Sometimes I forget to spit out the seeds…

Posts tagged ‘Home’

Saturday Musings on my Porch

I woke up this morning, after eight hours of sleep, feeling like I’d just finished a full day of hard physical labor.  My energy level picked up, but not much.  I managed to get a load of dishes washed, help my little girls straighten their rooms, sort and file six months worth of paperwork, and turn dozens of frozen bread ends into bread crumbs.  The last was an effort to make room in my freezer while we were trying to determine if our full-sized freezer had died.  Turns out it had just been left open, and we didn’t lose any of the contents.  Praise God for mundane victories, right?

I paused between projects to get a bit of fresh air.  I moved to our huge screened-in porch, which is one of the focal points of our new home.  New, still, in my mind, sixteen months after moving in.  I’m sitting in a wicker chair I inherited when my grandma moved from her large home in the woods of western Massachusetts, to a tiny apartment here in upstate New York. Outside, I can see the bright blue sky, visible through the greenery of a tall, sprawling tree next to the driveway.  The wind whips through the branches, and also makes the loose sheets of plastic that covered the porch screens for the winter flap around wildly, with a sound that is actually quite lovely and peaceful.

Gazing across our driveway to the side yard, I glimpse a sea of green grass with an abundance of yellow dandelions. I never can understand why people spray chemicals to kill those lovely flowers.  Our “neighbors,” row after row of headstones, decorated with flags and flowers, receive many visitors today.

Looking down the expanse of the porch, I see towels and bathing suits, hanging on hooks and draped over benches; evidence of a pre-lunch swim in the creek.  A path of small mismatched rugs extends from where I am to the door, covering the tile that isn’t really meant for outdoor conditions, and gets dangerously slippery when wet.  The stacked up bins of shoes and boots sit near the door.  A crate we found in the barn attic, filled with century-old encyclopedias, acts as a table for the spigot-ed jar of bubbles and basket of sidewalk chalk.

The house paint is chipped, the ceiling fans are ugly, and the metal nameplate by the door bears the previous owners’ names.  (Why in the world haven’t we taken that down yet?)  The pieces of wicker furniture would look so much cuter if they were painted to match and had new cushions.  But despite these flaws – and perhaps even because of them, because I know there will never be an end to maintaining and improving this home – I am filled with thankfulness for what God has blessed us with.  The exhaustion that threatened to overtake me a few minutes ago has receded a bit, and I feel refreshed.  The refreshment is mostly mental and spiritual, and my body is still weary.  But it’s enough to get me through the day.

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Confessions

I recently realized that a blog site I have been reading also has a “confessional” section.  Anyone can post their “confessions” anonymously as a way to vent.  Others can offer their support with “like,” “hug,” or “me too!”  I can see the value in that….for commiserating about the hard parts of life.  For getting things off our chest.  It’s also a pretty dark place, with people telling secrets that are heart-wrenching, or scary, or even dangerous.  And there’s no way to reach out to those people, due to the anonymity.  More on that another day…..

Today, I thought I’d share some of my own “confessions.”  Nothing serious, or heavy….just for the fun of it.

My bathroom floor is absolutely filthy.  My kids rotate bathroom duty, so the essentials (toilet, sink, garbage, etc.) are taken care of.  I always intend to get in there and tackle the floor….but I don’t.  Between the painted tiles that everything sticks to, necessitating a scrub-by-hand-on-your-knees approach, and the claw foot tub that is impossible to clean under, it’s the worst job in the house.

I fake-nursed in order to sit on the couch longer and not feel lazy.  When I had nurslings, and they fell asleep at the breast, I would often just pretend they were still eating so I could rest some more.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who used that tactic.

I like mayonnaise on my cooked spinach.  Just a little bit, mixed right in.  Creamy, vinegary…yum!  My husband thinks it’s very weird and gross, but I’m the only one in my family who eats cooked spinach, so whatevs.  All for me.

My kids are not allowed to say the “f” word.  No, not that one!  I mean, obviously that one, too.  But also the one for gas.  I hate that word.  It makes me gag.  Sometimes I really can’t believe that anyone says it.  If you say it, I might judge you a little bit.

