Why I’m Satisfied with Older Things

I told Joel the other morning that the older I get the more I’m satisfied with less. Give me my animals and I’m happy. I really don’t care that my van is 13 years old and has over 260,000 miles on it. I really don’t mind. My house is as old as the van and probably has as many miles on it and could use some sprucing up, but I’m okay with it. I’d have a fit if the carpet were new and the dogs ran across it with muddy feet (or Lexi “used” it) or Hubby wore dirty shoes across it or put a greasy machine part on it. It’s better to have older stained & torn carpet then a heart attack every time someone lives in the house.

Now, I did just go on a clothes spree at the re-sale shop, but I haven’t paid much attention to my wardrobe in years (part of that slow downward spiral that took a long time to hit bottom and take it’s toll).  My fashionista, Karra, looked at my clothes and said,

“Mom, you have some cute clothes you just need more color.”

Aw, that’s so sweet.  So, we all went and tried on clothes and I found some tank tops (more neutral than colorful) and a pretty ferns & flowers blouse, and a summery sweater in shocking pink! and a gorgeous knit shirt (that makes me look like Dolly Parton) in a bright torquoise.  Sometimes you need to wear something different than the norm.  I even bought a skirt & followed it up with a pair of pantyhose!  Gosh, I haven’t worn a dress to church in an eternity – or since I outgrew my really nice dressy clothes and never replaced them.

I guess I’m not satisfied with my 10 year old wardrobe anymore, but honestly I’m not interested in having a showplace house that’s perfectly decorated and right out of a magazine – that’s just too much work.  I like to tell people “This is a working house.  If you want to see a showplace, I have a friend that lives down the road.”  And her house is gorgeous.  It’s well kept, neat and tidy despite the dog.  It’s just not us.  Hello, we live on a hobby farm!  Even before the animals we had 5 acres of clay that turns to mud when it rains, or snows, or dews, or just gets looked at.  And I wouldn’t trade my animals for anything (though a house on the beach is VERY tempting, but comes with its own set of messes, i.e., sand, dry sand, wet sand, sand, and more sand).

So, I’m content.  Not that I want the whole world to see my shabby happy palace.  Now, the carpet is mostly the fault of the installers who put a seam right down the center of the room – for real???  Of course, I did pick a white berber because it wasn’t brown and the only other choice was blue.  We thought we’d replace our floorings in 5 or so years (before I filled the living room with stuffed to the gills bookshelves and the huge entertainment armoire that I will love FOREVER – it’s an Ethan Allen and I got if for a song at Big Lots!!!), but let’s see 5 years after we moved in we had given birth to my bouncy baby boy, had gone to Florida on vacation, I had discovered homesteading and was thinking about chickens and cows and sheep or goats, oh my!  Actually, we went to Hawaii and then got chickens but that was in ’07.  And of course we’ve mostly built a barn and had and  lost animals and now have two fun and lovable dogs.  So, the carpet stays, the paint is nicked and dirty, the wall around the new window in my closet still needs to be drywall finished and repainted and the bonus room (someone’s college apartment) is still unfinished.   Buy hey, once the kids start rotating out we’ll be able to fix up the girls bedrooms (which need it much more than Kurt’s).

I guess in the long run, my kids are healthy, intelligent, gifted and blessed.  They’ve given their hearts to Jesus.  What else really matters?

And That’s What’s Reflecting on the Pond Today.

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So Many Thoughts, So Little Memory

I’ve had so many good ideas over the last couple of days and of course nothing handy to jot them down.  Hopefully once the juices get flowing something will come back.

I’ll start with the most important thought of all . .  HE IS RISEN . . . He is Risen Indeed!  Happy Easter everyone.

I was thinking about sleep this morning, particularly how much more hopeful I feel when I’ve had enough of it.  Thursday night Kurt was staying up way too late at night playing a new video game and Lexi ended up staying out of her cage – and I got 9 HOURS of sleep!  It carried me through Friday until about 5pm which then meant that there was very little left of me at Good Friday service.  Last night, Joel left Lexi out of her cage when he went to bed around midnight and again I got a ton of sleep.  Of course based on the amount of “accidents” Miss Piddles has had in my house today she will be crated tonight!     I felt very rested yesterday and even though it was a long day and I had to push myself through some activities I was able to handle it.  And today i just felt rested.  Sleep is an amazing thing.

