Journal

Why Parenting Encompasses a Great Degree of Tension

Parenting is no joke! I think as our children grow and become their own person, it gets so much harder to “parent” while also trying to raise faithful citizens of God’s Kingdom.  My children attend an awesome school. The teachers, the curriculum, the facilities, the heart of it…. we love it all. But unfortunate events happen, even in really great schools. Friday we learned that a teacher at my children’s school had been arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct. Not just any teacher, my children’s art teacher! We were thankful the school had been proactive and had let us know before we learned about it on the media. It gave us a chance to tell our children before they heard about it.  My children are fairly young, and not much needed to be explained to the two youngest. My oldest is in middle school and he’s exposed to more information than I can easily control (much to my chagrin). So it warranted an honest discussion with him. Which we had immediately. But I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and praying about it, that I decided to write a letter to my son. The letter pretty much reiterated what we had talked about: discussing it with friends, what happened, what it meant, if and how it defined people. But the letter gave me an opportunity to teach my son about God, and His grace and His unfailing love. There were actually two letters for him, one which he will receive the next time he logs into his computer at school, and another one he will read in/about 10 years when I give him the password to his email account I have been writing letters to since he was a baby. The latter letter cites scripture throughout it.

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Oh Yes, She did.

I met Rachel though our boys who were in 5th grade together at the time. We were new to Vermont, to winter, to being without family and friends. I had only met her twice for brief pick ups and drop offs, but immediately, she felt like home. She was refuge and grace and a warm sister hug wrapped in marshmallows sprinkled with swear words. Rachel was real, she was raw, and she welcomed us into her family and her life; flaws, scars, sins and all. Rachel is, … she still is all of those things. Our friendship was still new and fresh when we were in her kitchen preparing snacks for a gaggle of children who were in and out of the pool. She shared with me that she had just quit her job. I could sense her excitement and also her fear. We talked a bit about it and then she said “You inspired me to do it!” My heart sank. I didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Our radical move to Vermont had inspired her. And radical it was. the kind of radical that changes everything for the better. That thing that has been set deep in your heart. That thing that scares you. That thing that feels impossible right now. That thing that you know would help you and everyone around you. Lara Casey Author of Make It Happen Radical is hella scary. I believed that the Lord established our steps on this journey. {Proverbs 16:19). My first instinct was to protect Rachel. To protect me. My life was in transition, we were wandering, being guided by a strong sense of purpose. We didn’t have a plan, we hadn’t assessed the risks, and we were certainly in no place to advice people in matters such as

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Shepherd's Collection
Vannessa Eggleston

we must run to Him like children – Luke 18:16

I write a lot about our move from Texas to Vermont and I hope it doesn’t get old for you, dear reader. That move was a major life change for us and a commitment we made as a family to live a more purposeful, intentional life. You’ll see beautifully curated photos of our new life in Vermont. But I assure you, the path to this beautiful life is not without it’s potholes, forks in the road and dead ends. We’ve learned so much on our journey, it’s hard to imagine there’s more. But there will be more. It’s as sure as the sun rising again tomorrow; there will be more. That He has promised us. There will be more sunshine and rain. Spring will come again after the Fall. The seasons in our lives will change as surely as the seasons in nature do. He didn’t promise it would be easy, He promised it would be worth it. – Matthew 28:20 Want flowers? You need rain. Want a harvest? You need first plant the seeds. Want to see the view form the top of the mountain? First, you must climb it. That’s been a key lesson for us this season. Learning to embrace the struggle and the wait, anticipating the fruits they  bear. So fear not. There is a bountiful harvest to be enjoyed and shared on the other side of fear, heartache and struggle. “Let us press on to know the Lord.” Hosea 6:3 Go on. Leave your fears and doubts and hesitations you have learned all your years. Run to Him. “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you change and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,

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Gather + Graze is Hiring: Social Media Interns

Gather + Graze is looking for a Social Media Manager to join our team! We are seeking 2 highly dedicated interns, who will work closely with our founding team in Boston, Ma and Burlington, Vt. The internships will provide you with the training, hands on experience, skills, and connections that will take your resume and marketability to the next level. We are also willing to address and fulfill any necessary requirements should you be able to intern for school credit as well as reference letters. Could it be ?! Here’s what you’ll spend your days doing: Our driven, creative, and savvy Social Media Intern will work on specific projects that will help create material and enhance our marketing and social media initiatives. Such projects should result in captivating, creative, and strategic graphics and messages that are consistent with our brand’s DNA, target audience, mission, and goals… • Help create, post and track content via all our social media channels to build a positive and engaging community • Work in partnership with Executive and Creative Teams in the creation of ideas, goals and development of the business/brand • Build a strong, interactive social media  following • Manage social media projects as assigned • Monitor, listen and respond to users in a “Social” way while cultivating leads and sales. • Conceptualize and execute a Pinterest strategy, pinning and organizing pins daily to appropriate boards • Brainstorm new ideas for our presence on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, particularly as it relates to ways to engage audience • As relevant, share social media and/or blog posts to relevant groups, including events / giveaways, using judgment to ensure Gather + Graze avoids the perception of “spamming” • Brainstorm new ideas for community engagement strategy and approach; propose new ways we can engage our audience, online and

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Time Blindness + Time Horizons