Of all the changes in my body after having children, I mourn my feet the most.  Stretch marks, loose skin, and other unmentionable things, are permanent evidence that I’m a mother.  And I’m fine with that, really and truly.  But my feet.  They are more or less the same length, but the ligaments seem to be permanently relaxed, so they spread when I’m standing.  I can’t buy strappy sandals anymore, or cheap sneakers, because they usually don’t come in a wide width.  I didn’t know how much I loved cute shoes until I couldn’t wear them anymore.

I served my family leftovers for dinner four nights in a row.  I always plan my menu with a leftover night in mind.  But this week, my mother-in-law brought me a bounty of Easter dinner leftovers.  With the weekend leftovers already in my fridge, we were set for the week!  I added a couple of frozen pizzas one night to break up the monotony, although monotony wasn’t really a problem with the number of choices we had.  Last night I served it up on platters and called it a “smorgasbord”.  I call that a total win.

I made up a song about corn bags, and now I’m forced to sing it every night.  My mom made my kids each their own corn bag for Christmas.  The first time my little girls used them for bedtime, I sang an impromptu song as I delivered the warmed-up bags.  It’s to the tune of “We Got a Dollar” from The Little Rascals.  “I got a corn bag, I got a corn bag, I got a corn bag with zebra stripes (or princess crowns, or sock monkeys)!  I got a corn bag, a warm corn bag, a warm corn bag with zebra stripes!”  If my husband or older kids try to sing the song and deliver the corn bags, they protest loudly.  I’m stuck for life.

So what about you?  Leave your confessions in the comments!

Evil is Cool

The world I’m raising my children in is nothing like the world I grew up in.  I never imagined that everything would change so drastically, so quickly.  The differences are evident in a myriad of ways:  technology, fashion, education, pop culture, all of which would be fun or interesting to muse about.  What has gripped my heart, though, falls into the pop culture category.  We, as Americans, have become incredibly desensitized.  Our kids, especially.

We are a culture of profanity.  A culture of vulgarity.  A culture that embraces evil.  A culture of disrespect.  A culture of obscene excess.  A culture of shallow materialism.  A culture with blatant sex in every corner.  A culture that drowns its sorrows in self-abuse.

Sounds pretty hopeless, doesn’t it?  How can we possibly raise children to adulthood without them being desensitized to all of that….that disaster I just described?  Will they get to the point of not even noticing that it’s going on around them?  Will they accept it as just “what kids do” these days?  Even if they choose to not be a part of it, will they fail to be shocked by what they see and hear?  When they stop being shocked,  they become part of it.

As parents, we have the tough job of setting the standards for our children.  What will we allow them to watch, listen to, read, or even say?  What friends will we permit them to hang out with?  We want to protect them, and to teach them how to protect themselves; but there comes a point when we have to allow them to begin to make their own decisions, and pray we have equipped them well.  It’s scary.   I’m slowly entering that realm myself, in my parenting career.

In our home, God sets the ultimate standard.  Not because we have to live up to some perfect model of the “Christian life”  in order to please Him…..let’s be perfectly clear on that.  Salvation doesn’t hinge on our performance, or how well we follow the rules.  It’s free, and unconditional.  But God’s Word is good, and every bit of it has a purpose.  His warnings to guard our hearts and our minds, to be careful of what comes out of our mouths, to avoid giving the appearance of evil….these guidelines aren’t just suggestions.  They are a recipe for a joyful, fruitful, peaceful life in which we can serve Him more wholly and make a difference for His sake.

I realize that Christians have differing opinions about what things are good, and pure, and worth allowing into their lives.  I tend to ere on the side of caution.  We don’t know how much violence will trigger recurring fear or anxiety in our child.  We don’t know how much nudity or sexual innuendo will trigger an obsession with lust (no human can escape the feeling of lust, I am sure, but we’re talking destructive levels here).  We don’t know what brand of evil, demonic influence, or darkness will intrigue them to delve deeper.  Clearly we can’t shield them from any of these things forever, unless we go the deserted-island-family-commune  route.  But we can delay and control their exposure, so that we can have those crucial conversations with them.

We’ve all seen evil disguised as good, but what about the other way around?  What about something that’s inherently good, with a solid, Christian message, that’s draped in an evil costume to appeal to our “modern” sensibilities?  Because evil is cool.  Darkness is fascinating.  It draws them in.  I’m not really comfortable with that brand of trickery.  That, to me, is a perfect example of desensitization.