfy, if not a little grubby.  There was no other way of fitting it into the room except in the tiny alcove where the desk was.  A6 was a bit disappointed saying she would rather have a desk than cuddles.  But I’m sure you can guess who was first to jump up on my lap once we had taken the desk down and replaced it with the chair?  No, thank goodness, neither of them have out grown cuddles just yet!

Ribbet collagejoy3

Ribbet collagejoy2


I shopped the rest of the house and found a lovely little table which fit perfectly next to the chair and was big enough to hold the globe night-light, clock and bible underneath.

I have also been busy filling their shelves with all the books suitable for their age group.  A6’s reading is really coming along and yesterday I caught her reading her bible out loud to herself (new international version, small print).  This was a sight I really thought would never come.

DSC_0856books and cupboard

The toys which were in boxes under the desk have now been placed under their bed, which actually gives the little ones a much easier access to them.  In order for there to be room to store the Playmobil which was under their bed, I cleared the huge cupboard which resides above the rocking chair.  This used to house all our home school stuff, but is now filled with Playmobil:


I also found a large wicker basket which used to contain all their wooden blocks.  It fits perfectly on top of the ‘wardrobe’ and holds some of the girls’ favourite dress up, giving them easy access:

Ribbet collagecupboard

And last but not least we have placed a basket at the end of A6’s bed.  A6 is an early riser.  As in before 6 am early.  As in basically night-time.  And she sees nothing wrong with waking everyone else up, after all it get’s a bit boring when there is nobody else to play with.  I now sleep in the room next door, and you know what?  I don’t want to be awake before night-time is officially up.  Neither does poor B4, for whom sleep is essential for her to have a pinky and perky day rather than a blue day.  So we packed a basket full of quiet toys (material woodland animals), a favourite dolly and Cat in the Hat books which A6 is now able to read herself.  We are hoping this (in addition to consequences) will be enough to keep her occupied for the hour or so it takes for everyone else to slowly (and naturally) waken:


The little one’s room is now completely finished and we all LOVE it!

 On My Bookshelf

I am reading a really good book at the moment titled ‘Nourished’, my word for the year:


When Audria did a review for it I knew I had to read it for myself, and I am so pleased I did.  It is written by a mother and daughter team, and I found myself deeply resonating with the mother, who is slightly dipsy, disorganised and easily distracted.  Honestly, it could have been me she described during her chapters.  It is unusual for me to find an author with whom I feel such affinity.  I’ve only had the book a week, but look at the state of it:


It was new not even a week ago, but I have taken it in the bath, to bed, to trampolining (to watch, not partake.  I didn’t bounce and read at the same time!), just about every where I have been it has been.  I have laughed out loud and cried out loud, and I am currently looking to get every other book she has written.  It is rare to find a kindred spirit, even if it is only in print.  And that in itself is nourishing.  So you know that clear shelf I was so proud of at the beginning of this post?  I’m thinking it will soon be filled again with Becky books!  Maybe there is no helping me, after all…..

Keeping Valentine’s Day Alive

In ‘my’ new office area (which is really a communal hallway) I think I may have found a perfect place for drying roses.  I adore roses and as part of my quest to nourish myself and my family I will be buying a bunch each fortnight or so for the new study area.  When they start to droop I am have decided to dry them up the banisters of the staircase.  That way, they will be drying and will serve the additional purpose as a beautiful decoration.  They make my heart sigh a happy sigh each time I see them:

Ribbet collagejoy5

And as soon as my Valentine roses start to droop, they will be joining the ones above.  A perfect way to preserve their beauty and the love with which they were given.

Can I just say something?  I know these Seasons of Joy posts have nothing to do with home school, but they have become my favourite to write each week.  They have given the non home school Claire a new lease of life.  I am loving the work that we are all doing to help our home look more homey, the special touches which nourish our souls as well as being a tiny reminder to myself that when being a mummy ends, Claire doesn’t.  These posts help me to be thankful for all that I have, all that I am and to focus on all the dreams which have come true rather than those I have had to leave behind in my past.  They nourish me, which in turns allows me to nourish my family.  I can feel myself healing from the inside out and it is a good feeling.


  1. Claire, I too like these posts. They are a window to your heart.
    PS I love the idea of drying roses up the staircase. I bet it looks lovely and smells lovely.

  2. I’m loving these posts as well. I love to see more of “you” as well as the homeschooling I’ve enjoyed for years, and another mum’s struggles with what to part with and how to make a small house work for all concerned are so encouraging! Thanks, Claire, for your generosity in showing it all.

  3. I think I used books in a similar way growing up, they were a stable lifeline in an alcoholic house for me as well.

    And now I might just have to buy that book you’re talking about. I’ve found an organizing book that I got on my Nook that has me wanting to underline every other sentence and say, “Yes, that explains it perfectly.”

  4. Flowers are such a lovely thing to have in the house – for a couple of pounds every two weeks or so, they brighten up the day! I’m glad you’ve taken up the habit 🙂

    1. I used to buy flowers every week before children, even when we only had £20 to spend on food for the two of us. Flowers were a priority that I am now reinstating!

  5. I love that you’ve decluttered a bunch of books, and now you’ve found yourself wanting more “Becky books.” 🙂 I’m also grateful that I’m not the only one who finds an author they love and then want everything they’ve ever written!!

  6. I am working on letting go of books that we have completed. I love them so, but it is time to let them go. I love your posts and your DIY spirit. I am hoping to get some more projects completed around here soon.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Thank you Dawn. Y’know, it funny, once one starts doing projects round the house the impetus is there to keep going. I’m really pleased I (and Gary) started!

  7. Hello my lovely friend, well done on passing on so many books! Simplifying and paring down are almost always just a little uncomfortable, but they bear such good fruit. Each time I buy a book in a charity shop, I wonder if the previous owners know that it has found a new home and is providing the excitement of a new ‘world’ for a little boy. Isn’t that a lovely thought about all your books? New homes, new children, but the stories continue to NOURISH others. Have a beautiful week! Love Liezel

  8. These are my favorite posts, Claire, but I also enjoy the others too :-). I just enjoy your blog, period LOL! Thanks for sharing with us and thanks for being real!



    PS I, too, have a “book” problem….you are not alone :-). You inspired me to go through mine too.

  9. I love how you all just do what you want with your space. It takes me forever to make changes like that. Also impressive work with the books. I feel like I’m making progress with our books, then I realize I really only reorganized and donated very few.

    1. I have to admit to reorganising a few, such as the children’s ones I took into my littles’ room. But I’ve got rid of a fair few too. I hope I’m not going too mad and in a couple of weeks will regret getting rid of them. Hope not!

  10. I´m glad, you feel well and I wish you the very best for your further healing process! (Getting rid of old ballast is a part of it.)
    The book looks very interesting!

  11. Getting rid of books is sooo hard for me since I keep buying them. I think I buy them with a little fear that in future years my grandchildren may not have access to the touch of different pages in books and the crackle of a spine as modern technology and ebooks become more popular.

    Congratulations on your wonderful accomplishment!

  12. I too love reading these posts – and I think in reading about how you nourish yourself, you are planting a seed in all of us to do the same. We have also (slowly) started decluttering – the kids and myself, and it feels really good. The little’s bedroom looks great! Between that and the books, must be such a great sense of achievement.

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