Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Coffee Chat: Oatmeal Cookies to Warm the Heart
Hello there...Come in for coffee and specially requested Oatmeal cookies. Katie asked me to make these and send her some. They went out in Friday's mail. I asked her if there was a particular reason why she wanted oatmeal cookies. She said they made her think of fall and fall makes her want my oatmeal cookies. I use the Quaker Oats recipe but there's a secret ingredient in my cookies, and no, it's not just Mama love. It's dates. I swap out half the raisins for dates. I've made them just so for twenty something years. No one ever guesses why they are different but everyone loves the additional moistness that the dates impart to the baked cookies. Shhhh! We'll keep it just between us, okay?
She let me know they had arrived early this week, as they ought to have done but I had one of those slips of the brain and sent them to her under her maiden name. Her beloved was teasing her that he couldn't eat them as they'd come under the wrong name. He is a silly man at times and dearly loves to tease. The truth is that I mindlessly copied out her address from my address book which is obviously not updated with her married name. I apologized to her right away when I realized what I'd done, which was well after it was mailed of course.
The first weekend of this month, the weather here turned off cold with a vengeance and a great blowing wind that gusted at the house and shook the walls and lifted the umbrella off the patio table and tossed it around at the opposite end of the house...I personally love blustery winds. It makes me feel wild and alive.
Children and dogs get wild and frisky in windy cold weather, too. A friend of John's stopped by with his grandchildren in tow. When the children came piling out of the car and the dog started jumping around in excitement I thought there were at least six children and two dogs in the yard. I was astonished when only three children went through the back door into the house. I looked at our guest and said in bewilderment "Where did the rest go?" "That's all," he said. "Are you sure?" He looked at me and said "There's only the three of them!" "Oh." I could have sworn there were more! Wind and children and frisky dogs are a fun mix. At the end of the visit they played tug of war with Maddie and her favorite sheet, then all of them ran down the hill laughing all the way, Maddie running along laughing in her own doggie sort of way, as well.
I walked to the mail box later, after I'd retrieved our umbrella. I was a child all over again as I went down the hill to the mail box. I watched the leaves skittering past me and breathed in the deep cold air and remembered what it was like to be out on a day like this say 45 years ago. I remembered the same sense of excitement. I was adult enough to stop and exam all the pecan trees and I tell you truly there is one tree with one open nut casing on it and that is all. I have dozens of pecan trees here, some too young to bear yet and too difficult to get to due to the undergrowth, but if I'd seen any evidence at all I'd have braved fallen limbs and briers to at least try and get to them. But no, none. I wonder if the big farm orchards have any this year? Had there been any, a day such as that windy Saturday was just the sort we needed to blow them from the trees.
I had such big plans for this past week. I do realize that living with John and his being home as much as he is often means my plans must be flexible. One day this week I meant to do my annual summing up. That did get done, but didn't take long. I didn't want to dig down too deep as I am enjoying the current state of happy that I've found. Digging at painful things and moments was just not something I wanted to do. Then I reviewed my projects list. It seems that while I've accomplished a great deal this year, I did nothing I had on my list of projects for the year! Mostly I looked ahead to next year and my great hopes of accomplishing more things and growing and learning still more.
The long list of things not done in the past two weeks continues to grow. Yet I assure you I stay fairly busy...at least I think I'm busy, but judging by my list, maybe I'm not spending my time as efficiently as I might.
I finally pushed through and got started on one of the projects I'd wanted to do last week: sewing nursery curtains for the big picture window in the baby boy's room. His Mama contacted me on Thursday and asked if they might come down Saturday. That was more than enough incentive to finish the job, which I'd started on Wednesday. I chose the cutest fabric called "Jungle Babies" which I wanted to use as the border fabric but I found it was a ticky sort of fabric to work with. It wanted to ravel, it shrank badly and it required quite a lot of work. I told Bess I'm not sure she'll be able to wash them but once. I will look for another piece of fabric as I'm out and about in case I need to do a new border.
I worked hard Friday on the house, running errands, working on the booth, sewing. I was so tired by day's end that I barely made it to 9:30 before crawling into bed and sleeping hard all night long. It was a long day and frustrating. The store was out of many items needed. I settled for those I could get. I had two phone calls while shopping for birthday gifts. Amie called and told me they'd all been sick, although the doctor assured her she wasn't contagious every person in the house had gotten the same illness. Poor girl is a bit frazzled at the moment with a tiny baby (just four months), lack of sleep, job demands, ailments and the usual strains that parents of younger children must face. I felt her stress and my heart went out to her. As we were talking one of the children came in from school sick. She got off the phone to hustle her to bed.