I’ve also been thinking about how I grew up a cat person.  I almost always had a cat.  From a little white stray named Whitey I moved to my first official cat, a black and white tabby I named Tammy O’Malley.  The vet would joke about my Irish cat, but I LOVED the Aristocats.  We ended up keeping two of Tammy’s last kittens, a male named Dizzy and a female my brother named Cermit the Kat – he liked the Muppets.  After my parents remarried and we moved Tammy ran away back to our old home.  The neighborhood kids told my Grandma they had seen my cat, but when we came to get her the people living there said they hadn’t seen her.  The neighbors said they were lying and the next time they saw my cat they grabbed her and took her up to my Grandma who kept her on the porch until we came to get her.  My Grandma hated cats.  It’s one of the few times I can point to that I felt like my Grandma cared about me.  First Dizzy and then Tammy succumbed to hit and runs, but  standoffish Cermit lived to a ripe old age.   We were without a cat for a long time until I convinced my Dad to let me get another one and I would keep it inside so it wouldn’t chase the birds at his feeders.  I got a stray from a woodpile that was my dream kitty – a calico.  I named her Charlene after one of the characters on “Designing Women”, a sitcom my Mom & I enjoyed.  Charlene was my baby and she saw me through a rough period when I needed something to love that needed me back unconditionally.  I still had her when I got married & she and Joel did not like each other.  She wasn’t a cuddly cat & he thinks cats are for touching.  She had to be put down when Kristen was a baby and he took her in for me because I couldn’t, I COULD NOT take my baby in to be put to death.  Joel buried her here on the Happy Palace before we built the house.  One of the sewer lines went right over her grave.  I guess that was his final “dig” at my cat.

We’ve had other cats – Karra’s Stephanie & Zoe and now Catnip.  When we had to put Zoe down it broke me in two and made me realize that I had never grieved for Charlene.  I’d pushed it all down inside because I had little girls to take care of and they didn’t need to see Mommy crying all of the time.  That was a rough and tramatic experience for me.

And all of that brought this lifelong cat lover to the place where she is absorbed by two dogs.  Who would have ever though?  I’ve documented how hard it was to let Hunter go, but if we’d never had Hunter we wouldn’t have Luke.  If we didn’t have Luke we wouldn’t have Lexi.  They are such a joy.  They play and run around and wrestle like a couple of little kids fighting over a truck in the sandbox!  And then they absolutely collapse (like right now) and sleep it off.  When Luke was about a year old I starting telling the kids that I think every couple contemplating children should have to raise a puppy.  I learned so much about consistency and rule enforcement from having a young dog in the house.  Oh, how I would have done things different with my children if I had had the experience of raising a dog first!  And even now I’m having to do some remedial work with Luke as we start to train Lexi.  Just like kids, raising dogs doesn’t end; they all need refreshers on following the rules.

And lastly I’ll end with food.  I look in the mirror and groan, yet I take a Scarlett O’Hara approach to exercise and smart eating:  “Tomorrow is another day.”  And I’d better get my act together tomorrow!!  Of course as Kurt told me leading up to his birthday, “Tomorrow will really be today when it gets here.”  I guess that’s why they  say, “There’s no time like the present.” and “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”  I dislike philosophers.

Since we didn’t make huge plans for Easter dinner and I only had a frozen ham in the house this morning, we decided to do Arby’s 2 for $5 deal after church.  We had packed a cooler with drinks and & Joel declared “NO FRENCH FRIES”.  Of course Arby’s is the place you WANT the fries because their curly fries are so good!  So, we pulled up to the drive through and waited for the car in front  us.  They rolled forward and we pulled up.  Nothing from the little box.  Joel said, “Hello.”  Nothing from the little box.  We waited.  Joel said, “Hello, are you there?”  Nothing from the little box.  We waited.  I said, “Let me go inside.”  We waited.  Someone asked, “Are we sure they’re open?”  I said, “Nobody closes on Easter anymore (sadly).”  Nothing from the little box.

We pull forward to the window and there is a note:

WE WILL BE CLOSE SUNDAY APRIL 20,  2014 FOR EASTER.

