A summer of re-evaluation

I’ve been taking a lot of time this summer to reflect on our first year in Scotland and prepare for the next one. It’s hard to believe that we are close to calling this first year a wrap. Didn’t we just move?

In many ways it has been a perfectly lovely year with everything we needed to slow our family down after a chaotic year leading up to our move. The natural limitations of late pregnancy/newborn, no vehicle, and weather were in many ways a blessing in disguise. We frankly didn’t do much, and that was right for our family at that time.

The first few months of 2014 have also come with its own challenges.

Postpartum hormones have been a little all over the place. Thankfully, not to the level of PPD, but still more difficult to manage than I have previously experienced and than I have cared to admit at times. It’s taken some effort on my part to navigate those.

Olivia began therapy here on this side of the Atlantic and that has come with its own challenges. As parents, we have much better tools now to move forward with and I’m grateful. But mostly, therapy (especially speech) is just a lot of work. And it’s exhausting. It’s so hard to see her work so hard and it still be so hard. I’m proud of her though. We’ll get there. We will.

And the darkness. Oh friends. I wish I could explain it. I knew in my head that it was dark here. I knew that it would affect us. But, you all, I still had no idea. No idea.

As spring awakened and the days inched longer and longer I felt an almost tangible sense of a weight lifting. It was odd. I really had no idea how hard the darkness was until it started to get light again. And yet, even as I was enjoying the long days, I felt this sense of dread. I couldn’t put my finger on it until a couple of weeks ago when I realized I was already dreading the winter.

This past weekend Brian and I talked about preparing for the winter. Specifically, preparing for the darkness. Here we were having a conversation after 10 at night in broad daylight talking about darkness. The summer days are as unbelievably long as the winter days are short. So while we enjoy the sun coming up at 4 am and still daylight at 11pm, we talked about those days when the sun will start to peek out after 9 am and be setting again by 3pm.

I’m convinced that the darkness probably didn’t help the postpartum thing. You know what I mean?

I am not complaining. It is beautiful here. But we are very far north. And that means we have very short days in the winter. November through February are really hard. And what makes it even more difficult is that we have rainy, dreary days. Not extremely cold, but dreary which makes the sun even less visible. It’s gorgeous here in the summer, though, and we are loving it!

If I learned one thing this winter it’s that our bodies need sun to function properly.

Now as we step back and evaluate the year, we’ve taken some time to plan for this coming year. I want to have a better handle on personal care and making sure I am meeting my own needs so that I can love and meet the needs of my family. It’s one of my goals for the second half of this year. I also want to be better prepared for the lack of sun. For all of us.

And this old blog hasn’t been forgotten either. I’ve missed writing here. And that has been part of my planning. I have so many things I want to say, I have books that I want to review, and life that I want to share. (In the mean time you can follow me on instagram because I share plenty of my life there!)

I just need to figure it all out. How to fit this in with the rest of life. But it is moving back up to one of my priorities because I miss it too much when I’m not writing.

That’s where we’re at friends. This summer has been all about being outside almost every possible sunny moment, and some reevaluating of how we can live better this coming year!

I’ve missed you all. Tell me you’re still here. Pretty please? Thanks, Friends!




  1. I’m still here, Johanna! Love these glimpses into your life. You are right about the light and darkness thing. I think as I get older, it’s more a factor. LOVE summer long days!!! That’s one of the nice things about living in the north. :o) Love you!

  2. We were just talking about this for our family! We moved to NY in December and Nathanael was 4 months old– there were weeks where the only place the kids & I went was across the parking lot to church (we are not in walking distance to anywhere, and had a particularly cold & snowy winter). I will think of and pray for you as the cold/darkness comes again!

    • Johanna says:

      Deb, we moved to MA when Stefan was 6 weeks old so I know exactly how you feel. And you guys had a really hard winter. Hugs my friend! Winters can be hard with littles!

  3. Christi says:

    I’m still here too! I am glad to read that you are enjoying summer and that your family is doing well. I’ll look forward to reading more as you are able. :)

    • Johanna says:

      Oh, Christi!!! Thanks so much for commenting and letting me know. I’m very ready to write more here so we’ll see how much it actually happens. 😉 Hope you and your little one are well!

  4. Hey Johanna! So good to hear from you. I completely get what you mean by reevaluating. I just started blogging again after 6 months of just a handful of posts because I enjoy it too much to let it slide (but I needed to let it slide for a while with a new baby and cross country move and all…and you’ve had so much more than that going on).

    I love that you’re planning now for a difficult season ahead and I hope this winter goes more smoothly for you. And I can’t wait to hear more about all you’ve been up to, reading, etc. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

    • Johanna says:

      Steph, thanks so much. I know you understand. Praying that you are settling in well in your new place. Can’t wait to write more (and I do believe I owe you an email as well!).

  5. Priscilla says:

    Thanks for sharing….it was very refreshing and encouraging to know you can’ t always figure it out and fit it all in ’cause I can’ t either :-)!! I remember when I lived in Siberia for one winter….cold, dark, and grey for months and months! When I came to the USA in the spring, I thought I had probably died and woke up in heaven. The contrast was so stark that I could hardly believe it was real. Light makes a difference! Will be remembering to pray for you this winter. And… I do hope you are able to write some–you are a gifted writer!

  6. I’m still here, sweet friend! So enjoyed your post and look forward to more as you’re able to write! Our winter days aren’t quite as short as yours, but we have so much grayness. I’m tracking with you about the need for sun and light! And it also made me think that’s such a neat illustration about how much we need the Son and his light and how often we don’t realize it until there’s so much darkness. I always enjoy your writing–makes me think!

  7. Lindsay Reimer says:

    Hey Johanna! I always enjoy your posts! :)

  8. Bonita Cook says:

    Enjoy reading your blog and following you on Facebook. I share with my husband. Think of you often and pray as The Lord brings you to mind. Looking forward to “seeing and hearing” more from you.

  9. Those dark winters really are tough! I love your cozy corner.

  10. Hannah Jenks says:

    Hi Johanna! I never left!! So good to hear about what’s going on with you guys. Miss you lots! The boys say “Hi” to your kiddos.

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