Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What I Could Tell You

Mom's flowers are a jungle of green these days, with bursts of yellow and orange everywhere! "We'll save seeds every year, and always have flowers that belonged to Grandma!" the girls say. A legacy of flowers, sounds fitting to me.

Life has been full and busy lately. Too busy to think. And when I don't think, I don't blog. So I haven't.

I could tell you about a weekend spent with old aquaintances. I could tell you about a day spent with 2 other ladies -10 hours in the van and 2 at the viewing of our friend's mother. I could tell you about a day spent canning green beans or the mounds of laundry after the weekend away. I could tell you about my dirty, dirty house with all it's many cobwebs or about my horrendously dirty hair, for that matter....

I could tell you about our van, who's water pump is on it's last leg. I could tell you about my supper menu - which is non-exsistent and should be getting figured out this very minute. I could tell you about big boys that tease and tease and, well, tease....and little boys who have learned to lay in their own bed to go to sleep and are now *fingers crossed* not getting me up during the night! I could tell you about little girls who are SO tired in the morning and who just CAN'T wake up enough to get dressed for school and who just DON'T feel like eating whatever is available for breakfast.....

I could tell you about the excitement of big girls who, after many lessons, are beginning to be able to play songs out of a songbook! I could tell you about little girls who spend half their day with a woe-be-gone face saying "I don't know what to do, there's no one to play with!" And then turn around and fuss with the people they wanted to play with the minute they're home. I could tell you about freezers, full to the brim with summer's goodness, and rows of jars on shelves. I could tell you about husbands who faithfully go off to work every day even in the blazing heat......

I could tell you of many things, but I'm busy. And I'm not thinking. So I won't bore you all!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Getting Used"

I'm sitting *alone* on the porch of the lovely, old farmhouse where Jasmine has her piano lesson. It's a beautiful summer evening and my soul feels like it's taking deep, relaxing breaths while I listen with one ear to Jasmine stumbling through "The Lily of the Valley" for the first time and to the peaceful sound of birds chirping with the other. Life has been too busy for very many deep, relaxing breaths lately.

I tried not to dread the new schedule that school would bring, but I have to admit, I dreaded it. It's good for us to have more structure and the children were ready, ready for school to start, it's me who was dragging their feet! So, here we go. Earlier bed times to strive for, earlier mornings that mom MUST get up to or disaster will happen ....not my favorite thing at.all. :/

My days have suddenly changed to 2 little people at my house! This means no slipping out the door to hang laundry, etc alone, no going to the bathroom without being noticed -- "Mom, where are you going? Are you just going potty or...??" anxious voice outside the door "Mom, mom! Are you coming out soon??" *sigh* It also means that I get called away from my business umpteen times a day....excuse me, minute....by an urgent little voice saying, "Mom, mom! Did you see what I made mom?" Stop. Take a look. Resume work. "Now I'm making a bump in the road mom, see mom?" Get back to what I was doing. "Look mom. This is the train station. Did you see mom?" And so forth.....

I'd forgotten what it's like to not have someone around to send the little people outside with! Now it's me or stay in the house. I'd also forgotten what it's like to try to put the baby down for a nap with someone around who doesn't want you to leave the room for a minute (much less 15) "I wanna lay with you, mom." Wiggle, whisper, sit up, cough, sniff..... Ok!! Call it off. I'll rock the baby today and deal with it tomorrow. This is not working!

It's actually not really all bad, it's just "getting used" as the Indians in Crique Sarco, Belize used to say. Two weeks from now we'll have our routine and I'll have forgotten how strange it seems to have only 2 children around instead of 5. Hopefully the earlier nights and mornings will be coming more easily and maybe one little lady won't be quite so paranoid about being left alone for 2 minutes, who knows. We just need to "get used"! :)

Jennifer Quote: last Saturday we drove by a big grave yard and Chris said, "Look at all those dead people." Jennifer spoke up in awed tones, "Ooooh my goodness! That church must not have very many people left!!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ramblings

Life is racing by. I've been meaning to post, been writing them in my head as I go about my days. I've been longing for the chance, in fact, to string some words together.......but I've been busy. Yes, now you know the truth. Usually I'm not really busy, thus the ability to post! :)

I seriously am not a very "busy" person. Not the kind of whom people might say "She's such a worker!" Every once in a while, when necessity demands it, I don my best <insert name of woman who always intimidates you with the amount of work she gets done here> hat, and I work. (What? You don't have a name in mind? Go read another blog!!)