Saturday Sam and Bess and baby Josh came to spend the day with us. We invited Mama out to lunch with us all and enjoyed ourselves passing the boy from one set of arms to another. He has no fear of people and happily goes to sit with anyone who will hold him. I took him outdoors later that evening and Maddie came barreling up the steps. Josh drew back a bit like he was startled but when Maddie walked up to him and touched her nose to his hand, he chuckled. And when she barked at a car coming up the drive Josh laughed out loud. He had absolutely no fear of Maddie and she had none of him. She nudged him a few times and he chuckled again and again. I sure did hate seeing that bunch go home.
Sunday morning we got up and headed down to Kingsland. John has to work three days the week the twins turn three and we wanted to have some sort of family time with the children. This trip was truly last minute. John set it all in motion Wednesday evening. For all that I love a plan I am really loosening my grip on the need to plan everything. I went right along with him. That's why I was out shopping on Friday even though I had plenty to do right here.
It was a lovely trip. The sun shone, the air was cool even in Kingsland where it's normally more humid and higher temperatures. The hotel where we stay may not recognize our name on the register, but they do recognize our faces when we come in which makes it all feel a bit more homey. The children were not that excited over our arrival. They played for hours in the play room together and so we had some adult conversation time in which to catch up with the parents. Zach decided that he'd spend time with us this visit, which was a joy since he's the shyest of the three children. It was a good visit all around.
We got up early Monday morning and headed home. It was crisp in Kingsland, again unusual for weather there on the Florida border. A few years ago, Virginia gave me sock monkey slippers. They are so fluffy and stuffed that walking on them is a slightly unbalanced affair. I put them in the car to travel with on these cold days. My toes stay toasty and John is able to keep the air flow fairly cool which suits him. The trees had just enough frost/cold to really become brilliant in color, the sky was the clear autumn blue that seems such an impossible blue, the sun shone and everywhere I looked there was a beautiful view. It was a lovely ride home...
And just as lovely yesterday when we were out doing our grocery shopping. I pointed out trees along the way to John that were breathtaking in their blaze of color. On the way home we topped the hill before the river valley and my breath caught a bit looking over those hundreds of acres of forest and all the colors sprinkled here and there. "I so hope there is autumn in heaven!" I told John and he nodded.
There are many things I hope to see in heaven: blue birds, iris, pansies, morning glories, roses (the kind that smell really good!), sunrise, sunset, autumn, spring, summer, winter. I hope to hear pine trees soughing and leaves rustle and birds calling. Chickens clucking and a rooster crowing would be nice and the happy chuckles of babies. I hope there are moments of quiet stillness and moments when I can hear the bubbly sound of water running over rocks and the ocean's roar. I hope most of all to see the faces I've loved the best here on earth. It saddens me when I'm told that in heaven there is no marriage. I'd very much like to stay married to John and I mean that sincerely. But heaven and it's workings are a mystery to me. I've no idea what I might have or not have there. I know only that I shall be in heaven.
I remember as a child growing up that to a person every adult in my life would tell me, "You only HOPE you get to heaven, you don't know." And if the discussion came up among adults, I heard them too say "I HOPE I make it." They all acted as though it were presumptive of me to think I (or they) could ever possibly be good enough to get into heaven. It's not a journey that you either get to go on or not according to who is handing out tickets the day you die. It is a fact that any one can go to heaven if he believes that Christ the son of God, died for your sins. It's so simple that we feel the need to complicate it with all our own conditions, but there are no conditions other than that stated. There were two thieves on the crosses next to Jesus. One believed, the other did not. And Christ told the one who believed, 'I tell you the truth, today you shall be with me in paradise.' (Luke 23:43).
I have a past, one of which I'd as soon not share, though I have at times when I felt my testimony would be helpful to someone struggling in similar situations. I have asked for and been granted forgiveness for the sins of my past. I do not dwell on those days with any regret nor do I parade them out like so many scars of which I am proud. They are past and, for the most part, forgotten. But I have one regret. I allowed others and the Satan to convince me that unless I changed who I was at that time, I could not hope to be good enough to go before Christ and offer up my life. The truth is that, like the thief, I really needed only to acknowledge who He was and ask to be granted a place with him. The changes I needed to make in my life were a natural consequence of making that decision to go before him in submission. Just. As. I. Was. Right in that place of sin. I am deeply grateful that God pursued me through those years of misinformation and misunderstanding.
Well...You just never know where a coffee chat will lead do you? I'm not a dab hand at giving a testimony or sharing the plan of salvation. Once, many years ago, Franklin Graham appeared on one of the late night talk shows to share about his Operation Shoebox ministry. Within moments of sitting down he'd given a very succinct delivery of the plan of salvation. I was impressed then and impressed now. For myself, I tend to share that plan in a limited way, but always when God reveals the pathway before me, as he did today talking of a simple reverie about heaven that occurred this week.
I have wended my way down I think...The day is moving on to a conclusion and I need to get up and get busy. There's always the need to be busy in a household isn't there? I am never without something to do, if I choose to do it and that's the truth.
I have enjoyed our small chat. I hope to be more regular with these once more now that life is settling down a bit. Talk to you later!