Well what do you know!!  It was kind of nice to be proved wrong.  Of course the fact that there wasn’t a single car in the parking lot should have clued us in much sooner!  And we ended up having hamburgers at Burger King.  The ham will be ready between 7-8pm tonight. 🙂

And That’s What’s Reflecting on the Pond

Rainy Days and Mondays

I like rainy days and Mondays.  I always have.  And you’re just dying to know why – aren’t  you?  Especially since I’m posting about Mondays on a Wednesday – hey, it wasn’t raining on Monday!!

I like Mondays because they are a step back into the comfortable routine of the week.  The weekend is done, I’ve (usually) had a good sleep, and the week ahead beckons.  Monday is a quiet, slow day with the only schedule item my trip to pick up eggs at the BLT  livestock auction site.

And the Corgi’s!!

I’m usually not a fan of small dogs, but these little guys are heart renders.  The female at BLT is so exuberant.  “Oh, boy, you’re here!  You’re here!  I know you came to see to me!  Don’t you want to pet me?  Here, let me climb your leg so you don’t have to bend down so far.  Oh, I love the way you scratch my ears!”  This week she covered my jeans in mud.  I was only going to the grocery store afterward, nothing too important.

And then there is Bud, the Corgi puppy at the feed store.  He’s too cute for words.  The first time we met, he was determined to eat my boot strings and the fur cuff on my snow boots.  Yep, the Corgis are one of my favorite things about Mondays.

Which brings me to rainy days.  Rainy days are slow and relaxing.  There is something renewing about rain – especially spring rain.  The earth is thirsty and the grass is just begging for a quick drink (I guess snow doesn’t count if your grass) before it starts to come to life.  The flowers are slowly pushing their way through the ground and the tree buds are debating whether to swell now or wait a few more weeks.  Rain just seems to convince everything to go ahead and get started.

And we huddle inside with our cup of tea and our warm cozy fire – ok, those of you lucky enough to have a fireplace – and snuggle under a blanket with a really good book.  Or relax to the sound of rain drops while the sewing machine whirrs and creativity flows from our fingertips.  Even something as mundane as catching up the ironing can take on a new feel when the spring rains are flowing down outside the window.

We know in our hearts that rain in March means grass in April, and rain in April means flowers in May.  And Mondays?  Well, only four more days until Friday!

And That’s What’s Reflecting on the Pond.

Starving

I had an epiphany today.  Don’t you just love light bulb moments?  I met with the accountant this morning and then ran to the jeweler to get my bling cleaned & a watch battery, good thing I went too because I had a stone loose in my anniversary band.  I just love the folks at Jared ( sigh, he went to Jared) 🙂

Anyway, after I did the have-tos, I went to JoAnn to see if I could find a piece of craft plywood for a project I want to do – that actually translates as more stuff to put into my fancy pants new sewing room.  You should see my room two months later – piling up just like before because no matter how good my intentions are, I just don’t have time, energy, warmth (in the room), or want to to get back there and start working on something.  And everything I removed to get rid of is back in there because we decided we just HAVE  to break down and have a garage sale this summer.  Ugh, Ugh, UGH!

So, all of that to say:  I bought a magazine – HGTV Magazine.  Me buying a magazine is nothing new; I’m a magazine Junkie!  I love to buy magazines.  But, I’ve never bought THIS magazine before.  Because we don’t have cable or satellite TV  I  don’t watch HGTV, so the magazine was a newbie for me.   I took myself off to Cosi for a Tuscan Pesto Chicken Sandwich and raspberry iced tea and opened up my new magazine.  I LIKE it!  It’s inspiring!  It’s creative and tasteful & full of bright colors – which everyone needs this time of year and especially after the winter we’ve been having here in the Midwest.

And after my solo lunch with my new friend, er, magazine, I decided to skip Whole Foods (hey, I can buy milk at Kroger) and go to Hobby Lobby.  I walked in the front door, turned left and for 35 wonderful, blessed minutes I wandered around the store and let myself be inspired.  I breathed in the creativity and the beauty of decor and supplies.  And when I left I new what has been wrong with me.  Well, part of what’s been wrong with me anyway.