Yes, life has been full to the brim. Two different days of all day long looking at corn, a spur of the moment trip with Grandpas for the 2 oldest and a day excursion with a train ride for those left behind. A meal to fix for a new mommy and daddy, school schedule to get started on, a day to be gone for a viewing and a weekend trip to get ready for. Throw in the regular laundry and cooking and dailyness and...I'm tired! Just plain old bone tired.

But I feel alive, and rather content and happy tonight and that's a pretty good feeling. There's six beautiful roses sitting on my window sil since last night and when asked the reason, he replied, "Because I like you!" Aw. So just because I like him, I added to my day in the kitchen by making the potatoes and ham and apple jello he's been coveting. I hope it felt as good as six roses.

Then, there were three bright eyed, eager faces this morning, and three happy, shining ones this afternoon. A Christian school is such a privilege, did you know that? I can't imagine needing to push my children out the door every morning because they dread what a day at school holds! This year I want to do better at not taking the privilege so glibly for granted.

Lastly, there's a little boy at my house. A sweet little boy that crawled up on my lap today and laid his head on my shoulder and said, "Mamma" in the most adoring way and then "I lunah"......AWWWWW. To top it off, tonight when I said "Shall we go night, night?" this child that I've struggled with at night since day one, the child that I've been trying to teach to lay down in his bed and go to sleep without rocking, trotted to the bedroom and stopped expectantly and. . . . .he went to sleep without a peep!!! (please read in hushed, reverent tones!) I'm not so naive as to think the night time frustrations are over, but that was HUGE!

And so, there's my ramblings for the day. And now, I am going to bed. This poor old body isn't used to such workouts and is aching for its bed! I'll don the hat in the morning and see what all I can accomplish in a new day.....

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bits of Random

Quote of the day:
Jennifer - "I'm just thinking, when I get older my life is gonna get hard!"
Me - "Why??"
Jennifer - "Well, when I get married and have children and then you have to take care of them and cook and keep the house clean..... I think it would just be easier to not get married!"
Hmmmm.......does her mom have a bad attitude?? I think I convinced her otherwise, and maybe me too :)

The marigolds in the picture are the first bouquet from the seeds my mom gathered for Jennifer last year. I'm kind of obssessed with taking pictures of them..... they bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. How I miss you, Mom!

I'm also a bit obssessed with little boys who say "Mmmmm" along with their big "squeezes" when you pick them up - the cute little stinker wearing his "gaa-ses" in particular! He's trying to repeat all kinds of words these days. My favorite is still his precious "Nyyy Nanna!" Chris loves to tease him - "It's my mamma!" just to hear "Nyyy Nanna!!" Chris tells him "I had her first!" and he says "Hu uh!" :) He loves music and snuggling and balls and books and swinging with Grandpa and going outside. If I could only figure out how to get him to sleep all night he would be too perfect, I suppose. Seriously, what am I doing wrong??

Vacation is almost over, and this household is about to get a rude awakening when school schedule begins come Tuesday! I'll be glad when the adjustment is made and we're settled into a new routine again. The school children are all three excited and ready for the first day! I'm getting there. I don't look forward to that drive every day, but I know it will be routine before long.

And now I must run along and face my "hard life" :) :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

On Life and the Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

"Go on in all simplicity, do not be so anxious to win a quiet mind, and it will be all the quieter. Do not examine so closely into the progress of your soul. Do not crave so much to be perfect, but let your spiritual life be formed by your duties, and by the actions which are called forth by circumstances. Do not take overmuch thought for tomorrow. God, who has led you safely on so far, will lead you on to the end. Be altogether at rest in the holy confidence which you ought to have in His Heavenly Providence." Francis De Sales

I have started this post too many times to count..... somehow the words fail to flow. I've tried to ignore the whole thing and write instead of sewing projects or little boy hugs or summer activities or any number of happy, surface subjects. It doesn't work.

Somehow our two week trip turned my world on it's ear and I've been trying to right myself ever since. Issues that I thought were resolved, struggles I thought I had conquered, feelings I felt I had overcome - or at least learned to deal with - all seemed to re-surface at the end of those two weeks and I've been left feeling like somebody picked me up by the scruff of the neck and dropped me back down at ground zero! Above me is a huge gravel pile, and I've scrambled and clutched and flailed in my desperation to get back up to the top, only to feel the gravel slide and slip under my grasp and all my efforts get me nowhere.