The school bus comes by at 3:12 pm every weekday afternoon like clock work. My two older kids tumble out of the buss down the path we’ve cleared for them, up the stairs and into my arms as I stand in the doorway or on the front steps waiting for them. It’s a little tradition I try never to fail. This little “time” is important to me and I suspect it’s a treasured part of their day too. It’s time I have set aside to be intentional in my parenting. Last week I was wrapping up my work for the day and I looked at the clock. I still had a little over an hour and a half before the kids got home. Lots of time to do lots of stuff. I looked at my phone as I considered setting an alarm to remind me when the bus was coming, but I shrugged the thought away assuring myself that I could never forget to unlock the front door for the kids. My motherly instinct is strong and I may let time slip away for little things, but greeting the kids is not a little thing to me. I figured I’d keep busy and I started sorting through laundry. Laundry quickly turned into donating and before I knew it I had 2 huge plastic tubs of clothes and toys and sheets to donate to Goodwill. I made my way downstairs when I remembered to check the time. That’s when I heard a shuffle at the door. $h!+! I dropped the tubs and sprinted down the stairs to the front door. My oldest was there knocking, and my daughter had made her way to the back of the house to try the back door. The bus was stopped between our house and

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Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable Feelings

I was driving home from Staples this week feeling rather deflated. Overwhelmed. Worried. Defeated. All those feelings you should hand over to Him, I was carrying. I have a thing about control. I like to have it. Having only recently moved to a new state, renting a home, being so far away from family and dear friends has made for a very unpredictable and uncertain year. Navigating a new town and new people is scary hard. I have no idea what I’m doing, all I know is that I am moving in the direction of the magnetic pull. I’ve made a choice to surrender to that soft whisper on my heart and live this radical adventurous life. Radical – life – living is hella scary.  Some days I want to pack my family up again and go back “home” to Texas. Our house is still on the market there so running back to a comfortable life is soooo enticing. Getting to see my foster daughters regularly and hug and kiss them, smelling my Mama’s homemade tortillas as they fill the rooms of our old home, watching Hallmark movies with my sister, dropping my kiddos off for Sundays with Mimi,…. I miss the comforts of “home” something fierce. But I’m an adult. I’m a mom and I have little eyes that watch my every move. As much as I would love for them to come running back to me every single time they feel afraid or sad; my Mama heart knows it would do them more harm than good. I don’t want to teach my kids to run away from the discomfort. They would spend a lifetime running if that was the case. I want to teach them to sit still. To feel. To lean into the discomfort.  To know that it

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Grazing (and gathering) – The Vermont Thrift Scene

My latest obsession is thrift finds. I’ve been scouring the thrift scene in Vermont via Facebook, Craigslist and Font Porch Forum lately and discovered free stuff! Here are some places I frequent: *please note that since I am in Chittenden County the places are in or very near to Burlington and it’s surrounding areas) * Goodwill (South Burlington and Williston) This is my go-to almost twice a week. It’s on my way into Burlington and Williston which I frequent for groceries and shopping of any kind. I’ve scored a beautiful chest of drawers made of Vermont maple wood, end tables, chairs, remote caddies and accessories for the home. On the cheap. Facebook Marketplace I have bought so many wonderful things here. When I need something specific, like a tv stand or even a coat mount and bench, this is where I look first because I can do it from the comfort of my own home and I can set the price and location. I don’t have to go driving too far and pay more than I’m willing for anything. I’ve even had luck selling on Facebook marketplace locally in Vermont, specifically here in Chittenden County. Craigslist Obvio. But did you know that they have a free stuff section and I look here daily. It’s my best kept secret. Check out some of the awesomeness I’ve found there! A rabbit hutch, a tv stand, a make up table, an Ikea couch,…. Front Porch Forum This forum is a community building service in Vermont so you have to be local to use it. But aside from things they sell and post for free, there are recommendations and jobs and housing and just community chatter and happenings. We’ve met some amazing neighbors through this service. It has been a huge blessing. SCHIPS Treasure Resale (Shelburne) This lovely little store is

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Uncategorized
Vannessa Eggleston

Wired for Story

You can call me a lover of words. I get most of my inspiration from words I read; from a book, a quote, an ad. There’s just something about the way words weave into stories. And stories… connect us. They connect us to our past and our future. Most importantly, they connect us to each other. I mean, we are wired for stories. Quite literally, our brains are wired for it. Stories can make us feel close to others (by triggering the release of oxytocin in our brains) or they can make us feel anxious or stressed (triggers the release of cortisol). It doesn’t take long for us to “mirror” the feelings of the storyteller. In essence, these connections make us feel alive. I used to think it was just me. Science says it’s in our DNA. Who knew? Have I told you the story of how our house came to find us? The Old Homestead at Sunset The Old Homestead dappled with snow the Chicken coop at The Old Homestead the garage at The Old Homestead Our home is located in a tiny little town in Vermont.  It’s big, beautiful and it’s walls are filled with over 230 years of history. Over the years it’s come to be known as “The Old Homestead”. People would come far and wide, by train, bus and ferry to stay and be with friends. This past November 2017, The Old Homestead became a respite for our family as we left all that we knew and loved in search of a more intentional life. The Old Homestead has been loved by the same family for over 7 generations. After a few quiet and vacant years, the owner’s greatest hope was that the tradition of love and joy within the historic village home would be

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