My soul is starving.  Not my spiritual soul, though I’m sure it can always use more food than I give it, but my creative soul.  I’m famished, hungry, STARVING for a creative outlet.  I’m so desperate to be making something beautiful, fulfilling, celebratory, or just plain new and useful.  I know I finished stitching Kurt’s stocking and I’m about 2/3 of the way finished with my new barn and bought a wedding sampler that will need to be done in the fall for Karra’s BFF, but somehow cross stitch just isn’t as fulfilling to my creative needs as sewing or painting and crafting.

I wish I could say my epiphany came with a big lightening bolt of ideas on how to find the time to feed my creative soul, but alas, it did not.  But don’t they say that identifying the problem is the first step to solving it?  So, now that I realize that I NEED that creative time the trick will be coming up with creative ways to steal that time.  Let’s face it between the kid’s school, the animals, the usual cooking, cleaning, laundry, church, upcoming garden, basement/garage/workshop cleaning, and that necessary summer garage sale, I’m a rather busy gal!

And speaking of starving, I can hear SugarBelle demanding her supper.

And That’s What’s Reflecting on the Pond today.

A Single Step

I wrote this in my notebook on January 7th and almost incorporated it into my post that day.  This morning I feel like it’s just time to post this particular reflection.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That has come up in my spirit a lot over the last two weeks.

I think that God is telling me that it’s time to start going forward from the dark place I was in.  He hauled me up from the pit and gave me some wonderful people to sit under and to learn from and to be nurtured by.

I’ve sat and I’ve rested and I’ve found out how much God loves me.  I’ve been healed and set free and anointed to serve Him – for something.

But now it’s time.  Time to begin the journey forward.  To take the first step that leads to the next adventure.  We’re off!  But only He knows where.

And That’s What’s Reflecting on the Pond.

Back to Mitford – and being thankful

I’ve been re-reading some of my all time favorite fiction books:  Jan Karon’s Mitford series.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE these books.  I totally relate to Father Tim and totally enjoy the small town of Mitford and it’s eclectic people.  I want to move there!

While reading book 3,  These High, Green Hills, I came to pg. 87 and Father Tim was reading a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together:  “We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts He has in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts.  We think we dare not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be looking forward eagerly for the highest good.  Then we deplore the fact that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experience that God has given to others, and we consider this lament to be pious . . . . . Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things.”

And in keeping with that tone of thankfulness I was reading in book 4, Out to Canaan, and once again Father Tim comes across a quote regarding thankfulness.  This time it was a fellow Episcopal priest, Patrick Henry Reardon:  “Suppose for a moment that God began taking from us the many things for which we have failed to give thanks.  Which of our limbs and faculties would be left?  Would I still have my hands and my mind?  And what about loved ones?  If God were to take from me all those persons and things for which I have not given thanks, who or what would be left of me?”

WOW!!!!!!!

Right there on the treadmill I found myself awfully thankful for my husband.  Despite those little irritations and things that develop after 20+ years of marriage – I LOVE that man!  I looked out my window at 5 acres of fences and the barn and the animals.  He’s done all of that because he loves me – not because he wanted to have a farm.  I thanked God for my children who show me sometimes by the hour what a selfish, me-focused person I am.  HOW would God have ever opened my eyes to my own selfishness if I’d never had those kids?  What kind of a person would I be if I’d never had to sacrifice for them?  And despite the pain in my foot (still) I started running on the treadmill.  Because I AM thankful that my foot still works and despite the lingering pain I KNOW that God has healed my foot.  I can’t see it with eyes; I can’t feel it with my senses, but I KNOW because my Father told me, that my foot is healed.