Somewhere, down deep in my heart, I've known that my whole problem is summed up in one little saying I always thought was so dumb as a child - "You don't HAVE to if you WANT to!" But all I've seemed to be able to manage is, "Oh, God. I HAVE to do this and I don't WANT to!!" I've been at this place before, over these same old issues, and the fact that I found myself there again was more cause for the struggle than the struggle itself!

One night I took my lawn chair to a quiet corner and, while all the mosquitos in the neighborhood flocked to my chair, I looked it all square in the face. I wrote the stuff out it in all it's ugliness - the anger, the selfishness, the sadness, the rebellion.... As is often the case for me, getting it all out there is half the battle! I cried and I stormed and I slapped at mosquitos. I closed my tablet and went in and did bedtime duty while my children eyed my red eyes warily.

In the morning, I took up my planner and mapped out my day, and then I did something I haven't done in a long, long time. I'm not even sure what made me think of it, not sure why the idea crossed my mind, but in the corner, in tiny letters, I counted 3 Gifts - *Beautiful day *Big kid helpers *little boy hugs - and in that simple little act, I felt something shift inside. It felt suddenly like a window opened, and light streamed in; like my foot found solid ground, instead of the slippery, sliding gravel.

I think it was a day later that I got the email with the above quote. The third line seemed to stand up out of the text and wave it's hands in my face, "Do not crave so much to be perfect, but let your spiritual life be formed by your duties, and by the actions which are called forth by circumstances." I don't think I can even explain how the truth of it seeped down into the dry, ragged cracks in my soul!

Here is the truth: Life happens, I am human, and it will not be perfect. As long as I am on this earth there will be ugly, hard, unwanted things. There is no help found in resisting life; go with it! And never forget that there is a Father in Heaven who always, always showers His children with gifts. Hunt them down, count them up...and offer up the sacrifice of Thanksgiving. (Ps 116:17) It will open a window to the sun; provide solid ground for your feet!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

On Showing You Care

There are some things you never quite understand until it happens to you....a lot of things, really. One of the things that I hope I understand a little better since my mom's death, is the fact that letting people know you care means an awful lot! Over and over I have been awed by the care people have shown -- showing up at my door that day to offer love and care, gifts of money, a bag of treats for our trip, an evening out for Chris and I after we were back home, text messages, phone calls, hugs and assurances of prayers....so many, many ways that people have said "I care"! It takes so little, really.

The other day I pulled out the stack of cards I've gotten since mom's death. Cards are a very little thing. I mean, they usually get stuck away in a drawer or box eventually, or maybe even in the trash! The messages inside them tend to all run the same, tired lines and really, what good are words anyway? There's really nothing you can say that's very helpful after the death of a loved one! But I looked back through each one the other day and you know what I was looking at? Not the wording. Oh, I skimmed over the words, yes, but mostly I looked at the signatures.

Every one of those people cared about me! Every one of them took the time out of their busy life to sit down and get that card ready and put in the mail....for me. Even if they put it in the mail and never thought about me again, it's still a token that they cared. Cared enough to actually let me know. Cared enough to, not only think about me, but make sure I knew I was thought of! Humbling, really. Some people wrote notes saying what mom meant to them over the years. Those are extra special!

Ten and a half years ago, mom was in the hospital in extreme pain. The doctor thought her cancer had returned and didn't give us much hope. He made the decision to take her in to surgery and see what he would find. He discovered no cancer, but a blocked bowel caused by scar tissue! A nurse told mom later the story of how her doctor had seen a rainbow before going into surgery. Sometime after that, mom took a card a friend had made for her, added a rainbow in the sky, and the verse "My times are in Thy hand" (Ps 31:15) and hung it above her desk. There it still hangs.

When we returned from our vacation the other week, there was a card in the mail. Mom's friend, who made that card so long ago, heard the story about the card and made a replica for each of us children, and an enlarged one for daddy...with a rainbow in the sky! Talk about special, and cared for.

I hope that in the future I remember how little it takes, and how much it means, to let people know they are thought of and cared for. I hope that I remember to take the time to DO something to let them know, even if it's "just" a card.