I’m thankful that I can think and see and walk and type.  I’m thankful for my furry dog that sheds on the carpet, barfs on the carpet, chases the cat, and steals snotty tissues out of the trash.  I’m thankful for wonderful friends, spiritual parents, and family (even the ones that drive me up a wall!).  I’m thankful for the cats, the rabbits, the cows, the sheep, and the geriatric chickens.  I’m so thankful for my church and my Pastor who isn’t afraid to preach the Word uncompromised and the Cross unashamed.  I’m thankful for a beautiful home, a full freezer, fridge, and pantry.  We have more than the necessities; we have luxuries as well.  My husband has a good job with good insurance.  We have an abundance of motorized vehicles and toys.  And I am so thankful for Christ.  For all He did for me – ALL He did for me.  He took my sin, my shame, my sickness, my disease, my despair, my heartache, my selfishness, my stubbornness, my pride, my anger, envy, jealousy, and hate.  He took ALL of it and gave me His love, His forgiveness, His health, His wholeness, His everything that I need.  And He did it for free.  He gave me sunrises and glorious spring days.  He gave me cold, snowy winter landscapes that take my breath away.  He gave me green pastures, still waters, and high mountain meadows.   He gave me ocean waves and blue summer skies.  He gave me love when I felt so unlovable.  He gave me joy when I thought my world had ended.  He gave me that man I love and those kids that teach me so much.  He gave me the smile in my heart that I can wear on my face.

And I forget to be grateful.  And all the time He’s watching, waiting.  Knowing that even though we’re a little dense this side of heaven – we’ll eventually remember and we’ll say “thank you” from a heart overflowing.  And the smile in His heart will spread to His face.

And That’s What’s Reflecting on the Pond

Anger

I’ve been thinking about anger a lot lately.  Who me??  Uh, yeah.  Me.  Grouchy Mom.  Tyrant Mom.  Mom the Dictator.  Mom the Over-the-Top Angry-at-the-Drop-of-a-Hat.  My dear Mother-in-law once confronted me about my anger.  Boy did I get angry at her!!  But she was right.  And her confrontation cooled my jets – for a while.  In the last couple of years I’ve noticed my fuse getting shorter by the hour (sometimes the minute).  It doesn’t matter if the kids deserve to be yelled at (punished, grounded until their 45, sat in a chair for the rest of their lives) I shouldn’t loose control like I do.

For example:  today (while I’m home sick with a cold and feeling much misery in my head) I’m trying to make a little food and work around the mess they left in the “cleaned-up” kitchen and I notice that there is only one paddle for the bread machine pan.  I really lost it.  I looked everywhere I could possible think of that they might “put away” the little paddle and it could not be found.  I was more than a little steamed.  I decided right then and right there that the loaf of bread in the pantry was the last one this family was going to enjoy for the rest of their lives.  How dare they?  (Of course the little paddle didn’t run away all by itself, it was nicely hidden behind the rubber gloves at the sink).

Now I happen to know and understand in my head that my irritation and yes, out-right anger, at my children’s carelessness with my kitchen possessions harps back to my childhood.  I didn’t have a lot of “stuff” growing up.  I’ve always longed for nice things, pretty things to call my own.  Whenever I come by something nice and pretty, I get over possessive of MY stuff.  After all, I have a right to have nice things.  God has blessed us abundantly.  I deserve nice things.  At the very least I deserve paddles for my bread machine that haven’t been carelessly lost or dropped down the garbage disposal and chewed to bits.  My children should be more grateful!  They should appreciate me more!  They should have more respect for me and my possessions!!  I, I, I, me, me, me, my, my, my.  Follow the trend?

Yes, my children should be more responsible with other people’s possessions.  They should pick up after themselves and be a part of keeping a peaceful home (don’t get me started on that track!).  But what do my children deserve?  Really deserve?  A calm voice.  A peaceful spirit (which would lead to a more peaceful home).  A kind word spoken in season.  A gentle voice of admonition.  A loving mother not rung over with anger because someone misplace her “things” (for the 684th time in the last 2 months!).  My children deserve to be treated with the respect I expect back from them.  My children deserve grace and mercy when they deserve it the least (just like me).  My children deserve unconditional love when they are at their most unlovable (just like me).  My children deserve to know that they are more valuable to me than any possession I can hold in my hand.

My children are a gift.  My anger is a curse.  Jesus died to free me from the curse.  I don’t have to walk in this unrelenting anger anymore.  I can choose, today, to follow Him; to cast all my cares upon Him because He cares for me.  I used to teach my kids that Mommy loved them more than anybody else in the world and that Jesus loved them even more than Mommy.  Sometimes Mommy needs to realize that Jesus loves HER more than anyone else in the world and He’s right here ready to take away the anger and replace it with love.

And That’s What’s Reflecting on the Pond.